This article addresses how close relationships can be conceptualized so that they can be accurately understood over the life span. First, two typical clusters of theories of close relationships, the attachment theory and the social network theory, are compared and discussed with regard to their fundamental but controversial assumptions regarding the scope of lifelong development. Second, previous research into close relationships among mature adults is reviewed. Third, a new social network model, the affective relationships model, and its assessment instrument are proposed. This model describes the nature of individual close relationships consisting of multiple significant others, and condenses the complexity of each social network by typological classifications. Fourth, new evidence based on the model is reviewed. Finally, fundamental assumptions about close relationships and emerging topics for future studies are discussed.

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