There seems to be a popular belief in spiritual circles that enlightenment is a singular, individuated path. It is a path which one walks alone, and the need for or attachment towards other people is merely an obstacle on the way. I personally would beg to differ.
I view enlightenment as a collective journey, in which all parts of the Self move to reunite with the whole. If only one aspect of Self reunites with the whole, this is not true enlightenment. Yes, it a step towards total union, but so long as other aspects of the Self have yet to awaken and merge with the Source, the job is not yet complete.
In buddhism, there is a term for a specific type of awakened being known as the bodhisattva. This class of awakened being attains enlightenment and thus reaches nirvana, yet from that space of total oneness, peace and bliss, chooses to come back and reincarnate in order to assist other beings on their journey home. This being knows that all parts of the Self are aspects of him/herself, and through this knowing understands that true enlightenment is not attained by oneself but it is attained collectively.
Nothing in this Universe can exist without relationship. If there is only one point, one singularity of consciousness, there is no relationship. Yet as soon as two points exist, that is the beginning of relationship. Everything in existential/experiential reality is subject to relationship. You have a relationship with your thoughts, your emotions, your body, other people, even with yourself, or at least you temporal, physically incarnated self. The atoms, molecules and cells which make up your body all exist in relationship to each other. Reality is nothing but the dynamic interplay of relationship, all parts relating to the others.
So relationship is not a choice, and it is certainly not an obstacle to enlightenment, it is a divine necessity. We need relationships, we need each other, or nothing could exist at all. The way to enlightenment, really, is through the perfection of our divine relationships. The way in which we relate to everything in our experience. The journey home is a journey of connection, not only connection with the formless and eternal awareness, but connection to the everythingness of manifested existence.
So the greatest practice one can partake in on the journey of awakening is the practice of unconditional love in all of their relationships. Where there is resistance, annoyance, hate, or irritation, this is your sign that there is still work which needs to be done. This does not mean to put up with abuse or to involve yourself in relationships which do not serve you, as this is not practicing unconditional love in the relationship with yourself. It simply means that all which arises in your experience is met with love, acceptance, and understanding, especially the parts which emotionally trigger you the most.
Enlightenment truly is not a separate process, but a unified one. Without total unity, there is no enlightenment, there is no true realization of Self. Awakening occurs through the dynamic process of divine relationship, of divine union with all aspects of Self. It is the recognition of the other as ultimately one with the Self, and through this realization the arising of unconditional love.