Types of Couples

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Professionals often categorize people who are dating into five different types of couples. Three of the relationship types are considered to be healthy, and two of them are much less likely to be happy for long periods. Many couples who are unhappy stay in relationships that are unhealthy, though many are able to improve their relationship and learn how to grow in their love and happiness with their current partners.

Interactions people have with one another are often used to determine which types of relationships people are in. Each type of couple has risks and benefits, and knowing which type of couple you are can play a role in how you navigate your relationships and your behaviors in the future.

Relationship Type 1: Conflict Avoiding Relationships

Some people minimize persuading other people to believe what they believe in and to do what they want them to do. By emphasizing the areas that people have in common with others, conflict avoiders are a common type of relationship. Unfortunately, some people who practice conflict avoidance do not express what they need from the other people they are in relationships with. Couples who find a balance between being independent and being dependent are often happiest when it comes to conflict avoiding relationships. 

Another common factor in conflict avoiding relationships is people setting up clear boundaries. In many cases, successful relationships of this type have a focus on the two people dating being separate people who have separate interests. There are often some common interests within the relationship, but people are allowed to be individuals in the relationship as well. This overlap is often essential to have a positive, healthy relationship as a person who is conflict avoidant.

Relationship Type 2: Volatile Relationships

People who are intensely emotional can sometimes end up in volatile relationships. Conflict can get quite heated as they stay in conflict until it is resolved. People often look to persuade the other person that their side of the conversation is right. Sometimes volatile couples understand how debates can end up being humorous even though they are emotional. Couples that have a lot of laughter, humor, and shared amusement in their conflicts can be very successful.

A lot of negative emotions can be expressed in these types of relationships, including feelings of anger and insecurity, but these relationships tend not to have contempt or resentment. There is often an overlap in people’s worlds, but with an emphasis on openness and honesty in their communication, as well as connection, volatile relationships can be quite successful.

Relationship Type 3: Validating Couples

These are couples who generally emit feelings of calm and ease. While they can get expressive, they are neutral in many ways. Validating couples often find the balance between being volatile couples and conflict avoiders. Still having a focus on open and honest communication, these relationships are more successful than not by quite a bit. Practicing empathy can be a great way to move into a validating relationship style.

Couples in this category find themselves confronting differences on some topics, but not on others. Some issues can be highly competitive, however. This can turn into a little bit of a power struggle at times, which usually results in eventually calming down and compromising. While in conflict, couples that are validating are generally more mildly emotionally expressive.

Relationship Type 4: Hostile Relationships

One of the main focuses of hostile relationships is a sense of defensiveness that comes when conflict happens. These types of relationships are not successful nearly as often as the first three on the list, and some of that is attributed to how people criticize each other in hostile relationships. Often filled with statements referring to the other person, as well as whining and blaming, hostile couples sometimes find the biggest benefits from marriage counseling. Either way, people in hostile relationships often do not end up getting divorced and end up staying in unhealthy relationships or making an effort towards improving the relationship, so they are better.

Relationship Type 5: Detached Relationships – Hostile

Sometimes couples seem to give up on the relationship and tend not to resolve conflicts or conversations. Resulting in a stalemate, there is a lot of emotional detachment in these types of relationships. A conflict might end up with one person exiting the conversation, but the other person often does not let this person leave the conversation. People in detached relationships do not often stay in the relationship forever, and these types of relationships often end up with divorce or more complete detachment while remaining in the relationship.

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