It’s kind of wild to consider that there are literally billions of people out there and relationships with one another but we (as a society in general, anyway) think of these relationships as nearly identical – even though the people in them are 100% unique from top to bottom compared to anyone else.
No, the reality is that there are as many different types of relationships out there as there are people and that there’s no “perfect relationship” mold that everyone should try to fit or aspire to.
Different strokes for different folks, and all that jazz.
At the same time, there are definitely a handful “major themes” that relationships can fit into, categories that help us better understand the type of person that we are and the type of person that we are most interested in as well as the type of relationship that we might have the most success with.
If you’d like to learn a little bit more about the major types of relationships out there and how understanding that can help you with your own romantic life check out the rest of the inside info in this quick guide!
Independent relationships are incredibly common in our modern world where people are a lot more interested in doing their own thing alongside someone rather than working double overtime to find a way to melt to completely different and separate lives into one.
Now, this does not mean that people involved in independent relationships aren’t absolutely crazy about the person that they love. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is certainly doesn’t mean that these people are incredibly selfish and inconsiderate of the feelings of their partner, either.
These kinds of relationships are a lot more focused on independent success and value on space, and usually work best with people that do not want to feel smothered or controlled but also want to grow with someone, support someone, and create something special with someone that they love.
Codependent relationships usually get a pretty bad reputation (especially with relationship therapists) because they almost always involve people subjugating their own specific needs and their own specific identity just to make “the relationship” work without any real interest or excitement about their own lives and their own goals.
Those kind of codependent relationships, however, really take the idea of mutual dependence to the extreme. The last thing you want to do is rely entirely on someone else for your entire self-worth, without any real independence whatsoever or ability to function without one another.
At the same time, a codependent relationship where you both maintain some independence while at the same time creating a life that is tightly intermingled with one another is not at all the bad idea. You have to be sure that you aren’t subjugating yourself or your goals to your romantic partner (or forcing someone to do the same), though – which can turn these kinds of relationships toxic in a hurry.
Open relationships have existed ever since people have been romantically linked with one another, even though it feels like this is a lot more modern of an approach to partnering up.
These kinds of relationships are closely linked to independent relationships but take things to another level entirely where both people are able to see other people outside of the relationship, usually according to mutually agreed upon “rules” for how these kinds of outside relationships need to be handled.
Truth be told, these kinds of relationships are so hard to maintain over an extended amount of time unless both parties are completely on board with the idea of total openness.
Trying to save a relationship with a boyfriend (or girlfriend) by opening things up without really wanting to do that – but instead just really wanting not to lose the person you care about – will invite a horror story of stress, anxiety, and uncertainty that no one deserves to be put through.
Change Based Relationships
It’s absolutely impossible to build trust in a relationship without being open to change, without being open to evolution, and without being open to the fact that you and the person you are in a relationship with are going to grow as time goes on – and it’s up to you to decide whether or not you grow together or you grow apart.
On the flip side of things, there are definitely some change based relationships that are built on the idea that someone has to change completely to make it work in the first place.
Yes, opposites definitely attract – and there are a lot of relationships out there that have great success with people that do not necessarily seem all that compatible from the outside – with the last thing you want to do is feel pressure to have to change yourself to conform to specific types of relationships that you just don’t feel comfortable with.
These kinds of relationships can get pretty toxic in a hurry as well. It’s tough to build relationships that really work on the idea that someone is wrong, someone is imperfect, and someone needs to be fixed to better align with what the “unchangeable” person deems.
Super Casual Relationships
Again, people today want to believe that they sort of invented the idea of super casual relationships but nothing could be further from the truth – even if these kinds of relationships are easier to pull off today than ever before (thanks to modern technology).
Super casual relationships are exactly that, super casual, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that whatsoever. If you aren’t interested in anything more serious and the person that you are seeing isn’t all that interested in anything serious, either there’s nothing wrong with hooking up, having a little bit of fun, or just temporarily “shacking up” when the two of you feel like it.
Some people look down on “rebound relationships” without realizing that they are one of the most common types of super casual relationships out there. It’s tough to move on from a long-term relationship or a tough breakup as it is in the last thing you want to do is dive headfirst into something super serious after that heartbreak.
There’s a lot of value in these kinds of relationships as long as everyone involved is open and honest about what the future holds.
Long Distance Relationships
There’s a lot of sweat equity necessary to build trust in a relationship that lasts over long distances, particularly if you aren’t going to be able to physically be with one another over longer stretches of time.
But that doesn’t mean that these kinds of relationships cannot work.
Sure, long distance relationships are so hard to get right a lot of the time because there is such a lack of physical intimacy, a lack of physical connection, and a lack of constant communication – but modern technology has also made all of that (aside from the physical stuff, anyways) a lot easier to handle.
Combine that with inexpensive airfare, the opportunity to take many vacations or getaways that can reignite a spark missing in a long-distance relationship, and regular FaceTiming or reaching out over social media and it’s a lot easier to build relationships over longer distances now than ever before.
Truly Compatible Relationships
At the end of the day, no matter what types of relationship you might be most interested in pursuing – or what types of relationships you want to build – it’s almost certain that there is some type of relationship that will allow you to feel totally compatible with someone else.
These kinds of compatible relationships are the ones that last and last, the kinds of relationships that feel effortless even when things aren’t all that great, and are the types of relationships that people go to the ends of the earth (and even further) to save – with both people pulling their weight to make them work.
There’s no such thing as an effortless relationship (and anyone that’s ever been involved romantically with someone knows that relationships are so hard to make successful) but the ultimate goal should always be to find that compatibility with someone that you can feel yourself with, someone that you can grow with, and someone that you can love and respect.
Be honest with your expectations
The first thing that you’ll want to do to create really compatible relationships and build trust in a relationship that can work for the long haul is to get completely and almost brutally honest with your expectations.
You have to know with some concrete certainty what kind of relationship you want to be in at this particular point in time just as you have to know with some concrete certainty whether or not the partner that you’re with is someone that works within the confines of those expectations.
Find out what your partner wants
Because no relationship can be successful without both people on board you have to know what your partner wants, what their expectations are, and whether or not you are able to work within the confines of those expectations as well.
This is all too often one of the most difficult (but necessary) components to build relationships that really work. We figure out what we want, we figure out who we want to be with but nowhere along the line do we even think to consider that maybe the person that we want to build a relationship with has totally different expectations and a totally different idea of whether or not we fit the bill.
Keep open lines of communication
Reconciling your expectations and the types of relationships you want to be involved in with the expectations and types of relationships your partner wants to be in all comes down to open lines of communication.
Every single successful relationship on the planet is going to involve some pretty intense, oftentimes uncomfortable conversations – but it’s exactly these kinds of conversations that will make or break your relationship going forward.
Far too often we try and protect someone that we care about (and ourselves) from having to have these kinds of conversations and having to confront these uncomfortable situations. This is the LAST thing you want to do if you’re serious about success in the long term together.
As long as you both respect one another, are willing to be totally honest, and aren’t shy about finding ways to get your point across without things getting out of hand (even if tempers flare every now and again) you shouldn’t have any trouble with keeping lines of communication open throughout your relationship that allow it to flourish when others would have flopped.
Build a life that works together
At the end of the day, our lives can be boiled down to the types of relationships that we have across every spectrum of our life.
The relationships that we have without family, relationships that we have with our friends, the relationships that we have with our work and our careers, the relationships that we have with our community, and the relationships that we have with ourselves are all big pieces of the puzzle.
But the relationships that we build with other people – the romantic relationships that we build with those we love – are where our lives are impacted most.
We only have a very limited amount of time on this big blue marble in the grand scheme of things. We all deserve to have the types of relationships that fulfill us, that make us happy, and that allow us to lead the kind of life that we can look back on as a success even if the road was a little bit bumpier along the way than we expected.
Remember that these kinds of relationships are never found and aren’t ever stumbled across.
These types of relationships are built, day after day, hour after hour, minute after minute.
And they are always worth it.
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