There are just so many ways to connect with people that we often get confused about where we stand. Let’s break down 20 types of relationships you absolutely must know about to avoid drama in your life.
The Types Of Relationships Outside Of Romance
Our main focus today is the romantic kinds of connections, but it is also fair to take a few moments to talk about the ones we have outside our love lives.
These include bonds with family members, friends, colleagues, and even sudden strangers. Because those types of relationships define us as people and often affect the way we act around our romantic partners.
It is important to understand the exact nature of our reactions. This understanding will help us deal with every situation in the most healthy way. As we look back to what formed our values and beliefs, we can also see our current surroundings more clearly.
Everyone’s personality starts developing very early on, in the first several years of life. The ways our caregivers interact with us and the ways we learn to respond to them ultimately shape who we are.
Next, we start building connections outside the family and branch out to communicating with friends and others around us. If you did not face any major issues growing up, here you will come across your very first confrontations.
It is hard to learn that not everyone is going to like you. But it is crucial to our completion as functioning people. So, as you might have guessed, our first takeaway for today is – negative types of relationships are also important.
The Kinds Of Connections You Will Make Throughout Life
So to outline the full picture, let’s break down the types of relationships that exist in general. Sometimes thinking of them all at once can help you stay grateful for what you already have and discover the areas that need fixing.
We can roughly break all of our connections into five categories: family, friends, acquaintances, strangers, and romantic partners. All of these are co-related because we are their common link.
One thing that you might already know about family is that it is not always people who are related to you by blood. In many cases step-parents, adoptive parents and legal guardians come out more loving and caring than biological parents.
This way we can define family as people who love and care for you unconditionally. These are the ones you will turn to when you are down or need advice.
Think of who you consider family right now. See what I mean?
Some friends, who know us for what seems like forever, can eventually become family as well. It is not just the time that forms these kinds of connections. It is the overall compatibility and interest in each other.
However, not all friends are absolutely required to be by your side at any point. There are many types of friendly relationships in our lives, for example with people we see rarely or don’t necessarily have deep connections with.
And that’s ok.
If you and your college roommate did not have any all-night-long heart-to-heart conversations, it doesn’t mean you were not friends at some point. So, basically, friends are the people we are comfortable with and who know us close enough to understand and hear us.
Now, acquaintances are perhaps the widest category, because it involves anyone from your coworker to your dentist, to a guy you ride the subway with every day and don’t go beyond “Good morning”.
Many people get blindsided by the lack of significance of these kinds of connections. But that’s not exactly right.
Mostly due to the fact that every acquaintance and every new stranger can potentially become someone important to us. Besides, it is good to be nice to people, even if they only enter our lives for five minutes.
Genuine and wholesome souls always tend to create meaningful bonds with people around them. And they do it sincerely, without expecting anything in return.
As you can now see, every single person around you plays a role in your life. All types of relationships are important, and we should always make sure we treat them with proper attention and respect.
It’s time we move on to what brought us here in the first place – the kinds of connections we have with our romantic partners.
All Types Of Romantic Relationships You Have Or Had
I promised you at the beginning that we would break down the most common types of romantic relationships for one reason – to keep your heart from breaking. Truth is, pain is a part of many processes and avoiding it just for the sake of not being hurt is not always smart.
But it is also important to learn to recognize the moments when the discomfort is turning from a tiny worry into a full-on stress monster. Because feeling low and hurt in general is normal in absolutely every relationship. It is a severe struggle that is not healthy.
To make this easy to digest, the following 20 types of relationships are going to be broken into four categories. The break-down will go according to a rate of dysfunction that a certain connection kind carries.
Keep in mind that the flaws of your relationship are not always a reason to burn all the bridges. In fact, on this particular scale, only the first five kinds are the connections that have very little to no hope.
So, at any point, if you start feeling anxious about recognizing the signs of dysfunction in your own relationship – take a deep breath. And remember that everything can be solved, if you want it to be.
Extremely Dysfunctional Relationships
No matter if you are single or in a relationship at the moment, you will most likely recognize one or two examples listed below. Maybe you dated your share of a-holes back in the day. Or maybe your close friend has – you will know them, as you read.
These are the types of relationships that became so toxic, they are nearly impossible to turn around. We can regret them, we can try to forget they ever happened, or we can deny that we are in one at this very moment.
What is important is to recognize the signs and get help. Because these kinds of connections are deeply harmful and can lead to very unsettling repercussions.
Abusive relationships include both emotional and physical abuse. They are the absolute worst because people end up being seriously harmed in the least.
In nine out of ten cases the only way to deal with an abusive relationship type is by getting out of it. It is also important to consult a therapist on the ways to cope with the aftermath of such a connection.
Narcissistic partners are dangerous for one simple reason – they don’t see anyone but themselves. Their main trap is faking love by copying over-the-roof romantic gestures.
The thing about narcissists is that it is nearly impossible to change them. Whatever has made them into who they are, it is probably permanent.
Manipulation based types of relationships are very widely spread in our modern very self-absorbed society. Manipulators act in a variety of ways and it makes it hard to detect them sometimes.
You know you are being manipulated when a lot of things that you do or think about do not agree with your personality. Just like with any other kind of dysfunctional connection the most optimal solution is to escape.
Roller-coaster relationships often get intertwined with other toxic kinds, because they are an indicator of unhealthiness. This is a relationship where all-consuming love changes into raging hate and vice versa.
Sometimes it takes several days for the roller-coaster partner to change lanes, and sometimes it takes literal minutes. And usually, the higher the rise – the lower and more painful the fall is, so be very very careful.
Sacrifices can surely be noble, but they don’t have a place in any of the relationship types. We are talking about sacrificing your health, time and comfort for an unworthy partner for the sake of keeping them happy.
News flash – everything you have sacrificed will never come back. Self-destruction is always going to result in a complete collapse of your well-being and personality.
Found anything familiar – get help. These kinds of connections, and we cannot stress that enough, are very dangerous for you.
Your life is a gift. Do not mistreat it. Respect and love yourself and do not allow any of the above to happen.
Light In The End Of The Tunnel Relationship Types
Some toxic relationships have no ground to stand on. And then there are other kinds of connections that are very seriously damaged but can still be fixed. Everything described below is considered moderate toxicity.
In many cases, you can resolve these situations partially or completely. But if you or someone you know are severely struggling from one of the examples below – seek help.
Affairs are always messy and complex. They can equally come out of broken relationships and seemingly strong ones.
The truth about affairs is that someone will always end up getting hurt. Sometimes even more than one person. That’s why the only wise thing to do is to come clean, make a choice and deal with the damage.
Codependent relationships often mask themselves as supportive and adorable. But in reality, one or both partners depend on each other in the worst way possible.
A great example is not knowing how to run a washing machine when your partner is not around. Or waiting for your loved one to make a decision without contributing opinions on the matter. You need to address and work through these kinds of connections in a timely manner before they become poisonous.
Show-off or trophy connections are juvenile in the least. It’s the scenario when two or more people are together because it makes them look good in the eyes of those around them.
Often the participants of trophy relationships suppress who they actually are in order to maintain an image. This even sounds ridiculous, and I hope we do not need to go any further explaining why this is dysfunctional.
Time-passing by being in a relationship happens when people are either emotionally or physically exhausted to build real bonds. Because long-lasting and mutual love takes work and not everyone is ready for it.
The biggest downside of this relationship type is the waste of time that you could be spending otherwise. Sometimes, being single is the best solution, even if it feels lonely from time to time.
Open relationships only work upon mutual agreement of the partners. Otherwise, it is just simply cheating.
And even if everything is talked through and agreed on – the relationship has to be kept in constant check. Sometimes one of the partners develops jealousy and starts feeling deeply hurt by the other one’s endeavors.
All the above sound dramatic, but they are very different from the extremely dysfunctional relationship. The main difference is that you can solve these through communication and effort.
When people truly wish to stay together, and they are ready to admit and address their mistakes – everything can be resolved. As long as you are honest about your feelings and your partner hears exactly what you are trying to say, your love has a chance.
The ‘Could Be Worse’ Types Of Relationships
The level of dysfunction on our scale wears down and love starts appearing more. As we approach a warm but not perfect area – the not so bad relationships. These are the ones that are based on sincere intentions and probably have strong bases.
Yet, despite all the sincerity, the whole thing might still blow up. The following connections just need some moderate to small improvements to be perfect.
Friends with benefits is surely a fun concept. Who wouldn’t like to have a no-strings-attached relationship that mixes fun and sex?
Sometimes friends who were a little too friendly even end up in a real romantic relationship. But sometimes they get hurt similarly to the people who are in an open relationship. Bottom line – always keep a hand on the pulse.
The gone flame types of relationships are very common. They usually come as a result of a real and meaningful connection. Sometimes it is the time that has passed and sometimes it is the shift in interests and priorities.
Whether the fire of your love has gone down after three years together or twenty-three, there are just two solutions. Try to resurrect the flame or move on. Both of these are going to be hard and require a good amount of effort. But staying in a boring and uninvolved relationship is even worse.
Long-distance relationships have a total right to exist, especially with modern technologies and no social stigma. But they can get challenging when the lack of physical contact and time differences add up on daily life stress and other issues.
If your long-distance relationship is temporary, this is not about you. But if it has been going on for years and there seem to be no signs of change – take a moment to evaluate and decide if it is a good idea.
The differences between partners can come in various shapes and forms. Sometimes it is the age difference and sometimes it is the cultural one.
What is important here is to share the same set of values and have similar expectations from the bond. Generally speaking, partners have to share a vision of what their relationship will eventually come to. If that’s not the case, it might become a problem after some time.
Compromising is not the same as sacrificing. A healthy amount of compromises is actually vital for any relationship. People who agree on every little thing sometimes get bored with their connection and begin feeling trapped.
However, the thing about compromising is that it has to be mutual and does not contradict anyone’s values. The relationship types, where compromise goes against morals and makes one of the partners very uncomfortable, are ultimately dysfunctional.
Once again, these are not signs of poor kinds of connections. These are the signs of the ones that need to be closely monitored and communicated. Speak your mind to your partner or visit several couple counseling sessions. And everything is going to be just fine.
The True Love
This is our final segment and it’s the one we’ve all been looking forward to. Real love types of relationships exist, and we can observe them every day.
Of course, as we’ve mentioned before, all kinds of connections need to be constantly worked on. But these following examples are the ones that require the least effort and can effectively sustain through anything.
Platonic or asexual relationships can happen between people, who are physically not interested in sex. Or between the ones who have moved on from sexual activities due to health or age.
Platonic love is not the same as gone-flame love. Because here people are still very much interested in each other and continue to care and support their partners. Love can be expressed in so many ways other than sex and platonic relationships are living proof.
Compatible people are rare, but there are some. When two lost hearts finally find each other in this crazy world it’s a true miracle. And, as some might say, true love.
The compatibility will usually express through similar characteristics, tastes, sense of humor, moral values, backgrounds and so on. There are some compromises and disagreements, but they are usually so minor that they are practically invisible.
Harmonious relationships are not necessarily the ones between compatible people. Just as yin and yang, the partners can be very different, but they will just click and fit together like two pieces of the puzzle.
Couples who see the best sides of each other and overlook the flaws, usually stay together the longest. These types of relationships also often occur between the partners who are comfortable with themselves in the first place.
Friends that ended up together statistically show to create life-long connections. Yes, it can get messy in the process, but the overpowering acceptance of each other and the deep level of understanding usually do the trick.
The ability to read your partner’s emotions and cheer them up in their own special way are the indicators of love that grew from friendship. Remember Monica and Chandler from the show “Friends”? How cute were they?
Overcoming challenges together also builds very strong bonds. The types of relationships that lived through financial troubles, losses, misfortunes and even affairs, survive for decades.
The main reason is that partners see that the love they have for each other is unconditional and strong. Additionally, they see one another as concrete-hard support and that makes them more trusting and more reliable partners.
Aim For Relationships You Deserve
The types of relationships described above are far from describing every possible kind there is. In fact, every relationship is unique and has its own set of ups and downs.
But today, as we discussed the kinds of connections based on their level of dysfunction, our main takeaway is to make sure that your relationship is giving you as much as it is taking from you.
Do not let your partner harm you in any way and build a habit of communicating everything that is on your mind. Sincere feelings and a desire to keep working on yourself and your relationships are the main ingredients for true happiness.