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23 Types of Relationships to Define Your Love Life

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Relationships are unique, but there are a few traits that can define each type. Use these 23 types of relationships to find out where you fit in. By Morgan Miller

types of relationships

When you fall in love with someone, you can’t really predict the direction of the relationship.

The relationship could be perfect.

Or at times, it could be the worst thing you would have to endure.

But the hope of perfect romance always makes us take a chance.

[Read: 9 relationship stages all couples go through]

Every new relationship you find yourself in is a whole new experience, even if you’ve been in several relationships already.

The experience of your past relationships can help you better your love life, and become a better lover *unless you’re still hooked to your ex*.

[Read: 10 signs your past relationship is affecting your present one]

But no matter how many love affairs you’ve had, you can’t ever predict the outcome of a relationship until you’re waist deep in it.

The different types of relationships

Not all relationships that you’ll experience in your life may be a pleasant experience.

Some lovers may be selfish, and some others may be unfaithful.

But now and then, you may come across someone who seems just perfect for you.

So what separates a perfect relationship from the bad ones?

In reality, there’s just one thing separating the everlasting romance from the bad ones. And that’s compatibility.

You may be a great lover who’s selfless and giving, but if you’re dating someone who isn’t compatible with your expectations from love, the relationship can leave both of you feeling bitter and mean. [Read: 50 questions to test your relationship compatibility]

Compatibility and perfect relationships

Take a moment to think about this, because understanding this line can make the difference between good lovers and bad romances. A perfect relationship doesn’t need two perfect lovers, all a perfect romance needs is two people who have the same great expectations from love.

If two partners give and take equally in a relationship, both of them will be happy forever. But when this thin balance topples over, the relationship starts to get shaky. [Read: 25 memorable life lessons to perfect your life]

23 types of relationships you could experience in your life

There are many kinds of unique relationships that you could experience in your lifetime. But all of them can be summarized into these 23 types of relationships.

When you first enter into a relationship with a special someone, you may not be able to predict the kind of relationship you’re in. But within a few months, you’ll know exactly which type you and your lover could fall into.

If you’re happy with the type of relationship you’re in, good for you. But if you aren’t, communicate with your partner. It can help better the compatibility and help both of you understand each other better.

#1 The codependent relationship. Do you need your partner to function efficiently in your life? This is the kind of relationship where you’re too dependent on your partner, and completely rely on them to help you with your decision making. [Read: 13 signs of a needy partner and how you can avoid being one]

#2 The controlling relationship. One partner plays a dominant role in the romance, while the other partner just follows the rules. You may not realize you’re being dominated for a very long time, until you start getting frustrated and feeling helpless. [Read: 15 shocking and subtle signs of a controlling boyfriend]

#3 The held-by-loss relationship. Both of you have lost a lover or have experienced a painful breakup recently, and have come together because both of you just needed somebody to love and get loved in return. The is very common, and almost always a rebound relationship with someone just to fill the emptiness inside.

#4 The open relationship. An open relationship is a relationship where both partners are emotionally committed to each other. But sexually, well, not so much. Both partners have sex with other people outside the relationship with each other’s consent. [Read: Signs both of you are ready for an open relationship]

#5 The negotiation relationship. Both of you are happy with each other, but every now and then, there are a lot of negotiations and compromises from both sides just to keep the other partner happy.

#6 Toxic relationships. Toxic relationships are relationships that seem pleasant from the outside, but for some unexplainable reason, they suck the life and happiness out of you. You’re frustrated or annoyed most of the time, and you have no idea why. [Read: 15 types of lovers that create toxic relationships]

#7 The pastime fling. You’re in love with your partner, but you’re not so in love that you make future plans with each other. You’re happy for now, but somewhere inside, you’re convinced that the relationship won’t work out or last forever.

#8 The asexual relationship. Both of you are sexually attractive and even get attracted to the opposite sex. But both of you aren’t interested in having sex with each other. The routine of lovemaking may have bored you and you may not care for it anymore. [Read: Easy and sexy ways to make married sex feel like a one night stand]

#9 The trophy relationship. You’re dating your partner because it makes you look better or gives you something materialistic in return. Gold diggers and men with trophy wives are the best fit for this type of relationship. The love in this relationship may be true, but the foundation of the relationship is built on shallow material ground instead of romantic compatibility.

#10 The sexual affair. You’re in the relationship only for the sex. There’s no emotional connection and you just don’t care about building the love. You’re sexually infatuated by your partner, and you don’t care how they treat you as long as you get physical intimacy. [Read: Is he interested in you for all the wrong reasons?]

#11 The distracted relationship. Many college sweethearts experience this type of relationship several years down the road. Both partners are in love, but completely invisible to each other. They’re too focused on their careers or the kids to give enough time to each other.

#12 The imperfect relationship. You know your relationship isn’t perfect, but you don’t really want to change it. You don’t complain, because you’ve accepted your partner and your life to be less than perfect. And you feel you can’t change anything even if you want to.

#13 The unhappy relationship. You’re not happy in your relationship, but you’re still staying back, not for love, but for something else, like your kids or what society will think of you.

#14 The long distance relationship. Both of you love each other and are connected to each other emotionally. But physically, both of you live in two different area codes and share minimal physical intimacy. You’d have to deal with insecurities and jealously, and several bouts of suspicion now and then. [Read: How to make a long distance relationship work in your favor]

#15 The complicated relationship. Complicated relationships are the trickiest kind of relationships. Both partners may know that things aren’t perfect in loveland, either because of the involvement of a third person, or because of the incompatibility, but yet both of you have no idea how to fix the issue or deal with it. [Read: How to deal with a complicated relationship]

#16 The emotional relationship. This is the kind of secret affair you have with someone other than your own partner. You may not realize you’re falling for this person, but you’d be completely addicted to them in reality. So much so, that you’d willingly jeopardize your own perfect relationship to be with this other person. [Read: 18 emotional affairs signs you probably didn't notice]

#17 Friends with benefits. The friends with benefits relationship is a completely no strings attached agreement between two people, where there’s sexual intimacy and nothing more. But almost every single time, one or both partners end up falling in love. The fact that both of you only hooked up for casual sex in the first place makes it very easy for both of you to feel insecure in this relationship. [Read: 25 friends with benefits rules to remember]

#18 The love-hate relationship. There’s loads of chemistry and sexual attraction in this relationship. But as much as there is love and passion, there’s the same amount of hate and frustration. Both of you are crazy about each other, and yet, can’t stand each other at times. This can be fun for a while, but unless both of you fix the issue, it’ll start to get very tiresome in the long run.

#19 The insecure relationship. Both of you may lead your own independent lives and have your own friends. And as much as you try to convince your partner that you’re loyal, your partner may always assume you’re cheating or are interested in someone else. You can help your partner to a certain extent, but beyond a point, you can’t do much but let go. [Read: How to handle insecurity in a relationship]

#20 The abusive relationship. This is the kind of relationship where one partner holds the reins and controls the other partner, either verbally or physically. If a partner ever tries to control you or uses their hand on you, walk away at the very first instance. As hard as it may seem, you have no choice here. You could try to convince yourself that it was a one-off incident, but it almost never is.

#21 May December relationships. Are you in a relationship with someone who’s at least a decade and a half older or younger than you? Then you’d qualify for the May December romance. Compatibility matters here, but beyond that, you still need to learn to deal with different expectations from each other, family, and the views of your friends.

#22 The sacrificial relationship. This is unconditional love in its worst form. You’re dating someone you truly love with all your heart, but your partner doesn’t seem to love you with the same intensity as you love them. And even if both of you are really nice people who are perfect for each other, this kind of relationship will only lead to bitter fights and helpless tears. [Read: Things to know before you make someone a priority in your life]

#23 The truly compatible romance. This is the hardest type of relationship to find. But then again, this is the only definition of a perfectly romantic relationship. Both of you are compatible and completely understand each other, and accept each other for who both of you are. There’s love in the air, and everyone else is envious of your relationship. [Read: How to be a happy couple that’s envied by all other couples]

So now that you know the 23 different types of relationships you can ever experience, which kind of love are you in right now? If it’s the kind you’re not too happy about, do something about it. If it’s the happy kind of love, sheesh, stop rubbing it in, will you?!


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Have your say!
  • Christa
    March 16, 2013 | Permalink |

    You forgot the committed threesome

  • fisola
    April 10, 2013 | Permalink |

    Fantastic !!! Very educative as well.

  • angel
    June 30, 2013 | Permalink |

    Can I add Domestic discipline relationships?

  • Tasha
    November 13, 2013 | Permalink |

    I’m somewhere between Toxic, Unhappy and imperfect, it’s hard to say. Although I don’t want to end things, I am willing to work on them.

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