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(15) Fifteen Types of Relationships

Which one is yours?

Are you married or in a relationship?


What kind of relationship is it?


Relationships require positive and active work to be maintained in a healthy way.


If you are single or married, examine your relationships. No matter where you are in a relationship, you can always improve it. If it is dysfunctional, you both can heal it, restore it and enjoy a new and renewed healthy relationship.


Examine your relationship. It may fit several patterns not only one.

This will open your eyes and can enable you both to have a healthy loving relationships.


Relationship Type 1: Parent-child relationship.

One partner is caring for the other, providing advice and watches for the other. The other partner is needy for love and care and may feel or act regressed.


Relationship Type 2: Doctor-patient relationship.

One partner is weak physically or psychologically and expresses the need to be nursed. The other partner acts like a doctor, nursing and providing emotional, psychological or medical care assuming it is a way of love.


Relationship Type 3: Domineering-compliant relationship.

It may be surprising to you to know that most domineering partners may be the women. In this relationship type one partner is domineering either because of fear, or anxiety, or cultural abuse or other reasons.

The other person becomes, "Yes Mam" or "Yes Sir" person with the assumption that this is a way of love.

For example, young boys and girls grow up in a Feminist culture, in America, France, and England, where girls and women are expected to be domineering or else they are put to shame by their peers.  Many women follow the culture and especially the militant feminist lifestyle and they end up with dysfunctional relationships.


Relationship Type 4: Abusive-victim relationship.

In this relationship one partner is showing consistent abusive pattern. Abuse may be emotional and verbal using demeaning and negative critical and rejecting words most of the time. Or, the abuse may be physical or sexually demeaning abuse. The other partner becomes bound emotional to the abusive cycle and finds it impossible to leave the relationship for emotional or financial reasons. Abusive cycle is self maintained through a sweet honeymoon period, self-doubt and anxiety or guilt period and then actual abuse period.


Relationship Type 5: Dysfunctional (over-dependent)-Enabler (co-dependent) relationship.

In this type of relationship one person expresses over-caring qualities due to guilt or exaggerated compassion. The other partner becomes dysfunctional and enjoys the enabling character and extreme care of the other. The caring partner is acting like a permissive mother who always hopes that someday the other person will become responsible. Hopes do not make good healthy relationships, but reality does.  This is a co-dependency pattern.


Relationship Type 6: Aggressive-passive relationship.

The relationship is characterized by a consistent or alternating aggression from one partner and a passive submissive position or passive aggressive position of the other partner. A passive aggressive behavior is manifested as: avoiding the real problem, feeling guilt, feeling shame, or becoming self destructive.

There is a major deficit in communication and possibly a repetition of old familial conflicting patterns of communication from the families of origin.


Relationship Type 7: Aggressive-resistant relationship.

This type of relationship is characterized aggression, conflict, sabotage, constant arguments, fighting and yelling.  One person may be aggressive and the other becomes passive resistant. A passive resistant behavior leads to sabotage, antagonism, categorical rejection of almost everything the other says or do, slander, and constant destruction of the other.

The environment could be described as volatile, high temper, loud and definitely not peaceful.  At times, one person may slander and gossip about the other in a mean manner.  The couple is not addressing real issues but rather they are destroying each other and wasting their energy.


Relationship Type 8 : Superficial-social mask relationship.

Each partner is putting on a decent and nice mask, which I call: a "British hypocritical upper lips."  They are not in touch with their feeling, or they may not be aware of their feelings. They may have developed this pattern due to fear of the reaction of the other partner to their feelings, or due to a pattern from their family of origin or dissociation due to past trauma, or other factors.


Relationship Type 9 : Terminal Relationship.

This type is described by Virginia Satir as lethal because it does not allow any personal identity, individuation, or existence outside the relationship. This relationship is characterized by a complete and total agreement in every aspect, idea and decision. There is a total enmeshed emotional and identity boundaries.


Relationship Type 10 : Coalition Relationship.

This type of relationship is described by Virginia Satir. It is characterized by alternating alliances with and against the partner.


At times, one partner may shift alliance to parents or against parents for or against the other partner. This relationship may reflect poor boundaries and divided loyalty. Such a relationship can be extremely stressful and may cause misunderstandings and reaction against different family members.


Relationship Type 11 : Open System Relationship.

Healthy relationships must be Open System.  We do not mean open system to the point of having no privacy, but rather to be open to counseling, consultation, talking with healthy honest and caring friends.  This system should never become a Coalition Type, mentioned above, which means that the only alliance, loyalty, and dedication should be to each other.

The relationship allows interaction and input and sharing with honest and caring friends and family. This is a healthy aspect as long as the relationship boundaries are clear to both partners.


It can be unhealthy if one or both allow a priority to someone else.  In marriage, no one should have a priority or even equality to the husband or the wife.


Relationship Type 12 : Closed System Relationship.

This relationship has the appearance of intense love and care, but in reality it may be motivated by fear from everyone else or fear of abandonment or irrational jealousy. The partner who insists on keeping the system closed usually does this under the pretext of love. Such relationship adopts a rule that everyone outside is unsafe and dangerous and only the other partner is safe.


This is not the same as the caution a father or a mother may have for their teenage or young daughters , because young girls (and boys also) need a lot of wisdom and protection from many seducing evils in the world.


Relationship Type 13 : Romantic-fantasy Relationship.

In this relationship, one partner, or usually both partners, are intensely engaging in an irrational idealistic all consuming romantic feeling. Such romance is characterized by being unreal in expectations and hopes against all odds. While romance is important in marriage to keep healthy and active sexual relationships, romance is deceptive if it becomes the basis of relationship. Romance changes up and down and it may subside when faced with reality and time. 


This type of relationship is called falling in love. Remember, no one really falls in love, but we decide to fall in love on a subconscious level, and we just wait for the right moment to fall. There is no accident or chance here.


Relationship Type 14 : Rescue Relationship.

In this relationship one partner saves and rescues the other. Such a heroic and philanthropic feeling when met with appreciation from the other person turns to become a love relationship.


The rescuer in this Rescue Relationship derives his/her power and energy from the sense of being very important and needed by the other partner.


Relationship Type 15 : Unconditional Love Relationship.

This a healthy type of relationship. It is characterized by a decision and a commitment to love the other person even if the other partner does not love back.


It is unselfish kind of love. It is healthy and it characterizes a mature relationship. It is also the key in maintenance of marriages and what derives a father or a mother to love their children unconditionally.

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If you find your relationship fits one or more of these patterns, remember, it is never too late, you can always improve and heal your relationship to become Unconditional Love. Conditional love is fake love. Unconditional love is true love.


(Sources: Numerous)