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The 4 types of relationship

David Jansen and Margaret Newman have speculated that there are 4 major types of intimate relationships.

People have a tendency to become involved with others who share the same level of self-esteem and self-development as themselves, and where this may mean that both individuals are confident and insightful, the opposite is equally true. A couple who both have low self-esteem may end up in a dysfunctional relationship.

1. “A” Frame or Co-dependent relationship

  • Both partners are seeking love and approval and are unable to deal with criticism
  • They look to each other to provide relief from anxiety and insecurity
  • They don’t self-disclose to each other because of fear of the emotions beneath the surface
  • There is often conflict within the relationship due to unmet needs
  • Manipulation and emotional abuse may occur
  • This couple want to do most things together and if one wishes to do something by themselves, the other partner will feel unloved
  • It can be a claustrophobic relationship

2. The “Lean To” relationship

  • One person is more dominant and controls the relationship
  • The other partner submits to avoid conflict
  • The submissive partner becomes resentful and may seek another partner who understands them
  • There is little opportunity for growth within the relationship
  • The submissive partner can lose their sense of self
  • The dominant partner may become a bully

3. The ‘Parallel-type” relationship

  • The couple live quite separate lives
  • There is little emotional contact
  • Each partner is quite self-contained and independent
  • Partners may be good companions or friends but there is no depth or self-disclosure
  • They may both be conflict avoiders
  • There is little or no physical intimacy within the relationship
  • It is vulnerable to one partner seeking emotional/physical satisfaction elsewhere

4. The “H” or Ideal relationship

  • Both partners are independent, confident and have high self-esteem
  • Both self-disclose and seek intimacy and emotional depth
  • Conflict is dealt with by learnt skills to ensure an outcome that satisfies both
  • They make time to spend together
  • There is equality and high respect of each other
  • Both are interested in developing the relationship in all areas
  • Love is given and received in an atmosphere of mutual trust
  • Intimacy levels are high

Relationship counselling can allow couples to grow and move out of dysfunctional relationships.

Everybody deserves to have the best relationship that they can. Contact me for more details.

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The exercises were very practical and really helped us to understand where we fail to communicate effectively or assume too much.

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We are going real well, probably better than we ever expected.

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We'd recommend your workshop to any couple who are in trouble and want to rekindle their love!

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from NSW
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