One of the common things I keep hearing lately is people believing that there is one “right” way to be in a relationship. The belief is that healthy couples are all to behave and interact in a certain way in order to be successful. Truth is, couples are all different and there isn’t one right way to be in a relationship. I did some research on this and discovered that couples typically fall into one of 3 categories. Below is a brief description of each category along with its main drawback.
- Validating: In these relationships emotions and opinions are supported through listening and understanding. There is a mutual respect for the other person and they rarely disagree. These couples have perfected the art of compromising and tend to see eye to eye on most things. The potential drawback in these types of relationships is that they often lack passion and the relationship looks more like a best friendship than a romantic partnership.
- Volatile: These types of couples often engage in heated arguments with negative and positive emotions being expressed frequently. Both people usually engage in conversations passionately (with lots of energy) but are comfortable to both give and take in their relationship. The relationship is one between equals, allows for individual differences and is very loving. The biggest drawback is that the couple can resort to fighting too frequently creating an imbalance between the positive interactions and the negative.
- Avoidant: Avoidant couples minimize conflict, ignore their differences and really comfortable agreeing to disagree. They accept the positives in their relationship and spend most of their time focusing on what works well. The biggest drawback of this type of couple is that when significant problems arise they avoid them rather than dealing with them.
All of these types of couples have very happy and fulfilling relationships. There isn’t one that is considered better than the other but rather that each type is strong in its own way. As you read this, try to keep in mind that relationships that look different to yours are not necessarily better. Celebrate your differences. They are what make your relationship unique and may even be why your relationship works so well.