Even though people are totally different, you can find patterns in the way folks interact with each other within a partnership. When you are in the midst of a difficult relationship patch with your significant other, it can be hard to step outside your bubble and figure out the source of the conflict. From an objective view, our individual relationships have more similarities than you would think.

Robert Taibbi L.C.S.W., explains to Psychology Today that there are five different relationship dynamics between couples, four of them unhealthy. Identifying which dynamic your partnership falls into may help you resolve crucial issues.


In this relationship type, the relationship is tense because you have two power players who want to win an argument for their ego more than they want their relationship to succeed. Both partners may struggle with stubbornness, self-esteem issues and having control. Their battles may end in divorce, or if they are able to carve out space they can control, they may be able to find harmony.


In this relationship dynamic one person carries the weight of the relationship work as the other follows passively. There probably aren’t as many arguments, but the one doing the majority of the work may end up becoming resentful. The passive partner may take that stance due to their issues with anxiety or self-esteem. This relationship may stay neutral as long as both partners are open and honest about their roles and how it makes them feel.


In this relationship, there is one person in complete charge of the partnership. The accommodating partner may take a passive role to avoid conflict out of fear. This couple usually has high tension, with one person walking on eggshells. If they aren’t able to meet in the middle, this relationship could spell out disaster.

Disconnected/Parallel Lives

This couple is like two ships passing in the night. They live in their own routine and in their own lives and never quite merge. There isn’t much tension or adventure either. This couple has to take the time to integrate themselves deeper with each other or risk falling apart.


This couple is the ideal match. They accept each other’s flaws and are willing to work and compromise through their issues.


PHOTO CREDIT: shutterstock.com

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