Relationships Vary…What Kind Are You In?!
Greetings Remix fans! The better question may be, what kind of relationship do you want to be in? If you have taken an intro Psychology, Sociology, or Health course you probably have heard of Robert Sternberg. If not, he is the father of Sternberg’s Triangle of Love. His theory looks like this-
Basically each point of the triangle represents a dimension of love. Intimacy at the top represents closeness, and emotional connection, passion represents sexual desire, and commitment represents your desire to be committed, or in other words your desire to stay in the relationship. These dimensions of love seem simple enough. However, we all know relationships can be complicated, especially if the two (or more) people in the relationship view the relationship from different perspectives.
Let’s dig a little deeper. Sternberg suggests having all three dimensions is a consummate love, this is great, you’re connected, sharing and bonding, you desire each other, lots of positive sexual energy and expression, and last but not least, you are committed to each other, and your relationship. But, what if one or more of the dimensions are missing, then what do you have? This theory says there are 7 types…below are my interpretations/opinions.
Consummate (the highest form): High on all three dimensions (represented by a point in the middle of the triangle). Ideal if you are with the right person for you, and you are the right person for them, even better if you are able to love yourself as much as you love your partner.
Infatuated High on passion only: This is sex, not even friends with benefits, because you’re not committed to anyone…maybe your committed to the sex. This is ok, really, if you and your partner(s) are honest about what you want and what you don’t. Unfortunately, people lie, cheat, and say what we want to hear, in order to get what they want. Buyer, beware.
Fatuous High on passion and commitment: Friends with benefits, which in my opinion isn’t a relationship. It’s a situation, and it rarely works out. I don’t care what Justin and Mila say (2011 movie Friends with Benefits, its funny and delusional).
Empty High on commitment only: This one saddens me a little…well a lot. Typically you have been together for awhile, married or cohabitating and the sex is gone, the emotional connectedness is gone. Why you are still together is baffling to myself, and others. Get out now, or seek some counseling to get the relationship back on track.
Companionate High on intimacy and commitment: You are still so close, and you are committed as ever to your relationship. BUT NO SEX…this is terrible, physical touch is an expression of love. Kissing, holding hands, and gentle massage is just a warm-up. If you are an adult person in a relationship with another adult person, and you love each other and are committed to each other, let’s get naked already! If you or your partner have a health condition or impairment that makes physical intimacy difficult, talk with your partner first, and then talk with your health care provider. Find out what’s doable and DO IT! Ok, I am now stepping off my soap box. 🙂
Romantic High on intimacy and passion: This what the beginning of many relationships are like. This get’s many of us in trouble. In the beginning this person is perfect, you have the best time with them and the sex is amazing, they don’t even have morning breath (they do, you just can’t smell it because their perfect). Then about 6-9 months later the real them shows up. Not that the person you met was fake (at least I hope not), but that person was merely a representative. The best version of them, ever. Now this person several months in, is flawed, possibly messy, controlling, or downright selfish. You have met the real them and you may not be impressed. But you’re emotionally involved, and the sex is still amazing. You are not committed, and you do not plan on it. I suggest you get out now, and invest some time in yourself…then try again, with a new love interest.
Liking/friendship High on intimacy only: You’re in the friend zone. If that’s what you want, then that’s great. If not, be honest and talk with your friend about taking things to the next level. What’s the worst things that can happen, they don’t feel the same way. You will get over it, furthermore, if they are good person you will still have a good friend. Remember reinvest in yourself, and let your friend be your new and improved wing man or wing woman. After all they know what you like…someone like them. Did I say relationships were complicated?!
Now that you have better insight into relationships, if you want something different, talk about it, with all necessary parties. If warranted, enlist some professional help i.e. a therapist or counselor.