9 Types of Relationships and What They Mean

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types of relationships

Every once in a while, both men and women start wondering, “Where is this relationship going?” Well, as it turns out, to figure that out, you have to see if any of the following types of relationships apply to you.

How so? In most cases, we accept the love we think we deserve, no matter if we’re aware of it or not. So, sometimes, we get into relationships that sort of work — but not quite.

To see if there’s any future there, you have to analyze all the types of relationships that exist and see if you fit into any of them. Therefore, here are the most common types and all the hidden meanings behind them!

Top 9 Types of Relationships (And a Few Honorable Mentions)

#1. The “every man for himself” relationship

Ah, yes — the so-called independent relationship. If this is one of those types of relationships you mainly opt for — are you sure it’s what you want?

I used to think every person in a relationship should stay independent. After all, just because I’ve met someone’s parents and am having sex regularly, it doesn’t mean I don’t have a mind of my own.

I always thought I needed my independence so that I wouldn’t lose myself in the relationship. However, as it turns out, completely independent relationships usually don’t last.

You see, although a level of independence is necessary for both people involved, without compromise, you have NOTHING. You cannot expect not to adjust to circumstances purely because you believe you shouldn’t.

In the end, staying true to yourself is essential, of course. But, you can do that even if you give in sometimes.

A relationship entails two people sharing their lives. It shouldn’t be a label you use so that you can say you have someone special.

#2. The umbilical cord relationship

As an entire opposite of the independent relationship, we have the umbilical cord relationship, otherwise known as “co-dependent.”

Now, this is one of the trickiest types of relationships to get out of, purely because being co-dependent feels kind of nice. It’s great when you have someone who will do everything with you!

You always have someone to watch a movie with, work out, eat dinner, etc. However, co-dependency can become quite suffocating over time.

This is a relationship where you can quickly lose yourself and become just a part of another person. Of course, for some people, that works well! But, for most, it leads to horrible break-ups, and you guessed it — even worse reconciliations.

#3. The Hollywood relationship

Now, don’t get me wrong — Hollywood is a dreamland for most people. And, to be honest, I always feel bad about Hollywood couples breaking up.

However, there is a thing called a Hollywood relationship, and it’s not exclusive to Tinseltown. In essence, this type of relationship is glitz and glam on the outside — and absolute horror on the inside.

It’s one of those types of relationships that eerily resembles the turbulent affairs Hollywood couples tend to have. It is mostly based on passion only, and the main idea is to look great together, despite the apparent differences.

As you can guess, a Hollywood relationship never lasts long. Nevertheless, it doesn’t always have to end badly. Most of the time, though, the reason is — irreconcilable differences.

#4. The “good on paper” relationship

The “good on paper” relationship is one I am very familiar with, as one of my best friends had the pleasure of being in one a few years ago.

Basically, she met a guy who was so good on paper that she could have married him immediately. Wealthy family, great car, fantastic hair! He was even well educated, romantic, and extremely charismatic.

All in all, he was a catch, and most women who knew him were jealous of my friend. However, the spark just wasn’t there.

Even though he was practically perfect for her — she couldn’t embark on a real, monogamous, “can’t-live-without-each-other” kind of relationship.

As they say, the heart wants what it wants, and no matter what he did, it just wasn’t good enough. But, on the bright side — they stayed friends!

#5. The virus relationship

And we’ve reached one of the most dangerous types of relationships you can be in — the toxic relationship, or as I like to call it — the virus.

Why the virus? Well, given my experience and all the stories I’ve gathered from my friends, a toxic relationship is a sort of virus that doesn’t want to go away. It takes over you and holds you by the neck. On top of that, it destroys you from within, especially your self-esteem.

A virus relationship doesn’t get better over time. It consumes the weakest link in it and turns into a nightmare after just a few months. Sometimes, it even grows into violence.

However, what I hate most about these types of relationships is psychological abuse. Sure, someone can hit you, and you MUST leave them right away. But, bruises fade away over time.

The same cannot be said about psychological abuse. Unfortunately, it stays with you and changes your life forever.

#6. The open relationship

A favorite for many people worldwide, an open relationship means that you’re in an intimate relationship but can have sex with other people. The “open sex” part is mainly due to the agreement of both sides. So, if your partner doesn’t want you having sex with other people — you’re not in an open relationship.

I often get asked why anyone would even want an open relationship. And to answer that question, we have to consider the fact that everyone is different. Some prefer monogamy — others like to have their options open.

So, for some, an open relationship gives them the best of both worlds. They want to explore their sexuality, and sometimes, that’s difficult when you’re in a monogamous relationship. On the other hand, they can remain intimate with someone who fulfills all their other needs!

The main issue I have with these types of relationships is that they’re usually something only one person wants. So, after a while, they can become quite toxic — if both people aren’t on the same page, it can never work!

#7. The fling

Though some wouldn’t classify a fling as a relationship, I beg to differ. Sometimes, even something as a simple fling can carry more value than a long-term relationship. It depends, of course, on the people involved.

When I was younger, I was mainly looking for flings, as I didn’t want to commit to anyone too early. My parents got married when they were quite young, and I always felt as if they had missed out on a variety of sexual adventures.

So, I didn’t want to repeat that mistake, but I also didn’t want to be alone all the time. Flings were a good substitute for that, as I could “experience” intimacy for a while without actually committing to it forever.

But, alas, there’s a problem with having a fling too. Sometimes, the other person wants more, even though both of them agreed it was only a fling. As such, flings don’t last very long and often fade away as soon as one of the participants decides they want a real relationship.

#8. The FWB

Ah, friends with benefits — a type of relationship that proved to be the bane of my existence at one point.

In theory, being FWB sounds like a great idea. You have a friend you’re sexually attracted to and who is a decent human being. But, for some reason, you don’t want a real relationship with them.

The solution? If you decide to become friends with benefits, both of you can have your sexual needs met but remain buddies.

But does it really work? Unfortunately, no, it doesn’t. At some point, someone’s feelings get hurt, especially if one of the participants was hoping it would become something else in the meantime.

That’s what happened to me a few years ago. I had a friend who was terrific as is, but the spark just wasn’t there. After a severe dry spell, though, one thing led to another, and we ended up being FWB.

I was the problem, though — I didn’t realize that he wanted something more. In the end, it seemed like I was using him for sex. I was, to be honest — but that’s because he wanted it too!

#9. The touchdown!

And finally, we have the ultimate goal — the touchdown relationship. This type of relationship is what most people want. It’s something that fulfills you entirely and makes you see that life is full of joy.

To classify a relationship as a touchdown, you’d need to pay attention to a few things. For example, mutual respect is essential in such a relationship, as is a great sex life.

Furthermore, in a touchdown relationship, it makes sense to think the other person is your soulmate. They have made all your dreams come true, and it just seems right. It’s both logical and beautiful at the same time!

Honorable mentions

A surrogate relationship

OK, so this technically isn’t a real relationship — that’s why it has “surrogate” in it. However, for some, it’s all they have!

If you’ve ever had a friend who you spend a lot of time with, go on non-romantic dates, talk to all the time — you’ve been in a surrogate relationship. It’s the friend who opens the door for you and pays for drinks because it’s the right thing to do.

It’s also the friend who always has you on their mind — you’re the first person they think of when something happens to them. They immediately want to talk to you about it!

In essence, a surrogate relationship is everything a regular relationship is — but alas, you’re not having sex.

A polyamorous relationship

Now, I thought some of you might wonder if an open relationship is the same as a polyamorous one. So, let’s solve this problem once and for all, shall we?

In theory, both of these relationships are non-monogamous. However, there’s a slight difference in how they work.

An open relationship means you or your partner or both are having sex with other people. But, the intimacy is exclusive to your relationship — you’re not really intimate with others.

In contrast, a polyamorous relationship is like having two or three or more relationships at the same time. Everyone has agreed that they don’t want to be monogamous, and love and emotional connections keep these relationships alive.

Conclusion

Hopefully, my classification of all the types of relationships that exist will help you navigate the dating world better in the future. But, don’t forget that the reality isn’t as black and white as a simple list of possible relationship patterns.

In the end, there are always hybrid relationships, which combine a few of these types to get just the right formula for happiness.