16 Different Types Of Relationships To Define Your Love Life

Things become easier if know what you want, you have, or you can expect from your partner.

Reviewed by Rodolfo Parlati, Professional Life Coach Rodolfo Parlati Rodolfo ParlatiProfessional Life Coach facebook_iconlinkedin_iconyoutube_iconinsta_icon
Written by , Integrated MA, Certified Relationship Coach Sneha Tete Integrated MA, Certified Relationship Coach linkedin_icon Experience: 4 years
Edited by , BSc Shatabdi Bhattacharya BSc Experience: 2.5 years
Fact-checked by , MA Gracia Odile MA Experience: 3 years

Everyone has an idea of what type of relationships they want with their partners. Some want the big grand wedding and happily-ever-after romantic fantasy. Others want a familial commitment that spans time and space. What counts is for both partners to always be clear about the intentions and expectations of the relationship. This will avoid disappointments and fights because both partners choose what they really want from the relationship itself and each other. To help you navigate this brave new world, we have compiled a list of 15 types of relationships you and your partner should know about. So sit down with them and decide which relationship is more suited to you both!

16 Types Of Relationships

1. Co-Dependent Relationship

Couple in handcuffs showing Co-dependent Type Of Relationship
Image: Shutterstock

This is the type of relationship where both of you depend on each other to function. You are anxious when you are not around each other and are completely in love! But you may also get the short side of the stick and be bored by the time the second year starts and about ready to get rid of your “other half. ”

Approximate Duration: 2-5 years

Advantage: As you are so infatuated with each other, you often always have your partner around.

Disadvantage: You often do things that may be detrimental for yourself to make the other person happy.

2. Controlling Relationship

This is the type of relationship in which one person is authoritative while the other is subservient. You may not realize you are in a relationship like this until it gets emotionally taxing.

Approximate Duration: A couple of months – several years

Disadvantages: This type of relationship can be emotionally taxing and downright toxic. It can be detrimental for the submissive factor of the relationship, and they may find themselves losing their sense of self-expression and identity.

3. The Rebound Relationship

This type of relationship is where both the individuals have undergone heartbreak or loss of a lover. They chose to get together through the pain they share.

Approximate Duration: A couple of months – 2 years

Advantages: Both of you are able to understand the other. They act as a distraction from your heartbreak.

Disadvantages: As they are a rebound, you may never find a real connection with them.

4. Open Relationship

Couple showing what an open relationship looks like
Image: Shutterstock

These relationships are where two people are committed to each other emotionally. Sexually? Not so much. They find sexual partners outside the relationship with the consent of the other.

Approximate Duration: A couple of months.

Advantages: It’s open, so you don’t have to worry about making them feel content.

Disadvantages: There is no guarantee of a lasting relationship, and there is always the chance that one person may start getting possessive about the other.

5. Fling

A fling is a type of casual relationship that can occur during a vacation, lasts for the duration of the vacation, and ends along with it. You may be completely loyal to the other person and happy with them, but you both enter the relationship knowing that it’s going to end.

Approximate Duration: A couple of days

Advantages: It’s a passing time relationship. No real promises made.

Disadvantages: It is bound to end.

6. The One-Night Stand

This is the shortest type of relationship. It is based entirely on sexual attraction and lasts for a night or a couple of nights only. The main factor in this relationship is sex, and that’s all the individuals think of.

Approximate Duration: One night – a couple of nights

Advantages: No strings attached.

Disadvantages: It’s not emotionally healthy.

7. Friends With Benefits

Friends With Benefits type of relationship
Image: Shutterstock

Friends-with-benefits is a type of relationship wherein friends decide to get into a completely sexual relationship. It’s no strings attached and no feelings involved scenario.

Approximate Duration: A few months – a year

Advantages: You get a friend as well as a partner for your sexual desires.

Disadvantages: One of the partners may fall for the other, and this can cause discord, which may lead to the end of a relationship.

protip_icon Quick Tip
Always set boundaries to avoid straying into a relationship. Be honest about your intentions. It’s a crucial aspect of such relationships.

8. Long-Distance Relationship

This relationship is where both of you live in two different states, where meeting is too difficult. You meet each other rarely and are usually hanging out through calls and texts.

Approximate Duration: 3 – 6 years

Advantages: Each time you meet them is like the first time!

Disadvantages: You don’t meet them often; it’s complicated.

9. The Complicated Relationship

This is the relationship wherein you don’t get along, you don’t want to get along, you aren’t compatible. But you are still with this person for reasons unknown even to you!

Approximate Duration: 1 year

Advantages: You find out the type of person you are sure not to like.

Disadvantages: You are always fighting, you are not getting along, and you are emotionally miserable.

10. Scripted Relationship

What a Scripted couple looks like
Image: Shutterstock

This is where neither of you has the spark, but both of you have the looks. You don’t love each other, but you, as a couple, are perfect on paper. He’s handsome, tall, and hard working. She’s beautiful, successful, and charismatic. Everyone thinks you are the perfect couple – everyone except you. It feels like a professional relationship that is only active in public.

Approximate Duration: A couple of years

Advantages: Society deems it a perfect and a model relationship.

Disadvantages: There is a loss of feelings over time, and it can feel fake.

11. Pragmatic Relationship

This is a toxic relationship. You are with each other, but you are just enduring each other. You fight a lot and always have arguments. You may even cry because of this. You aren’t doing anyone any good by being together.

Approximate Duration: As long as they put up with it

Advantages: There’s not really any advantages to this relationship.

Disadvantages: You get emotionally exhausted, you feel miserable, you feel inferior, and it may have a negative effect on your mental health.

12. Perfect Relationship

This is the kind of relationship that you dream of, the relationship based on trust, respect, and love. Both of you are understanding towards each other and adjust for the other. It’s one of those that just feels right!

Approximate Duration: Several years

Advantages: It’s perfect. You both love each other, and there is complete trust.

Disadvantages: The imperfections in life may cause hurdles in your relationship, which you will overcome with practicality and work with the mind over heart.

13. Materialistic Relationship

Couple showing a materialistic relationship
Image: Shutterstock

This is a relationship wherein one person is more attracted to the other’s materialistic possessions rather than their personality or who they are.

Approximate Duration: 2-4 years

Advantages: One of the partners gets to enjoy the other’s possessions.

Disadvantages: There’s no real depth to the relationship. It won’t last when feelings and emotions aren’t a necessary factor.

14. Asexual Relationship

This is where you love being around the other person. You love the way you connect to each other, you can talk for hours, and you can just relax around the other. They make you happy, but there’s no sexual attraction between you and them. It’s based purely on platonic feelings.

Approximate Duration: 2-3 years

Advantages: They get you and are easier to talk to. They know everything about you. You know you aren’t getting hurt around them.

Disadvantages: There’s no sexual attraction. You feel put off by the thought of getting intimate with them.

protip_icon Quick Tip
Asexual relationships primarily focus on creating emotional intimacy, and partners may also bond romantically around those feelings.

15. The One True Love

This is what everyone dreams of. You are different, but you are in love. The world may throw rocks at you, but you will get through it together. You have complete love, trust, and faith in each other. There may be times that are hard and arguments that hurt, but you know that at the end of the day, they will be there.

Approximate Duration: Forever

Advantages: Everything is truthful. You can guarantee that this person will ground you when you get too high and make you fly when you are too low.

Disadvantages: There aren’t any real disadvantages in a relationship based on love, trust, and respect.

16. Abusive Relationship

a husband yelling at his wife depicting an abusive relationship
Image: Shutterstock

In contrast to a fulfilling connection, an abusive relationship is marked by a toxic dynamic where one partner exhibits harmful behavior towards the other. Initially, there may be an emotional attachment to the abuser who may appear charming, but over time, the control and manipulation become apparent.

Approximate Duration: The duration can vary, but it often extends far beyond what is healthy. The impact lingers even after a break-up, affecting the mental and emotional well-being of the abused partner profoundly.

Advantages: None

Disadvantages: This relationship inflicts significant harm, causing emotional distress, trauma, and a deep sense of fear. It can lead to social isolation as the abuser may attempt to cut off the victim from friends, family, and support groups. Additionally, in cases of physical abuse, there can be severe injuries and long-term health consequences.

Infographic: 5 Common Types Of Romantic Relationships

Since no two people are the same, the kind of romantic relationships they build also are shaped differently. Being in such a relationship involves some level of emotional and physical intimacy and commitment. However, it may take different forms based on the type of bond the partners may share. Check out the infographic below to learn about the key characteristics of the 5 most common types of romantic relationships.

5 common types of romantic relationships (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

You may have a mental image of the type of relationship you want or the things you do not want to be a part of. However, different people have different ideas about the same. So, it helps to understand types of relationships to identify the kind you are in (monogamous or polyamorous) and what to expect from your partner and the bond. For instance, if you are in an open relationship, you are not solely responsible for making your partner feel content. However, jealousy or possessiveness may crop in as you share your partner with others.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to get over a 20-year relationship?

Since every relationship is different, the duration it takes to get over a breakup may greatly vary. But, if you consider the 6-month rule, it would take 6 months to get over the breakup.

How do I know my marriage is over?

Frequent miscommunication, lack of physical and emotional intimacy, finding flaws, or living life like a single person are some of the common signs that a marriage is over.

What do you call a relationship without dating?

A relationship outside of official dating or a label is called a situationship or a flirtationship. It is an undefined space between a friendship and a committed relationship.

What are other names for casual relationships?

Some other names for casual relationships are emotional affairs, open relationships, platonic love, sociosexual orientation, on-again off-again relationship, and friends with benefits.

Can a sexless relationship last?

Yes, it can last if both partners agree to abstain from sex. However, if one of the partners wants to have sex and the other does not, it can raise emotional and physical conflicts which can lead to infidelity and even breaking up.

What is a platonic relationship?

In a platonic relationship, people share a close bond based on mutual love and respect but without any sexual or romantic connections.

What is a long-term relationship?

If a relationship lasts for one to two years or more without a break, and the two people make a commitment to each other and do not see anyone else, it is called a long-term relationship.

What is a monogamous relationship?

When a person is committed to only one partner at a time and does not keep any romantic relationships with anyone else, it is called a monogamous relationship. Most marriages are based on the principle of monogamy

What is a polyamorous relationship?

An open relationship involving multiple romantic partners at a time. New partners can be added with the consent of the existing partners and there is complete transparency. This is a kind of no-strings-attached relationship that often tends to lack commitment.

Key Takeaways

  • Relationships are subjective, and every couple has their own approach to their bond.
  • Some relationships are perfect like a dream, while others are toxic and unhealthy.
  • No matter the kind of relationship you are in, the most important thing is to love yourself.
types of relationships_illustration

Image: Dall·E/StyleCraze Design Team

Explore the types of human relationships and delve into the dynamics that shape a meaningful bond. Check out this video to gain insights into the complexities of human interaction.

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Rodolfo Parlati

Rodolfo ParlatiProfessional Life Coach

After having graduated in Business Administration, Rodolfo decided to follow his passion for supporting others by becoming a professional coach. Today, his mission is to help people be happy and successful by discovering their potential and finding together the right way to fully exploit it.   His clients experience improvements in their communication skills, relationships, work-life balance, productivity, conflict resolution,...read full bio

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