So, you are in a relationship – hopefully, it’s a happy one. You are curious to know what type of couple you and your significant other are. Every relationship is unique, but there are ways to categorize them. Before you get to the questions to find out the type of couple you guys are – read on!
John and Julie Gottman, researchers and leaders of the Gottman Institute, worked for years studying the dynamics between partners. Their goal was to establish their own unique method of couples therapy. Supposedly, they can predict which couples will get a divorce, and which will stay together – and be correct in about 90% of cases.
They found that couples within healthy relationships usually fall into one of three general categories: validating, volatile, and conflict-avoidant. The other two types, hostile and hostile-detached, are those couples who usually break up. Let’s learn more about all the categories. See if any of these sounds familiar to you and your partner!
Conflict-avoidant couples tend to minimize disagreements and avoid conflict if possible. On the outside, they might seem somewhat passive-aggressive, but this kind of relationship can still be happy. They like to work to emphasize their shared interests and values and minimize their dissimilarities. On the other hand, they often ignore differences of opinion, especially if they don’t think they can be resolved. The conflict-avoidant couples’ approach to problems is to wait for them to pass or fix themselves. They don’t always express their real feelings. During a conflict, they prefer to walk out instead of facing the issue head-on. While this type of relationship can be happy, too much conflict avoidance can lead to resentment, attention-seeking behavior, and the couple growing apart emotionally.
Volatile couples tend to be very passionate and emotional. They can easily get triggered into an argument. They love to argue and love to be the winner of their debates. For what it’s worth, these couples don’t harbor contempt or resentment towards each other. Their fights often end in teasing and laughter. They don’t usually insult each other, and they are honest and communicate openly. The volatile couples are affectionate, loving, and caring even during their arguments. They value each other as individuals and equals. While their debates are all in good fun, the lack of boundaries and constant emotional swings can lead to unhealthy enmeshment.
Validating couples stay calm during an argument and work on a peaceful resolution. This type of couple supports and understands each other. They know how to show empathy and validate each other’s feelings. They are open to compromise and know how to pick their battles. During a conflict, these couples stay polite, respectful, and emotionally in control. They consciously work towards finding a solution that satisfies both sides. While this type of couple is usually understanding towards each other, they can become stubborn or competitive during their arguments. They might need to work on how to compromise.
Hostile couples tend to blame one another and criticize their partner often. They don’t understand each other’s points of view and don’t support one another. These couples don’t interact like they are members of the same team but rather like enemies. They often feel the need to defend themselves from their partner’s attacks. They struggle to admit to their mistakes and keep having the same fight over and over. According to the Gottman Institute’s research, hostile couples will most likely stay together, but won’t be happy. They will attempt to keep their negativity under control just enough not to break up, but they will be in a state of perpetual conflict. The best decision for this kind of couple might be to reach out to a professional who will help them work through their issues.
Hostile-detached couples are at the highest risk of breaking up or divorce. In this kind of relationship, there is a lot of negative energy, frustration, resentment, loneliness, and feeling of detachment. These couples communicate in any of the following ways: they criticize one another, often in a hurtful way; they mock, ridicule, or disrespect their partners; they become defensive while being criticized, or they shut down and withdraw instead of having a productive conversation. The main difference between hostile couples and hostile-detached couples is that the latter don’t tend to adjust or control their negativity. They also don’t trust one another in most cases. This is why they are the most likely type to end their relationship.
You might notice that you and your partner fit more than one of these categories. It’s perfectly normal – there are no rules that state you must fit into only one type. Human beings are complicated, after all, and so are their relationships. Every couple faces their own challenges and conflicts, but it’s how we respond during the most difficult times that is critical to the success of our relationships.
What type of couple are you? Are you and your partner ready to find out? Take the quiz we have for you and discover the truth! Which type do you fit the most?
How many questions are in the quiz?
What are the answers?
Conflict-avoidant couple, Volatile couple, Validating couple, Hostile couple, Hostile-detached couple
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