Through more than 25 years of clinical practice and more than 40 years of yoga, I’ve found there are three key types of relationships: Take-Take, Business and Love. These classifications allow us to better understand the drivers behind the success and failure of relationships.
Relationships are made up of all kinds of personalities, each with their own conscious and unconscious beliefs, morals and ideals. In most cases the people involved are not unpleasant nor out to deliberately hurt or upset their partner. Most of us have unconscious patterns of behaviour that can lead to certain types of relationships (like Take-Take) without us even realising it. Below I have described the three main types of relationships to help you look at your own relationships and see if you can relate to any of the scenarios. If you find you relate, do not despair. Recognition is just the first step towards transforming your relationship, and rest assure, you too can create a loving relationship full of trust, honesty and happiness.
Consider two attractive and stylish people come together, instantly they like the way each other presents themselves in dress and body language—she is slim, attractive, well dressed and he is buffed and handsome. He may think, (subconsciously probably), “She will look good on my arm, she will be good in bed”. The girl also looks at him and feels similarly. They are attracted to each other through what they can get out of the other person, and a reasonably superficial relationship begins.
If she happens to fall pregnant, and things start to change with her body—she may put on weight, become less interested in sex—he may start to find his interest in her waning. As that happens her value to him lessens and he will redefine his opinion of her down. He may either look elsewhere for another good looking girl, or may start to care less about his own appearance as he mirrors changes in her appearance. When this happens, she may also start to lose interest in him. As the major criterion for their romance diminishes, their relationship also diminishes, unless something else of importance to one or both of them replaces their beliefs in style and presentation.
As in a true business relationship, you provide something and expect something in return. This one is quite common among couples, and can even start with good intentions in the early part of a relationship. He does something nice for me so I will return the sentiment. However, as with all relationships, once the ‘honeymoon’ phase is over, certain behaviours that you may have thought endearing or at the very least you thought you could live with, suddenly become irritating. It may be that he hangs out the washing for her but he expects that she will responds with sex. She may think, “Great he hung out the washing” but when she doesn’t ‘put out’ later on, he is annoyed that his effort wasn’t rewarded in the way he expected. She may do something for him, like cook a nice meal, and expect that in return he will do something for her. Again if he simply accepts the gift and does not reciprocate in the way she expects, she could become disappointed.
In such a relationship the players make rules. For example she might say “You’re big and strong, so you mow the lawn, fix the house, do the shopping, while I wash the clothes, cook the meals, clean the house”. An interesting observation coming out of psychology is that each of us must feel that we are putting in 80 per cent of the effort to be even accomplishing 50 per cent. So if you feel that you are contributing 50 per cent, you probably are only putting in 30 per cent.
If the perception is that not enough effort is being put in or there is no reciprocation, but neither partner are communicating what they really want, then they may begin to redefine their partners down. “He is so lazy, he only does things around the house because he wants sex”, for example. Over time each may do less, and the business relationship starts to fail.
This type of relationship also starts to develop if you have pre-determined beliefs about ‘roles’—about what a man or women should do. Perhaps you feel your husband should mow the grass, because your father always mowed the grass. Even if he is working flat out doing other important things, but you gauge his contribution by the state of the lawn, you may still define him as lazy and not doing what he is supposed to do as the man, and as a husband.
The business relationship usually falls apart. It may not end in separation or divorce, but it will more than likely become an unloving relationship.
The third type – which is the type that grows into a loving and supportive relationship – is where both parties, consciously or unconsciously, set out to make their partner’s life the best it can be. Their partner’s success becomes their focus along with their own success. The more their partner succeeds, the more they feel that their own lives have meaning, value and quality—as long as they don’t sacrifice their own quality in the process.
In these relationships each partner sees the other as a ‘project’. They may not say this or consciously think it, but they set out to do things for the other person that will elevate their life, and in turn their own. Their partner can be seen as a mirror for their own excellence and striving for higher purpose over a long period of time. And by achieving their own excellence, they are also holding up a mirror for their partner to respond to. You may have this type of relationship, or know someone who does. These are the families who are still ‘in love’ as the decades go by. You can see it in them—they look into each other’s eyes, they touch, they laugh, they support and they do little things they know will be appreciated—but not expected to be returned.
It is possible to transform a ‘take-take’ or ‘business’ relationship into a loving relationship if both parties want to. Our retreat program is essential to better understand yourself – in relation to you and also to those around you. If you want to unlock and release pattern of behavior that are not giving you the passion, momentum and love you desire in your life, apply now to talk to us and see if this the right choice for you.