Three types of couple relationships

by Diane Rooker


Valentine’s day has just been and gone and I hope it was a nice day for you loved up couples out there. Unfortunately, the couples that I see are not in a great place as a couple. Instead of sharing love and affection, they may share harsh and painful words or there is no communication, their way of connecting is via confrontation, aggression creating negative energy. You may be thinking that I am being a negative Nelly and that may be the case if you are in the top few % who are leading a functional and happy relationship with your intimate partner. But as a couples/relationship expert, unfortunately, I know that this is not the case for the majority of couples.

Even though I have placed these types of relationships into categories, I will always assess a couple on their relationship and meet them where they are at. Even though there are many similar experiences between couples their journey has been their journey alone and I will always meet them where they are at and what their needs are.

There are clients that I won’t work with, but not many. But a definite criteria that are required for me to agree to work with you is that you are wanting to create change within yourself. Being able to take responsibility for the part that you have played in the breakdown of the relationship. As the saying goes “it takes two to tango”

Let’s look at the different types of couples.

1. Happy and satisfied. – On the same team, working effectively together

The happy and satisfied couple. They don’t argue (mostly) they communicate and express their needs in an effective way, they are heard and they come up with a plan to resolve any issues. This couple knows how to speak the same language. They know how to listen and can make compromises

This couple is in the minority.

How can Counselling support this couple.?

This couple has more than had very positive role models growing up, showing them how to have a healthy relationship or they have done a lot of personal development, or both.

For this couple, counseling would be making sure that the couple is on the same track together and they are both aware of this. After establishing this, we would look at ways to compliment their relationship even further. For this couple checking in possibly once per annum to see if they are on track with each other and that there isn’t anything that is being left unresolved, that could be festering beneath the surface. At times when things are going well in the relationship, people keep quiet if something is bothering or of concern to them, but if it is important then this is the exact time to find your voice and trust that the relationship is healthy enough to support your needs. Counselling can also provide further tools and ideas in how to enrich their relationship further, individual work may also be a benefit as we are constantly changing because of our environment.

2. Unhappy and dissatisfied – On the same team, not working ineffectively together.

This couple is on the same team, they care for each other, but they speak a completely different language, they don’t understand themselves or their partner. And this results in needs not being met and over time this translates into a whole lot of pain. This couple connects on a surface level. 1st partner “How was your day” 2nd partner “good”. They are often angry and frustrated, this is not what they signed up for, they feel stuck and are together because of the kids or financial reasons. They don’t have a sex life that is fulfilling, that’s if they are being intimate at all? In most cases, they haven’t had sex or affection for years, which is sad.

This couple is in the majority.

How can Counselling support this couple.?

This couple as individuals may have a few unresolved core issues stemming back historically, either in childhood or as a teen. They have not had the opportunity to resolve these issues at a core level. This couple is the majority of my clientele. They are unhappy, frustrated, feeling unloved, unimportant, everyone else is more important. They feel trapped, they want to have a better relationship but don’t know-how. I would recommend the marriage/relationship package for this couple as there is no quick fix with issues that have taken years to form.

3. Unhappy and toxic – not on the same team

This is a couple who live in a very toxic relationship. Their only form of connection is via violence either verbally or physically. And very sad if there are children who witness this behavior. This couple has got many unresolved individual issues. Their relationship is dysfunctional. They don’t understand their partner and highly likely they don’t understand themselves.

How can Counselling support this couple.?

This couple needs to work hard for the relationship to become a functional one. But sadly because there has been so much violence there is no chance of reconciliation, there is just too much hurt to overcome and the best option not only for the couple but also for the children would be to separate and the couple involved may need to take some time to themselves and do some personal counselling.

Counselling for couples is always useful, I’m happy to chat with you and your partner about your situation and how marriage/couples counselling may support you.

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