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There Are Five Types Of Couples—And Only Three Are Happy, Study Reveals
By Mikelle Leow, 24 Sep 2020
Image via Shutterstock
Every relationship comes with its own unique blend of joys and struggles, but there are certain signs pointing at chemistry that isn’t working out.
The Gottman Institute, which has been studying relationship health for over 40 years, observes that there are five distinct types of couples: Conflict-Avoiding, Validating, Volatile, Hostile, and Hostile-Detached. Only the first three—originally identified by Harold L. Raush in his 1974 book, Communication, Conflict, and Marriage—are likely to be successful.
Conflict-Avoiding couples acknowledge they have differences but look for common ground. For instance, one partner might be a dog lover while the other has only grown up with cats. They’re open to understanding why their partner favors the other and come to the conclusion that they’re both animal lovers.
Despite their label, Volatile couples are considered to be in positive relationships, too. They engage in lighthearted banter and often end their teasing with laughter.
Validating Couples, the third successful type, prioritize being supportive and understanding of their partners, and strongly believe in finding a compromise.
The other two types, discovered by the Gottman Institute’s own Love Lab, are Hostile and Hostile-Detached. In the former group, partners are defensive and only insist on their personal standpoints, refusing to take in their significant other’s differences. In the latter, both partners are on attack mode “with no clear victor.”
So, what sets happy relationships apart from those who are always struggling?
Three of the groups are likely to be successful because they practice a 5:1 golden ratio, which suggests that for every hurtful interaction, you’ll have to make up for it with five positive ones.
These five gestures can include a compliment, helping out with chores, or simply hugging it out. With that being said, everyone expresses affection differently, so you might want to consider your partner’s love language when attempting to alleviate conflict.
For more examples on which type your relationship falls under, swipe through the Gottman Institute’s set of infographics below.
[via The Gottman Institute, cover image via Shutterstock]
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