The Two Kinds of Relationships

March 14, 2011

I’m no relationship expert, but I do see patterns.
In my own life, and my friends’ lives I see two types of romantic relationships:  Growth relationships and partner relationships…


Growth relationship
A growth relationship is anywhere from a few weeks to a few years. It’s exciting, it’s spicy, it’s all kinds of unpredictable. It’s the one that your friends didn’t want to tell you, but they knew it ultimately would not work out.  But you were still drawn to it, like a moth to the flame.  The flame of passion is the draw, but the source is different. We find the person attractive largely because we admire qualities that we actually want for ourselves. But instead, we believe we can simply acquire them in the other. In psychological terms, it’s a positive projection. It’s our own gold hiding in what see in others.  But if we get honest about it, through the relationship we can become the person we actually want to be.


Signs of a growth relationship:
  • Strong highs and lows
  • Desire to analyze the situation constantly, and control the outcome
  • Second guessing the other person
  • Exciting
  • Highly passionate
  • Potential to learn a lot about yourself
  • Triggers all your insecurities and deep fears
  • Makes you question your own instincts
  • Hard to deal with if one person wants it to become a partnership relationship (see below)
Enjoy your time because it will end sooner than you think.  Don’t delay the progress of the relationship. Stay real, don’t shit yourself, and be thankful for all you’re learning. Grow fast because whoever learns those deep lessons first will then lose the attraction for the partner.



Partnership relationship


All relationships involve growth, but in a partnership relationship, the commitment is to the relationship itself, rather than to each of the individuals’ personal growth.  These last from 9 months to a lifetime. The couple feels like a cohesive unit, or best friends. There tends to be less drama, and more stability. Taking out the notion of the “soul mate” one can have many partnership relationships in a lifetime.  A partnership relationship can develop out of a growth relationship, but not vice versa.


Signs of a Partnership relationship
  • Feels like your best friend
  • Immediate comfort
  • Total acceptance
  • Very stable
  • Great for taking on bigger challenges in life (kids, saving the world, etc)
  • Support allows each person to live into their larger purpose
  • Not as exciting as growth relationships
  • Can be unhealthy and co-dependent if the partners are not stable in their individual lives.
  • Tendency to settle into boredom without consciously creating new experiences
Focus on developing the friendship. Constantly build in new experiences. Go to a tantra class.


I’ve had many of both types of relationships, but I have not had this particular distinction until now. I used to think the distinctions were either a) soulmate or b) total friggin confusion.  Neither ended up being particularly healthy.


Seeing relationships in this light, I feel much more prepared, and I have to wonder what would happen if I brought this into the conversation BEFORE starting a relationship rather than only seeing it afterward.


POST NOTE: I’ve shared the concept with a few people who think there could be a larger book out of this. I’d love to get your opinion and especially YOUR STORIES. I think there are more patterns to discover and more wisdom that you may have.


Please let me know what you think in the comments, and if you feel like sharing your own story, email me at [email protected]