In Understanding Your Differences

Relationships come in all shapes and sizes.

You’ve probably looked at a couple and thought, “Wow, they are so cute. I wish I had that kind of relationship…”

and then seen another couple fighting and thought, “Why are they still together? They seem so mismatched?”

Each of us has a relationship fingerprint that leaves clues that point to the type of relationship we prefer to be be in.

Reflecting back at my life, I’ve noticed a few relational fingerprints: I’ve chosen relationships because they made me feel good about myself, got married because it felt like the “right” thing to do. Presently, the fingerprint in my relationship is the value my partner and I put on supporting each other’s growth.

Why are you in your relationship?

Whether you are aware of them or not, most of us are driven by unconscious motivations in a relationship…

…and until they become conscious, our romantic relationships will likely continue to repeat old unconscious relationship patterns from our past; which is frustrating at best and heart breaking at worst.

Your relationship fingerprint can provide you with clues as to what your unconscious motivations are, and how to break out of relationship patterns that no longer serve you.

Becoming conscious of relationship patterns consistently produces more “aha moments” than anything else when couples come to me for relationship coaching.

The 5 Relationship Patterns & Their Fingerprints

Here are 5 very brief (and therefore incomplete) descriptions of Carmen Lynch’s 5 relationship types:

  1. Survival Relationship – These relationships exist when partners feel like they can’t make it on their own.
  2. Validation Relationship – These relationships exist to provide validation of physical attractiveness, intellect, social status, sexuality, wealth, or some other attribute.
  3. Scripted Relationship – The marriage involves playing out roles they learned they were supposed to play e.g. The perfect family, the perfect couple, the perfect husband/wife
  4. Acceptance Relationship –  We trust, support and enjoy each other and can be ourselves. We restrain from pushing limits.
  5. Self-Discovery Relationship – We are focused on our struggles with what is missing or lacking in terms of each of us becoming whole, and developing our potential. We acknowledge and appreciate our differences.
Which relationship type did you identify with most?

Each of these relationship types is driven by a different set of values and motivations and has a different set of challenges to face.

Why Being Abnormal Is OK

Upon discovering the 5 types of relationship many years ago, I felt a flood of relief that my partner and I were “normal” to create our relationship with a focus on Self-Discovery.

Fuck what they sayUnfortunately, most well meaning relationship advisers will give you relationship advice based on the type of relationship they perceive is “normal”.

If you don’t fit their idea of what “normal” is, you’ll likely be diagnosed as being dysfunctional when you are more likely just experiencing challenges associated with your type of relationship.

Besides abusive relationships, I don’t believe that labeling a relationship as dysfunctional is useful. It just makes the relationship wrong, causes shame and prevents growth.

Rather than diagnose, seek to understand.

Know yourself. Know your patterns.

If you don’t like what you discover, make changes.

If you need help, get it. Just be conscious of who you listen to.

Leave a comment and let me know what you think...
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