Virginia Satir a well known family therapist identified the following relationship style.  What type of relationship did you have with your ex?


The Dependency Relationship Style

This is where two people lean on each to be a whole person.  They have not learnt to rely on themselves to be happy.  This can be very comforting in the beginning, but when one person begins to change and grow it upsets the dependency between them.

The Smothering Relationship Style

The smothering relationship is often seen in high school and teenage relationships.  The couple will often say “I can’t live without you”, “I will do anything to make you happy”.  Many love relationships start being a smothering relationship.  If there is enough space given the relationship will grow into another type of relationship.   If the relationship doesn’t grow one or both parties will become to feel smothered and trapped.

The Pedestal Relationship Style

The pedestal relationship is when one party worships the other person.  The one person will love them not for who they are, but for the perception of who they are.  It can be a difficult for the person on the pedestal, because there will be may expectations on them to live up to the expectation.  Communication will be a problem because they will be communicating with an ideal, and not with a real body.

The Master-Slave Relationship Style

The master-slave relationship is where one of the parties is the head or boss of the house and makes all the decisions.  This is not always the male in the family that fulfils this role.  Most relationships have one person has a stronger or powerful personality than the other, but the master-slave relationship is when the stronger person is rigid and inflexible with decisions.   The rigidness of the relationship takes a great deal of emotional energy.  The relationship is often marred by power struggles which makes it difficult for the couple to communicate effectively and maintain an effective intimate relationship.

The Boarding House Relationship Style

The boarding house relationship two people are together because of a marriage contract they signed.  They will communicate very little, often spending hours together watching TV, without saying a word.  They often don’t share meals together there is little or no intimacy between them.  When one party grows or matures the other is linked to the change, making it a confining relationship.

The Martyr Relationship Style

The martyr relationship is when one person gives up everything for the other person.  They try to keep the relationship alive through selfless service instead of taking time to look after themselves.  When this becomes too hard for them to bear, the martyr will try and gain control again through guilting those around them to do what they want.  The guilt often turns to resentment and angry.

The Healthy Love Relationship Style

A healthy love relationship is when both people are whole and complete on their own as well as being an unit together.  They have an abundance life to share with their partner.  They are together because they choose to be together rather than being together because of a contract they made with each other.   They are emotionally close without smothering the other person, and are able to live separate lives with their own careers and friends.  A healthy relationship allows each person the space to grow and become themselves.