When I was in my first serious relationship I thought my boyfriend was going to be an end game as most believe when in midst of the passion that is young love. It was a rude awakening when things ended and I tried to brush off the heartbreak and start dating in college. Considering that I was coming from a small town where there were about three different options, this was a whole new ball game.
After a few months of awkward dates, a short-term relationship with someone who had tried to take things from zero to a hundred, and ending back right where I started (single) there was one question burning in the back of my mind.
How was it possible that every single person acted so differently in the way they navigated dating?
It’s not just dating as no one navigates a relationship in the exact same way either. In fact, as if things weren’t already complicated enough, many people view love and dating through completely different lenses.
To give you an idea, here are four different relationship personas that I have encountered over the years.
#1. The cruiser
My friend Luke is a cruiser. Recently his girlfriend broke up with him and although I was surprised, it wasn’t because they had broken up, it was who actually ended things.
When I asked him what had happened he told me that things weren’t really good… but they weren’t bad. They hadn’t been happy for some time but he thought they would work it out.
I honestly believe that even if things would have gotten worse Luke wouldn’t have left. He was the type to stick it out… aka a cruiser which is why it was his girlfriend that had to end things.
However, that isn’t necessarily always a bad thing. In the cases where it’s good, a cruiser is easy-going and therefore happy. The downfall is that they can often end up settling/in relationships that are less than ideal.
#2. The all-or-nothing
Ah, the person who jumps into a relationship and gives it everything they’ve got until they completely run out steam.
This is my relationship persona. All of my relationships, except for my current one, have started with me diving in headfirst and giving it everything I’ve got without a second thought.
Considering the fact that I would do this without getting to know someone I ended up in my fair share of abusive/toxic relationships because I didn’t take the time to truly see who they were until I was in too deep.
This isn’t something that magically stopped. I wanted to follow this same trend with my current partner but due to all of the missteps, I forced myself to take it a bit slower even though it went against my nature. I am so glad that I did because we got to actually know each other a build a connection.
#3. The worrier/clinger
I have an amazing friend. She is kind, beautiful, confident, motivated, you name it. However, when she is in a relationship she becomes a completely different person.
Suddenly she is frantically worrying about whether her new romantic interest really likes her. She is texting and calling them constantly to check up if they actually make it to the relationship stage. Within a few weeks or months, she ends up heartbroken but begins the cycle all over again when she meets someone new.
The more that we cling to a relationship the more likely it is that we will end up losing it by sabotaging it ourselves. Also, no one wants to end up being referred to as a stage-five clinger because they don’t want to give their partner any space.
#4. The settler
When I was in my last semester of college I was dating James. We got along great in the beginning, and he was extremely kind and thoughtful. Yet warning bells began going off in my head because he wanted to move extremely fast.
For example, after three months of dating, he was constantly talking about our future together which included marriage and kids. I was graduating early so I had just barely turned twenty-one. The last thing that I wanted was to have kids and to get married.
I never said this to James, but I believe the issue is that he just wanted to get married whether it was me or someone else. Basically, because I was breathing and a woman I fit his requirements.
James and I ended breaking up and very shortly after he got married. When I saw him years later in a mutual group he seemed somewhat content with life but there was a twinge of regret in his voice when I asked him about his wife.
“I got married so young… I just feel like we didn’t get to know each other. I wish that I would have focused more on the kind of person that I wanted to be with and who I wanted to be, instead of just being with someone.”
Relationships are tricky to navigate and no one is perfect. However, knowing where you fit on the relationship spectrum can help you learn more about where you can improve and where you could be lacking in your love life.