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Dating Advice

The 4 Types of Love Relationships

February 4, 2015
by Carmen Harra
As a psychologist and counselor for more than 20 years, every relationship problem on this planet has been confessed to me. And I’ve noticed that, to our disadvantage, overwhelming emotions can make us neglect the reality that not all relationships are intended to last as long as they do, and some aren’t meant to happen at all.
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Heartfelt attachment drives us to extend temporary relationships to permanent time frames and to try to fit compromised love into the place of a soulmate. Our stubborn will to “work things out” can cause pain for us and our beloved. In considering these general truths we must turn inward and weigh the truth of our own love relationship.

But how can we know what kind of love we’re really fighting for? How can we validate our relationship to understand its greater scope in our lives? What kind of relationship are you in?

Categorizing your relationship correctly is based on your individual needs and desires. There exist four types of love relationships, each serving a unique and necessary purpose to your evolution.

You may experience only one kind of relationship throughout your life, or you may move through the full range of four, and this all depends on the curious interaction between fate and free will. Reflect on the characteristics of the four types of relationships and gain awareness of your true love standing:

1. Transitory:

A transitory relationship acts as a bridge between two phases of evolution. It can enact change or ease the burden of major life shifts. For example, a relationship for a girl in high school may mature her into a woman by allowing her to learn her first lessons in love. Or a transient relationship after a long marriage has ended may help someone cope with their divorce until they heal. Transitory relationships are almost always temporary but serve a great purpose in gently pushing a person from one level of self-transformation to the next.

2. Karmic:

Perhaps the mightiest law of the universe, karma is not some malicious force that boomerangs our wrong-doings back to us. It is the energetic accumulation of every one of our actions, both good and bad. And karma has a reputation for repeating itself. A karmic relationship always entails some form of “action” that must play out within the couple, i.e., the breaking of some pattern or cycle of recurring situations.

After the karma is resolved, however, the relationship may come to an end, as its purpose has been met. My daughter, for example, “woke up” one day after years of dating the same person and knew it was time to cut the ties. Karmic relationships can sometimes be soulful relationships, too, as I personally shared with my late husband. I knew he was my soulmate from the moment I met him. But I also knew we had specific karma to reenact. Karmic relationships are enriching experiences that can be progressive, elevating, and fulfilling, whether temporary or for the long term.

3. Compromise:

Most common of the four, a compromise relationship occurs when two people come together based on an arrangement of comfort, such as financial or emotional stability. Many relationships that are meant to end continue because both partners have become very used to each other and find it difficult to part ways.

In short, they “settle” for one other. They may have children, which causes them further to feel that they’re supposed to stay together, though neither may be fully content or in love. Relationships based on a compromise keep us stuck in a “comfort zone.” But it’s important to evaluate whether we’re truly happy with our partner, or just very comfortable. I often hear my clients declare that their spouse is a great parent to their children, but that they know deep down their relationship is a compromise.

Many people can feel this in their hearts but shun the inkling aside. In the case of a compromise, it’s entirely the free will of both partners whether they wish to remain together or separate–I’ve seen compromise relationships that have lasted a lifetime because neither partner wanted to let go. Though the problem in compromise relationships is the lack of soulful fulfillment, the decision to stay or to go is one’s own.

4. Soulful:

A soulful relationship denotes a soulmate bond reaching far deeper than the physical or emotional level. Soulmate relationships are far and few but when they do occur, they often last the test of time. This kind of relationship is marked by an intense connection between two people, one that may even be difficult to convey into words. Two people just “get each other” — they may finish each other’s sentences, are best friends, and have adopted the us-against-the-world mentality, among other things.

When soulmates find each other the feeling is likened to two pieces of a puzzle fitting perfectly together. This is not to say that soulmates won’t experience problems along the road, but they will be able to resolve their issues more easily than couples not bound by soulful ties.

Love relationships play critical roles in our lives. But perhaps our most difficult task lies in disentangling the emotional knot to reveal the core function of our relationship. Detaching ourselves from our feelings just enough to assess the authenticity of our relationship can make a world of a difference in the quality of love we give and gain.

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About The Author – Carmen Harra

Carmen Harra, PhD, is an intuitive psychologist, best-selling author, radio show host, TV personality, and relationship expert. Over the past thirty years, Carmen has helped tens of thousands of people find fulfilling love and create committed relationships. She’s the author of international best-selling books like Everyday Karma, Decoding Your Destiny, and The Karma Queens’ Guide to Relationships, among others. Carmen has been featured in such publications as The New York Times, New York Post, and New York Daily News and on shows like Good Morning America, The View, and the Today show. She contributes regularly to HuffPost, Thrive Global, Sivana East, Bustle, and many more popular magazines. Visit her website at
Carmen Harra