Science

Psychologist reveals the 8 relationship archetypes

Are you a chameleon, a soloist or a pleaser? Psychologist reveals the 8 relationship archetypes we all fall into – and what they mean for YOUR love life

  • New Zealand psychologist Karen Nimmo revealed eight relationship archetypes
  • Explained most people fall into at least one ruling relationship ‘style’
  • Archetypes include ‘The Avoider’ who doesn’t like to commit and ‘the pleaser’
  • Nimmo also reveals how each different archetype can impact a relationship 

A psychologist has revealed the eight ‘relationship archetypes’ that determine the way people operate within a relationship. 

Psychologist Karen Nimmo, of New Zealand, explained in an article for Medium that she had come up with the eight archetypes following years of first-hand research. 

She wrote: ‘Our styles — or archetypes — are a mash-up of our biology, temperament, emotional history, experiences and the feedback the world has tossed at us.

‘And, of course, one size doesn’t fit all. People are not absolute so, while one style tends to dominate, we all spill over the edges into other categories.’  

Understanding which archetype best describes your relationship style can help explain why you fall into certain behavioural patterns when you are romantically involved. It is just as important to understand your partner’s relationship archetype for this same reason.

Psychologist Karen Nimmo, of New Zealand, explained in an article for Medium that she had come up with the eight archetypes following years of first-hand research. Stock image

THE AVOIDER 

Is this you? 

Avoiders are people who struggle with commitment, to the point where they will keep ‘one foot out’ of any relationship and hold off on giving themselves to their partner 100 per cent. 

What it means for your relationship

Avoiders might need extra reassurance because they have been let down in previous relationships. They might also never be willing to commit ‘forever’ and will only be able to settle in a long-term relationship if the ‘door is left open a crack’.     

THE PLEASER 

Is this you? 

Innately kind, pleasers want to put their loved ones – be it partners or children – before themselves, to the point where they will sacrifice their own needs or dreams if it means making others happy.  

THE CONTROLLER 

Is this you? 

As the name might suggest, a Controller is someone who enjoys being in charge – controlling the situation – and will always want to put themselves first. However they can also be at risk of manipulating or controlling their partner’s decisions. 

What it means for your relationship

Controlling behaviour should be a red flag and make you seriously question a long-term relationship.  

What it means for your relationship 

If you are a pleaser, it is important to practise prioritising yourself because otherwise you might find yourself feeling exhausted or resentful after trying too hard to please. If your partner is a pleaser you must not take advantage of their giving nature and should support him or her in their journey towards self-compassion.   

THE WORRIER 

Is this you? 

As the name suggests, worriers can find themselves distracted by what happened in the past or thinking about what might happen in the future. Uncertainty is their worst enemy. However despite this they can be ‘surprisingly solid in a crisis because they function well when busy’, explains Karen.

What it means for your relationship

If your partner is a Worrier, he or she will require security. They will also likely take on the role of the planner within your relationship so you might need to step back and let that happen. It might require patience to let them take control but remember they are doing it for their own well-being.  

Understanding which archetype best describes your relationship style can help explain why you fall into certain behavioural patterns when you are romantically involved. Stock image

Understanding which archetype best describes your relationship style can help explain why you fall into certain behavioural patterns when you are romantically involved. Stock image

THE ANCHOR

Is this you?  

Emotionally mature and grounded, anchors are ‘prized partners’. They are open to discussion and independent without being cold, as well as being able to see the other side of the argument. 

THE SOLOIST 

Is this you? 

There’s one word to describe the Soloist and that’s ‘independence’. Soloists need plenty of alone time and to have friends, hobbies and activities outside of the shared home. 

What it means for your relationship

If you are a Soloist and your partner doesn’t share the same values, you might need to put their needs above your own and make them a priority. If you are in a relationship with a Soloist then you might need to insist on more time together.  

What it means for your relationship 

Almost only good things! However an anchor won’t be taken for granted or treated poorly so make sure to acknowledge and respect everything he or she brings to the table.   

THE SUPPORTER

Is this you? 

If you’ve ever been described as your partner’s ‘rock’ then you could very well be a Supporter. Steady and reliable, you are able to keep your cool when life throws a curveball. 

What it means for your relationship 

The flipside of being so unflappable is that Supporters can sometimes struggle to express the worry and anxiety bubbling beneath the surface. If you are a Supporter then work on developing this side of yourself. If you are in a relationship with a Supporter then dedicate some time to help them access this part of themselves.      

THE CHAMELEON 

Is this you? 

Chameleons have less fixed behaviour than other archetypes and change their opinions and behaviour based on their feelings. 

What it means for your relationship

Having such a changeable partner is difficult because you never know what you are going to get or what might impact their mood. ‘Proceed with caution,’ Karen warns. 

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