Three Ways to Check Your Relationship

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Have you ever been in a relationship that you enjoyed, but just didn’t know how to define it? Here are three ways to check your relationship.

This feeling is okay and it’s perfectly normal. We have all felt this way at one time or another.

One of the best ways to determine the type of relationship you have is to consider three potential relationship characteristics: intimacy, passion, and commitment.

We hear these terms all the time, but it is important to define them because a relationship based on only one of these elements does not have a very good chance at survival.

photo used courtesy of:

photo used courtesy of:

  • Intimacy is the ability to be open and vulnerable with your partner. It means that the two of you are emotionally connected
  • Passion can be referred to as sexual attraction.
  • Commitment is the conscious decision to stay someone even when times are tough.


Type of Love Intimacy Passion Commitment Example
Nonlove The way you feel about people that you have no connection with
Liking X Friends who Facebook and get together
Infatuated Love X Someone you hook up with at a party due to mutual attraction
Empty Love X Couple that stays married for the kids
Romantic Love X X Couple that dates regularly but has no future plans
Companionate Love X X Loving couple that feels no sexual interest in each other
Fatuous Love X X A couple that moves in with each other after just meeting
Consummate Love X X X An emotionally close, sexually exciting, long-term relationship

Sternberg’s Types of Love (Mossler, 2013)


Having 2 or 3 of these components increase your chances for a successful, long-term relationship. For example, when you first meet someone, you may feel passion, but will not have developed the intimacy necessary to foster a committed relationship.


On the other hand, when passion can be turned into intimacy, a couple has the best opportunity for a committed relationship. All three characteristics make up consummate love. This kind is ideal because it means you are dedicated to working through the tough times together.

Ultimately, it is up to you to see if what you have measures up to what you want. Do you have Mr. Right or Mr. Right Now? Check our chart. Where do you score?


Mossler, A. (2013). Adult Development and Learning. San Diego: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.

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