Relationships can be divided into four broad types, a researcher has claimed.
Professor Brian Ogolsky of the University of Illinois examined a total of 376 unmarried couples over a nine month period. All were in their 20s. He looked for patterns in their lives together, in particular at the way their commitment to marriage changed following rows and disagreements.
A specialist in human development, Ogolsky decided that four typical patterns could be detected, each with implications for the longevity of the couples’ relationships. These were ‘dramatic’, ‘conflict-ridden’, ‘socially involved’ and ‘partner-focused’.
The commonest type was ‘dramatic’, with 34 per cent of the couples falling into this category. These relationships were described as turbulent and prone to ups and downs in their commitment to each other. They typically spent less time together than couples in other relationship types and were the category most likely to break up before marriage.
Next on the list were the ‘partner focused’: Ogolsky said 30 per cent of the couples fell into this category. As the name suggests, people in such relationships reported valuing their partner more than other aspects of their lives and were the most likely to eventually marry.
Just under 20 per cent of the young couples were ‘socially involved’ – in other words, strongly influenced by their social networks in their attitude to the relationship. But they still displayed a commitment to marriage in most instances.
Last but not least were the conflict-ridden 12 per cent, who had more arguments than other couples but stronger relationships overall than the ‘dramatic’ couples.