Relationships can feel endlessly complicated. If you can survive a non-awkward first date and move on to the more fun, less stressful phases of dating, that’s amazing, but you still have to define the relationship before things go any further. It would be a great service to all of us if someone could help make this whole “relationship thing” feel less tricky. And no doubt celeb couples feel the same way. Except Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel. They have it pretty much figured out.
While we’re not seeing any signs of scientists swooping in and fixing our personal relationship struggles any time soon, a study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family does a pretty good job of breaking down some of our perplexing relationship issues into simple categories. According to the study, led by researcher Steven Ogolsky, there are basically just four types of relationships.
We know, it’s hard to believe it’s that easy. In order to reach this conclusion, Steven studied 400 unmarried couples in their mid-twenties. He asked the participants questions about how they felt about their partners and used that info to build his theory about the four basic types of relationships. Taking it one step further, Steven even made some predictions about how likely it was that each category of couple would end up getting married (scary!).
4 TYPES OF RELATIONSHIPS + THE CELEBS THAT DEFINE THEM
The results of the study are sort of like a personality quiz for you and your partner’s relationship. To make the findings even easier to digest, we found celeb couples that fit all four molds (for better or worse). Keep scrolling to learn whether you and your S.O. are a Miley + Liam or more of a Kate + Wills kinda couple.
1. CONFLICT-RIDDEN BUT SO IN LOVE
You and your bae fall into this category if you’re notorious for the “on-again, off-again” routine, a la Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth. You’re deeply connected, and there’s no question that you’re totally committed to each other when things are good, but if there’s conflict brewing — look out! While you’re certainly not doomed for failure, Steven warns that your relationship “may not be sustainable in the long term.” We hope you defy his prediction, Miley and Liam! If this sounds familiar to you, and you want to increase your odds of success, consider seeing a relationship therapist or finding other ways to improve your approach to conflict resolution.
2. *SO* DRAMATIC
No one wants to be told that their union reminds someone of Kourtney Kardashian and Scott Disick‘s relationship, right? If you and your S.O. are spending more time focusing your attention on people or drama outside of your relationship than on working to become a stronger couple, you may not be a solid match. Do you make decisions without consulting one another? Are you quick to spend time with friends rather than with your partner? According to Steven, these kinds of behaviors are a recipe for drama and inconsistency. “You begin to see little things eroding, you start to see the relationship in a negative light and, soon, you give up,” he says. If you’ve watched enough KUWTK, there are SO MANY episodes where Kourt and Scott have reached this point (but really, do they even like each other?).
If your partnership is heading in this direction, it’s time to turn your attention back to your bae, because according to study results, couples in this category are TWICE as likely as others to break up. If only we’d known this before, we would’ve realized Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson (Robsten) were doomed (and been a little less heartbroken). On the other hand, last we heard, Speidi (The Hills villains Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt), was still going strong.
3. TWO SOCIAL BUTTERFLIES
When two naturally social people come together, like Anna Faris and Chris Pratt, their relationship is bound to be similarly social. If you and your S.O. both prefer doing things together rather than individually and often find yourselves spending your time among groups of your collective friends, then you probably fall within this type. According to the study, couples within this category are grounded in friendship and genuine appreciation, which leads to a higher potential for success. “Having mutual friends makes people in these couples feel closer and more committed,” Steven says. So Anna and Chris aren’t only hilarious, but they are also totally #relationshipgoals.
4. FOCUSED ON EACH OTHER
Dutchess Kate and Price William are going STRONG. Being royalty isn’t easy, but they’re building a beautiful family and totally have each other’s backs. Our American royal couple, Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel, also adore each other openly (basically all of Justin’s acceptance speeches dedicated to Jessica have us swooning).
The title is probably a dead giveaway, but couples who fell within this category showed the highest levels of satisfaction, and therefore the best long-term prospects. If you and your partner work through conflict, avoid unnecessary external influences on your relationship, consistently make each other a priority and spend significant quality time together, we have good news: You’re on the right track! Couples who are in “partner-focused” relationships are most likely to stick together. Here’s hoping Selena Gomez and the Weeknd make it happen.
If you think that you and your S.O. fall into one of the first two categories, but you’re sure that bae is “the one,” don’t give up! The study doesn’t claim that you and your current partner can’t develop your relationship into a different type. It just offers a simple framework for understanding typical romantic dynamics. With a little communication and time, you and your boo can find plenty of relationship satisfaction in the future.
Which category do you and your S.O fall into? Tweet us @BritandCo!
(Photos via Frazer Harrison/Getty, Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty, Chris Weeks/Getty Images for Calvin Klein, Kevin Winter/Getty and Chris Jackson/Getty)