What type of relation-ship are you in?

It seems that the bulk of relationship self-help advice is concerned with getting people into a relationship. The next biggest chunk of advice is concerned with getting them out of it again. Having been, to my own utter surprise, in a long-term relation-ship myself, I have been wondering about this topic a lot.

The Tall Ships Race last year in Helsinki inspired me to take the analogy of a ship for characterizing relationships. A ship is a device (translate: mindset) that is supposed to take you and your valuables from A to B over water (translate: emotions or life). In this analogy, I sorted relations-ships into three distinct types and each serves a purpose:

  • Wreckage
  • Shipyard
  • Cruising

When marriages were still designed for “eternity”, these three types were essentially stages in the spiritual development of the partners. But as people can be “disposed of” much easier nowadays (not necessarily with less damage, though), the development mostly takes place with different people.




If we assume that the universal laws are a reality, then people who…

  • don’t know what they want
  • are focused on what they don’t want
  • are unconscious about their thoughts and beliefs and universal laws…will end up in a relationship with the purpose to a) wake them up and b) turn their mind from “I hate this” towards “Instead I want…”. So?
    They pick a partner who will give them what they don’t want. The purpose of the relationship is to help them find out what they want by presenting them with what they don’t want. They are attracted to “dream partners” who will dependably deliver what each doesn’t want until they say: That’s enough. I have had it. From now on I am going to… and I want…
    Often it affords a wreckage, the relation-ship sinks, before people make that shift. The law of “like attracts alike” applies to these relationships at the starting point, for example: a person believing s/he is worthless will attract a partner who considers her/him to be that, too, and acts it out.
    These are the most unpleasant relationships and we hear a lot about them.



A shipyard relationship comes about when people have a nebulous clue that there is something wrong, something is not working with their ship (= mindset). They don’t dare to travel the waters. Instead, they get themselves a partner who helps them overhaul their ship. To these relationships the law of “opposites attract” applies. They hold opposite beliefs about many things.
A perfect match for success is when each of them holds positive beliefs and convictions that are as strong or stronger than the other person’s negative beliefs in a specific topic. It’s rarely that one partner is completely optimistic and the other only pessimistic.
Instead,  they each “patch up” the leakages and dents in the other person’s mental set up.  Like parts in shipbuilding, they put their parts together and often the end result  is pretty stable and capable of traveling the waters.
However, unless both incorporate the other person’s beliefs and thought patterns over time, they remain dependent on each other, as each, without the other, is going to sink. In addition, they can not go full power with pursuing their goals, as part of their time and effort goes into “repair work” and “staying connected”.
Once they have incorporated the partner’s “patches” and overhauled their “ships”, the purpose of the relationship as a “shipyard” ends. Unless they find a new purpose together, the relationship might end as well.




These relationships are focused on accomplishing goals and reaching milestones. Both partners know what they want and they have a positive attitude about themselves and the other. A perfect match comes about when

  • their goals are in harmony
  • they have the power and skills to support each other in achieving them.

To these relationships, the law of “like attracts alike” applies again. They confirm beliefs, world view and attitudes of the other. We normally don’t hear much about these relationships, the more so of their achievements. They go about doing their work, raising their kids or accomplishing whatever their goals are. These relationships are the backbone of society, moving forward like ships under full sail, delivering their “cargo” to wherever it is intended to be.
Still, also these relationships can end. Often this happens in case one partner decides on a new goal that the other doesn’t want to support or one partner doesn’t have the strengths or skills to support the other (any more).

I wonder if this sounds reasonable and is helpful for anybody besides me…

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