Relationship Roles (RR)

Lately I’ve been fortunate enough to closely observe the Relationship Roles of several individuals, couples, and myself.

What is a Relationship Role?

As individuals, for the most part, we are responsible for our lives. We determine where we work, who our friends are, how we dress, where we eat, etc. We control our own destinies. In a relationship, however, our roles change. We instantly, or gradually, shift into one of three roles. I’ll call these roles: Fire, Earth, and Water.

Wicked! it’s like Captain Planet!

Um.. ok.. sure.

So what role are you?

Well, let me define the roles:

  • Fire
    • You are the head of the relationship. You make the decisions, You plan, and you guide. You control almost everything. Your partner either fights with you constantly, or hangs his/her head in defeat when you speak.
  • Water
    • You are the body of the relationship. You move with fluidity to whatever the head demands. You carry out the tasks and will stop at nothing to please the head. You have a handful of select “battles” that you will fight, but for the most part you are happy to trust the decisions of the head.
  • Earth
    • You are neither leader nor follower.. while at the same time being both leader and follower. You understand that relationship between two individuals require constant work, constant victories, and constant losses. Decisions are not made, they are negotiated and respected.

So you’re Fire, right? Cuz you’re so HOT!

Actually, right now I would probably say that I’m Water-Earth. Yes, it’s possible to be between stages.. we are in a constant state of change, after all. I’ve personally found myself in all three stages while in different relationships.

Fire’s the best, right?

Determining which is “the best” is not an easy task. Some individuals hate making decisions and are extremely content assuming the Water role. It frees them of any responsibilies and worries, they can just fully trust in the Fire in their relationship. That’s all fine and dandy. The problem exists when someone is Water who craves to be Earth but fears upsetting the Fire in their life.

The who and the what now?

I personally know of an individual who has been in a relationship for a really long time. Slowly but surely, this individual migrated from being the Fire to being the Water. Decades later, this person suddenly “woke up” to the realization that the life being lived was not the life desired. The immediate reaction was DIVORCE!

Luckily, after some soul-searching, that decision was retracted.. instead, communication was introduced. As I often advocate, it is essential for people in a relationship to be in constant communication. We should never let ourselves disappear! We may be acting as one while in a relationship, but at the core, we are two individuals. While both partners may not always agree on everything, that’s not the goal. The goal is simply to be aware of the individual needs of yourself as well as your partner, and to work cooperatively to support and manage those needs.

So the perfect relationship is an Earth/Earth?

Sure, In a perfect world. In this world, it’s a huge struggle to achieve that precision of balance. In any relationship, both partners need to give 100% of themselves.. dedication, honesty, consideration, and time. If you want to be single, be single. If you want a partner, BE a partner.

  • teleshka

    As who’s relationship is finally realizing what an earth/earth relationship can be about, this post really hits home. I know it’s cliche but I’m FINALLY learning what open communications are about, and how powerful it can be. However I’m not sure how well this can be taught as much as it needs to be realized by the individuals. It’s not an easy road however, being complacent and not rocking the boat is very tempting and definitely the easiest thing to do. For a time.