This is excerpted from an article by Kathlyn and Gay Hendricks, authors of "Conscious Loving." (For a related article written by me a while ago, you can reference my piece, WHY RELATIONSHIPS "FAIL"-IN PURSUIT OF EROS.)

Here are the Hendricks, quoting from an important study. See if you're in there - if you dare!

"Some years ago John Cuber and Peggy Harroff did one of the few in-depth studies ever done on the relationships of successful people. From studying the relationships of 437 successful people, the authors found that 80% of the people they studied had unsatisfying marriages and long-term relationships. Only about 20% of the couples had relationships the authors called "Vital." The other 80% had three main styles of unsatisfying relationships:

1. Devitalized. In these relationships, the partners remained together in spite of having fallen out of love with each other years ago. They had been "going through the motions," sometimes for decades. The relationships often looked okay from the outside, but there was little or no passion between the individuals.

2. Passive-Congenial. In these relationships, the partners had never been passionate about each other in the first place. Their relationship was based more on affectionate friendship, much like business partners. Their expectations were low, so they were seldom disappointed with each other. Because of the low expectations, they didn't fight much and so remained together in a state of ho-hum harmony.

3. Conflict-Habituated. In these relationships, the partners had created a lifestyle based around constant conflict. Whether engaged in low-level bickering or heated conflict, they remained together as long-term combatants, interspersed with periods of truce. They seemed almost to thrive on conflict, which provided them with an adrenalin-infused state of ongoing arousal."


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