A year after Lorenzo and I were married, we had a difficult time. No matter how much we loved each other, it seemed we were constantly fighting.

We couldn't agree on anything.

Not only were we challenged with the obvious...he's a man and I'm a woman...we had the added complication of Lorenzo being French/Italian and my being American. (Let's just say...I'm not fluent in French or Italian. And his English was "basic".)

I thought we were just having "communication problems". Wrong.

According to Dr. Pat Allen, we were in two completely different styles of relationships.

You might say I was in a "romantic comedy" and Lorenzo was in a "romantic tragedy". (French/Italians can be soooo dramatic!)

No wonder we weren't getting along!

We weren't even on the same stage! We were "acting" in two very different shows.

Understanding our Style of Relationship saved our marriage!

It's my bet that many couples would stay together longer if they understood they weren't in the same relationship style as each other...AND knew what to do about it!

So what Relationship Style do you prefer? And are you in the same style as your partner?

You have three choices.*

* You can change your relationship styles with days of the week (or hours in a day). The secret is to be in the SAME RELATIONSHIP at the SAME TIME as your partner.

BTW...These Styles of Relationships apply in ALL romantic relationships...Straight, Gay or Lesbian.

1. The Buddy Film

This is a relationship of equality. Both partners share 50/50 percent of the responsibility.

Both partners contribute financially. Both partners contribute to the homemaking.

Both partners want to be respected for their thinking and cherished for their feelings.

Both partners can lead. Both partners can follow. Just not at the same time.

This style of relationship works very well with dual income families, couples without children and couples who have children who have grown and gone. (It also seems to be the preferred style of the "younger generation".)

The secret to keeping romantic intimacy in a "Buddy Film" is to "cross-talk" with your partner.

When one partner wants to be respected for his or her thinking, he/she must ask how their partner feels about it.

The same is true when one partner wants to share feelings. It's best if he/she asks what their partner thinks.

If you tell your partner what you think then ask what he/she thinks...you're striking a business deal.

Sharing feelings to feelings is a friendship.

(Not saying you can't have "business deals" and "friendships" inside of a romantic relationship...there are appropriate moments for sure...just be aware!)

2. Romantic Tragedy

This is the most passionate Style of Relationship. And by far the most dramatic.

It can also be a lot of fun.

Until your body gives out and your emotions are crazed.

And you could die.

Seriously. (Remember O.J., anyone?)

A Romantic Tragedy is your classic "co-dependent" relationship. It's often known as "Master/Slave".

It's a relationship style where one partner is respected for his/her thoughts AND feelings. And the other partner gets no vote.

Then the roles change.

"I love you. I hate you. I love you. I hate you."

You come, you go, you come, you go.

Well...You get the idea.

3. Romantic Comedy

Romantic Comedy is the most intimate Style of Relationship.

It's also the most clumsy.

You're more likely to stumble over your partner's toes.

A Romantic Comedy is like a waltz. It's a relationship with one designated leader and one designated follower.

In DUTY DATING, I used the example of one designated driver and one designated passenger.

The driver of the relationship is respected for his/her thoughts.

The passenger is cherished for her/his feelings.

The driver makes the plan. The passenger expresses how she/he feels about it.*

* The power of the passenger is the "Veto" vote. When anything doesn't feel good or is illegal, immoral or unethical, the passenger can say "NO WAY".

REMEMBER: If you have two drivers in a relationship, you'll fight over the wheel. If you have two passengers, you'll never get anywhere.

So you gotta decide.

Which Style of Relationship is right for YOU?