| August 11, 2016

The majority of us will have many romantic relationships in our lives. Some will be short, some longer, and others we'll stay in even if we know the other person isn’t a match.

While we may allow certain relationships to last longer than they should, or occur when they really shouldn’t, psychologist and author Dr. Carmen Harra explains that the romantic relationships we experience each serve a different purpose in our love lives.

READ: 8 Signs You've Met Your Soulmate and Not Just a Partner

"There exist four types of love relationships," says Harra. "We may experience only one kind of relationship throughout our lives, or we may move through the full range of four."

Understanding the type of relationship we’re presently in is crucial to helping us in our quest for our one true love. Here are the four types of relationships we’ll experience, according to Harra:

#1. The Transient Relationship

A transitory relationship is just that: a transition. It acts as a bridge between two phases of life, whether to enact a shift in behavior or ease the burden of a sudden change, says Harra. "Transitory relationships are almost always temporary, but serve a great purpose in pushing a person from one level of self-transformation to the next," she says.

For example, a relationship that a newly divorced woman has may help her cope with the split. Or, a young boy or girl’s first long-term relationship may help them mature and learn some of their first lessons in love.

#2. The Karmic Relationship

Karma isn’t always a you know what. It’s the energetic accumulation of every one of our actions, both good and bad, and it has a reputation for repeating itself, says Harra. "A karmic relationship always entails some form of action that must play out within the couple, like the breaking of some pattern or cycle of recurring situations," she says.

READ: 12 Zodiac Match-Ups That Result in Awful Relationships

Once the karma is resolved and the purpose has been met, the relationship may come to an end. For example, perhaps after several years of dating the same type of person, you finally "woke up" one day and realized what you must do differently. 

"Karmic relationships are enriching experiences that can be progressive, elevating and fulfilling, whether temporary or for the long term," adds Harra.

#3. The Compromise Relationship

This is when two people come together and stay together because of reasons other than real love and happiness. In other words, a couple settles for each other. 

"Many relationships that are meant to end continue on because both partners have become very used to each other and find it difficult to part ways," says Harra.

As the most common of the four relationships, couples may have become so comfortable together that they often feel stuck. Children, and emotional and financial stability are some of the main reasons two people will stay in a compromising relationship even if they’re not truly happy or in love.

#4. The Soulful Relationship

What may be the hardest and rarest, the soulful relationship goes deeper than the physical and emotional level.

"This kind of relationship is marked by an intense connection between two people, one that may even be difficult to convey into words," says Harra.

READ: 10 Things Only Mature Adults Understand About True Love

Other signs of a soulful relationship include the feeling like you just "get" each other, and you can finish each other’s sentences. While soulmates will also experience problems throughout the course of their relationship, Harra says they will be able to resolve their issues more easily than couples who aren’t bound by soulful ties.

In short, the soulful relationship will last the test of time.