A graphic of some people with different types of food.

Romantic Relationship Archetypes: What they are and how they work

Are you lucky or unlucky in love? Well, it all depends on your archetype or role. We all behave differently in each of our relationships with different people. For example, in the boardroom, you may play a very decisive and opinionated role with others, but at home, you may prefer to be submissive and passive with your mate. These roles can either help create a powerful romantic connection or cause chaos that increases hopelessness, angst, and fear.

As a life coach for entrepreneurs, I am invested in teaching you how messages from the past impact your present life. In this article, we will explore romantic relationship archetypes and show you how to find a role that makes sense for you.

What is an archetype?

Carl Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, is well-known for his contributions to psychology, particularly his exploration of the concept of archetypes. Archetypes are universal symbols and themes that are fundamental and present in the collective unconscious of all humans.  Jung believed that these archetypes are inherited and play an essential role in shaping human behavior, thoughts, and emotions.

He discussed various concepts such as the collective unconscious, the shadow self, anima and animus, and dream analysis. For the purpose of this article, we will just focus on Jung’s perspective on how the shadow self can damage your interpersonal relationships.

Anima and Animus Energy

As humans, we are taught that doing good is necessary for feeling good, or we feel good to do good. Doing good is related to our intuitive nature, while feeling good connects to our instinctive nature. 

A feminine woman uses her instinctive feelings and masculine energy (animus) to protect herself from harm and is naturally passive, patient, and vulnerable. A masculine man relies on his intuitive thinking and feminine energy (anima) to achieve his goals and is competitive, dominating, and controlling by nature. 

To learn more about this concept, refer to the book “Invisible Partners” by John Sanford, which explores Carl Jung and his archetypes. Let’s also explore other ways in which a man and a woman can relate to each other in a romantic relationship.

Egosyntonic and Egodystonic

If you are grounded in your spiritual energy, you will do things that respect your feelings and thoughts. This is called egosyntonic. Unfortunately, due to maladaptive life scripts, you can actually sabotage yourself in all areas of your life, including your romantic life.

Now, let’s discuss maladaptive archetypes in relationships.

Maladaptive Romantic Relationship Archetypes

Wendy and Peter Pan

Did you know about the Peter Pan story? It is a fun and adventurous tale about a young boy who lives in the magical land of Neverland. Peter never wants to grow up and befriends the Lost Boys. Along the way, a young lady named Wendy joins them on their adventures. However, Wendy eventually realizes that Peter will never leave this unrealistic place.

Or will he?

Many women act like Wendy in this story, try to change their partner. The real question is, why? Wendy feels safe when she is able to yield power and control without resistance. She does things because she has suppressed her natural instinctual feelings in favor of her masculine intuitive thoughts. 

As a result, she looks for a Peter or a man-boy who wants to be led instead of taking the lead in their relationship. Unfortunately, being authoritative comes at a high cost. Peter, seething with suppressed rage, is prone to passive-aggressive tendencies. He may “forget” important tasks, make snide and patronizing comments, or avoid or abruptly end serious conversations.

This type of arrangement never works longterm, and Peter often finds a new woman who won’t complain about his immaturity. To make matters worse, the masculine woman may become emotionally or physically ill while trying to take care of her partner and neglecting her own health. Additionally, the children think that dominating and controlling behaviour is “normal”.

Accept or reject, but don’t tolerate an unsatisfactory relationship 

I see too many women with masculine traits who try to control and parent their partners. It often starts with the phrase, “He is good, but he could improve in specific areas.” Then comes the nagging, complaining, and controlling behavior. Sometimes, the man complies, but other times he becomes passive-aggressive and sabotages his own plans because he doesn’t like taking orders. 

Consequently, the woman becomes tired, resentful, and frustrated. However, she stays addicted to her controlling and manipulative behavior while the man becomes childish, hiding and sneaking around. That is no way to live.

Ladies, if he is not good enough, do not try to control him; find a better man. Immature men and women tend to act in strange yet predictable ways.

Gold Digger and Sugar Daddy 

Now I ain’t sayin’ she a gold diggerBut she ain’t messin’ with no broke ni***s 

Lyrics from Kanye West, “Gold Digger.”

We often glorify these individuals in movies, songs, and on social media. They sit on a Learjet, sipping Dom Perignon, while bragging about their latest exploits and adventures. These are the Gold Diggers who love the power, money, and fame that a Sugar Daddy can provide. Let’s delve into the details of this type of person.

Gold Digger

In case you’ve ever wondered why some women use men as a meal ticket, in the book “Fathers and Daughters” by Dr. David Appleton, he explains how women have three stages of emotional development: Eden (or early bliss), Adolescent Turbulence, and Separation. Some women never fully mature from the adolescent stage and constantly look for a man to extend their adolescence permanently. 

They’re the “Gold Digger,” constantly looking to take advantage of immature or vulnerable men. Kanye West famously rapped about them in his song “Gold Digger.” A few of Rupert Murdoch’s and Donald Trump’s former wives also fit into this category. 

Emotionally immature women just want to find a “Sugar Daddy” to absolve them of any financial responsibilities. They dress provocatively, wait outside sporting arenas, have sex with athletes or entertainers, and hang out with Wall Street executives and snort cocaine with them in nightclubs. There are many variants of these kinds of women.

Uber girl

Once, I had the unfortunate experience of being involved in a private women’s group that claimed to be for personal development and refinement. However, after two months, I realized it was nothing more than a gold diggers club. 

There was a young woman in the group who complained about something that I couldn’t believe was possible. She demanded that her dates arrange for her personal transportation using Uber Black, which is Uber’s luxury line. While I could understand if transportation was poor or unreliable, this was hardly the case for someone living in New York City, famously called the city that never sleeps. 

Yet, this “Uber girl,” as I liked to call her, complained to me and others about how she couldn’t find a man who would agree to her unrealistic terms and conditions.

One day, she informed me and the other ladies in our group that she was sexually assaulted while on a date with a Wall Street executive. Her date agreed to pick and drop her off via Uber Black and made arrangements for them to eat a Michelin grade restaurant. During their outing, he heavily drank (by the way men drink to knock out their intuitive thinking in order to access their instinctual feelings) and groped her during the evening.

I am not excusing this man’s behavior, but I want to illustrate a point. This Sugar Daddy wanted “payment” and he needed to lower his inhibitions in order to feel comfortable to receive it. 

Both Sugar Daddies and Gold Diggers are in a constant state of want to obtain either sexual or financial gratification. Now, let’s talk about the traits of the Sugar Daddy.

Sugar Daddy 

This man believes that with enough power and prestige, you can control all outcomes (and people). Therefore, he works to the bone to make sure he can get what he wants with minimal resistance. He is the man who will not hesitate to resort to intimidating words or actions to make sure things are done “right.”

Cougars and Gigolos

What is interesting about the Sugar Daddy and Gold Digger roles is that they can be switched. Well-financed, powerful, opinionated, and controlling women with a power streak are called “Cougars.” The musician Madonna is a classic example. Her toy boys or companions are referred to as gigolos.

A graphic of some people with different types of food.

Priest and Nun 

The world needs saving, and someone has to do it. Enter the priest or the nun. They feel mandated by a higher authority to feed the poor, fix global poverty, represent the disenfranchised, advocate for the needy, and perform a billion other tasks. These characters are too proud to label themselves as activists, civic leaders, and proud servants to the “greater good.”

In the beginning of your relationship, the nun or priest seems noble, humble, and dedicated. You can sit for hours as he or she pontificates about their cause. 

However, your relationship problems start when you ask them to spend time with you. This means taking time away from their main mission. Expecting them to do anything else is a fatal flaw on your part. The fact of the matter is they are already in a covenant relationship with their career. The nun or priest cannot tolerate anything or anyone that interferes with their pious goals.

The high priest and nun of Washington, D.C. politics

Being married to politics is never a good idea. Enter George and Kellyanne Conway. Although Catholics, their bigger love and affection are for anything surrounding 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. (the White House). They were so committed to their political endeavors that one chose to represent a controversial political candidate, and the other decided to create an organization designed to undermine their respective spouses’ political campaign efforts. While they put on a brave face publicly, no one could deny it negatively impacted their marriage. Finally, they acrimoniously separated in the midst of their daughter’s appearance in a sexually-oriented publication. Despite the destruction of their multi-decade union, they both are still heavily invested in politics.

Final Thoughts on Maladaptive Romantic relationships

I am often asked if it is possible to occupy more than one maladaptive romantic role. The answer is yes. Elon Musk, also known as the High Priest of Mars occupation, can easily occupy the priestly role of technological pursuits and then become a Sugar Daddy with his next lover. Furthermore, gigolos and Peter men share commonalities, both desiring a strong and powerful woman to provide for their sexual and financial needs.

While these archetypes may have been exaggerated for comedic purposes, the fact of the matter is that both women and men who mismanage their spiritual energy make a mess out of everything, including their relationships. We will close this article by discussing masculine men and feminine women.

Adaptive Romantic Relationship Archetype

Feminine Woman and Masculine Man 

In any project, there are leaders and followers. Too many cooks can mess up a dish, and this logic extends to romantic relationships. 

If two people want to be leaders and compete to make all decisions, they will inevitably experience a breakdown of communication. If they decide to stay together, they may do so for financial or career purposes, and seek a respective alpha (dominant) or beta (submissive) lover on the side. One can look to Hillary and Bill Clinton and countless other examples.

I know this may be irritating to 3rd or 4th wave feminists, but the fact remains: men and women cannot jockey for power and avoid negative fallout. Women must decide whether they want to be feminine or masculine. A feminine woman happily defers decisions and leadership to a controlling, competitive, and conquering man. 

Before you say, “Well, Denise, he is going to abuse me!” My answer is: “No, he won’t, if we were raised to listen and be attuned to your feelings. He will always take your feelings into account when making key decisions.”

Set the standard

A feminine woman does not need to test if her partner is worthy enough for her love. She sets her standards for the quality of the relationship and stays as long as she feels comfortable. In contrast, a masculine woman may use intimidation, threats, and manipulative behavior to subdue a man.

Special message for the lesbian and gay community

If you are gay or lesbian, this logic still applies. You must decide whether you want to exhibit masculine or feminine energy.

Next, I will share my final thoughts about romantic archetypes.

Final Thoughts on Romantic Relationships

Growing anything worthwhile is never easy, and this includes your romantic relationships. You owe it to yourself to use this article to see how your energy (masculine or feminine) impacts your past or present romantic relationships. 
You deserve to have a satisfying and nurturing relationship. As always, if you need help, consider working with me.
Dig deeper: Unsure if you were or are in a relationship with someone with an unstable personality? Click here to listen to this episode from my podcast or press the play button below.


The information in this article is for informational purposes only. No material in this article or website is to be a substitute for professional medical and/or mental health advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you read from me or anyone else online.

Also, this article is not designed to diagnose or treat you or anyone with a suspected mental health illness. Please, if you need help, seek appropriate help from a lawyer, health care provider or law enforcement officer.

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