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Personality differences in relationships


It's been said that opposites attract, yet personality experts Barbara Barron-Tieger and Paul Tieger through their studies of hundreds of couples found that the more similar the personality types of the couples, the more satisfied they are with their communication.

However, this does not mean that you must find a soulmate with just your same type to build a satisfying relationship. In fact, the most common pairing among couples is two Myers Briggs type preferences in common, out of four total, or some similarities and some differences.


Different personality types have different ways of seeing the world. If we expect others, especially those closest to us like our significant other, to think the way we do, we're bound to be frustrated by the differences.

Myers Briggs with its four axes, makes the differences easier to discuss:

Introvert vs. Extrovert - whether you are energized by external interactions vs. internal thoughts and ideas.

Sensing vs. iNtuition - practical and realistic vs. abstract and imaginative

Thinking vs. Feeling - whether you make decisions based on facts and logic, vs. values and harmonious relationships

Judging/Percieving - whether you prefer finishing tasks and coming to decisions, vs. having options and flexibilities.

Enneagram with 9 different types are a bit more complex. You can think of it as 9 different internal drivers.

Other popular ways of looking at differences in relationships include the popular 5 love languages, or Mars/Venus. Keep in mind with the latter, some men are from Venus and some women are from Mars! In fact, A study by Bobbi Carothers and Harry Reis with over 13,000 individuals, published in The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, finds that men and women generally do not fall into different groups. "Thus, contrary to the assertions of pop psychology titles like Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, it is untrue that men and women think about their relationships in qualitatively different ways."

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Books for "Personality differences in relationships"

The Enneagram in Love and Work: Understanding Your Intimate and Business Relationships
By Helen Palmer
Review 1) She then proceeds to describe each type "in love" and "at work." In terms of love, these descriptions attempt to explain what it is like to "live with" each type, as well as that type's orientation towards intimacy and the "signals" (positive AND negative) they send to their intimate surroundings. In the "work" contexts, Palmer covers work style... more

Please Understand Me II: Temperament, Character, Intelligence
By David Keirsey
Review And he emphasizes the danger of what he calls the "Pygmalion Project," our tendency to interpret others' differences (from ourselves) as faults or misunderstandings to be corrected -- to try to change other people's basic nature, an endeavor which can only cause worse problems. Personally speaking, I've learned from Keirsey to better understand ... more

Just Your Type: Create the Relationship You've Always Wanted Using the Secrets of Personality Type
By Paul D. Tieger, Barbara Barron-Tieger
Review 1) Having established that, in my opinion this particular book is more valuable than any of the other books I own based on that personality test because it presents the various personaly types in a more practical manner: exactly how each of the other types is compatible or incompatible with you, and specifically how to interact with each of the oth... more

Are You My Type, Am I Yours? : Relationships Made Easy Through The Enneagram
By Elizabeth Wagele, Renee Baron
Review 1) I particularly like the book because it has application as to how the enneagram typing helps us understand not only ourselves, but how we interact with others. 2) Baron & Wagele have put together a light-hearted and eminently readable book, introducing readers to the personality types with the Enneagram-- in the context of relationships and ... more

Why Him? Why Her?: How to Find and Keep Lasting Love
By Helen Fisher
Review 1) The author strongly suggests that, if accurately assessed, that these four traits go a long ways toward predicting both attraction and aversion. In a study involving 28,000 members of a dating service, in choosing whom to meet for a first date, at a substantial statistically significant level, both Explorers and Builders seek each other, while D... more
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Enneagram Institute's Enneagram Type Combinations

Has good writeup on type-type combination and what's good about that match. For trouble spots, you'll have to sign up.

9Types Enneagram relationship stats

A study of 457 couples and their type combo frequency. Very interesting stats!

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