Is Your Enneagram Type Important In A Relationship?

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If you've scrolled through social media or listened to a personal development podcast in the last couple of years, you've probably heard of the Enneagram. In 2020, the Los Angeles Times declared that Enneagram tests were "having a moment," and the buzz hasn't stopped since. There are Instagram accounts dedicated to the Enneagram, online Enneagram courses, and books covering the ins and outs of the test.


However, the Enneagram isn't new. According to The Enneagram Institute, the system is rooted in ancient wisdom and was pieced together in its modern form in the 1960s. The Enneagram Institute explains that the test aims to illuminate truths about people based on their personality type (there are nine basic types, as well as secondary "wings"). The results can then be applied to everything from family life to work, though one of the juiciest ways to use Enneagram types is in relationships.

But does your Enneagram personality really matter for your love life, and are some types more compatible than others?

Here's how you can use Enneagram types in your relationship

According to Enneagram Explained, what sets the nine Enneagram types apart are their core motivations. Understanding personal motivators can help couples understand each other and work through conflict without taking their differences personally. Enneagram coach Stephanie Barron Hall told MindBodyGreen, "Most couples probably have at least a surface-level understanding of their differences and similarities before discovering the Enneagram, but the Enneagram offers a common language to discuss these tendencies."


Using the Enneagram system can make it easier for couples to name their personal needs, using the motivations and values ascribed to their type. Enneagram expert Elisabeth Bennett shared how the system has improved her relationship –- and how it can improve others' relationships, too -– on The Heart of Dating podcast. "Knowing about the Enneagram has helped me ... to not assume that [my husband Peter] thinks like I do. I think we all naturally feel like everyone else has the same motivations that we do and thinks like we do, until it's pointed out that we're just so different."

Are some Enneagram types more compatible than others?

Knowing your and your partner's Enneagram types can help you understand each other's perspectives, no matter how different they may be. But some may worry that there's such a thing as being too different and that it's better to pair with a similar Enneagram type.


However, many experts disagree with this idea. Gina Gomez, Enneagram educator and coach, told TZR, "When it comes to Enneagram pairings, there isn't a combo that is more successful than any other. ... This is because, in order to have a healthy and loving relationship, both people need a good dose of self-awareness and a willingness to doing the inner-work that's required to understanding and accepting each other." She argues that self-reflection is the key to a good relationship, not simply having the "right" personality type.

The research agrees. A 2015 Walden University study showed no correlation between Enneagram types and marital satisfaction. Instead, it found that attachment style may have an impact on relationship satisfaction. The Enneagram Institute says that someone's basic personality type can't change over time -– but thankfully, that's not so important for relationship success. What can change are personal habits, thought patterns, and how you understand your partner.