The Enneagram Type Compatibility Theory
Enneagram’s hyper-attunement to our limitations, triggers, and pitfalls can help us understand how to manage ourselves and relate to other types compassionately.
An Enneagram analysis reveals the inner workings of your romantic relationship and suggests a path of growth.
According to a certified Enneagram coach and author of the book The Enneagram in Love: A Roadmap for Building and Strengthening Romantic Relationships, by Stephanie Barron Hall, “each Enneagram type is driven by its own motivations resulting in different priorities in a relationship.”
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. It allows us to stop ascribing our motivations to our partner’s behavior.
Understanding the enneagram type combinations facilitate empathy and understanding for others’ points of view.
It also provides a framework for forging closer relationships and foreseeing potential problems down the line.
Hall says that relationships are often complex because we don’t know why things aren’t working. The Enneagram provides more insight into what’s working and what’s not so couples can support, understand and love one another better.
How Important Is Enneagram Compatibility?
Michael Shahan, an LMFT therapist, says there’s no perfect Enneagram pairing. Healthy people create healthy relationships.
Research has shown that Enneagram types do not significantly affect marital satisfaction. However, certain trends indicate which type is more likely to be together and what traits you should look for in a partner, depending on your type.
Hall says that the Enneagram focuses on underlying motivations and not outer behavior so all types can work well together.
Therefore, the Enneagram is not meant to be used to determine who can be excluded from the dating pool, but rather to help you grow and connect deeper with others.
What Are The Most Frequently Seen Enneagram Couples?
Below are common Enneagram pairings. We used research from Stephanie Hall’s book The Enneagram in Love, and Helen Palmer’s book The Enneagram in Love & Work.
Hall noted that certain combinations of relationship types are more common than others, but this doesn’t necessarily mean they are more compatible.
Type Ones with Sevens & Twos
Known as The Reformers in the Enneagram, Type Ones are dedicated and meticulous, with high standards, and attracted to people who can help them find beauty and joy in life’s imperfections especially when conflict arises.
One-Two partnerships are ideal because task-oriented Ones can become rigid. However, the heart-forward and attentive Two can offer warmth and encouragement to Ones who are trying to be honest and help them relax.
Ones provide stability and security for Twos, who have difficulty with abandonment. (Ones and Twos can also be Enneagram wings which may mean they have some overlapping traits.)
One-Seven partners are considered to be complementary relationships because they share an Enneagram connection.
Ones are drawn to their wild and irreverent nature. Joyful Sevens are a way for the well-informed, hardworking Ones to be more spontaneous and not feel guilty about having a good time while Ones give Sevens direction and purpose, grounding them.
Type Twos with Threes & Eights
The Helpers of the Enneagram are Type Twos. This self-sacrificing, compassionate, and nurturing type can give and take until they feel empty.
Because Twos have trouble communicating their needs, they must find someone who will be able to support them and not take advantage of their vulnerability.
A Two-Three partner shares similar interests, energy levels, and charisma, making it a high-energy partnership.
Charming Threes can inspire the Twos to focus on their potential instead of focusing their attention on others. Twos are able to unconditionally approve of their Three partners, who may struggle to identify with their work persona rather than their true self.
There are many similarities in a Two-Eight partnership because they share an Enneagram Line. Twos love the conviction and strength of the passionate Eight, who encourages them to take control of their power. Twos also help Eights let go of their walls and allow their soft side to shine through.
Type Threes with Nines
Type Threes are the Achievers in the Enneagram system.
Threes are driven, ambitious, and persuasive. They always want to achieve their highest potential. However, their image-oriented personality can make it challenging to be vulnerable and authentic.
The Three-Nine partnership allows the self-sacrificing Nines to support the Threes’ ambitions. They can innately accept the Threes for who they really are and not what they can do or achieve. Threes are deeply connected to their emotions because of the stability they have.
When in a relationship, Threes are also able to help the happy-go-lucky Nines find their place in the spotlight and appreciate and value themselves.
Type Fours with Nines & Fives
Type Fours are also known as the Individualists of the Enneagram. The sensitive Fours are self-aware, artistically inclined, and introspective and are attracted to authenticity and intensity.
Fours can get lost in daydreams and emotions, which can cause them to lose touch with reality and lead them to seek higher emotional states.
The Four-Five partnership allows the Fours to express themselves emotionally and can rely on the steady, straightforward Five to communicate their thoughts. The logical nature of Fives often supports the turbulent nature of Fours. Fours like Fives’ willingness to explore emotional depths and they can form a deep and stimulating relationship together.
Four-Nine partnerships bring intensity and passion to the quiet Nines. The Four feel secure because Nines are naturally open-minded and non-judgmental.
Type Fives with Ones & Twos
Type Fives are called the Investigators in the Enneagram. Fives are intellectual, private types who are curious, objective, analytical, and love to learn new things. Fives are more mentally focused than others and can live in their heads. This can make it take them longer to process emotions and communicate intimacy.
Fives find value in Ones’ independence, curiosity, and other common interests when in a relationship. The Ones also appreciate Fives’ non-judgmental nature and stability, which provides them with comfort. This partnership can create a solid foundation of trust and dependability.
A Five-Two partnership is said to be a true meeting of the opposites. Twos who struggle to define boundaries will find the Fives’ objectivity and strong boundaries attractive.
Fives that are independent usually want to be left alone and do not need help from Twos. As a result, this encourages Twos not to push for their boundaries and forces them to take care of themselves.
Instead, the people-oriented Two can bring comfort at home and bustling life to the dynamic in return.
Type Sixes with Nines
The Type Sixes are also known as Loyalists in the Enneagram.
The security-oriented Sixes are committed and trustworthy. They can also be anxious and suspicious and place great value on institutions and systems to feel secure. They thrive on stable and calm relationships.
This is a solid and complementary pairing in a Six-Nine partnership. The calm and peaceful Nines greatly support the Sixes to soothe their unending doubts. The Sixes provide unquestioned loyalty, predictability, and a sense of humor that encourages the Nines to get involved in everyday life.
Type Sevens with Nines
Type Sevens are also known as the Enthusiasts of the Enneagram. The Sevens are the jack of all trades and the most exuberant and playful. They want their lives to be filled with exciting adventures and many planned activities.
But the Sevens are a future-oriented group because they fear the anxiety of the present moment. This can lead to them being impulsive and flighty.
Seven-Nine partnerships are made up of free-spirited Sevens and cheerful Nines. They have a positive, sunny disposition. Sevens with a lot of energy can be a dynamic addition to a relationship. On the other hand, Nines can help Sevens slow down and take in the present.
Type Eights with Nines
Type Eights are also known as the Challengers of the Enneagram. The eights are powerful and confident and can dominate their reality. They also express their love through strength and protection. They can be forceful and aggressive because they won’t shy away from confrontation.
Eights tend to exude dazzling high energy and competence, which can be attractive to Nines, who tend to merge with strong personalities.
Nines love the Eights’ willingness to tackle challenges while Eights appreciate and find peace with the Nines’ calm energy.
Type Nines with Ones & Twos
Type Nines are also known as Peacemakers in the Enneagram.
Nines are calming and harmonious and can be supportive of a fault. However, their tendency to avoid conflict may make them more able to simplify and minimize problems.
Nines can be too comfortable, leading to insecurity and a lack of will to stand up for themselves.
Ones greatly benefit from the relaxed nature of the Nine in a Nine-One partnership. Ones are often a victim of their inner critic.
The gentle and agreeable Nine can help them reduce their fear about being right all the time. The peaceful Nine can benefit from the structure and clarity of a One.
On the other hand, in a Nine-Two relationship, both types can feel the same in how they interact or react to the world. The good-natured Nines appreciate the Two for who they really are and not what they can actually give.
The Nines are usually the priority and focus of Twos. This helps them to set a course and be active in their lives.
Do Pairings Of The Same Type Work Well?
Yes! It is possible to have an excellent partnership with a similar partner. Hall also states that sometimes deep similarity can be comforting validating, thus making a wonderful partnership.
Hall acknowledges that same-type pairings can be less common than other types, but that could be because “many of us” find that people who are too close to us can get on our nerves.
Shahan discovered that polarized couples (i.e., total opposites) could be attracted to each other because of their differences, and it can be attractive for one to learn from the other. Therefore, pulling each other towards the middle can be beneficial, even if you fall on opposite sides of the spectrum.
The Effect Of Gender On Compatibility
Since no one personality type is necessarily masculine or female, the Enneagram personality types were created for universal use.
However, some evidence from married couples shows that gendered expectations and cultural norms can be expressed in ways that influence how they relate to one another.
This could be males who have the nurturing, caring energy and intelligence of a Two or females who are energetically dominant and move around the globe as an Eight. Fives who seem distant and disconnected from their emotions are another example.
Shahan says that this can cause a lot of shame in their lives as they grow up and are told to behave a certain way.
One study that looked at 457 couples showed that gender plays a role in how frequently these combinations come up. This study found that “men and woman choose very different personalities to be their mates.”
Self-awareness and self-compassion go hand in hand. Your personality patterns will be running the show if you’re not self-aware.
Shahan says that knowing your Enneagram number will help you understand what drives you and will help foster successful relationships and to avoid negative issues. “The Enneagram can be used to make the covert obvious.”
Because each person brings their unique temperament, upbringing and experiences, it is impossible to say one Enneagram type is better than another (this is a common misconception).
The type compatibility of your partner and you are heavily dependent on psychological maturity. This is the key to the happiness success of your relationship.
The Enneagram is a way to look at the limitations and themes that might be part of a relationship.
There is no perfect Enneagram types pair. It’s up to you and your partner to work together to find balance and greater understanding.