When Personality Types Clash

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Usually, personality types are an ignored aspect of romantic relationships.

It’s common to think that in an ideal world, all partners in a relationship would have similar personality types.

The thinking being that similar personality types will make for a compatible and harmonious relationship. However, that’s a very limited and often inaccurate view.

The truth is that any personality types can be compatible, no matter how different. In order to be successful though, some tools are required. Here is a crash course.

Kind & Clear Communication

One of the most important keys to a successful relationship is communication. It’s crucial that you share your wants, needs, and feelings with your partner. You also need to do this consistently, this isn’t a one-and-done activity. Try setting up a monthly check-in with your significant other where you can talk about anything that’s arisen for you during the month. The sooner you can talk about your feelings the better. Bottled up thoughts often lead to explosive words, which aren’t helpful for anyone.


Especially when dealing with a clash in personality types, communication is an absolute must. I always remind clients that any desires they have for a relationship are valid. They should communicate them to prospective and current partners so that everyone can be on the same page. All too often expectations are unspoken and unmet, and resentment starts to form. It’s very detrimental to the health of a romantic relationship to punish a partner for something they don’t even know about.


Self Awareness

Communication sounds good and well, but it’s impossible without self-awareness. You can’t talk about your feelings if you don’t know what they are. When one partner blames the other for their own problems, ones they should be addressing themselves, they are punishing their partner for their own issues. Not cool. 

There are many ways to improve self-awareness. Therapy, counseling, coaching, talking with family and friends, meditation, walks in nature, exercise, and journaling can all be helpful. Experiment to see what works best for you, often times it’s a combination of modalities.

When you have two people with very different personality types trying to work towards a common goal (a happy and healthy relationship), self-awareness is key to success. Understand the factors and influences that you’re bringing to the table in your relationship, and be sensitive to how they may affect your partner and the relationship.



Judgement Free Zone

Judgment is a sure fire way to destroy connection, intimacy, and sexuality. It has no place in a healthy relationship. You don’t have to like everything your partner does, but you should communicate why to them, in a kind and productive manner, instead of judging them.

Particularly when each partner has a different personality type, sometimes judgment trickles in because your partner is doing something differently than you would. Different doesn’t mean bad, so leave the judgment out of it, and be inquisitive about your partner instead.  


Supporting and Uplifting

Part of embracing the differences between you and your partner is supporting and uplifting them as they are, instead of judging them or trying to make them more like yourself. Encourage them in all their endeavors and celebrate their successes. Make sure you both take time to do solo activities, spend time with friends and family without your significant other,  and continue to explore the hobbies and activities you enjoyed before the relationship.


This creates a level of emotional distance between you. This can be a confronting concept for some, but it’s actually very beneficial for long term success in romantic relationships. Honor your differences, including a difference in personality types. This also creates more eroticism and excitement that can be maintained long term.

As Ester Perel, Belgian psychotherapist and writer says:

“We long to create closeness in our relationships, to bridge the space between our partner and ourselves, but, ironically, it is this very space between self and other that is the erotic synapse. In order to bring lust home, we need to re-create the distance that we worked so hard to bridge. Erotic intelligence is about creating distance, then bringing that space to life.”

Celebrate your differences, support and uplift your partner, and create healthy emotional distance, in order for long term romantic success, and eroticism to bloom.


Prioritizing Intimacy

You know this wouldn’t a Sex with Emily blog without us talking about sex! While personality styles can create some challenges to the romantic aspects of a relationship, that very same friction can create fantastic sex. Keep an open mind to the ways your partner is sexually different than you, and explore the aspects you’re most comfortable with.


Try filling out this list with your partner to see where your sexual differences and similarities line up. Sexual differences can create so much expansion in relationships, so keep an open mind, leave the judgments at the door, and enjoy sexual exploration together.

Try to prioritize intimacy in the relationship, it’s so beneficial for success in long term relationships. It doesn’t always have to be penetrative intercourse either. Open up your definition of sex. Sometimes it might just be massages, a long makeout session, or mutual masturbation. If finding the time for sex is difficult, try scheduling it. Scheduling sex can be really sexy, so don’t knock it till you try it.


Top Tips For Successful Relationships With Clashing Personality Types:

-Clear, kind, consistent communication is key. Set a monthly relationship check-in to get into the habit.

-Focus on your own self-awareness and self-improvement so you can be as healthy of a partner as possible.

-Be sensitive to how your distinct personality type affects your partner and the relationship.

-Be inquisitive about your partner, instead of judgemental of your differences.

-Celebrate and support the differences between you, creating healthy emotional distance in order for a successful long-term relationship to thrive. With eroticism, as well as intimacy.

-Prioritize sex and embrace your sexual differences. Use them as opportunities for exploration instead of barriers to intimacy.


For more info on Personality Types, stay tuned for Emily’s podcast episode with Helen Fisher. Don’t forget to take Helen Fisher’s Personality Quiz for yourself to learn more about who you are, whom you seek and how you love.


Isabella Frappier is an Australian ex-pat living in LA, who swapped gumtrees for palm trees. She’s a writer and a holistic Sexuality Doula, who specializes in body literacy, sexual sovereignty, and BDSM.
She is also a host on the popular new Sex Magic Podcast. When she’s not busy championing her sex positive agenda, she—oh wait—she’s always busy doing that. Follow her adventures on Instagram.
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