All sorts of factors enter into how we choose a mate. Where we live plays a large part in determining the people we meet likewise our age, race, religion, and educational level influence our range of romantic contacts. For some, there are obligations of social class to satisfy, family expectations to consider, or economic circumstances to take into account. And certainly our physique makes us attractive to some and not to others, as well as attracting us to some and not to others. And yet, another factor involved in our choice of mate, at least as powerful if not more, is our personality type. Given a number of choices, determined by all the other factors-national origin, social background, physical attraction, and so forth-we will select our mate according to personality style. After all, what do we mean when we say that a person is, or is not, our type? For some this might have to do with the physical appearance, indicating a preference for a certain height, weight, hair color, or the like.Adult dating progression
ENFJ Relationships 16Personalities
But more often the phrase 'my type' suggests an awareness that we are most attracted to, and get along best with, a particular sort of person. People have long tried to identify some such categories of personality in their dating partners, even looking to questionable astrological signs for clues to character, and devising popular classifications such as the strong, silent type or the girl-next-door, the gentleman or the party girl, just to name a few. At the outset, it should be emphasized that there are no right or wrong attractions in individual cases, any personality type can be attracted to any other, and for all sorts of reasons. On the other hand, romantic attractions are not random nor indiscriminate. Attractions show clear patterns and frequencies. In other words, persons of certain personality types tend to be attracted to persons other personality types, and if they botch up the mating somehow, they are likely to, and again marry, another person of the same personality style as their first mate. But which personality styles are most often attracted to each other? Like is attracted to like is most applicable in those factors that were listed earlier age, religion, education level, etc. Etc.
The belief that opposites attract could be applied somewhat to personality types but this isn't exactly true. Rather it is best to think of personality types complementing each other. Every personality type has its strengths and its weaknesses. It would be natural to be attracted to a personality type that is complementary to ones own, a type that bolsters the weaknesses of ones own personality type. The most frequent mating appears to be between SP Experiencers and SJ Traditionalists, which is neither exactly a matter of like attracting like nor opposites attracting. SP's and SJ's share concrete thought and speech, but differ in how they implement their goals, SP's preferring to use tools in a utilitarian way, SJ's in a morally cooperative way. Attraction is one thing, but living together is something else. But after the honeymoon is over, when the traits of the character of both mates begin to reveal themselves in sharper relief, and the give-and-take of living with another person becomes an everyday reality, the force of the personality styles comes even more prominently into play. There are certain strengths and weaknesses to each personality type pairing, strengths and weaknesses which have to do with similarity and complementarity.
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When both mates communicate primarily about what they can observe (S), or about what they can imagine (N), they quickly realize that they are sending and recieving on the same wave-length as their partner. SP's mated with SJ's and NT's mated with NF's thus know where each other is coming from or getting at in their messages, and there is pleasure, and strength, in this common bond. Another observation is that ES Amiables and the IN Drivers are often found paired in first marriages (ES married to an IN) as well as IS Analyticals and EN Expressives first marriage pairs (IS married to an EN). With second marriages, S marriages (IS or ES to paired to an IS or ES) are more likely to dominate as well as with N marriages (IN or EN paired with an IN or EN). Remember familiarity breeds contempt, and if not contempt, at least boredom, and perhaps rivalry. In ancient Cyprus, a king named Pygmalion, unsuccessfully set out to seek a woman whom he felt would be his equal. Upon not finding such an equal, he had commissioned an ivory statue of what he considered to be the perfect woman. He worked long and hard at his work. When he finished, it was so perfect to him, that he fell in love with the statue but alas, his object of desire was stone.
The goddess of love, Aphrodite, took pity on him and made his statue come to life. It is this analogy, of Pygmalion creating his perfect mate, that the name Pygmalion Project comes from. The intention to reform our mates is the Pygmalion Project. The Pygmalion Project is not only the PRIMARY SOURCE OF BROKEN MARRIAGES, but a common source of irritation in even the best of marriages. We go to all the bother of finding mates more or less UNLIKE ourselves, to complement our personality type's weaknesses-in some cases exactly opposite in all important respects-and then we pullout all the stops in our attempt to transform them into our own image. Pygmalion had the benefit of a magical goddess to aid him in his transformation, something that we do not have. Although there is no way we can transform our mates into ourselves, we all seem to want to try it, and the attempt does great damage. I want you other than you are. Here it is only fair to see a little Pygmalion in all of us, an all-too-human desire to control our nearest and dearest, to shape them according to our wishes.
Yet, consider the supreme irony were we to succeed in transforming our loved ones. Attracted in the first place by their differences, can we be anything but dissatisfied by changing them into copies of ourselves? Or is our desire to control our mates more satisfying than accepting them and loving them as the persons they are? This does not mean that we should only marry someone exactly like ourselves. Many of the joys of complementarity-the delightful sparks that fly from reconciling different styles-would surely be lost if we only married our exact likenesses. And, indeed, observation shows that types who are exactly alike (two ISTJ's or two ENTP's) are highly unlikely to marry each other. No, we seem to prefer opposition on some small level in our mates, and Pygmalian Projects happen to be the price we have to pay. The solution to the Pygmalian Project. .
Suppose we could recognize our natural impulse to reform our mates, pause each time the impulse strikes, and hold our tongue-then some interesting phenomena might begin to appear. For example, if we could suspend our efforts toward trying to make our mates change in our direction -to become more adventurous, or more reliable, or more soul-searching, or more rational, then we might, just might, remember to appreciate what attracted us to them in the first place.