Some people claim to know upon sight when they've met their soulmate, allowing for fate and chemistry to inform their gut and heart. Others have a more analytic approach to relationships, creating lists of must-haves or dealbreakers with which their ideal mate will align. If you're the type who approaches dating more psychologically or scientifically, you may have even taken a few personality tests for couples to determine compatibility or lasting power. But can such tests actually tell you whether or not you and your significant other make for a good match? And if so, which ones are most useful?
If you think about it, much of modern dating technology is dependent upon tests of some sort. Dating apps allow you to meet matches based on similarities (from musical tastes to religious beliefs) that are collected through a series of questions and prompts. However, some people might choose to take this idea a step further, investigating the results of personality tests like Myers-Briggs or Enneagram types as a way to learn about themselves or potential/current mates on an even deeper level.
While those aforementioned tests aren't geared specifically towards determining how someone will react in relationships, a few others — like attachment styles and love languages — are actually designed with that purpose in mind. To break each of these down, as well as explain their potential role in relationships, Rachel Thomasian, Executive Director and therapist at Playa Vista Counseling and relationship expert and author of BreakUp & BreakOut: Helping You Gracefully Navigate Your Breakup In Order To Live Your Best Life spoke to TZR, sharing what you may want to know before diving into one with your significant other.
Personality Tests For Couples: Myers-Briggs
"The Myers-Briggs test helps us understand how we perceive the world and make decisions based on four categories: introversion/extraversion, sensing/intuition, thinking/feeling, judging/perceiving," Thomasian explains. The results determine which of 16 personality types best describes you (for example, ISTJ — or introverted sensing thinking judging — types are deemed practical, logical, and loyal). Identifying your or your partner's personality type can then allow you to better examine the various ways you'd handle certain situations — some combinations supposedly being better aligned than others.
"We can measure things like shared values, the ways in which each of us give and receive love, and how we make sense of our worlds, all of which I think are easier to share with a partner than to be on opposite ends of the spectrum," says Thomasian. But while she notes that connection can come more naturally to those with similar outlooks, a test like this shouldn't be the sole factor in determining the success of your relationship. Rather, it could be done as a fun activity that could provide you each with more insight.
Personality Tests For Couples: Enneagram
"The Enneagram uses a system of nine personality types: Perfectionist, Helper, Performer, Romantic, Observer, Loyal Skeptic, Epicure, Protector, and Mediator," Thomasian explains. "These can provide frameworks of the strengths and weaknesses of each combination of personality type."
As is the case with the Myers-Briggs test, knowing your Enneagram type could allow you or your partner to better understand how you approach situations and make decisions, but Thomasian notes that once again there are other important factors to weigh in to get the full view of your compatibility. "It's the experience of each unique couple and how they make their differences work that's more telling of that," she says.
Personality Tests For Couples: Love Languages
"The Love Language test helps us understand how we prefer to express and receive love, whether it's gifts, physical touch, quality time, acts of service, or words of affirmation," Thomasian says, explaining that this test is more often used by herself and other relationship counselors. "The importance of knowing our own and our partner's is that it helps us connect with them in a language they speak instead of one they will not understand."
Personality Tests For Couples: Attachment Style
According to psychologists, your attachment style is formed very early in life, typically based upon your relationship with your primary caregiver. The style you develop — secure, dismissive-avoidant, anxious-preoccupied, or fearful-avoidant — can set the tone for all other adult relationships, including romantic ones. "I actually do think attachment styles are a good indicator for compatibility," says Thomasian. "Ideally we're looking for two people with secure attachments — this combination makes for the healthiest relationship." However, she believes such a test works best when used in combination with an Enneagram or Myers-Briggs test, which would add in the element of shared interests and temperament.