I don’t think there’s a person out there who doesn’t want to get to know their partner better and understand how they see and process things. It can be really difficult to get into a relationship with someone and have to try to learn everything about them in a short amount of time. Even though knowing your other half entirely and understanding them throughout is a tall order for anyone, especially a couple that might have just begun dating, it’s always nice to have a wealth of information and knowledge about your partner that you can use when you’re trying to see the world through their eyes.
Even though it’s often easier said than done to know someone’s personality, there are a number of tests out there that can help provide insight into your partner’s innermost thoughts, feelings, and fears.
One of our favorite personality tests is the Enneagram. While we’ll explain the Enneagram and its intricacies further throughout the article, the reason we love to employ what we can learn from this test in our relationships is that the test and the results that people glean from it don’t just skim the surface, but it does a deep-dive into every section of a person’s life and how they look at and approach the world.
If you’re looking to know your partner more and explore the fears or inhibitors they have surrounding how they see the world, you might want to invest a considerable amount of time and energy into researching the Enneagram and each of your individual types, as well as the results the two of you might glean from those results.
What Is the Enneagram?
Although this personality test is newer to our culture, the examination and the nine personality types it lays out have been around for many years. The idea of the Enneagram was initially created by the philosopher George Gurdjieff in 1915. Still, it wasn’t until the 1960s that the points were laid out on a diagram, and people began to do a deep dive into what the nine personality types meant.
In short, the Enneagram is an advanced personality test with nine personality results, all of which have two variations on them, and everyone in the world fits into one of those nine categories.
I understand that if you have a background of familiarity with the Myers-Briggs personality test, you might be questioning the validity and the success of the Enneagram’s limited nine types, but people have been using the Enneagram to understand their partners and friends for some time now, and it’s one of the most valuable options that people can employ to get to know their partners.
One of the best things that the Enneagram’s results do is that they allow anyone who knows their Enneagram type to see what their basic fears, desires, and instincts are at any given moment. While we do hesitate to say that using the Enneagram is a fool-proof system, and it will always answer all of your questions, it is good to have the test’s results and information at hand if you’re trying to learn about and understand your partner on a deeper level. Of course, there’s always room for growth and further learning, but the Enneagram is a fantastic base to go off of.
How the Enneagram Can Help You Learn Your Partner’s Biggest Relationship Fear
The Enneagram is unique in that the test is mainly oriented toward how people react and act in relationships. Relationships are integral to many people’s ways of life, and we’re often formed by the relationships we had as children in ways that we might not even notice until we’re much older, if ever.
But one of the biggest benefits to knowing your partner’s Enneagram type is learning their biggest fears, especially when it comes to a relationship.
Every type has a basic fear in life. Whether or not you will always identify with that fear or that fear will always be present in your personal life is somewhat up to interpretation, but it’s good to at least recognize what that fear is and why it plays such a big part in your life.
Not to mention, when you’re in a relationship with someone, it’s good for them to know your greatest fears when it comes to the relationship, so they can seek to avoid triggering those feelings and ensure that you feel safe in every aspect of your relationship.
If you’re curious as to what each Enneagram type’s biggest relationship fear is, keep reading!
Enneagram Ones – Being Vulnerable with Others
Ones are the perfectionist of the Enneagram. While some may call this type stuck up or too strict, Ones often operate this way because they live with a crippling fear of what messing up or dropping the ball might do to them and how it might negatively affect them.
Because of this fear, Ones can often find it difficult to get vulnerable with others, for fear that they’ll get hurt or abandoned when they finally drop their shield and become ‘real’ people.
Ones are often the type that has worked all of their lives, keeping their emotions in and not letting anyone ever see the real and vulnerable side of themselves out of the fear of rejection. Ones also fear letting others see their mistakes and criticize them because they never want to be labeled as ‘bad’ or ‘wrong.’
If you’re in a relationship with a One, understand that it might be hard for them to be vulnerable and open up to you. Instead of reprimanding them for shutting you out, make sure that you’re encouraging and loving them, especially when they’re hardest on themselves.
Enneagram Twos – Being Unworthy of Love
The Enneagram Two is the helper of the Enneagram. These are the people who will literally give you their kidney if you ask for it.
While Twos might seem like the perfect partner, their actions often come from a place of deep insecurity. Most Twos believe that if they don’t work to be perfect and loving partners in their relationship, their partners will leave them, and they’ll be alone.
If you’re in a relationship with a Two, you might have to encourage them and remind them of how much you love and appreciate their presence in your life because the Two often tend to forget all that they bring to the table.
Enneagram Threes – Being Insignificant or Failing
While every Enneagram type is somewhat motivated by fear, Enneagram Threes will rearrange their lives in order to avoid their fears.
Threes often have a difficult time connecting to their emotional sides and can often be guilty of making things appear perfect when they’re not. Because of this, Threes will often avoid feeling any of their emotions until they’re alone and can be guilty of becoming robotic and fake to keep up appearances.
If a Three has messed up or feels and semblance of shame, they will often do everything in their power to cover that mistake up and almost over-correct to ‘make everything right again.’
If you’re in a relationship with a Three, it’s good to remind them that emotional vulnerability is not a sign of weakness or failure but an indication of strength. It’s also good to note that you might be the only person who your Three feels comfortable showing their vulnerable side, so make sure that you give them the proper assurance and love when they do.
Enneagram Fours – Not Being Significant
We all know the people who have to be the most unique person in the room. These are often the people who, for better or for worse, will find a way to make most things about themselves and stand out in every single circumstance, even when it’s not about them. These are the Enneagram Fours of the world.
Enneagram Fours, or as they’re often labeled, the romantics of the Enneagram, have a deep fear of being insignificant in life. Because of this, Fours will almost always try to make themselves seem more interesting, mysterious, or desirable than they actually are.
Even though Fours by nature are fascinating people and often stand out from the crowd without trying to if you notice that your partner is laying it on a little thicker than usual or they seem to be vying heavily for your validation, take some time to affirm them and tell them that you see and cherish who they are as a person. Sometimes, that’s all they need to hear.
Enneagram Fives – Being Overwhelmed
Fives are often labeled as one of the most introverted types in the Enneagram. If you’re in a relationship with a Five, you’ve probably had the thought that they would be just fine if you left them, and honestly, they might get more accomplished if they were left alone.
Fives strive to be the most knowledgeable about their preferred subjects, and they often pride themselves in their ability to work through things.
That being said, when a Five is presented with something that their knowledge can’t fix, their insecurity starts to creep in, and they have to fight the feeling that their core identity and the value they bring to the table is falling apart.
If you’re in a relationship with a Five, allow them to take the reigns and work on their own, but also let them know that it’s okay for them to share the burden with you when it gets to be too much. It might also be good to work with your Five partner and see what burdens you can take on and be responsible for so they won’t get overwhelmed in the future.
Enneagram Sixes – Being in Danger
Sixes are the loyalists of the Enneagram, meaning that they will fiercely protect and defend their partners, no matter what. Sixes are often labeled the worriers of the Enneagram as well. These are the people who are often unnecessarily over-prepared for anything to go wrong, and they spend most of their lives making sure that they feel safe and secure.
Because of this, as soon as something that might pose a threat comes into the picture for a six, their fight or flight responses go off, and they immediately start thinking about the worst-case scenario.
While Sixes are terrified of being in danger, they’re equally as terrified of seeing their loved ones in danger. Because of this, you might need to reassure your Six that they’re safe and you’re okay, even when trouble might pop up. It’s also okay to help your partner understand that they can’t control every possible scenario, and that’s okay.
Enneagram Sevens – Missing Out on Life
If you’re in a relationship with someone who identifies as an Enneagram Seven, you’re very used to unplanned dates, impromptu trips, and a constant feeling of movement in your life.
Sevens hate standing still and letting life pass them by. To avoid that, they will almost always find something to do or plan something extreme — anything to avoid the terrible idea of sitting still and not taking every chance they get to have fun.
Because Sevens are so oriented and programmed to always be in motion and go to the next big thing, it can be hard to feel like you’re settled down with your Seven, and both of you feel content with life. In fact, the Seven’s basic fear is being stuck in a rut and missing any opportunity.
If you’re in a relationship with a Seven, remind them to see the good in everything and start enjoying the little things that life brings them instead of always chasing the newest, shiniest option. It might be hard to corral them, but a Seven just wants to be reassured that it’s okay to be content with their life as it is and that they don’t have to constantly move on as soon as they think they’ve found joy.
Enneagram Eights – Being Harmed or Controlled by Others
The Enneagram Eight has earned its label of the challenger of the Enneagram diagram. Eights are the people who will always play Devil’s advocate or find something to get a bit riled up about no matter what. They love to be challenged and stimulated in a relationship, but they also want everyone around them to know that they are in control and have a handle on everything around them.
That being said, eights are also the fierce protectors and strongest safe houses of the Enneagram. If you have an Eight on your side, you will be in good hands for the entirety of your relationship.
As children, Eights felt as though they weren’t in control of their situation, so they had to adapt to their circumstances and become the fierce protectors that we now know and love them as.
Even though an Eight might seem calm and collected, they can spiral quickly if they feel as though they’re in a dangerous situation or someone is trying to control them. Because the Eight’s childhood trauma was one of the most powerful and pivotal parts of their lives, the Eight does everything in their adult life to not go back to the feelings and situations that they spent years escaping from. If an Eight feels like their partner is trying to control them or cause them any kind of harm, their fight or flight instincts will kick in, and their worst fears will be realized. When Eights feel they’re being limited or silenced in their relationship, Eights will often fight the urge to run for the hills.
Because of this, it might be difficult to get your Eight to open up and get vulnerable with you because they might feel as though you’re telling them to let their guard down. It can also be difficult to feel as though you’re on equal footing when you’re in a relationship with an Eight.
If you want to love your Eight, try not to micro-manage them and always tell your feelings to them straight. Eights hate dishonesty, and they would rather get to the core of the issue than have someone beat around the bush about it.
Enneagram Nines – Loss and Separation
Nines are the peacekeepers on the Enneagram, and because of that, they value their relationship with others above almost everything else. Nines feel unbalanced and uncomfortable when things get a little messy and when they’re separated from the people they love most.
Nines hate anything that has to do with disruption, chaos, or conflict, and they will actively avoid dealing with any of those topics when they’re with their partners for fear that it will lead to the end of a relationship.
If you’re in a relationship with a Nine, we’re not asking you to completely brush any tense or uncomfortable topic under the rug, but ensure your Nine that everything is okay and you still love and respect them, even when they do something wrong. Nines need encouragement in their lives, and they need to have affirmations ensuring that they’re doing okay and on the right track.