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  • Writer's pictureBzg

Is my Partner my Soul Mate or my Opposite Profile?

(By Nancy Sirker, BZG President)

In the month of love, it is certainly appropriate to ask ourselves whether we are "soul mates" or "opposite profiles" with our partner. There is a widespread belief that we go through life looking for our soul mate; that person with whom we have a strong affinity, the person who makes us fall in love just because he or she has the exact same personal characteristics that we have.

Actually, the principles that govern the way we select our life partner have little to do with a "soul mate" or " a perfect mirror"; the partner we choose to live with is often different from us, with other preferences (different from our own).

The Benziger Model is a very effective self-awareness explorative technique, based on the fact that each person has natural patterns that go from introversion to extroversion, as well as a thinking style, which confers upon him or her certain natural abilities and skills. With this in mind, I would like to highlight its importance in order to achieve a healthy coexistence with our partner. When it comes to love, there is no "one-size-fits-all" advice, however knowing one’s own preferences is very important when it comes to choosing the most suitable partner. For example, we can say that a person with Left Front Profile (with strong rational, analytical, negotiation traits) tends to conceive life in a very different way than a Right Rear Profile (which stands out for its sensitivity to harmony, its ability for interpersonal connection, and for its communication). These two profiles that -in principle- connect with reality in a different, practically opposite way, certainly, attract each other in the world of couples. In fact, when we look for a partner “for life” it is very common to be attracted to an "opposite", a Thinking Profile different from ours, someone who complements us and in some way gives us security in the areas where we ourselves assume weaknesses. Leaving aside Valentine’s Day for a while, we can say that when looking for a "lifetime " partner or when getting married, what we do is create an “integral brain”, because we find in each other’s Thinking Type (opposite to our own) a complement that guarantees us survival and long-term effectiveness.

We all share the need to learn and grow, and by choosing a partner whose brain thinks in a different (or opposite) way to ours, we create learning opportunities. The trouble is that over time of living together, some couples do not always experience these "learning experiences" as positive, and conflicts begin to arise, which paradoxically arise from opposing ways of thinking and doing.

Understanding and appreciating Type differences can help to navigate a relationship where the partner has the complete opposite personality type. It is about working through the challenges within the romantic relationship regarding our personality differences, and how these can be transformed into gifts to grow together and move forward. While there are particularities to consider when giving advice, depending on the thinking styles involved, let's consider five general tips to keep in mind when dealing with a partner whose preference differs from our own:

Tip 1: Keep in mind that variety is the spice of life. We are not all the same. Learning to appreciate the differences in a couple can be a fun exercise and an enriching experience. To begin with, let go of the idea that there is one right way to do things.

Tip 2: It is essential to be patient, with yourself and with your partner. Relating to people is not an easy task and you won’t do it perfectly (no matter how much you know).

Tip 3: Practice, practice, practice. Then practice a little bit more.

Tip 4: It is important to keep in mind that disappointment usually arises when we expect certain behavior and receive another. Therefore, we must learn not to assume a certain behavior from the other person (when we know that it is very difficult because of his or her personality type for him or her to undertake that behavior). For example, we cannot expect our (introverted) partner to talk easily with anyone, because it is very likely that this will not happen.

Tip 5: We must find ways to make it fun. Just because this is important does not mean it has to be serious. We can look for different ways in which our differences enrich us and make us grow as people.

Accepting our partner's personality differences requires a certain degree of discipline and of curbing our own narcissistic needs, letting the other person be the other person.

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