Most individuals who study the Enneagram eventually ask themselves: "What kind of instinctual match would be the best for me in a romantic relationship?"
Of course individual preferences vary, but there are two main factors that determine how helpful and satisfying an instinctual match is for you in a romantic (long-term) relationship:
Your first instinct being "soothed" by your partner (through their second, most balanced instinct) and/or you both being on the same wavelength – in the same "flow".
SX first individuals typically yearn for finding that “special someone”, so their priority should be finding someone who is “good” for them. Is that a fellow SX first person?
SX first people fare the best with someone who is actually not a fellow SX first individual.
This may seem counterintuitive – because SX first people desire close intimacy so much, shouldn't they be with another SX first person? But the opposite is true. We often desire what is not the best for us. With SX first people, they too late (or not at all) realize that a fellow SX first person brings a very similarly neurotic attitude towards SX into the relationship (at average to unhealthy mental levels), which is rather counterproductive to the couple's welfare. The shared obsession with SX intimacy can lead to isolation, addictions, and more. Additionally, SX first people have a tendency to "give their all" in romantic relationships, and can "lose" themselves in them, so it is best when their partner brings a much more balanced attitude towards SX into the relationship, so that neither one of them gets "burned out". A person who is SX blindspot won't be able to provide them with enough balanced intimacy, similarly to a fellow (average to unhealthy) SX first person, as well as not value it enough. In contrast, SX secondary people have the most balanced view on intimacy and SX matters (at average to healthy mental levels).
Following that, the best match for SX/SO is SP/SX or SO/SX, and for SX/SP it is SO/SX or SP/SX.
The only aspect that makes the same flow matches not the clear “winner” is the fact that one person’s first instinct is the other’s blindspot, which can lead to the SX partner being uninterested by the main concerns of their partner, and also create a certain lop-sidedness.
For example, while the Sx/Sp individual benefits a lot from the balanced view on Sx from the So/Sx person, the latter does not get their So instinct-related neuroses soothed. However, the upside to this match is the fact that both people are in the same flow and hence have the same attitude towards life. It could be concluded that the ideal scenario for this match would include a healthy So/Sx individual – because in that instance, their amount of neuroses would be rather small and less significant. However, a couple like this will go through tough times when the So/Sx person becomes unhealthy – their So-related neuroses emerging, they will seek out help in that area, which the Sx/Sp person is unable and unwilling to give.
In that respect, the exchange between Sx/Sp and Sp/Sx would be more stable and equal, both individuals benefitting from the other’s second instinct – but at the cost of moving “against” the other’s life direction in some way or another, being in opposite flows. Also, one instinct (their shared blindspot) would continuously get neglected in the relationship, which might be negative. That is why the opposite flow match is not the sole “winner”, but on the same level as the same flow match.
SX last individuals usually feel like they have a myriad of other things to do rather than to focus their attention on finding (and keeping) a romantic relationship.
SX last people may grow the most in a relationship with someone who is not a fellow SX last person. However, SX being their blindspot and therefore low on their list of relationship requirements, they will naturally gravitate towards to and feel the most comfortable with someone who shares all of their values and won't try to "push" them for any special kind of intimacy.
Following that, the best match for SO/SP is SO/SP or SP/SO, and for SP/SO it is SP/SO or SO/SP.
Those two matches are on the same level, because in the Identical stacking case, the couple will face identical blindspots and weaknesses, which can be a source of frustrations; and in the other match, both people will be able to help the other with their first instinct, but they go in opposite flows, which can create confusions and irritations.
SX second individuals have the most balanced take on SX matters, and their most beneficial match depends primarily on their own individual goals.
SX second, as already mentioned before, have the most balanced attitude regarding SX. They do not need help with it like SX first people, nor do they preferably not have to deal with it like SX last people; in fact, they’d prefer it if their partner wasn’t SX blindspot like them.
Besides that, they’d appreciate it like the other stackings if they were in a relationship with someone who is of the same flow (and not SX blindspot) and/or who soothes or matches their first instinct.
Following that, the best match for SO/SX is SO/SX or SX/SO, and for SP/SX it is SP/SX or SX/SP.
Certain instinctual matches are simply too incompatible with each other for the long-term.
The worst matches are:
SX/SO with SP/SO, SX/SP with SO/SP, and SO/SX with SP/SX.
Why are they the worst? First, opposite flows. Secondly, even though they share the same secondary instinct, this commonality provides no benefits nor calming influence, and is overshadowed by the threatening occupations of the other’s first instinct, which is the other's blindspot. What is one person's neurotic obsession is the other's least valued, and "falsely" flowing aspect. Neither person values what the other is the most concerned with, nor can either one person help the other with their weak spots. No wonder their instinctual desires, and hence their instinctual beings are the most opposite.
That is why I recommend people to avoid this kind of instinctual stacking match in dating. No matter how much the two may be infatuated with each other, the problems arising later in the long-term relationship are usually too difficult to resolve sensibly. Instinctual stackings do not change, so they are deeply embedded in someone's psyche – trying to change someone's flow or blindspot is a futile endeavor. Even if the people have a rather compatible intertype relation in Socionics, this intertype stacking match can have an underestimated, quite negative impact on their longterm happiness as a couple.
Here the matches for each stacking, from most to least beneficial:
Sx/So: Sp/Sx or So/Sx > Sx/So > So/Sp or Sx/Sp >> Sp/So
Sx/Sp: So/Sx or Sp/Sx > Sx/Sp > Sp/So or Sx/So >> So/Sp
So/Sp: So/Sp or Sp/So > Sx/So or Sp/Sx > So/Sx >> Sx/Sp
Sp/So: Sp/So or So/Sp > Sx/Sp or So/Sx > Sp/Sx >> Sx/So
So/Sx: So/Sx or Sx/So > Sp/So > Sx/Sp > So/Sp >> Sp/Sx
Sp/Sx: Sp/Sx or Sx/Sp > So/Sp > Sx/So > Sp/So >> So/Sx
For dating and close friendships, I’d recommend people to focus on the stackings in the first two or three halves of the row.
For example, an Sx/So individual should focus on Sp/Sx, So/Sx, Sx/So people.
An So/Sp individual should focus on So/Sp, Sp/So, Sx/So, Sp/Sx people.
An So/Sx individual should focus on So/Sx, Sx/So, Sp/So, Sx/Sp people.
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