Today I want to talk to all of you who are in a relationship with a Type A personality. In relationships, opposites always attract. When we measure people’s behaviors and we put them on a spectrum, people who are Type A tend to be on one end of the spectrum and their partners are very often on the other end of the spectrum, which we call the peacekeeping end of things.
I want to give you some tips and insights if you are in love with someone who is Type A. I have to confess, I completely fit the description of a Type A and we’re a lot to deal with, so let’s just start with that.
The first thing that I want you to be able to see very clearly about your partner is how driven and motivated they might be. People who are on that end of the spectrum tend to thrive off of change, often more than their partners do. They seek it out and they eat change for breakfast. One of the benefits of being with someone like that is, they can be the creative genius that is frequently pushing for some kind of growth, evolution, or momentum in your life and in your family. Those can be some of the upsides to living with that individual.
However, the second characteristic that I see time and time again in all of my favorite Type A clients is, we are impatient to a fault. Most of us have enough self-awareness to know that about ourselves and I think that is a good thing to hold us accountable for. Recognizing that just because we get an idea in our brain, does not mean that we need to push our partner to act on it right this very second.
However, if you’re on the other end of that spectrum and you love to use avoidance as a strategy, you like to take issues and set them on a shelf and leave them unattended for weeks on end, please recognize that avoidance is really not going to work for your partner.
People with Type A personalities can be very motivated. I once had a dog who would chomp into his tug-of-war toy and he would refuse to let go of it. No matter how hard you pulled on the other end, he would leave his teeth latched into that toy sometimes until his gums started to bleed. I have to confess after working with so many Type A’s for so many years, we can absolutely be a bit too much that way sometimes. We latch our teeth into a new idea and don’t always want to let go of it. If that fits for your partner, you should expect that once they bring something up, they’re probably going to circle back around to it.
Some Type A behavior can be driven by anxiety and we don’t even realize it. You can also hold them accountable for that and challenge them to draw a distinction between an idea that’s important to them vs. one that is legitimately urgent. A lot of the things that they’re wanting to act on might not actually be urgent at all.
The fourth and final characteristic is, people who are so highly driven really benefit from having very defined objectives. What are the changes we are trying to make? And a defined process. How are we going to achieve those changes?
A vague undefined approach is not going to work well for them. For example, if a couple agrees, “Hey sweetie, our sex life has really been lackluster lately. We need to do something about it.” Leaving it vague and open-ended like that is usually not going to work for someone who is highly driven. They are going to need a little bit more definition around it. What are we going to do to improve it? How are we going to improve it? What are the benchmarks that we’re going to attract along the way?
For all of you who are partnered up with Type A’s like myself, god bless you for your patience. Tune in next week and we’re going to talk about the care and feeding of the partners who live more toward the peacekeeping end of the spectrum.
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