Which one is your Kryptonite?
We probably all have some idea in our heads of the type of person we want to date or marry; a checklist of qualities we’re looking for in a mate. These tend to be fairly specific, and sometimes rather random: maybe you want someone who can play the guitar, or someone who shares your distaste for fluorescent lighting. I myself once vowed never to date anyone who doesn’t like cilantro.
The problem with things like ‘likes cats’ or ‘loves to travel’ is that, although it’s easy to tick the boxes on them after the first few dates, they might not actually tell us much about whether we’re truly compatible with someone long-term.
So, what kinds of things should we be looking for in a partner? Psychiatrist and author of Don’t Settle: How to Marry the Man You Were Meant For, Scott Carroll, has an answer.
All of us fall somewhere along two personality spectrums, says Carroll: the masculine/feminine and the leader/supporter scales. According to Carroll’s logic, masculine energy is dominant: it wants to protect and provide. It’s also logical, action-oriented, and is drawn to technology and mechanics. Feminine energy on the other hand, is associated with creativity; it’s nurturing, and values feelings over logic. Men who fall on the feminine side of the scale are good communicators who can relate well to people and are in touch with their feelings. Leaders have a strong vision, and prefer to initiate and plan things. Supporters help leaders make things happen; without them, leaders can’t get anything done. But supporters prefer to work behind the scenes, while leaders crave the spotlight.
Each of us allegedly has a unique combination of each of these energies, regardless of our gender – masculine or feminine, and leader or supporter – depending on how strongly each one manifests in us. But essentially, we can each be classified as either masculine leader, masculine supporter, feminine leader, or feminine supporter. By classifying men according to these spectrums, Carroll has come up with four male archetypes, described below. One of them is the best match for you…and one of them is the man you should never be with. Do any of these sound familiar?
This man is highly competitive, unafraid of conflict, and gravitates to traditionally ‘male’ careers: think high-powered Wall Street financier, personal injury attorney, heart surgeon, or military officer. He has no problem approaching women in public and is extremely confident, without necessarily being arrogant, or a jerk, says Carroll. But, he warns, there are ‘shadow’ versions of each male archetype, “kind of like when a Jedi turns to the dark side in Star Wars.” For The Athlete, the danger is that he’ll turn into The Godfather: a person who is dominant and successful, but lacks integrity and will cheat in order to get whatever he wants.
This dude is into technology and is highly logical, but he doesn’t have the confidence of a leader. Let’s be honest; he’s a little bit of a nerd. He needs to be drawn out – you’ll have to be the one to approach and flirt with him until he gets the hint. His shadow self is The Gamer: too busy playing video games, putting together model cars, or some other geeky pursuit to make a relationship work.
The Film Director
Artistic, creative, and highly charismatic, The Artist will approach you in public confidently, but don’t be fooled: this guy definitely has a nurturing side. He might be a school principal, the director of a hospital, or a coach of some kind. He’s sensitive and can be very seductive. At his best, he’s in touch with his emotions and has strong relationship skills. At his worst, he turns into The Rock Star: talented, but more interested in partying, doing drugs, and sleeping around than being in a relationship.
This fragile flower of a man is shy and sensitive, works hard but lacks direction, and needs someone to protect him from people who would take advantage of his kind nature. When The Artist goes bad, he turns into what Carroll coins “the MAW” – (Model-Musician/Actor/Whatever). The MAW is lazy and freeloads off of others, or else he’s so focused on his dream of making it big that he forgets to pay his rent and gets tossed into the street – or more likely, your sofa bed.
Finding the one for you
The key to finding the right person for you, and avoiding the one who you shouldn’t be with, is figuring out where you yourself fall on the scale. Once you know that, look for someone who’s the opposite of you.
And what happens if people who are really alike? In general, it’s not a good thing. Two people with masculine energy are going to clash, “like an old Western where the two gunfighters say, “this town ain’t big enough for the both of us” right before they walk into the street and quick draw,” says Carroll. And two feminine types might get along just fine, but there won’t be any fire, and they may end up in a sex-starved marriage. They’d be better off as friends. Two leaders will constantly clash over who’s going to call the shots, while two supporters will spin their wheels while nothing much happens.
“It’s the dirty dishes problem,” explains Carroll.
“Someone’s dirt tolerance eventually gets exceeded and they wash the dishes, but it causes resentment. That resentment becomes the grit that wears down a relationship like fine sandpaper.”
So if you’re looking for a partner for the long haul – someone who can weather the ups and downs of marriage with you – consider scrapping your old checklist and paying attention to these archetypes and looking for the personality type that best compliments you. It could be the difference between finding a match made in heaven, or a match made in hell.
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Comment: Which personality type are you most attracted to? Which type do you think you are?