What Kind of Mate Are You?

“Love is what makes two people sit in the middle of a bench when there is plenty of room at both ends.” – Anonymous

Have you ever thought about why you act the way you do in a relationship?  Do you think it’s just chance?  Do you see patterns emerge in your behavior?  I’ve observed patterns in my behavior – some I’m more than happy to own, others make me cringe.

I believe our personality type has great influence on how we approach relationships.  Within our particular basic temperament: Artisan, Guardian, Idealist or Rational, we exhibit predictable characteristics in relationships and expect certain results from our mates.  Being classified this way doesn’t mean we lose our uniqueness, but rather that our thoughts and actions, more often than not, fit within the definition of our particular temperament.

(If you don’t know your MBTI personality type, take this quick quiz and remember your letters.)

If you have an S and a P in your letters you are an Artisan temperament.

If you have an S and a J in your letters you are a Guardian temperament.

If you have an N and an F in your letters you are an Idealist temperament.

If you have an N and a T in your letters you are a Rational temperament.

The category you fit in tells a lot about who you are as a mate.  Find your temperament below:

  • Artisan (SP) The Artisan is a “playmate” (yep – me and Raymond, shameless ISFPs).  Artisans are attractive for many reasons: their optimism, spontaneity, generosity, physical confidence.  Their sense of fun and excitement defines their biggest contribution to relationships.  SPs are motivated by the here-and-now sensuality of life and therefore can be impulsive.  But once a decision is made, there’s no reason for delay.  The Artisan is bored with long drawn-out courting and foreplay.  Decisions are made, actions must be taken.  Artisans take care in appearance, are often sensual and sexual.  If an Artisan has a temper, the anger dissipates quickly.  SPs rarely look for perfection in their relationships; are tolerant and adaptable.  Artisans satisfy their hunger for action with physical activities.  Male SPs often tinker with tools of all kinds and spend large amounts of time pursuing sports activities.  Female SPs enjoy sports, also.  They often move from one project to another: gourmet cooking (branching into fermenting and brewing – hehe), creativity and art of all kind, gardening.  SPs enjoy unexpected guests and love to share all things created.  They are likely to enjoy attractive vehicles and homes and devote time and energy to preserving their looks.  The Artisan can mate easily with all the types, especially if the sexual compatibility is strong.  SPs generally view sex as recreational.
  • Guardian (SJ) The Guardian is a “helpmate” (Marie and Deb, both – Raymond is surrounded).  Guardians are loyal, dependable, hard-working, nurturing.They provide a firm foundation for society and families.  They strive to be the best wife or husband; family-orientation defines their biggest contribution to relationships.  SJs are more aware of and follow social etiquette more strictly than any other type.  They provide a safe harbor for other types who don’t approach lifetime mating with such precision.  SJs require time to make mating decisions, but once the decision has been made, the Guardian becomes very serious about creating a proper home.  Guardians enjoy entertaining family and belonging to community organizations.  They may be possessive of their family members; are usually careful with money; generally dress conservatively; can be worriers.  Guardians approach sex in a conservative, routine manner.  They may have difficulties understanding the emotional needs of other types, especially Idealists and Rationals, for whom transactions outside the bedroom are vital as foreplay to sexual response.  They not only nurture but make it their duty to help their mates and children learn the “right way” to live; they have a tendency to practice Pygmalion Projects when attempting to enforce their ideas.  They care deeply about their loved ones.  SJs generally view sex as reproductional.
  • Idealist (NF) The Idealist is a “soulmate”.  Idealists are truly idealistic about choosing a mate.  They search for the “perfect” partner; they believe there’s a “one and only” just for them.  If they’re not able to find that flawless mate, they may try to create that relationship where it does not exist. NFs date one person at a time searching for a deep-felt connection.  They can tolerate social dating, parties, movies and such for a while, but they’re much more interested in personal interactions and intimate bonds.  They prefer conversation to activities.  They want to speak of abstract matters – ideas, insights, spiritual beliefs, relationships, dreams, etc. – rather than concrete details; theme rather than plot.  Being able to communicate with their date in a heart-to-heart manner determines whether the relationship can move forward.  Once the NF finds that perfect person, he or she will become the center of the Idealist’s world.  They consider the social conventions of marriage much less important than personal commitments.  Idealists are very supportive within marriage, incredibly affectionate and empathetic.  But if their mate leans on this support too much, clings too much, the Idealist will turn suddenly and disconnect, overwhelmed by the stress.  It’s possible for NFs to become so wrapped up in their work (which often involves helping people) that they ignore their families.  Idealists are not necessarily skillful lovers being strangely innocent about sexuality, but they make up for lack of technique with enthusiasm.  NFs generally view sex quite romantically, a definition of the relationship’s meaning.
  • Rational (NT) The Rational is a “mindmate”.  Rationals are loyal, uncomplaining, warmly sexual, honest, not possessive.  To create a romantic relationship with a Rational takes time and effort – their personalities are complex, and even in an extroverted NT their personality is hidden from view.  (I have a deep and undeniable weakness for NTs!  My incredible deceased husband was an INTP, and my wonderful, very alive, boyfriend, an ENTP.  And, yes, it does take some effort, but it is so worth it – besides being really fun!)  NTs are the least socially developed of the personalities.  So dating is usually a little awkward.  NTs view dating as a search for a person they deem worthy of their personal investment.  They think through what they want and where they want to head and then proceed there if their target is willing.  Once they’ve found that worthy partner, they march forward with few regrets or complaints.  Rationals have little regard for societal conventions, but their personal commitment to a relationship is sacred.  The Rational can appear cold at times due to three basic NT traits: their abstractedness, need for efficiency (specifically, digging through all the facts) and desire for autonomy.  But, rest assured, they love deeply.  If an NT senses a lack of autonomy or some type of game-playing by their partner, they can be become incredibly resistant – almost always in a passive-aggressive manner.  Because the Rational expects their partner to be as autonomous as they are, they may become involved in a Pygmalion Project if their partner is not independent enough.  The NT’s sexual satisfaction is in direct correlation with the mental closeness of the pair.  Sex is as deeply meaningful to the NT as it is to the NF, but in terms of mindful relating not romance like the NF.

In a future post, I’ll explore pairings amongst the four temperaments – the good and the bad.

10 thoughts on “What Kind of Mate Are You?

  1. Whenever I take the test I’m always between NT and NF, and funnily enough, as different as the two descriptions are, I definitely see myself doing both in different relationships. Thanks for the analysis. It was definitely eye-opening!

  2. Never learnt about myself in such analysis when comes to relationship. Interesting revelation! You are so right about observing patterns of our behaviors. I’m starting to pay more attention now…

    Thanks Debi!

  3. I’m an INFJ, and I don’t date. It’s funny. It’s not because I don’t want to date; I really want to get married one day. It’s just that I rarely find anyone good enough (in my opinion). I read some comments on this in an INFJ forum, and many other INFJ’s are the same as I am. They remembered only ever falling for a couple people in their lifetimes, but the couple times they fell for someone, they fell hard. That’s definitely true for me.

    Good post!

  4. Debi,

    Very interesting, although I am not really sure I am the mate I should be according to my personality type.

    Thanks anyway and keep up the good blog work!

  5. Christina,

    Are any of us what we should be? No one can achieve perfection. So, if we believe we are actually as good as we should be, aren’t we just deceiving ourselves?

    Some days I wonder why Ken puts up with me. Yikes! But, he is very patient and kind, and we both take a deep breath and know we are suited to each other. I’m betting you and your husband are suited to each other.

    One of the biggest reasons I read and study all this stuff is because I see how flawed I am, and I truly want to be better. I believe the honesty it takes to see where we fall short is necessary for growth.

    I appreciate your honesty,

  6. This was fascinating. I am an ENFJ, and I found that I fit right into the “Idealist” type of mate. The more I learn about this MB Personality Type, the more interested I become. This post inspired me to finally get my husband to take the test. And guess what? He’s an ENFJ too! Now, what does that mean?
    I kind of suspected as much because sometimes we are too alike. But in others we are quite different. Is it easier or harder for couples to deal with life when their personality types match I wonder?

    1. Sarah,

      Great question – I plan on writing a post concerning this and much more.

      It’s fairly easy to have a relationship with a like personality. The danger comes in boredom or too much predictability, but it sounds like y’all are different enough to overcome that problem. The fact that you are both NFs – Idealists, is Ideal! I think that Idealist-Idealist relationships must be the easiest of all “like” relationships, because you are both in pursuit of the “perfect” partner.

      I, personally, know that a union with another ISFP would send me to the loony bin. I enjoy my ISFP friends and understand their motivations and actions (good and bad), but could never have an intimate relationship with one.

      In a future post, I will show some pros and cons of different relationships. It’s fascinating!


  7. Aw, this was a very nice post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to make
    a good article… but what can I say… I put things off a whole lot and
    never seem to get anything done.

Leave a Reply