Finding Your True Love, Part Two
True love is something just about everyone strives for. Wouldn’t it be wonderful is there was a magic key we could use to find and keep our true love?
While there’s no one factor or explanation that can fully explain why, how, and with whom we fall in love, Perceptual Style Theory™ can help people understand the challenges they face as a couple.
By helping them to understand the differences or similarities both their Perceptual Styles, Perceptual Style Theory can smooth out some of the bumps that couples run into. There are four basic perceptual style experiences in love:
Birds of a feather flock together.
Since we’re neighbors, let’s be friends.
neighbors, let’s be friends.
I understand the words you are speaking, but I have no idea what you mean.
In Part 1 of this article, I described Birds of a Feather and Since We’re Neighbors Let’s be Friends. Now let’s explore Opposites Attract and What Do You Mean?
For each Perceptual Style there is a direct opposite (Vision & Adjustments, Goals & Flow, and Methods & Activity) –and each has an opposite view of the world, perceptually speaking, from the other.
Opposites attract because our perception of the world is, by nature, incomplete. One of the driving forces of human nature is to fill in the gaps in our ability to experience the world.
Couples with Opposite Perceptual Styles are often attracted because they provide each other with a sense of completeness. To be with someone who does easily and well what you struggle to do with mediocre results can be an exhilarating experience. The problem is that after a while their inability to do things your way becomes a problem.
I have a very close friend who is Methods, and her husband is Activity. He dives into things headfirst and figures them out as he goes. She wants to have a plan and a schedule and know exactly where they are going before they start out.
Both approaches work, but neither is the best in all situations. He sometimes complains that he wishes she would just once be spontaneous, and she wishes he would do a little planning and give some attention to detail. Fortunately for them, they work on balancing their Opposite approaches and have come to an agreement of when each of them takes the lead. And they don’t spend time trying to change each other.
The tricky thing about Opposites is that what first attracts you, what you feel is so complimentary because it fills a need you have, can quickly turn into what drives you crazy. If neither party is willing to give, it can turn ugly fast.
“I love your spontaneity, the way you laugh and find humor in every situation!” can easily turn into “Why can’t you stop being a clown and realize that you have to take things seriously sometimes?” Conversely, “I love the way you help me plan and get organized!” can transform into “Why can’t you lighten up and have fun? Why does everything need to be about accomplishing something?”
Trying to solve this conflict is impossible because the answer to the question, “Why can’t you see it my way?” is “Because I can’t see it your way!” One of the truths of relationships is that you can’t change the other person, you must appreciate them for what they do and love them for who they are.
I Understand the Words You Are Speaking, But I Have No Idea What They Mean
When a Perceptual Style is not identical to yours, a Neighbor, or an Opposite, we call it ‘One-Off’. Every Perceptual Style has two Perceptual Styles that are One-Off (Vision-Methods-Flow and Goals–Adjustments–Activity).
Relationships between two people with one-off Perceptual Styles can be exhilarating and filled with discovery, but they can also be stormy and unpredictable…typical modes of interaction don’t work, attempts at humor fall flat, perspectives are at odds, and explanations or descriptions of the same event will be strikingly different.
With One-Offs, you don’t have a feeling of general understanding like you do with your Neighbors, and there’s no obvious “Opposite” vibe either. So, it is often hard to pinpoint what’s so different between you.
So, what draws people into “One-Off” relationships? Usually, its a shared interest or activity – you both love singing and meet in a community chorus, you both play tennis and meet at tennis lessons, you both love to watch football, etc.
One-Offs can be very attractive initially because they are so different from you that they seem exotic. But as soon as the initial fascination wains, its hard to find a common ground to build a relationship on.
This is not to say that there are not great work, friend, family, and partner relationships among One-Offs, but they just take more work than other combinations.
What does “more work” look like? This kind of relationship works well when both people are willing to compromise and can admire the strengths of the other without trying to change them. Clean communication and an awareness of the One-Off nature of the relationship both help.
That is not easy, and it takes commitment.
If you can find no common ground in your relationship or if you feel like you are in a relationship with someone from a different planet, it may well be that you have found a ‘One-Off’ to fall for.
While Perceptual Style Theory can’t determine which Perceptual Style your true love will have, it can help you better understand how to make relationship you have found work no matter what Perceptual Style each of you has.
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About Dr. Gary M. Jordan, Ph.D.
Gary Jordan, Ph.D., has over 35 years of experience in clinical psychology, behavioral assessment, individual development, and coaching. He earned his doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology – Berkeley. He is co-creator of Perceptual Style Theory, a revolutionary psychological assessment system that teaches people how to unleash their deepest potentials for success. He’s a partner at Vega Behavioral Consulting, Ltd., a consulting firm that specializes in helping people discover their true skills and talents. For more information, visit https://www.YourTalentAdvantage.com.
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