By Dr. Carmen Harra, PhD
Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching, and it’s known as a time for lovers. While it’s a day for celebration for many happy couples, for anyone who has been single for a long time, can’t seem to find Mr. or Ms. Right, or has recently gone through a painful breakup, the day is nothing more than a painful reminder of what they don’t have.
As a therapist and relationship expert who has counseled more than 40,000 patients, one of the biggest mistakes I see time and again with anyone who has experienced many failed relationships is they’re looking at a potential partner’s personality and characteristics before truly understanding their own. In other words, what are the qualities and components that define you? We call these archetypes. Until you understand your own archetype, what it means and how it shapes you as a person, it’s unlikely that you’ll discover the long and lasting love you are looking for.
There are seven unique archetypes, and they are as much a part of you as the color of your hair, the shape of your face or anything else.
The Independent’s struggle with commitment is caused by his individualistic and detached nature. Of the seven archetypes, the Independent is most reluctant to enter a relationship because he fears a partner will compromise his cherished freedom. The Independent is defined by his need to be on his own, and this becomes true not only in his love relationships but many other areas of his life. The Independent doesn’t look to what others are doing; he forges his own path.
The Workaholic has built his life around his work. In fact, he chose his career long before he thought about a relationship. He still wants the best of both worlds—the successful job and the beautiful wife— and he isn’t willing to compromise. Under no circumstances can the Workaholic be with a stultifying, possessive woman who holds him back from carrying out his mission; his partner will have to be supportive of his career and responsibilities. He sees the woman who’s constantly on top of him as another liability, not an asset that adds to his life. The Workaholic will let go of the partner who’s not contributing to his growth in the same way he’ll fire an employee who’s not performing up to his expectations.
The Narcissist has crossed the boundary from empowerment to entitlement, where there is too little humility and too much hubris. His heightened ego and selfish inclinations preclude him from bonding fully with others, which can make him seem emotionally superficial and cause serious relationship problems. The Narcissist may have trouble paying enough attention to his partner or giving her what she needs because his focus is so often on himself. But if these character tendencies are mitigated, the Narcissist can commit to a relationship.
The Free Spirit
This archetype is undecided in all that he does: from relationships to work to hobbies, the Free Spirit has trouble sticking to commitment in multiple aspects of his life. This man may claim he wants to have a relationship but abandons ship when things get serious. This kind of irrational behavior can leave his partner bemused and blaming herself when in reality, the Free Spirit contends with the notion of commitment itself. Unlike the Independent, who’s afraid of losing himself to his partner, the Free Spirit simply doesn’t know what he wants. He may have a faint idea, but when thinking comes to doing, the Free Spirit can’t execute. To teach him to pull through, you’ll first have to help the Free Spirit find his authentic self and act on it.
The Hopeless Romantic
The Hopeless Romantic is an idealist of epic proportions. He wholeheartedly believes in love but is a bit aimless and tactless. A dreamer and not a doer, the Hopeless Romantic yearns for commitment but doesn’t know how to approach a relationship in a rational and clearsighted way. He falls in love easily, throwing himself into romances blindly and often with unsuitable women. In truth, he may be more in love with the idea of love than with the person in front of him. Because he idealizes love, he’s not realistic about the messiness that relationships bring.
The Wounded Warrior
Because he’s been wounded (possibly early in life), the Wounded Warrior experiences a disconnection between the outside and the inside: the smile he wears doesn’t match the turmoil he feels within. The Wounded Warrior is dealing with demons that he not only doesn’t address but willfully suppresses. He tries to hide or mask his trauma, often unsuccessfully, until it suddenly boils to the surface. Before he can commit, the Wounded Warrior must gently explore and heal his sunken pain.
The Introvert’s struggle is his fear of intimacy and hesitation to release what he feels inside. His bane is his lack of communication, which can be misinterpreted by his partner as secrecy. There exists a discrepancy between what’s shown on the outside and what’s kept inside that’s unique to the Introvert. To be in a committed relationship, the Introvert needs to feel comfortable enough to open himself up to his partner.
Dr. Carmen Harra PhD. is author of the book “Committed: Finding Love and Loyalty Through the Seven Archetypes,” and has helped more than 40,000 patients during her career, including many celebrities, find love and happiness. (http://www.carmenharra.com/bio.html)