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This can be, paradoxically, both a very comfortable—and yet exciting—relationship pair. Enneagram Fours and Nines are both withdrawn and private, sensitive to the feelings and needs of the other, and empathetic to the suffering of others. Both can be tender-hearted and highly sympathetic to the suffering that they find in the world and in each other. Both want to find a deep connection with the other, and yet, both also want a certain degree of autonomy and insist on a very real degree of privacy. Both Fours and Nines can be highly creative, and as a pair they enthusiastically support the other’s creativity and give the other a good deal of space in which to develop their talents. Both are idealistic and want to connect deeply with someone, feeling that they are on a search for their soul mate, the one person in the world with whom they can completely connect and be themselves.
Both Fours and Nines also bring a sensuality and love of comfort that is noteworthy; this may express itself in their lifestyle, traveling habits, and in their sexual and other intimate activities. This is a couple that likes to stay in bed all Sunday morning, reading the papers and talking. Each brings passion and an appreciation of the other coupled with a desire to be comfortable and build a life with the other. Fours can make Nines become more intense and expressive about how they feel, while Nines can allow Fours to feel understood and accepted for who they are. Fours are good at naming feelings and pinpointing emotional states; Nines are good at creating an atmosphere of nonjudgmental acceptance, Nines may even enjoy the emotional storms and dramas that Fours occasionally get into, feeling that it adds spice to their life together. A lot of the pleasure and passion of this couple is nonverbal in the depth of the understanding that each has for the other.
The biggest area of conflict between Fours and Nines is that each tends to react differently as stress increases: Fours become more emotionally volatile and demanding, while Nines become more disengaged and impossible to get through to. Fours can feel too unstable and dramatic, unpredictable and moody for Nines, while Nines can feel too unresponsive and emotionally inert, unsatisfying and uncommunicative for Fours. Nines can become angered by the Four’s sense of entitlement and demands for attention and exemption. Fours can become angered by Nines’ irresponsibility and apparent inability to learn from their mistakes and experiences. If conflicts and tensions increase between them, Nines can shut down more and more so that communication stops, and they give Fours the subtle message that they don’t want to hear their reactions or deal with their feelings. Fours can feel that talking with Nines is like playing tennis with yourself—there’s no one to hit the ball back—and there is too little relating in the relationship. Contempt for what Fours see is being boring and ineffectual can end the relationship.
Both types look for partners who seem to embody some qualities that they feel they do not have themselves: Nines seek strong, high energy partners, whereas Fours seek partners who possess some ego-ideal that they feel they are missing themselves. In lower functioning Fours and Nines, neither energizes the other and both get stuck in a morass of inhibited anger, resentment, and irritation with each other. Fours tend to give up on the Nines (as being hopelessly inert and dull), whereas Nines tend to give up on Fours (as being too demanding and emotionally volatile).
For further understanding about this type combination, read more about the Stress Arrow and how types Four and Nine behave when they are moving along it.
Private consultations are available to discuss your relationships issues, or to ask questions about your type and its compatibility with other types.
The accuracy and usefulness of these Relationship Combinations pages are made possible by The Insight Approach of Don Riso and Russ Hudson. For the only in-depth Training Program that covers all elements of the complete Enneagram system, consider coming to the Enneagram Institute Training Program.
Copyright Notice: All the relationship combination materials given here, including those that have previously been published on this website are copyrighted for the current year by The Enneagram Institute, and are not available for commercial use or publication by others. See our Guidelines for use of Riso-Hudson materials.
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