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An Enneagram Five/Nine pair gives each other a great deal of personal and emotional space for activities and for doing things on their own. Neither one would hover or intrude on the other, although the capacity for a healthy emotional connection and interest in each other is still present. This pair is characterized by a sense of quiet, non-intrusiveness, spaciousness, and respect for each other’s boundaries, work, and individuality. Nines are undemanding and uncritical. Nines are the more emotional of the two types, but even so, Nines do not always know what they are feeling or how to express themselves adequately. They appreciate the Five’s ability to be curious about them and to draw them out of the kind of “inner fuzziness” that Nines can get into. Nines appreciate the Five’s intellectual sharpness, ability to ask the right questions, to remember things, to be objective, and their patience. Fives appreciate Nine’s warmth—and when there is a real personal or sexual connection between them—their nurturing qualities. Fives usually feel dry and cut off from emotional sustenance; if they find this in someone, it is likely to be a Nine who can offer unquestioned acceptance, sensual comfort, and tenderness. Nines often make Fives relax-deeply and completely, something Fives very much need.
Both types have an intellectual component and if they are more or less on an intellectual par with each other, they can be a powerful and stimulating couple: the pungent wit of the Five is softened by the droll understatement of the Nine. Both appreciate the irrational and the absurd, although Fives dig far deeper into the dark areas of life than Nines. This pair can be a case of two people initiating the other into very different world views: the idealism and the realism, the sunlight and the darkness both have a place here.
Tensions between Fives and Nines can begin to grow as a result of the very amount of space that each is willing and able to give the other. Both are highly aware of boundaries and of feeling pressured or intruded on by anyone, and so both tend to expect an unusual degree of independence from the other and to give a large degree of freedom to the other without being asked. For this reason, it is often difficult for Fives and Nines to take the initiative (to make a date, for instance) or to be decisive about calling on a regular basis, or even to know what their feelings are telling them about the other. There may well be a great deal of comfort and intellectual rapport, but one or both of the couple may be relatively cut off from their feelings so that they do not actually know how much they care for the other, or even if they are in love. Nines tend to be more emotionally available and fluid in this regard, liking and even idealizing the Five while they are together, but quickly forgetting those positive feelings when the person is away. Nines easily get into an out of sight, out of mind state where the other might as well not exist if they are not physically together. Nines can also idealize the other so much that when they get together, the Five cannot really live up to the image that the Nine has of them in their imagination. Fives, on the other hand, can become frustrated by the on again, off again attentions of the Nine and begin to become cynical and pessimistic about the relationship, analyzing the Nine and intellectually dissecting the relationship both as a defense from being hurt and as a way to express anger over their disappointment.
Both types can be disconnected from themselves and from the other, living in projections and imagination rather than seeing the other as they are. Work and solitary interests can take the Five’s attention, and the pursuit of peace and more supportive relationships can draw the Nine away. Unless there is an intense reason to see each other frequently, the stubbornness, inertia, and autonomy issues of the Nine will mix with the withdrawal, detachment, and indifference of the Five and the relationship will wither away.
For further understanding about this type combination, read more about the Stress Arrow and how types Five 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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