Enneagram Type Three (the Achiever)
Enneagram Type Three (the Achiever)

What Each Type Brings to the Relationship

As with all double-type relationships, two Enneagram Threes generally bring the same qualities to each other. Therein lies both a main source of the attraction as well as one of the main pitfalls. Thus, the Level of health of each person is especially important for these types of relationships as are their dominant instincts. Two Threes bring to each other a concern for achievement and excellence, for making something of themselves and their opportunities, and for being a credit to the relationship. They are both hard workers, always looking for a way to improve their station in life and to share these benefits with their loved ones and friends. Threes also tend to be sociable and to enjoy the company of others. They have the ability to charm others and present themselves in a favorable, attractive light—even to their spouse or close friends. Some Threes are less sociable and more concerned with business matters and with gaining financial security, but they too, want both themselves and their relationship to be admirable and outstanding in some way. They may be known for their closeness or personal devotion, or the longevity of the relationship itself.

Both Threes can form an extremely effective team that is likely to be successful in virtually any endeavor they might pursue. They are able to coordinate tasks at home or in the office, becoming a working team supporting each other. They each want the other to be proud of them and to be admired by the other as a worthy partner. They both try to avoid drama in the relationship and they give each other space to pursue their own interests and self-development. Double Three couples are usually excellent motivators of each other, urging the other to higher achievement and to attaining their goals, whether in child-rearing, education, or sports and physical fitness. They can act as the coach of the other, helping the partner to improve their technique and hone their professional and personal skills. What they demand of each other is respect for their achievements and for their hard work. Thus, in many ways, two Threes can make an impression on others of being virtually an ideal couple,—attractive, energetic, ambitious, focused, and often outstanding members of their social group.

Potential Trouble Spots or Issues

As long as a Three couple is healthy, they both tend to be highly supportive of each other and the other’s interests and career. They are glad for the success and prestige that their spouse may garner. Problems may arise in average to lower-functioning Three couples if they begin to compare themselves with each other. An unhealthy spirit of competition and one-upmanship can infect the relationship and undermine the pride and generosity they have felt toward each other. Even if they have different careers, two Threes may begin to compare their relative success, their incomes, how well each is regarded professionally—and what their relative chances for advancement are. One partner being elected to a committee or board of directors puts pressure on the other to do something similar or even more prestigious.

Further, one or both of the Threes may begin to feel that the relationship is taking time away from their own career and their own pursuit of success. One may feel that they are sacrificing their career potential for the sake of keeping the relationship together while the other is getting ahead at their expense. Children, pets, family members, and friends may also suffer varying degrees of neglect as the double Three couple puts energy into their professional advancement, putting ever longer hours in at the office or on the road. One of the biggest issues for double Three couples is that neither is particularly aware of their real feelings or their own heart’s desire. They also typically do not know how to talk about their deepest feelings, and so they most often do not. They often experience feelings as distractions from their professional work, as well as potential sources of shame and humiliation. Thus, they tend to become more isolated in the relationship as intimacy wanes. They can still be trophies for each other, but double Three pairings come to not know how to talk with each other about what is really going on for them. Eventually, isolation leads to alienation and depression which can lead to drifting apart or to affairs that end the relationship.

For further understanding about this type combination, read more about the Stress Arrow and how Threes behave when they are moving along it.