I like to tease my partner that if I set off an explosion in our apartment, he'd be like, "well, we can always get a new one." Meanwhile, he makes fun of me for saying things like "I'll tie my shoes while I'm on the toilet to save time!" In other words, he's Type B and I'm Type A. Or more like Type A++. And just as he probably sometimes feels micromanaged by me, I can get incredibly frustrated with him.
My partner's chill attitude is part of what I like about him, though. In situations where I'd normally freak out, just being around his calm energy reminds me I don't need to. He doesn't give me a hard time for my mistakes because they sincerely don't bother him. But sometimes, when I want to take care of something two weeks in advance and he wants to put it off until the last minute, I get so stressed out that I lose sight of that.
I'm not alone: A lot of people are struggling to maintain relationships with those of other personality types without losing their minds. Fortunately, that means a lot of professionals have dealt with this issue. Here are some expert tips for dealing with a Type B significant other when you're Type A.
1Lower Your Expectations
Setting low expectations goes against everything Type A people stand for, but it also saves them a lot of disappointment, says Lori Bizzoco, relationship expert and founder of Cupidspulse.com. We can still hold high expectations for ourselves, but our job in a relationship is not to impose them on others; it's to help our partner achieve their own goals. "You really need to give your partner a chance to be themselves, even if they don’t always live up to the expectations you have created for your own self," says Bizzoco. Your partner's brain literally works differently, so don't try to squish them into a mold they don't fit.
2Voice Your Concerns Gently
Nobody likes to be nagged, so coming off angry probably when your partner slacks off won't get you anywhere. We Type As like to beat ourselves up for careless mistakes, but Type B people don't really respond to that. "A Type B person might be passive and not as forward as you," says Bizzoco, so you don't want to overwhelm them.
3Use Their Personality To Your Advantage
The bright side to dating a Type B person is that they will never be as hard on you as you are on yourself. So, appreciate that you can neglect to clean up after yourself or make no weekend plans or get off at the wrong train stop once in a while without it getting to them. If you're up for the challenge, let them inspire you to (gasp) do nothing all day.
4Learn From Them
"There is a reason we are attracted to our opposite," says licensed mental health counselor Monte Drenner. Often, it's that we could stand to be more like them. Yes, you can miss opportunities when you take time off work, but wouldn't it be nice to have more vacation? Sure, planning can help you make productive use of your time, but don't some of the best things happen spontaneously?
The saying that opposites attract can be true, so think of your relationship with a Type B person as a chance to practice all the skills that have been challenging for you. Both extremes are bad, so let your partner help you find your way somewhere closer to the middle.