Throughout history, we’ve tried to classify people into different groups according to their personalities in an attempt to understand “why they do the things they do.” This is the basis for all psychology. Why does one person lie and another tell the truth? Why does one person cheat and another remain faithful?
The word archetype comes from the Greek archein, meaning “original,” and typos, meaning “pattern.” So an archetype is an original pattern. In psychology, it’s a pattern of thought present in the human psyche.
The forerunner of prototypes was Plato’s theory of forms, his argument being that all forms (things) on Earth draw their origins from perfect forms in the realm of ideals. According to this theory, the patterns we perceive in our world are merely representations of a perfect pattern on some higher plane of existence.
Carl Jung was inspired by Plato’s forms and applied the concept to human psychology. Jung believed that universal patterns reside within the depths of our consciousness and surface in the form of beliefs, fears, wishes, and so on. He identified three basic human motivations—the Ego, the Self, and the Soul—containing four archetypes each. The Ego is made up of the Innocent, the Orphan, the Hero, and the Caregiver. The Soul is comprised of the Explorer, the Rebel, the Lover, and the Creator. The Self is represented through the Jester, the Sage, the Magician, and the Ruler. Each of these twelve archetypes is the human incarnation of an ideal form. We share the Jungian belief that archetypes are manifestations of the collective consciousness which we experience throughout life.
“What is the evidence that archetypes exist?” You might ask. Well, one way we know archetypes exist is our very own evolution. Humans derive from an original mold of their kind. If we analyze the forces that drive us, we will see that they’re mutual throughout the human race: we run on the same thread. We all strive for ideals of love, liberty, and happiness, among others. We know an archetype for the concept of love exists because love is ingrained in us, even if it’s intangible or has innumerable definitions. We continue to draw on cosmic consciousness—thinking, feeling, and doing the same things that have existed since the dawn of time. Archetypes are nestled within the very roots of our nature. We cannot change them; we can only change how we relate to them as we expand our understanding.
The theory of archetypes can be well applied to relationships. The ways in which we relate (or don’t relate) to another person also emerge from our subconscious. We have witnessed this truth for many years, working as psychologists and intuitive counselors and hearing every type of love scenario imaginable. We’ve worked with women who desperately desired the emotionally unavailable man, women who sought to escape the overwhelming man, couples that fell out of love then back in love, and men who realized they had been living a lie and actually loved other men. You name it, we’ve heard it.
In listening to tens of thousands of cases over time, something interesting happened: we noticed that the same types of people kept cropping up—people unrelated to each other but displaying almost identical qualities and comportment. As soon as a client started describing the man she was dating, we could almost finish her sentence, because we knew what came next based on the archetype she was describing.
We began to comprehend that personality traits descend from archetypes and that a person’s very behavior is steered by his higher design. We noted that people come with sets of characteristics, similar to how a person with red hair also has freckles or a person with dark skin usually has dark eyes. For example, someone who is predisposed to introversion is also likely to have issues with communication and trust. We also realized that while we inherit much of our personality, it’s not fully formed until we pass through experiences that solidify who we are. No one is born narcissistic or too independent, addicted to his work or to the idea of love, emotionally reserved or wounded. But the likelihood for someone to become introverted will be exacerbated if that person is bullied in school, not shown enough love at home, or rejected by a lover.
We believe a person’s archetype is encoded in his genes, even if it’s not physically apparent. It continues to develop through his early relationship with his family and incipient awareness of his sexuality. The latter is dependent on the former: a person’s relationship with his family during his youth sets the groundwork for his relationship with his sexuality as he enters adulthood. A mother’s or father’s parenting style will impact the child for life, long after he moves out of the house.
A few years ago, someone advised us to write a book for young women on how to recognize Mr. Right from Mr. Wrong. When we talked about this, we realized it’s not quite that easy. While it’s true that some partners are just plain wrong for us, most human beings are far more complex than we can imagine. Our characters aren’t black or white, good or bad; we are a symphony of colors. Our personalities are multidimensional. It is, therefore, not our place to tell you that the archetype you’re dating or would like to date is right or wrong for you. We’re here to provide insight into what you can expect. The value of the seven archetypes we’ve identified is that they serve as a predictability chart, laying out all the components of a man’s personality. We present each archetype’s most critical character traits—innate and learned—that influence his relationships positively and negatively.
A Closer Look at the Seven Archetypes
We continued observing the personas we encountered in our practice, particularly in regard to how they handled love relationships. We began taking notes on our clients’ backgrounds, experiences, and demeanors and eventually developed seven distinct archetypes:
- The Independent
- The Workaholic
- The Narcissist
- The Free Spirit
- The Hopeless Romantic
- The Wounded Warrior
- The Introvert
More specifically, we divided the archetypes into two categories: the “me” archetypes and the “we” archetypes. The difference between the two is how much the archetype relies on his ego to make decisions in his relationships. The Independent, the Workaholic, the Narcissist, and the Free Spirit are more ego driven, while the Hopeless Romantic, the Wounded Warrior, and the Introvert employ their egos less. Selfishness or selflessness will impact the energy of a relationship tremendously. We also provide an analysis of the truly balanced individual, which we call the Well-Rounded One, in comparison to the other archetypes. Our next two chapters focus on the archetypes within these categories.
Each of the seven archetypes possesses strengths and weaknesses, and each is capable of upholding a relationship so long as he’s willing to work on himself. As stated before, we believe there’s no such thing as a commitment-phobe, but some archetypes adapt to commitment more easily than others: certain attributes lend them a higher susceptibility to attachment and a keener sense of dedication. Other archetypes are more emotionally resistant or have tougher psychological barriers to overcome before they can engage in a healthy relationship. It boils down to what values each archetype must learn or change in order to cultivate a relationship that’s fulfilling for both partners. For example, the Narcissist needs to learn the value of sacrifice. The Independent needs to learn the value of attachment. The Workaholic needs to learn to prioritize what really matters, the Wounded Warrior needs to heal, and the Free Spirit needs to ground himself in purpose. The Hopeless Romantic needs to be more realistic, while the Introvert needs to open up and trust.
Each archetype needs to unlearn something unhealthy or unhelpful, then learn something new and positive, to be in a successful relationship. We don’t want to remain confined to the limitations of our archetype, unable to live up to our commitment goals and reneging on our promises. This causes us much suffering and confusion, not to mention a heck of a lot of trouble for our partner! Our goal is to escape the boundaries of one archetype and become as flexible as possible in our lives and our romances, ready to tackle any challenge. The goal isn’t to achieve perfection but balance.
The Archetypes in a Few Words
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 chose his significant other. But 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 clear-sighted 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 without 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.
After you learn about the seven different archetypes and decide which one applies to your significant other, we offer you a description of the Well-Rounded One. The Well-Rounded One is not an archetype per say, but he paints the portrait of a truly stable partner. Through him, you’ll understand how a healthy relationship looks and feels. The ultimate goal is that, once you and your partner have performed your work, you’ll shed the encumbrances of your archetypes and become a well-rounded couple.