Admittedly, love is a complex and multilayered emotion. It’s based on many fundamental factors; some internal and some external – all of them fluctuating courtesy of time, circumstance and the current level of introspection. With that in mind, this headline question isn’t intended to crudely simplify that or create insecurities where there needn’t be. Nevertheless, it is possible that psychometric models (used in the workplace) may additionally have positive developmental uses in relationships, as well. By identifying how we think, we can establish what we want. Moreover, if we can understand ourselves (and our partners) a little more, it can prove useful in crafting techniques which would strengthen the romantic connection. So whether you’re single, dating, in a relationship or married, the future success of your love life could potentially be predicted by brain dominance.
HBDI (Hermann Brain Dominance Instrument) is a tool that examines which of the 4 thinking styles you are (Left: Analytical, Sequential. Right: Imaginative and Interpersonal). According to this model, we can be 1 quadrant or even a mixture of all 4.
What are the 4 Quadrants of the Brain?
A – Blue quadrant: Logical, technical, and financial. In a single word ‘Fact’, or as a profession – Engineer.
B – Green quadrant: Organised, detailed, and structured. In a single word ‘Form’, or as a profession – Project Manager.
C – Red quadrant: Emotional, sensory, and people. In a single word ‘Feeling’, or as a profession – Teacher/Nurse.
D – Yellow quadrant: Risk taker, intuitive, and the big picture. In a single word ‘Future’, or as a profession – Entrepreneur
The model was developed to delineate which thinking styles are a person’s strengths and weaknesses, giving them a chance to do tasks which would improve their performance in weaker areas. Rather than being considered a tool for assessment, it was created for self-development. These thinking styles can often be a good predicate for career, but can they also be a good indicator for love?
Before we dive into this question of romance, the HBDI test is an exclusive test which usually comes at a financial cost to take. However, there are plenty of free online tests which highlight whether you are more dominant in using the left or right-hand side of your brain. According to the one hyperlinked above, for example, I am an equal measure of both sides, meaning my brain can harmoniously engage in all 4 quadrants (supposedly). This is useful when a job role demands multiple applications, such as meeting deadlines, providing unique viewpoints, conversing with people fairly, and objectively validating statistics. But how can these same thinking styles be applied when love is the goal?
In a 2014 psychological study inspired by Sternberg’s Triangular Theory of Love (1986), it was hypothesised that heterosexual couples with similar thinking styles would have stronger bonds than those couples with opposing dominant brain hemispheres. They discovered that right-brained couples maintained the best connections overall. Whereas left-brain couples were actually poorest in their connections, even compared to those couples with different dominant brains. In fact, the different brain couples actually communicated the most effectively. So, what does this suggest?
Intimate relationships are – according to the aforementioned study – impacted by thinking styles, and those that work best are right-brained, potentially because the interpersonal abilities are located on that side of the brain. Whilst love is complex, the ability to discuss one’s feelings and have them be freed somewhere safe is a powerful portent for romantic success. In order to feel secure in any relationship, we need to be able to fruitfully communicate with one another; this helps to solidify trust.
By way of measurement, trust is defined by rapport and connection, plus fairness in the relationship. Some marriage counsellors rely on the 5 Pillars of Trust to refine this. I.e.: Transparency, Reciprocity, Understanding, Safety and Time. These are considered the pillars that form the foundation for lifelong trusting relationships. However, our personalities and experiences can also shape us, and how we perceive said trust in the romantic partnerships we find ourselves in.
The Big 5 test can give a basic summary of our disposition, which can be helpful in understanding our traits on a sliding scale (for reference, my scores are pictured below). But we should also bear in mind that we are genetically predisposed to certain behaviours, courtesy of our parents (nature), and major life events can further change and develop our personalities (nurture). There’s always room to modify our scores. Our brains can be somewhat “rewired” by aiming to become the person we want to be. If those new behaviours are repeated often enough, we’ll be able to realign our neural pathways.
Arguably, then, if our personalities are an ongoing discovery process, which can literally change the way we think, this means we purportedly all have the capacity to alter our established brain dominance. So, what happens when it comes to romantic success? Is that also on a sliding scale?
All of us possess the capability to test out new behaviours. Once we engage in them, the dominant quadrants of our brain can change. This suggests that we are not merely protagonists of a story, written by our thinking styles, personality traits and life events; we are the narrators, too. Ergo, our romantic success is still bound by us and our perceptions. We are the ultimate decision-makers, using those tools and memories and thoughts to cast a measured judgement on a situation. Is this relationship working? Can we move past this issue? Should we take things to the next level? Etc. All of these questions can be answered by how we perceive the world around us and how trusting we feel towards the person we’re with. However, as this isn’t merely an exercise for one person (like it is in the workplace), there is something else to consider…
The phrases “love is a verb” and “respect is a two-way street” may well be familiar to you. They express that love is a doing word, something that requires maintenence, as well as that it is not solely an autonomous venture. Relationships face the ongoing requirement of both parties engaging in meeting halfway. If this doesn’t happen, over time – no matter how much one person tries to accommodate their partner – emotional burnout will undoubtedly occur. No one wants to feel like the only one holding the relationship together, or that their needs aren’t being fairly met. It breeds negative emotions, such as resentment. Ultimately, people need to see that the other person is as equally invested in the romance, in order to maintain that pivotal pillar of trust.
If you’re both reading from the same page and are both equally willing to be open, honest and communicative, your romance stands a far higher chance of success. No matter what your thinking style is, your personality traits are, or your past is, ultimately, all you really need…
Is love ❤️
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