Can Type-A And Type-B People Actually Make A Relationship Work?

Photo: WeHeartIt

One of the coolest things about being in committed relationships is having someone to grow old with, someone with whom you share so many memories that sitting in the rockers on the porch won’t be boring at all, you’ll have so much to talk about.

Equally as cool is how, if you open your mind and heart, your sweetheart can teach you things you might not otherwise ever learn, and can even help you be a better person.

My sweetheart Dale and I are alike in many ways—the same sense of humor, a love of adventure travel, the same political views, an enjoyment of good food. We also have a very fundamental difference. I’m a Type A he’s definitely a Type B. In summary, here’s how Wikipedia describes the two:

Type A individuals are impatient, time-conscious, have difficulty relaxing, high-achieving workaholics who multi-task, drive themselves with deadlines, and are unhappy about delays.

Type B individuals are patient, relaxed and easy-going, generally lacking an overriding sense of urgency.

It should come as no surprise, then, that timeliness (or in Dale’s case, the lack of it!) has been an issue in our relationship. In fact, it was my effort to "fix" him that ultimately resulted in my writing my book, Frequent Foreplay Miles.


Rewind the tape back to when we were on our way to an early evening BBQ. I was contributing the salad and we were running late. As I glanced at my watch to see just how late we were, Dale pulled off to the side of the road and said, "Wow, look how the afternoon light is falling on the hillside. It’s so beautiful, let’s just enjoy the view for a moment." 

What? Was he kidding? Just as I was about to open my mouth to point out we were late and had no time for this silliness, I glanced over at the hillside and, you know what, it was beautiful. I forced myself to zip it and enjoy the view with him.

After a few minutes, we were on our way and the salad delivered in plenty of time. That was a pivotal moment for me and I wondered how many other beautiful sights I had missed because of my rush through life. Perhaps, I thought, it was time to see the world more through Dale’s eyes.

While I’ve still got those Type A tendencies and I still rush him along at times, I’ve learned that there are other times, many times, when tapping into my inner Type B makes my life healthier, more enjoyable and more beautiful.

My sweetheart taught me to relax and to see beauty I would otherwise have missed. Wow.

Too many people trash their relationship by trying to make their partner their clone, insisting that their way is the one and only right way. Sure, I could have badgered and nagged Dale into being the clock Nazi I was and, believe me, I did plenty of that in the beginning, arguing that his being late was arrogant and self-centered.

Then one day it hit me: it was arrogant and self-centered of me to expect him to become my clone on this issue.

Now, I don’t demand perfection and, because he understands how important timeliness is to me, he pays more attention to the clock when it’s truly necessary to be on time. I win. He wins. Our relationship wins.

Your differences can be the source of constant irritation or, if you open your mind and heart, they can be the source of growth and greater closeness.