The Enneagram Type That Is The Hardest To Love (And How To Love Them Anyway)

We're all complicated ... but some more than others.

Enneagram relationships SolomonViktor /

An Enneagram is a tool that helps us grow and learn what parts of ourselves we must let go of to experience true freedom in every area of our lives

Some might say Enneagram Type Eight, the Challenger, is the hardest to love.

At their average levels, the Challenger can be forceful and aggressive. They assert control over themselves and others.

They will push even harder whenever they feel someone is trying to hold them back. Eights can be intimidating because they say whatever is on their mind.


They don't care what other people think of them.

Eights feel vulnerable. Most people don't realize they are big-hearted people. Unfortunately, as a way to survive, they close their hearts down because they believe it is unsafe to be weak and vulnerable.

Average eights will hide their true feelings and expect people to try and control them. 

This wound sets up an in-balance of power, making it difficult for the couple to communicate and resolve conflict. The eight is always ready for battle, increasing the potential for severe conflict or the silencing of the non-eight partner. 

Is this type the hardest Enneagram type for you to love?


RELATED: What Your Enneagram Personality Type Reveals About Your Greatest Strengths & Weaknesses

All enneagram types are capable of loving

The good news is that all nine Enneagram types are equally capable of loving. With a type eight partner, it might be more obvious.

However, if you have a healthy type eight, they can be open, loving, compassionate and vulnerable. It might take them longer to trust, but when they do, they can be one of the most attentive, caring partners you could ask for in life. 


Eights are in relationships at their best when they are loyal, caring, positive, playful, truthful, straightforward, committed, generous and supportive.

In relationships, combinations of any type can work well if you are both healthy. You are healthy when you don't over-identify with your type (ego).

RELATED: 3 Magic Words That Keep The Best Couples Together Forever

The levels of integration

Learning about the integration levels can help you see how all types have strengths and weaknesses in their ability to love. You can have a fantastic relationship with any type, even if you are the same if you are both healthy.

 The top level is called healthy. When you are in this range (Levels 1,2, and 3), you have enough sense of your true self to see you are more than the limitations of your type.  


The next three levels are the average levels (Levels 4, 5 and 6), where most of us reside. In this group, you get caught up in your ego and begin to forget who you are. 

The lower levels are called unhealthy, where you start seeing mental problems and mental illness (Levels 7, 8 and 9). Getting coached is not enough at this place, and you will need psychological help.

You are most likely in the healthy to average levels because people in the lowest three levels have no idea they need help.

The bottom line in any relationship is that you will do well if you take responsibility for yourself and remain open to working through your issues as a couple.


The strengths and weaknesses of all nine types can impact your relationship.

RELATED: The 3 Enneagram Instincts & How They Can Transform Your Life

Identifying the relationship's strengths and weaknesses of the nine types

1. Enneagram type one: the Reformer

  • Strengths: Trustworthy, Devoted, Dependable, Supportive
  • Weaknesses: Critical, Argumentative, Perfectionistic, Stubborn

2. Enneagram type two: the Helper

  • Strengths: Generous, Caring, Helpful, Nurturing
  • Weaknesses: Jealousy, Manipulating, Attention Seeking, Demanding

3. Enneagram type three: the Achiever

  • Strengths: Playful, Creative, Responsible, Generous
  • Weaknesses: Self-centered, Defensive, Impatient, Misleading

4. Enneagram type four: the Individualist

  • Strengths: Genuine, Authentic, Caring, Self-Revealing
  • Weaknesses: Moody, Self-Absorbed, Negative, Self-Righteous

5. Enneagram type five: the Investigator

  • Strengths: Curious, Sense of Humor, Open-Minded, Self Sufficient
  • Weaknesses: Provocative, Skeptical, Withdrawn, Pessimistic

6. Enneagram type six: the Loyalist

  • Strengths: Protective, Courageous, Loyal, Reliable
  • Weaknesses: Worried, Anxious, Skeptical, Sarcastic

7. Enneagram type seven: the Enthusiast

  • Strengths: Adventurous, Playful, Giving, Light-Hearted

  • Weaknesses: Selfish, Defensive, Preoccupied, Narrow-Minded


8. Enneagram type eight: the Challenger

  • Strengths: Big-Hearted, Energetic, Caring, Thoughtful

  • Weaknesses: Demanding, Condescending, Domineering, Stubborn

9. Enneagram type nine: the Peacemaker

  • Strengths: Understanding, Kind-Hearted, Peaceful, Encouraging
  • Weaknesses: Passive-Aggressive, Overly Accommodating, Defensive, Tenacious

RELATED: Why The Real Test Isn't Falling In Love, It's Staying In Love

You have all nine types within you. No type is better or worse than another person. Once you know your primary type, you will see what you need to do your work. If you want a healthy relationship, start with yourself. 

Ideally, in any relationship, you will both be doing your work. As well as doing your work, it is essential to do your couple's work.


If you are feeling stuck, do not be afraid to get help. The Enneagram can help you to notice when you are getting stuck in your personality and offer a path to liberation. However, it can be difficult to do yourself because you are blind to how others are experiencing you.

You can create a beautiful, loving relationship with love, commitment, and dedication.

All of us have equal capacity to love each other.


Here are 9 questions to reflect on how much mastery you have over your ego

  • Are you overcritical of yourself and the person you love?
  • Do you think you have to earn your partner's love?
  • Are you more concerned with your image than the person you love?
  • Do you focus more on what is not going well in your relationship than what is going well?
  • Do you avoid telling what is going on in your life because you fear looking stupid?
  • Are you afraid of what might happen and don't trust your inner knowing?
  • Do you overbook your life because you fear that you might be missing out on something fun?
  • Do people tell you that you are intimidating?
  • Do you have difficulty letting yourself and others know what you want?

RELATED: Couples That Stay Together Forever Make 11 Tiny Changes When Their Relationship Is In Trouble

If any of these questions bring up some familiar issues for you suggests that you have some more work to do. The reality is that we all have work to do.

When you date someone new, take the time to see if you are both willing to do the individual and couples work to keep your relationship strong.  

The Enneagram, along with coaching, can help you to have the best relationship possible. If your new partner isn't ready to do their work, this is probably not the best person for you. Remember that when you are not grounded, you become the hardest Enneagram type to love for another person.


We all can love another person. When we learn to be present in our bodies, hearts and heads, we will have full access to our hearts, making it possible to love another person entirely.

Roland Legge is a Certified Spiritual Life Coach and minister. He shares his coaching expertise in his coaching sessions and e-book to help his clients find freedom from habits that no longer serve them.