Falling in love can be exciting, unnerving, thrilling and exhausting… and so much more. For Enneagram Type 8s who aren’t too great at emotional vulnerability, it can be an especially confusing time. 

When it comes to attachment styles, Enneagram 8s often fall within the category of avoidant. They’re extremely independent and self-confident and they can be uncomfortable being intimate and open with others. In fact, an Enneagram 8’s tendency to be self-reliant can spill over into their relationships, where they might be unwilling to commit or become dependent on another person. Eights are the type who are likely to complain about someone being too “needy” or say they want to have more space.

With this in mind, here are seven essential things that every Enneagram 8 should do before falling in love. Doing the ‘inner work’ first will help you make the most of experience so you can give your fledgling relationship a fighting chance. 

1. Check you’re ready to make space for another person

First things first, you need to take a beat and evaluate if you’re actually ready to make space for another person in your life. Are you ready to be emotionally vulnerable? Are you ready to devote time and energy to nurturing a relationship? Are you willing to open up to another person?

Did you answer “no” or “hmmm maybe?” It’s a good idea to hit pause and consider why you’re feeling the way you are. Rushing into something as powerful and earth-shattering as love is a big deal so make sure it’s definitely what you want before you launch headfirst.

2. Be clear about what you actually want

Let’s face it, Type 8s are very opinionated. If you’re a Type 8 who’s quickly falling in love with another person, you need to be clear with them about what you want from your relationship - or if you even want a relationship at all.

No doubt you’ve already figured out what you want to happen next with this person, now the trick is to communicate that to them! Whether you’re thinking they're the love of your life or just a holiday fling, you need to be honest about your emotions and where you expect your love to go. 

It can be difficult to put emotions and ideas into words but to make the process of falling in love go smoothly, it’s an essential conversation to have. The same goes for all aspects of your relationship - from traveling alone to doing activities together and even whether or not they leave their toothbrush at your place! Be clear about what you want, what you’re comfortable with and what you need from your partner to set clear, honest boundaries from the start.

3. Address your trust issues

One of the biggest challenges Type 8s face in their day-to-day life is the fear of being vulnerable or losing their control. When it comes to falling in love, this issue becomes a very real possibility.

For any Type 8 falling in love, it’s important to take time to address any underlying trust issues and lack of emotional availability you have, ideally before your life becomes entangled with another person. That might mean working through these issues yourself or seeing a therapist or counselor. Whatever route you choose, make sure you are open with your partner about this side of your personality so they know what to expect.

4. Prioritize open communication

Open, honest communication is a hugely important aspect of any relationship. For Type 8s, transparency is especially critical as this personality type can expect a lot from the people in their lives. If something is making you feel uncomfortable, uneasy or concerned, you need to address this with your partner. 

Try to prioritize open communication from the very beginning of your relationship, even before you fall in love. Transparency will help you to form a healthy, mutually beneficial bond and avoid conflict in your love life. Which leads us on to point 5…

5. Don’t jump to conflict

Type 8s don’t love conflict - but they don’t avoid it either. When you’re falling in love, it’s important to check that tendency to jump into a confrontation. Conflict and confrontation in relationships can quickly become a habit and cause even the rosiest romances to turn sour.

Instead of immediately launching into conflict with your partner, try to find other methods for working out your problems. It can be especially helpful to take a step back to give yourself time to process your emotions.

If you feel yourself straying into conflict territory, try phrases such as: “I understand it’s really important for us to talk about this, but I need some time to clear my head. Can we take a breather and talk about this in a couple of hours? Then I’ll be able to open up more.”

Find methods that will help you avoid conflict as a knee-jerk reaction to challenges for an easier path to falling in love.

6. Remember it takes two to fall in love

Type 8s are notoriously assertive, self-assured and dominant, so falling in love is something that they’ll often do in their characteristically over-confident way. When you’re falling in love, remember that your partner is equally important in the process - and they deserve to have their say.

Whether it’s making decisions about moving in together, where to eat or what your future will look like together, make sure that you check in with your partner and listen to their needs. As a Type 8, you’re definitely going to have your own ideas, but any relationship takes two people to work. Keep this in mind and you’ll be on the road to a happy romance. 

7. Go at your own pace 

Falling in love can feel like a whirlwind and that can be pretty unsettling for Enneagram Type 8s. It’s important to go at your own pace and take time for yourself when you need it. 

There’s no timeline for falling in love. You don’t have to get it done to a deadline. Let it flow in a way that works for you and don’t be afraid to ask your partner for space and time apart - this is the best way to form a healthy, happy relationship that will last.

Elizabeth Harris
Elizabeth is a freelance writer and ghostwriter. She’s an anthropologist at heart and loves using social theory to get deeper into the topics she writes about. Born in the UK, Elizabeth has lived in Copenhagen, Frankfurt and Dubai before moving most recently to Budapest, Hungary. She’s an ENTJ with ENFJ leanings. Find out more about her work at bethharris.com