Whether you’re just recently in love, or have been with your partner for quite some time, it’s never a bad idea to get to know them on new levels — and maybe start a meaningful conversation — through psychological tests. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) often comes to mind when we think about measuring personalities, but there are actually many more tests out there, formal and informal, which you can explore and use to better understand each other.
Developed in 2014, this rather fun questionnaire is meant to educate and help you discover what “kinks” you have.
BDSM refers to consensual erotic practices or roleplaying that encompass bondage, discipline, dominance and submission, sadomasochism, as well as other “deviant” dynamics. This test is supposed to reveal the extent to which you identify with certain BDSM “archetypes”, such as “Vanilla”, “Switch”, “Experimentalist”, and so on; explanations for these terms can be found on the website.
You should be above 18 years old to take this test. You can either take it anonymously, or under an account that helps track how your preferences change over time. The full test is pretty long, taking about 15 to 30 minutes to complete, but you can also opt for a shorter version. Note that questions may be personalized depending on the individual’s previous responses.
Although not a formal measure of personality, the BDSM test can definitely shed some light on what sexual preferences you and your partner might have. So if you’re curious on that front, this is the test for you.
The Attachment Theory was formulated by psychologists such as John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth in as early as the 1950s. This theory initially investigated how young children’s relationship with their primary caretakers influences future social and emotional development.
Based on Ainsworth’s famous “Strange Situations” experiments in 1965, in which infants are exposed to strangers alone before reuniting with their caretakers, several attachment styles were identified: secure attachment, insecure-ambivalent attachment, insecure-avoidant attachment, and disorganised/disoriented attachment.
Subsequently, this theory has been adapted to adult romantic relationships, and the four major attachment styles were labelled as: secure, anxious-preoccupied, dismissive-avoidant and fearful-avoidant. (There are variations to these categorisations and labels.)
Knowing you and your partner’s attachment style can help you navigate each other’s communicative and emotional needs. For example, someone with an anxious-preoccupied attachment style may want high levels of responsiveness and reassurance from their significant other, while a dismissive-avoidant person might have a greater need for independence or tend to distance themselves in the face of conflicts.
There is an assortment of quizzes to test for your attachment style, normally taking less than 10 minutes to complete. However, it’s important to keep in mind that early childhood attachment does not determine your adult attachment style; nor does everyone’s attachment style stay the same throughout their lives. So while this test can provide you with the opportunity to work out how you and your partner can adapt to each other’s needs, don’t forget that one can always learn to cultivate a secure attachment style over time too.
In Gary Chapman’s 1992 book The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate, he outlined five main “love languages” — ways in which people express and experience love. These are: words of affirmation, quality time, giving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch.
This test is easy to access and takes around 10 minutes to complete. The five categories are self-explanatory, and while they are all great ways to make your partner feel appreciated, getting to know their dominant “love language” helps you cater to their most important wants and needs. At the same time, it’s always a good idea to let your partner know how you would like to be loved.
Have you ever wondered why your partner seems to obsess over something that you think can’t really be changed? Or, perhaps quite the opposite — they don’t make an effort at all because they view the matter as out of their hands?
The answer may lie in their locus of control (LOC), or how much they believe they can control situations in life. This concept emerged in 1954 as part of the Social Learning Theory by Julian B. Rotter. People with an internal LOC see their experiences as a result of their own actions and abilities, while people with an external LOC attribute their experiences to the environment and other people.
Although the LOC is often discussed in the context of academic or career achievements, I think it’s a generally useful tool for understanding the way we interpret events and make decisions — including those of romantic relationships. How in control do we feel when it comes to personal connections? How motivated are we to initiate changes for the better? And how does the relationship affect our LOC? These are all questions that can be explored after you take the test, which takes about 10 minutes to complete (but may vary depending on the website you choose).
The Big 5 Personality Traits, or the Five Factor Model, has its origins in Hippocrates’s classification of people’s “temperaments” which determine their personality. In the 1980s, researchers developed this model that measures personality on 5 dimensions:
- Openness to experience: appreciation for art, intense adventures, unusual beliefs, etc. with great curiosity, imagination, and awareness of emotions; also characterised by volatile behaviours and lack of focus.
- Conscientiousness: acts of duty, self-discipline, and striving for achievement. People who are highly conscientious prefer planning ahead, and are sometimes perceived as stubborn.
- Extraversion: how much someone enjoys activities with others and derives energy from the external environment. Highly extroverted people tend to have more attention in group settings and are seen as enthusiastic and engaged.
- Agreeableness: placing great importance in getting along with others, and a high concern for harmony. Agreeable individuals are often described as “helpful”, “kind”, or “generous”, who may sacrifice their own interest for others.
- Neuroticism: how prone someone is to experiencing negative emotions like anxiety and depression. Individuals who score high on this trait tend to be more vulnerable to stress and may possess a pessimistic attitude toward challenges.
The Big 5 Personality questionnaire takes about 10 minutes and, just like the MBTI test, provides a framework for understanding someone’s character traits. Learning how your partner or yourself scores on each scale can bring more awareness to your unique combination of qualities, hence deepening your connection and benefitting your relationship.
While you have fun trying out the above tests, remember that these tests are constantly being investigated and reviewed for their reliability and validity. Moreover, they’re only meant to examine a (very small) part of who someone is, at a given moment.
Psychologists today all agree that environments are extremely important in influencing someone’s behaviour or even personality. You can use these tools to better understand your partner, but don’t be too caught up in fixing a label on them — all of us are capable of change.