[INFJ] Some reflections on my relationship with my ESFP SO (and questions/advice?)


Hi all... Just joined to post this. Essentially I have been looking for some general relationship advice and I thought some advice from fellow INFJs would be a good place to start... Sorry if this is long.

If you want the TLDR version, basically I have broken up with my ESFP partner of 4 years, but we are both rethinking the breakup and I am wondering whether we should get back together for a longer-term commitment. Having spent so much time together, I don't want to bother unless I am sure we can really hack it in the long run, but I have a few hesitations (some of them MBTI has helped explain). Any general thoughts on an INFJ/ESFP pairing very welcome and you can skip the rest. If you want to read the longer version, please continue on...

I am 32 year old INFJ male in relationship with a 32 year old (6 months older than me) ESFP female. Been together four years.

I read that this is not at all a natural pairing. This makes sense to me in a way, but we've had a fantastic relationship all in all... Or perhaps we've had a very challenging, hard-working, but rewarding relationship that I feel has led to a great deal of personal, psychological and spiritual growth for the both of us. So even if at times it's not been enjoyable all the time per say, as an INFJ I count this as a fantastic relationship given how it has contributed to our growth and maturing as individuals (am sure you INFJs can resonate with that) :)

First, we are not full-on INFJ/ESFP. Our %s are as follows...

I am:
I (60%)
N (90%)
F (75%)
J (55%)

She is:
E (60%)
S (60%)
F (70%)
P (55%)

Some reflections on our relationship together.

Our psychological connection:

Of course as an INFJ this is the most important to me, and this is perhaps the most challenging for an INFJ/ESFP pairing. Basically, I crave deep spiritual connection, intellectual conversations about the meaning of it all, the fate of humanity, an individual's role and purpose in the world, living a compassionate life, what we have to give to humanity and the planet, etc. etc. ... She just isn't the person to talk to these kinds of things about. She'll entertain me a bit. She seems amused or maybe a bit mystified by it, but she is not one who will resonate with my thoughts and give anything back...

What I love about her though is how light-hearted and fun she is. There is nothing but constant laughter between us. We are always having fun. After so many years, it is just nonstop giddiness and joy. I guess she has helped me develop my inferior Se function in this way, and it is damn fun to share that with her! When we are not arguing or having bad moments, the relationship is just a constant joy. I certainly would not call our relationship "deep" though.

Our support for each other:

This is the best part of our relationship. We both constantly remind the other of their positive points and are extremely supportive and encouraging. Whatever weakness either has, the other one is always there to push them on and say "you can do it!" no matter what it is. In any trouble we have in life, we always share it with the other and get the best advice. I would call her my very best "life advisor" and I would say I am the same for her.


The best. We totally fit. Same amount of libido (how much we want it, when we want it, etc.). We just like the same kind of stuff in the same kind of way. It's a way of acting out our our deeper appreciation for one another. We are a perfect fit in this way. So perfect that I think when we somehow are lacking in connecting in more meaningful ways, perhaps the fact that we match so well sexually sometimes prevents us from addressing, or facing up to, some of the areas where perhaps we aren't a perfect fit.

Our problems:

In beginning of the relationship, we would constantly argue about minor things. I am too demanding, she is too hard on me. I am too perfectionist, she is completely insensitive to when I am down and is clueless as to how to emotionally or psychologically comfort me. Over the years, we fight less and less, and I would say this was something that was a challenge but isn't any longer... We just know how to avoid getting into fights these days...

Our romantic attraction:

This is perhaps where we are most lacking. I have never felt that FEELING I have felt for other girls (mainly NFs) where I just ooze with a deep and romantic fascination and attraction to them... I sometimes feel like my girlfriend is my best friend platonically, that I also happen to have sex with, but she doesn't feel like my lover. I love her in that I hopelessly want to help her and support her, but I don't love her in a romantic way and never did from the beginning. She just doesn't have the kind of sensitivity in her to respond to that side of me, so I have never felt that for her. I wonder if this is a necessity for a long-term positive romantic relationship, but it is something I have had before that I do find myself somehow missing in my relationship with her....

Our current status:

I am fiercely independent and value my freedom above all else. She says I am greedy and in a way selfish, and I do not at all deny this... Basically, I have saved some money and would like to travel for a while. I'd love for her to come, we have travelled a lot together and always have a great time, but I also relish the idea of going alone. I want to go meditate, hike, pour myself into new places and communities and see where it takes me... Given my need for freedom and my awareness that I am somewhat selfish, I find it unfair to her to continue the relationship. I don't even believe in monogamy (I've done a pretty damn good job of it though given her demands for it), let alone know if I am willing to have marriage or children. I find this unfair to her. Though she does not want this now, she at some stage knows she wants kids and likely to settle down with a long-term partner. Aware of her biological clock, I think it's not right to keep the relationship going on the chance that I decide I do want to have children with her and marry her. So I suggested we break up, and she felt it was the best thing to do also... This with the knowledge that I soon will be moving/traveling from anywhere from 6-18 months, perhaps not returning here to where she lives...

After several months of keeping in touch casually, trying not to write each other too much about problems we face, knowing that we will be great support and offer great encouragement for each other (and thus keep that "close" feeling), we recently met up and decided why not have a date, romantic dinner and sex. Was wonderful. We both were surprised at how much we enjoyed it, and realized we'd missed each other even more than we thought. Now we wonder, is there a happy medium between what we want... Staying together, or having the option to get back together, while each pursuing our separate paths (and leaving door open for other partners) for a while... Four years is not forever, but it is long enough, and having invested so much and built up such a strong, healthy, supportive relationship, I wonder is it worth abandoning? If I were at the age where I wanted to settle down, she would be the perfect girl for me in many ways, so isn't it crazy of me not to appreciate that and just hang on to it now? I can't help but feel (as with all things in life) in the back of my mind that there may be "better options" out there though, and I want to leave the door open to explore them...

This is my rant... Any thoughts or advice from my fellow INFJs (or others) tremendously appreciated...
What is the question to which your answer is "no"?

To what in my post are you referring that is ostensibly "broken"?
Nobody can answer that except the two of you. Your answers may not be the same, either.
Your list of pros and cons is an even split, and without sitting with you it is hard to feel your true vibe about this. It is obvious you care for each other, but you are also saying neither of your needs are being met.

Areas where you need to compromise to be a better couple:
It sounds like your emotional needs are not being met (your need for 'depth' and understanding), and (partially) in order to fulfill that need, you need to travel. You also thrive on independence. She calls you selfish for wanting to be independent and travel.
She wants monogamy and eventually wants children. Your independent streak clashes with this. You have different expectations of what a relationship should be.

Everyone loves differently, and the saying goes "expectation is the root of heartache", so you'll both need to let go of what you expected a relationship to be and face and accept what your relationship is. - Again, up to both of you as individuals and you may not come ot the same conclusion.

Sometimes we grow an incredible amount by spending time with people who are not meant to be in our lives forever.
Sometimes we are willing to grow in a way that keeps those we love in our lives "forever".
You need to do one or the other.

Think ahead. As an INFJ, surely you are thinking of the future and what your lives and relationship could be years from now. Do you share common life goals? Are you willing to consider sharing in a goal the other person has that was not on your list (such as children)?
Time and age makes relationships harder. It is likely that in the future (a decade or two from now) you'll both have some sort of meltdown because you've reached the age when many opportunities have passed and you need to get your act together for the upcoming decades. Unfulfilled dreams, too much compromise and sacrifice, and career frustrations can put pressure on the best relationships. This is the age when a ton of couples get divorced and existential crises can put strain on relationships. You do not want to wake up in ten years resenting each other because you missed out on what could have been. Make sure your core life goals have a chance or you won't be happy. Maybe you can share those life goals. That is up to the two of you to decide.

You do not want to be on the receiving end of unfulfilled goals when you denied a person who wanted children from having them.
Also, a lot of people who don't want kids change their minds when they meet a person they can envision having a family with.

Sex in long-term relationships waxes and wanes. It depends on the couple. If sex is the glue that keeps you happy together, that is not reliable.
This is perhaps where we are most lacking. I have never felt that FEELING I have felt for other girls (mainly NFs) where I just ooze with a deep and romantic fascination and attraction to them...
-- This statement is an alarm. Are you going to be happy having sex with only one person, long-term, who does not make you melt? On the other hand, the friendship you share is rare and perhaps that is enough for you. (?)

People who are opposites can have happy long-term relationships together, so it doesn't matter if your MBTI results are not a traditional pairing, as long as you have a healthy relationship and share long-term goals.

So, I'm not saying yes or no, I'm just trying to help you think it over and hopefully the two of you will have a discussion about the future of your relationship.

Maybe you should travel and see where life takes you before you commit. Meting new people and fulfilling a few of your dreams to see new places will change your perspective.
Thanks so so much for your response... This is really extremely helpful and I very much appreciate what you have written. For such a long relationship that I could write pages and pages and pages about, I only wrote a very small amount, yet what you have responded really speaks directly to the heart of where we are at and some of the things we need to come to terms with to figure out what is best for the both of us. This will be really helpful for us in discussing.

I will try to write a better response (and a few more thoughts/questions if that is alright) when time permits. Truly grateful for what you have shared!
[MENTION=14684]drumdrum[/MENTION]: even though he used few words, I do agree with [MENTION=5511]ruji[/MENTION]. It's not exactly that it was broken but that you will spend a lifetime trying to make it into what it can never be. I think you already know that, though.

Move on. What you are feeling is most likely fear that you won't find anyone better and the loss of your best friend and support.
Our romantic attraction:

This is perhaps where we are most lacking. I have never felt that FEELING I have felt for other girls (mainly NFs) where I just ooze with a deep and romantic fascination and attraction to them... I sometimes feel like my girlfriend is my best friend platonically, that I also happen to have sex with, but she doesn't feel like my lover.

You've already answered your own question.

No, do not get back with her.
No relationship is perfect and no relationship is going to fulfill you in every way. The reality is that we all settle in different ways. She brings you joy but you can't talk about the fate of humanity etc. With her. You decide what the deal breakers are, not us. You say you have amazing physical chemistry, but you don't get that 'feeling' with her.. How important is that feeling to you? Travel on your own a bit like you mentioned you wanted to do and see how how feel then.
Did you always feel like something was missing? Or have you just decided this on reflection?

We all have a list of things we would like in a partner. Some are more important than others. I would imagine that, like me, you feel that having deep and meaningful conversations with your partner is important to you. They need to be genuinely interested too. I've been in two relationships in the past - one with a guy who told me he wasn't interested in my metaphysical bullshit(!), and another who would listen but feign interest. Both guys had other great qualities (fun, caring, loyal, etc.) but I couldn't get past their lack of enthusiasm and wonder. I felt alone in the relationships.

It sounds to me like you need that depth to develop the romantic attraction. Decide how important those things are to you and take a leap of faith!

Remember there are women out there who are capable of deep and meaningful discussions, are fun to be around, AND great in bed....