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  1. #1
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    Default Help! I think I'm in love with an unhealthy INFJ

    Hi everyone!

    I've been reading the threads here for a while to help me gain a deeper insight into my personality and the way I interact with others, and I've really appreciated the way you lovely people combine anecdotal real-life experiences with more abstract, brainy approaches to interpersonal problems.

    SO... I'm finally "decloaking" and posting because I'm in uncharted waters with an INFJ man that I care for very much, and I need some advice.

    The situation with him, now going on almost a year, is making me feel stuck and not in control of my own destiny for the first time in my life -- both a good and bad thing, as has been the case with many other elements of this saga.

    The short version:

    I'm 26. He's 28. We were coworkers and hung out a couple times and then one day, out of the blue, there was just this attraction that wasn't there before. He was in the middle of a divorce (with kids) where his wife cheated on him, and I was in a relationship that wasn't intellectually or emotionally satisfying with someone who was verbally abusive.

    We started talking and it just seemed like he could see through me and understand me like no one else ever had. With him, I really opened up for some reason and was my true self.

    So I broke up with my boyfriend for reasons unrelated to INFJ man. And then, a new relationship just developed with this INFJ man. There was this great synergy. Everything flowed beautifully and naturally, if a bit fast and crazy. There was this great mind and heart meld, as well as a neat balance of skills.

    He said offhandedly once that we were like yin and yang, which was true in many ways, emotionally, intellectually and in our personal experiences. I felt that I had found my equal, except he was better than just an equal. The sex... WOW there are no words. The universe exploded.

    I fell in love so fast. I think he also cared about me a great deal. He shared a lot of himself and what he likes and dislikes, things that have thrilled him and things that have pained him and some VERY emotionally sensitive stuff about his childhood and his marriage. He rushed into things a lot, wanting me to meet his kids and calling me his girlfriend. He said the L word too, tho now I think it was probably more in response to me saying it.

    After a brief time together, he broke it off abruptly, saying his life was too much of a mess to have a relationship, but he continued to hang out with me and my friends. When all of this was happening in the fall/winter, it was very painful for me.

    So where we are now is that things have calmed down. I think I'm still in love with him because when I'm with him (when we're both emotionally healthy), there's just this special charge and while the intensity has softened, the feelings are still there. And honestly, I can't really imagine being with anyone else, which is very out of my comfort zone because 1. I'm used to being pursued and 2. I had previously been the grass-is-greener type in my other relationships.

    I'm scared of how much I care about him. I've seen glimmers of the best parts of him, and he's an amazingly strong and compassionate and insightful person -- much more so than his cold exterior lets on.

    Intuitively, I feel that he cares about me too. But when I try to pick apart what I picture in my head and feel in my heart, there's just not enough proof. A lot of his actions can be taken one way or another, and I worry that I might be projecting and I'm making a huge deal out of nothing.

    Here's the "evidence" that I've been mulling over:
    - He seems extra sensitive to my moods and emotions. We don't talk very often at work, but he still manages to pick up on whether I'm sad, happy, overwhelmed. Last week for instance, I was feeling good about myself and about the state of things with him -- and after our conversation, for the rest of the day, he also seemed to be more happy and was a LOT more outgoing than usual.

    - He's initiated most of our contact in the past few months. They come sporadically, but he reaches out and asks me about my trip to the beach, if I'm going to watch a game that night, or cracks a joke about the stupidity of our workplace.

    - There was a time in the spring when he seemed to be shyfully flirting in his own INFJ way and trying to reach out to me.

    In the past couple months, I've grown more patient and I've been trying to understand more at a deeper level my interactions with other people and what kind of person I want to be. I've let him come to me when he wants, and I had thought that we made progress -- if not toward a romantic relationship in the future, then at least CLOSURE.

    That was all blown out of the water last night though. We were both at a party. I knew he was going to be there and I probably went in with too many expectations. That, combined with alcohol, and I just let my emotions overwhelm me. He didn't talk to me as much as/in the way I would've liked, and I think subconsciously I took that as a sign that he still didn't trust me and I was hurt. The night ended with me crying to friends and him leaving the party abruptly. No confrontation though.

    So INFJs, ENFPs and anyone else interested: Do you think he has feelings for me or do you think I'm projecting? If it's the former, is there anything I can do to help him overcome whatever obstacles are in his heart? If it's the latter, what can I do to extricate myself from this situation and bring closure?

    Should I try to talk to him about what happened at the party, just clear the air in a non-confrontational manner? Or would he feel threatened and insulted by such an action?

    When we were together in the fall, I would've said that I knew with 90 percent certainty that he loved me the way I loved him. Now, I'm not so sure, and I feel stuck because I don't see an easy way out of this mess.

    Thanks for reading this long post, and looking forward to your insightful comments!!!

  2. #2
    "Everything in its place" fill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strawberrylover View Post
    So INFJs, ENFPs and anyone else interested: Do you think he has feelings for me or do you think I'm projecting?
    I would most likely have a huge amount of turmoil inside of my with another huge amount of feelings if I was in this situation. Also, I would be thinking the exact same thing that I was making a huge deal out of nothing because... I do that all the time. Also, you shouldn't worry about how he feels about you, rather how he feels about himself about feeling about you. I've had a similar situation with an ESFP, and I was never exactly frustrated with her for her actions; I blamed myself for all that was wrong.

    If it's the former, is there anything I can do to help him overcome whatever obstacles are in his heart? If it's the latter, what can I do to extricate myself from this situation and bring closure?
    Again, if there are any obstacles, it's probably between him and himself, not having much to do with what you do. This is just the romantic in me: Don't end it! Dammit, the world needs more love.

    Should I try to talk to him about what happened at the party, just clear the air in a non-confrontational manner? Or would he feel threatened and insulted by such an action?
    Well, if you feel sorry, say you're sorry, and he'll probably see he's sorry because I can almost guarantee you're both really sorry. Make a deal that you'll go back to what you had before, and if you let go of what happened, he'll be the mutual person he is and do the same.

    Sorry if this post sounds if I know you two too well; hopefully I'm not coming off as the person that knows everything.
    "Poor bastard. Wait 'till he sees the bats. "
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  3. #3
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    Hi Fill!

    Quote Originally Posted by fill View Post
    Also, you shouldn't worry about how he feels about you, rather how he feels about himself about feeling about you.
    This is the side of him that really knocked me back when I first saw it. I wasn't at all used to such self-analysis and at first took it as evasion and his way of brushing me off.

    I'm starting to understand it more nowadays, but I still don't quite understand how he can feel bad about caring for me? How can love, if indeed that's what this is, be such a "negative" force within a person?

    Well, if you feel sorry, say you're sorry, and he'll probably see he's sorry because I can almost guarantee you're both really sorry. Make a deal that you'll go back to what you had before, and if you let go of what happened, he'll be the mutual person he is and do the same.

    Sorry if this post sounds if I know you two too well; hopefully I'm not coming off as the person that knows everything.
    Nah. It's nice to hear from someone who's been there.

    I feel bad that I brought so many expectations into that situation. It's really hard for me to not though. I'm usually very perceptive about people and I guess being anticipatory is how I can maintain control in social situations. That's why INFJ man being so unpredictable throws me for a loop. It's awful, but it does make me think about what I want and how I think I should behave.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Strawberrylover View Post
    Hi Fill!

    This is the side of him that really knocked me back when I first saw it. I wasn't at all used to such self-analysis and at first took it as evasion and his way of brushing me off.

    I'm starting to understand it more nowadays, but I still don't quite understand how he can feel bad about caring for me? How can love, if indeed that's what this is, be such a "negative" force within a person?

    -----

    Nah. It's nice to hear from someone who's been there.

    I feel bad that I brought so many expectations into that situation. It's really hard for me to not though. I'm usually very perceptive about people and I guess being anticipatory is how I can maintain control in social situations. That's why INFJ man being so unpredictable throws me for a loop. It's awful, but it does make me think about what I want and how I think I should behave.
    What I find, is that I analyze the heck out of passions to make SURE they are well placed. Passion and love overrides rationality and rationality is my foundation. Until I digest and figure out what the love is truly about, will I let it comfortably take hold of me. Until then it is uncomfortable and aches.

    Also, with the passion, he likely is much more sensitive to how he acts with you; double and triple guessing himself for every little thing he thinks might be bad. At least, this is how it feels when I'm feeling the burn of passion. I also dislike that sensitivity because then my internal world is in disarray and I have to reorganize or squash the passion. The more passion the more chaotic my internal structure and the more I want to squash it, but I cant because it's bigger. It makes me neurotic until I can get a good focus to release it on.
    'Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and its better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.' - Marilyn Monroe

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    Anthropology Major out of Hamline University. St. Paul, Minnesota.

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    Thanks for the explanation, Skyward. That helped.

    I'm still wondering what I should do with the party debacle. Given all the inner turmoil he might be experiencing, I guess I should wait for him to say something?

  6. #6
    Badoom~ Skyward's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strawberrylover View Post
    Thanks for the explanation, Skyward. That helped.

    I'm still wondering what I should do with the party debacle. Given all the inner turmoil he might be experiencing, I guess I should wait for him to say something?
    I don't have much people-to-people experience, so take my word for a grain of salt, but from the problem at the party, I think he was just leaving to get away from what could have turned into a confrontation. I don't know either of you well enough to actually have a clue what the motivations could have been.
    'Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and its better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.' - Marilyn Monroe

    This is who I am, escapist, paradise-seeker.
    -Nightwish

    Anthropology Major out of Hamline University. St. Paul, Minnesota.

  7. #7

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    Help! I think I'm in love with an unhealthy INFJ
    Quote Originally Posted by Strawberrylover View Post
    ...when I'm with him (when we're both emotionally healthy)....

    ...I took that as a sign that he still didn't trust me and I was hurt...
    Your portrayal of him is confusing. Do you believe he is healthy or unhealthy?
    And why wouldn't he trust you?

    Filling in the blanks will impact the suggestions.
    "The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things." - Rainer Maria Rilke

  8. #8
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    I believe he's still mostly unhealthy because of the divorce. I've seen him when he has been emotionally healthy, and he's a much more open, secure and capable person. Unhealthy, he's moody and needy and closed off to other people. He's been getting better lately, but I think he's still mostly unhealthy.

    WRT the trust issue -- Well, his wife cheated on him, so I think there's a huge issue with trust in women in general. And after he and I stopped seeing each other, he continued to hang around me and my friends. It was too painful for me that way, so after a while I told him that I couldn't see him anymore. PERIOD. After that, he was very angry and resentful towards me for a while, leading me to believe he thought I couldn't be trusted because maybe in his mind, I abandoned him when he needed me but couldn't express that need? I dunno.

    There are numerous other reasons. I also felt that my ENFP reaching out and pressure for a decision/closure probably triggered an internal "Gaaah! I'm not ready because I'm not cool with myself yet!!!" cry in him, and subsequent flight.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Strawberrylover View Post
    I believe he's still mostly unhealthy because of the divorce. I've seen him when he has been emotionally healthy, and he's a much more open, secure and capable person. Unhealthy, he's moody and needy and closed off to other people. He's been getting better lately, but I think he's still mostly unhealthy.

    WRT the trust issue -- Well, his wife cheated on him, so I think there's a huge issue with trust in women in general. And after he and I stopped seeing each other, he continued to hang around me and my friends. It was too painful for me that way, so after a while I told him that I couldn't see him anymore. PERIOD. After that, he was very angry and resentful towards me for a while, leading me to believe he thought I couldn't be trusted because maybe in his mind, I abandoned him when he needed me but couldn't express that need? I dunno.

    There are numerous other reasons. I also felt that my ENFP reaching out and pressure for a decision/closure probably triggered an internal "Gaaah! I'm not ready because I'm not cool with myself yet!!!" cry in him, and subsequent flight.
    Oh, okay, you meant unhealthy as in 'in a rut' rather than 'not build right.'

    The problem with INFJ problems is that they are so hard to understand from the outside. Whereas we understand every nuance of our convoluted inner self, others only see the culmination of many different little things inside of us happening at once. Where, I would think, an ENFP would have a pretty clear train of feelings and then an action, and INFJ has many vague, indescribable things that pull in different directions. I think this leads most INFJs to try and fix their own problems because they're impossible to describe to outsiders.
    'Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and its better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.' - Marilyn Monroe

    This is who I am, escapist, paradise-seeker.
    -Nightwish

    Anthropology Major out of Hamline University. St. Paul, Minnesota.

  10. #10
    Senior Member mwv6r's Avatar
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    My mind automatically tries to fill in the missing pieces when I read stories like this. I'm coming up with two hunches about what may be going on with him:

    #1) Is it possible that he and his wife/ex-wife may be reconciling? I ask because your description of his behavior sounds like how I would act if I still had feelings for someone but would not allow myself to pursue the relationship, and in the past the main reason for putting the breaks on was because I was dating someone else.

    INFJs tend to carry a lot of guilt. If he has children with his wife he may feel some obligation to try to make it work, and he may also have experienced some guilt over moving on with you so quickly. I dunno about other INFJs, but in past relationships I have been VERY susceptible to letting ex's back into my life, even when it's a baaaaad idea and the relationship was screwed up.

    #2) When someone is too much for me to handle romantically, I typically back off as a self-protective measure. I have experienced crazy chemistry with ENFPs in the past -- it was like something electric. But I avoided anything serious because they were so vivacious and larger than life that honestly it scared the crap out of me. They had such a sexiness and magnetism about them and they were always the center of attention, and I had my doubts that they could be tied down and faithful in a relationship, and so I refused to let it go farther because I didn't want to get hurt. I also questioned whether the connection I felt with the ENFP was in my head, because I would say to myself, "well, aren't they like this with everyone?" (Not saying that's actually true of ENFPs at all -- I have a good ENFP friend who is very devoted in her relationship -- but that was my fear.) One of my least favorite things is coming across as jealous or controlling in a relationship, so I've tended to pick people who would not bring out that side of me, and my fear with ENFPs was that they would. And so I sometimes flirted with ENFPs, but I put the breaks on beyond that.

    ***

    Of course, it may very well be neither scenario at all. I'm curious to hear more. Please keep us posted. And good luck -- I'm crossing my fingers that it can work out somehow, because from what you described, before he got all weird it was a good match! Of course, closure is important too -- you may find that it's best to give up on him, and then after some time passes maybe it will end up working out in the end and maybe it won't. It's possible that if he senses you've moved on, he may get more serious about a reconciliation. Or if it doesn't unfold like that, at least you'll have found closure and been able to move forward with your life.

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