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  1. #1
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    Default ESFJ dating a INFJ . . boy do I need some pointers.

    *this is a bit long winded, I apologize in advance*

    To set the stage, I am a ESFJ female (33 y/o) that is dating an INFJ male (40 y/o). We have been dating for 6 months, and there are a few things that I am really 'stuck' on, that I would REALLY appreciate some insight on.

    First off, he is a to-the-letter INFJ, there is no variable there. My Dad is also a strong INFJ, so I am very used to the personality type, but naturally it's different in a relationship standpoint. Also, my Dad married young and has been happily married for 34 years, whereas my BF married young and had a terrible marriage. She lied, cheated, was addicted to drugs . . the works. This is understandably damaging, especially to an INFJ

    On the positive side, he has 'let me in' as far as telling me about a lot of things that no one else knows. Personal, deep feelings/ hurts, that I know are precious to share. Also, he has a daughter that is his 'world' (like really, she is the center of his universe) and I am freely allowed around her. And I know I am only the second woman to have ever done that, in the years since his divorce.

    Also, when we are around his family (i.e. parents and kids) he acts more like a 'boyfriend' than he does any other time. He stays around me constantly, always sits beside me, keeps me involved, etc.

    The MAIN issue is, that he doesn't encourage any kind of "touch" It's embarrassing to say, but in 6 months we have never kissed, cuddled, or even really held hands for an extended period! I am aware that his body language is slowly changing around me (i.e. arms not folded, leg stance wider and more inviting) but come on!! I honestly wonder if perhaps I am simply not attractive to him.

    Don't get me wrong, our interaction is definitely relationship oriented, but we still have never had the bf/gf exclusive talk. Also, some things he does I don't understand. For example, I know (or at least think) with his personality type and very conservative nature that he wouldn't date several women at once. And logically with his lifestyle, he couldn't be doing that anyway. But, it was 4 months until he pulled down his dating profile (we met online) and just recently he revived an old facebook account that he swore he never was on, and hasn't added me as a friend. And he listed his 'interests' as dating/relationships

    All this serves to make me very insecure with him. I have no idea where I stand.

    There are some things we are slowly working out. I have realized that my need for 'constant' contact has to be tempered, and he has made a real effort to at least let me know he's okay, on those days when he is just feeling 'to himself'.

    Anyway, I am looking for some insight on this current 'hands off' policy. TBH, it's driving me nuts.

    **I will include here that we are both strong Christians, so it's not like either one of us would be hopping in the sack on the second date or anything . . .

    Signed,

    SoftSpoken but Heartbroken

    edit in~ I did start a thread like this on personality cafe a bit ago . . . so if that is crossing any lines, I apologize

  2. #2
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    For the heck of it, I am going to post a few things that either irk me about him . . or I wonder about.

    1. In a conversation I can ask him something, like say can we do something at a certain time . . then he'll go on with the conversation as though he hadn't even heard. Not even acknowledge it. Then hours or days later, he'll answer the question as though it was just asked, and let me know. Over time, I've learned not to repeat questions, that he'll eventually answer . . but that is annoying!

    2. Also, he doesn't 'stare' at me when we are talking, but he does tend to 'stare' at me when I am focused on and talking to other people. This is especially true in like outdoor picnics and such. He will just watch me interact with everyone all day. Then he will set beside me and barely glance at me while we talk.

    3. And, though we have never talked 'exclusive', he will physically 'freeze up' if I mention other guys around him. I am NOT the type to try and make a guy jealous, but even if it in casual conversation (talking about my co-workers), he will get physcially uncomfortable and even butt in the conversation to change the topic. I understand that can be a good thing (in theory) but if he is that uncomfortable with it, why doesn't he 'man up' and make more of a statement???

    I should probably shut up now . . .

  3. #3
    Senor Membrane
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    Does sound quite strange. The thing that I find a bit intimidating is the staring. Overall I get the feeling he is very possessive. It seems like he is playing a power game, he lets you wait for the answer, he will sit next to you (to make sure you are kept in check) and he keeps a close eye for what you do with others. I'm sorry if I sound very judgmental, he probably doesn't know what he is doing, or if he does, maybe he doesn't understand that you can see it, I don't know, but I am getting bad vibes from this... Personally I wouldn't take it. I get anxious in situations like that...

  4. #4
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    I think it sounds to me.. That you should immediately stop thinking this has anything to do with you.

    I haven't heard his side of things.. But from what you are saying, this person has "issues".

  5. #5
    Senior Member Rebe's Avatar
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    Your concerns are valid. I think type shouldn't be used to justify a person's behavior if it is annoying/undesirable/unpleasant to you. It sounds suspicious to me... He could be ... indecisive and confused and careful. But I think since you two have been together for six months and he lets you around his daughter and it's not like he's only using you for sex, you should be able to bring up the 'relationship' and have a talk.

    Even if he tells you he is unsure, the talk should be done just so you know. He shouldn't have a fit or freeze you out just because you want to know where it is going, where he is at, what he is feeling in a casual, non-threatening, no-pressure way. That's what a relationship is, no?

    Talk calmly, don't explode at him, be reasonable and gentle as you discuss your concerns. My ESFJ best friend tends to try to bulldoze me instead of speaking softly about what she wants and what she needs which puts me off. Assure him that you just want to talk to him and ask a few questions, not put pressure on him.

    Don't think about him in terms of oh he's an INFJ. Think about what you can handle/take from him as a boyfriend, what you need from him or anyone who is in a relationship with you. It seems you need to know what you want first and then, ask him for it. If he can't provide it to you, if he won't even listen to you, I don't see where this relationship could go.

  6. #6
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    This is not INFJ related. He's insecure and doesn't trust. That means that communication isn't going to be all that good and that will be pretty toxic to the future of your relationship. Most insecurity results in behaviours that make the other person feel rejected, when in fact it is more about the person not being able to be vulnerable and trust someone again because of what's happened in the past. He needs time on his own to work through this, as it is an individual problem, not a couple problem. Some tipoffs: discomfort with physical intimacy or direct eye contact, acting solicitous in public (trying to show everyone you are with him), jealousy (sees everyone else as potential competition that may take you away), having chosen the woman he did in the first place (people can get surprised, but her behaviour indicates that he put up with way more than he would have if he had a strong sense of self and some confidence), him keeping his options open on the internet, never having the dating exclusive talk (usually insecure people will be commitment phobic or force commitment too soon), uncharacteristically butting in to the conversation to change topics if he is uncomfortable. I just can't see this turning out well for you in any way. He may be a terrific, and attractive person, but the building blocks for success are not ones he possesses at this time.

  7. #7
    You have a choice! 21%'s Avatar
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    ^^

    I kinda agree with this. What I feel about his behavior is that perhaps he was severely damaged in his last relationship and he is being extremely cautious and over protective of himself. INFJs open up very slowly, and after his bad experience he might be even more guarded. What he doesn't realize is he is not the only one in the relationship. He needs to take your feelings into account, too. When people are under stress or in a bad spot in life, they tend to forget that there are other people involved in everything.

    I agree that having a talk with him is a good idea. Just ask him where he thinks this relationship is going and gauge from his answer how he feels about you. If he tries to avoid it or gets defensive, that probably means he is insecure and NOT ready for a relationship right now.

  8. #8
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    The MAIN issue is, that he doesn't encourage any kind of "touch" It's embarrassing to say, but in 6 months we have never kissed, cuddled, or even really held hands for an extended period! I am aware that his body language is slowly changing around me (i.e. arms not folded, leg stance wider and more inviting) but come on!! I honestly wonder if perhaps I am simply not attractive to him
    This is a sign of insecurity.

    Touching someone in this way requires a ton of trust (for me anyway, I'm not gonna pigeonhole all INFJs), and if I am feeling inadequate in any way, OR, am not fully trusting someone yet, then my affection is very lacking.

    Once he begins to address the other problems you mentioned, especially his past, this issue may begin to dissipate.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by fidelia View Post
    This is not INFJ related. He's insecure and doesn't trust. That means that communication isn't going to be all that good and that will be pretty toxic to the future of your relationship. Most insecurity results in behaviours that make the other person feel rejected, when in fact it is more about the person not being able to be vulnerable and trust someone again because of what's happened in the past. He needs time on his own to work through this, as it is an individual problem, not a couple problem. Some tipoffs: discomfort with physical intimacy or direct eye contact, acting solicitous in public (trying to show everyone you are with him), jealousy (sees everyone else as potential competition that may take you away), having chosen the woman he did in the first place (people can get surprised, but her behaviour indicates that he put up with way more than he would have if he had a strong sense of self and some confidence), him keeping his options open on the internet, never having the dating exclusive talk (usually insecure people will be commitment phobic or force commitment too soon), uncharacteristically butting in to the conversation to change topics if he is uncomfortable. I just can't see this turning out well for you in any way. He may be a terrific, and attractive person, but the building blocks for success are not ones he possesses at this time.

    All of ya'lls answers are very helpful, and this one rang particularly true. He'll tell me occasionally, in the middle of a conversation, "you just don't know how shy I am" And he has told me many times how he battles with insecurity.

    He is very private. To the point of when I started coming to family functions, they were all amazed that he had brought a date. Like amazed to the point where I caught a few of them texting each other that he had brought a girl. lol

    My Dad thinks he is a nice guy, but just damaged to a point where he needs counciling (which of course, he would never agree to).

    You are probably right . . and with me being a 'caregiver' type, it's really hard just to walk away . . .

  10. #10
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    I can imagine it is. Just because someone is insecure doesn't mean that they aren't a wonderful person and it is also hard to feel that you are abandoning them. However, you are really inhibiting them dealing with the problem if you attempt to take it over and make it better for them. If your dad can see that he needs counselling, listen to him! Insecurity affects a relationship negatively in so many ways. You are forced to either become like a parent, or to edit yourself down so that he can feel like an equal. Right now he doesn't have what it takes to be an equal partner, and that sets both of you up for all kinds of difficulties.

    Time spent together builds emotional attachment to the person. Emotional attachment creates the wish for physical contact. Logic or reason will always be trumped by your emotions. So really, the only solution to not getting sucked in and staying in a situation that can't be successful is not spending time together. That's very painful, but it averts bigger, more serious pain later on. This has been an issue for me in the past. I started dating someone that I knew was not going to be a good long term bet for me, even though he was a decent guy because I was not willing to not be around him. If we were going to be around each other, it got to the point where we did end up needing to start dating or else go our separate ways. We lived in an isolated place and grew to rely on each other socially and professionally (we were both teachers). He also lost his mother that first year and I needed a lot of help with the fiddle program I was running (putting on a major event for 600 people). That brought us together much more quickly that we otherwise would have gotten. We dated 4 1/2 years (he had insecurity issues as well, although he appeared outwardly confident), but ultimately ended up parting ways because the fundamental things I had been concerned about back at the beginning were indeed too big for us to consider making a go of it.

    I spent a lot of time with a friend who liked me in the past too and got to care incredibly for him. He had an alcohol addiction, was in the midst of losing his business, was depressed, had had a very tumultuous upbringing that he hadn't resolved, was hugely insecure, had been married twice, engaged once and lived with several other people for several years at a time and was much older than me. All of those things said trainwreck to me intellectually, but the more time I spent with him, the more I grew attracted to him and got to care about him. Ultimately it was a good thing that I was moving away at the time I was, because had I stayed, I think it would have been easy to end up dating. My logic was definitely not enough to overcome the emotional pull I felt from spending so much time with him.

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