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  1. #1
    Senior Member ExAstrisSpes's Avatar
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    Default INTPs and Feelings

    This has become a somewhat common exchange between me and my bf:

    Me: "I have feelings for you/I care for you"
    Him: "I know - it shows because of X, Y, Z"
    Me:

    I sense that he has feelings for me and cares for me, but it's not something I want to assume, even though from his perspective it's probably obvious. The relationship is otherwise going really well, but this is one of the communication things that has me puzzled. If he doesn't feel comfortable sharing his feelings verbally with me I don't want to force it (which is why I haven't asked him), but at the same time I feel insecure in the relationship sometimes because I really don't know how he feels for me and I don't feel comfortable assuming.

    A mutual friend told me that engineer-types tend to look at every statement as a problem statement, and if a statement isn't a problem then they state why the statement is a true statement, which is how you get this circular conversation of "I have feelings for you", "Yes I know".

    So I suppose what I'm getting at is that I'd like some acknowledgment of his emotional attachment but it'd be nice if it was volunteered instead of my asking-if-it-is-the-case (as that seems rude and pushy to me). But I don't know how to illicit that beyond offering my own statement of emotional attachment, which hasn't worked so far (and shows no sign of working in the future).

  2. #2
    Habitual Fi LineStepper JocktheMotie's Avatar
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    Often, INTPs are far, far more expression through action/deed/continued cohabitation rather than verbal. Verbal is very tough, because often they cannot verbalize feelings without feeling absurd.

    That doesn't let him off the hook though. You need to make it clear that you need some kind of verbal affirmation in order to feel loved and know where you stand. Most likely, expressing that you need verbal affirmation because you like to have an accurate picture of the status of the relationship will make it easier for him to understand, and less likely to make him feel like he's being pressured by what he assumes to be your insecurities.

    Expression will always be hard for INTPs, and NTs in general, really. Usually biggest thing to work on when dating other types.



  3. #3
    Senior Member ExAstrisSpes's Avatar
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    How do I go about bringing it up? Just as absurd as it is for an INTP to verbalize feelings, I feel absurd asking for it. Is it really so simple as to say, "Hey, sometimes it would be nice to hear X, because it lets me know where things are between us and I don't like guessing"?

    We had a state-of-the-relationship discussion last month, which was kind of the first storm we weathered through (and ended with him acknowledging on his own that we were bf/gf AND that he wanted to be more emotionally available to me. I was !). I'm a bit reluctant to bring any other emotional gooey-ness up so soon, even though I feel it and it's there. I don't mind being patient because I know it's draining for him, and he does things out-of-the-blue that make me want to assume the gooey-ness is there (like e-mailing me for no reason or calling me up to talk for half an hour).

  4. #4
    Ghost Monkey Soul Vizconde's Avatar
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    Let him know you are fishing for complements/reciprocation when you complement him and see if he is OK with responding as you want.

    Maybe he simply doesn't love you and doesn't want to hurt your feelings but then again maybe he does but doesn't have a clue.

    Or perhaps thinks this convention on reciprocal complements is cheesy and its lame to take the bait.

    Perhaps instead he would prefer to choose for his own time to tell you he loves you.

    Different game from the usual type when you play with INTPs (especially those not hip to the courtship rituals).
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  5. #5
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    I guess you could tell him you are glad he finds your actions speaking as loudly as your words and that you understand that words of affection probably don't hold a lot of value for him, but that they mean a lot to you and you would appreciate hearing how he feels about you in words as well as in actions if he feels comfortable at some point with doing that. I dunno.

    I joke with my INTP about needing my pats on the head and he's gotten pretty good about giving me the verbal affirmation I need. They can do it if they know it's needed and they are willing to stretch a little.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

  6. #6
    Senior Member Stevo's Avatar
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    it's mostly something that's difficult to get started. It took me a month to be able to tell my current girlfriend that I thought she was pretty, let alone lots of other things I was feeling at the time. But, at least for me, once the floodgates were open the verbal affirmation was much easier to give when needed. I'm still working on some aspects, like being able to tell her what I find attractive sexually, but it'll happen. Just tell him that's what you need and help him get used to verbally complimenting you. It worked for me.

    edit---
    Some other thoughts. Try to foster a habit of complete openness with each other. I try my hardest to make sure I don't hide or hold back anything from my SO. I consider her my equal and partner in everything I do and so I always tell her what I'm thinking or feeling without equivocation. Again this comes down to the issue of getting the ball rolling as I'm not quite sure how I would introduce this to him in conversation. I mean, for me, it's something that comes with every relationship I attempt, or at least should, in order to prevent conflict due to miscommunication and foster a deeper bond of trust.

  7. #7
    Senior Member ExAstrisSpes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cafe View Post
    I guess you could tell him you are glad he finds your actions speaking as loudly as your words and that you understand that words of affection probably don't hold a lot of value for him, but that they mean a lot to you and you would appreciate hearing how he feels about you in words as well as in actions if he feels comfortable at some point with doing that. I dunno.

    I joke with my INTP about needing my pats on the head and he's gotten pretty good about giving me the verbal affirmation I need. They can do it if they know it's needed and they are willing to stretch a little.
    He's certainly expressed that he's willing to stretch a little, but I guess I'm a little shy of asking what I want and need (it's a recurring problem in my relationships that I'm trying really hard to address in this one).

    Quote Originally Posted by Stevo View Post
    it's mostly something that's difficult to get started. It took me a month to be able to tell my current girlfriend that I thought she was pretty, let alone lots of other things I was feeling at the time. But, at least for me, once the floodgates were open the verbal affirmation was much easier to give when needed. I'm still working on some aspects, like being able to tell her what I find attractive sexually, but it'll happen. Just tell him that's what you need and help him get used to verbally complimenting you. It worked for me.

    edit---
    Some other thoughts. Try to foster a habit of complete openness with each other. I try my hardest to make sure I don't hide or hold back anything from my SO. I consider her my equal and partner in everything I do and so I always tell her what I'm thinking or feeling without equivocation. Again this comes down to the issue of getting the ball rolling as I'm not quite sure how I would introduce this to him in conversation. I mean, for me, it's something that comes with every relationship I attempt, or at least should, in order to prevent conflict due to miscommunication and foster a deeper bond of trust.
    Has your girlfriend said or done anything that made it easier for you to open up to her? He does compliment me and we're open about that. He has said that he "likes me" or "really likes me" in the past, but I guess I don't know how to make that leap from "I like you" to "I have feelings/I care for you". I don't want to be pushy but I do sense those feelings are there (he e-mailed me twice this morning already - which is new - and bought an impromptu gift for me over the weekend).

    Thank you for your constructive comments! to everyone!

  8. #8
    Senior Member Stevo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ExAstrisSpes View Post
    Has your girlfriend said or done anything that made it easier for you to open up to her?
    Mostly she just kept smothering me in compliments and other such affectations until I figured I owed her to start myself. This approach is rather risky however. It could also quite quickly go the other way and lend him to start pushing you away if he is not comfortable with constantly being complimented.

  9. #9
    As Long As It Takes.... Redbone's Avatar
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    Has he ever said how he feels at all? For myself, once I state how I feel, then that's how it is until I say otherwise. It took me a while to realize that some people want to hear how you feel even if you've said it before. From my POV, it was redundant and silly (I'm with you, how could I not have feelings for you?) and I didn't want that. I think that if I were in a relationship now the thing that would make me be open about how I felt or expressing it would be the level of safety and trust I felt in the relationship.

    If it is also presented to me as a problem, I'd want to solve it. If my partner said, "I need _______________. I'm asking for it because it is important to me and it will help keep our relationship running smoothly. What do you think?" That would make me do it because I care enough to want to do things right for the relationship even if those are not my needs.

  10. #10
    Emerging Tallulah's Avatar
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    I think I would just gently ask, if you want to know if he has feelings for you. It could be, as others have said, that he's just shy about expressing them or shows his feelings in other ways. Or it could be that he's not there yet, but likes you enough to stick around and see where it goes.

    Also, he might not be able to pinpoint exactly how he feels, and is reserving commitment until he knows for sure.
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