Though INTJs are often seen as cold and steely in the outer world, they are supportive, intense and devoted as partners. Usually they have few if any other 'people-distractions' in their lives, a value they only share to any similar intensity with ISFPs. INTJs value intellect, integrity, affection and authenticity.
In every area of interest that an INTJ invests energy, they will seek competence and mastery; intimate relationships are no exception!
In an intimate relationship an INTJ will make it their duty to learn their partner’s wants, needs and desires in exquisite detail, so they can refine and perfect how to delight and adore the one they love!
In an intimate relationship, most people have no clue, just what an INTJ for their partner, will do.
As parents, INTJs strive to equip their children to be life-competent; encouraging them to develop the intellectual, physical and social skills that will yield confident, competent and independent individuals. INTJ parents are extremely supportive in providing opportunity and, though often seen as being tough on their children, they are invariably fair-minded: trusting their child and rarely trying to limit the range of experiences available.
The INTJ takes the view that to thrive in the real world, children must develop their own competencies – including being able to deal with challenges. INTJ parents encourage their children to explore, ask questions, and direct their own learning.
They have few if any, absolute rules – preferring to reason with their children explaining why an action is inappropriate or how it can be done better. Though rarely acquiescent, it is not inconceivable for an INTJ parent to concede to a child’s superior argument even if that child is a 3 year old!
INTJs don’t need to impose their views on others, but if a relationship can benefit, whether a friend, partner or child, they will freely share their knowledge desiring only that others respect their intellectual clarity.
INTJs are creative and intellectually adaptable. Although they will insist on logic and reason as the basis for accepting a partner’s perspective, if something is important to their partner and consistent with their own values they will invest much energy in accommodating those needs.
INTJs are perfectionist by nature and tend to be their own worst critics, demanding of themselves extremely high-levels of intellectual competence. This can lead an INTJ to drive their partner and children as hard as they drive themselves. INTJs are quick to praise when others have met or exceeded their expectations, but may too often unwittingly overemphasise areas needing improvement, which, in turn, can lead a partner or child to feel the INTJ is impossible to please!
Like the INFJ, the INTJ can be extremely driven to actualise their internal vision in the outer world. This can also lead the INTJ to become so determined to achieve their goal that work becomes all consuming – to the point where the INTJ may even look for ways to make recreation time more ‘productive’.
Whilst the work ethic is usually part of their plan toward a better future for all, when an INTJ switches into work-mode their partner can feel instantly invisible, perhaps even occasionally wondering if they may have accidentally married a robot... INTJs often need reminding that there is more to life than work, benefitting from a partner who encourages them to get out of their heads, enjoy physical activities and spend time enjoying the real world!
What INTJs want others to know
Whilst INTJs usually appear outwardly confident and independent, they have a vulnerable, sensitive side that only a few, really close people may ever discover. Though appearing hyper-rational, they can be extremely sensitive to rejection or criticism of their intentions especially from those they have let into their inner world. Often partners can find an INTJ hard to read because they are not forthcoming expressing their strong feelings, believing that their commitment is self-evident.
INTJs are intense about values but debilitated by feelings.
Though outwardly emotionally inert, their internal feeling runs extremely deep; they have great difficulty discussing their emotions often converting all such matters to a more comfortable clinical descriptor (smile – just like this one). Keeping most others at arms-length can become a defence mechanism; only that-special-person is ever allowed unconditional emotional access.
As with all Types, when the child function is threatened the INTJ can go into a defensive meltdown. The INTJ’s child function is introverted feeling – an evaluation according to a personal sense of right and wrong. INTJs ordinarily spend considerable time refining their inner Fi values, to be as rationally consistent as possible. This usually includes an entire conceptualisation of Life, the Universe, other people, all the way down to the most efficient ways to approach mundane, everyday tasks. So it can be debilitating for an INTJ to be confronted with the reality that they may have been less than competent in their actions or decision-making; or even worse, that one of their well-thought-out rational values, might need revising… Much like the INFJ, in stress, this will lead the INTJ to bring out their inferior extraverted sensing – getting defensive, or using Se-random facts to deflect attention from the point at hand, emphasising with Fi-pathos how ‘unreasonable’ the other person is being. If the internal conflict is too great – the INTJ may simply retreat and cry in private.
Ni-Te zooms out from current situations to understand where they fit within the bigger picture, so
INTJs don’t have personal allegiances and won’t compromise their objectivity or intellectual independence for anyone.
They value open, honest and direct communication. They make their best decisions when they have access to all the facts, not feelings or opinions.
INTJs are not good at reading emotional subtleties, so they prefer blunt honesty to politeness (even when unpleasant or awkward).
Being emotionally manipulated, or having a partner vacillate in their devotion or affections can cripple an INTJ.
Because INTJs speak plainly, care not for social protocols, and can be largely oblivious to others’ sensibilities, they often unwittingly offend. Rarely is it their intention to cause hurt; usually they are stating what are to the INTJ, simple, objective facts. So when an INTJ says or does something that offends or confuses, a partner’s best approach is to ask “why?”.
Most INTJs consider their words and actions carefully, so there is usually a reason for what they say and do, but INTJs can get so caught up in their own thoughts that they forget to share them with others! When asked, INTJs readily share their reasoning, and if a partner offers new information or a wiser interpretation, the INTJ can just as readily turn around and agree with them.
INTJs are straightforward and to-the-point, but that doesn’t mean they don’t care. An INTJ’s greatest gift in everyday life and relationships is clear thinking. They keep emotionally detached, preferring to avoid the emotional haze surrounding facts. INTJs are often hopeless with details - they will forget birthdays, anniversaries and even relative’s names but not impersonal stuff like scientific formulas!
A partner who honours an INTJ with their entirety will find there is not much their INTJ won’t do for them.
INTJs aren’t interested in interrogating a partner’s past relationships or digging up mistakes and misdemeanours – either they trust their partner or there is no relationship. So there isn’t much a partner can say or do that will shock an INTJ; information is just information. And as long as a partner is real, honest and committed to the relationship, INTJs will take just about anything in their stride.
Because the INTJ’s gift is conceptual insight, they spend a lot of time stepping out of their bodies to look at things from different perspectives, asking themselves, “what’s really going on here”?
Dr Dario Nardi, a Psyche-Type cognitive scientist using EEG technology has captured some wonderful brain imaging from Ni-doms demonstrating their ‘totally blank mind’ when contemplating a subject, essentially shutting out all external stimuli to let an understanding arise and coalesce internally, of its own accord.
Learning to recognize this behavior, and to give an INTJ space when they are thinking things through, can save a partner some of the heartache of misunderstanding.
Like the INFJ, INTJs are often plagued by internal discussions that can gather intensity when other distractions quieten; this can be especially problematic about bedtime when the mind can become a cacophony of voices and ideas. For this reason many INTJs suffer insomnia.
All INTJs need a sanctuary; a place of respite where they can regroup, re-energise and quiet the inner monologue. This isn’t a sentimental need; INTJs don’t understand nostalgia and rarely get attached to objects, places or even people (except that special someone). Their sanctuary can be in the arms of their lover; one of a very few people with whom they can feel emotionally and ideologically secure. Many INTJs also employ meditation to quiet the mind.
Common Mistakes INTJs make
Since personal mastery is important to INTJs, their single-minded focus, generally on their work, can alienate a partner. Ordinarily deliberately considerate partners, INTJs do not intentionally neglect others, but may become so obsessive about job-at-hand that they need reminding that there is a real world with real people out there! It can also help partners of INTJs to understand that when their INTJ is in work mode, they aren’t being deliberately negligent or uncaring. It’s usually just a case of, “there’s a job to do, so I’ll get it done.”
An ENFJ and her INTJ partner went on their first camping trip. When they arrived at their destination the INTJ immediately set about pitching the tent, gathering timber, collecting laundry and boiling water for tea. Some time later the ENFJ confided to her partner that she felt he had excluded her. Utterly bewildered, her INTJ partner replied, “but I was just trying to make sure you were comfortable…”
The INTJ’s way of showing love is often by tending to practicalities. In this case, the INTJ’s focus on the tasks at hand caused his partner to feel alienated, missing the usually warm connection she enjoyed, while he believed he was doing the most loving thing he could do.
INTJs often demonstrate their love by solving problems; something they do well, with gusto and very quickly. But INTJs need to bear in mind, particularly with Feeling-Type partners, that when a problem is shared it does not need to be immediately solved. Not everyone wants or needs a solution, a reality most INTJs simply cannot understand. For Feeling-Types, the act of sharing and being listened to is important in and of itself. So if an INTJ leaps into problem-solving mode too quickly their partner may feel the issue has been appraised superficially without regard for the depth of their emotion. INTJs don’t do emotion well at all.
Above all, the number one mistake INTJs make in relationships (and indeed, in life) is arrogance; just because you are quick minded and self-confident doesn’t mean you are right. As in the case of solving a partner’s problem; not everyone wants your solution to 12 down.
Many INTJs believe they are surrounded by idiots… Because NiTe is good at seeing patterns in disparate pieces of information, when others fail to grasp their vision, the INTJ can become impatient and irritated, writing others off as irrational or incompetent. As with all Psyche-Types, understanding the different gifts and perspectives that others bring to the table can cause INTJs to be a little more humble about their all-important insight… INTJs can also save themselves and others much pain by learning to moderate their expectations – much of the time ‘perfection’ isn’t necessary; so save the insistence on perfection for when it really matters.
In partnership, INTJs will strive to create the perfect intimate sanctuary, lavishing care and affection upon their partner aiming to inspire both personal and partnership success. In turn, INTJs need to feel their love and attention is reciprocated. If an INTJ feels their giving is being exploited by a partner or the other person is not really emotionally invested, they won’t stick around.
Whilst a partner can find an INTJ ‘dominant’ because of their highly analytical approach to just about everything, INTJs are extremely egalitarian. They don’t like to be controlled, nor do they strive to control others. INTJs want to be respected for who they are, in turn encouraging their partner and children to pursue their own goals and aspirations.
Whereas an INFJ will support others with personal warmth and inspiration, the INTJ supports others with knowledge and structure. While ever an INTJ feels their insight is valued, they will readily volunteer their time and knowledge to assist others. BUT - they won’t tolerate having their objectivity manipulated. So it’s best not try and woo an INTJ with emotive impositions.
INTJs tend to know very quickly whether a relationship has long term viability. Oriented strongly toward the future, once an INTJ believes a relationship is not viable (for example, an irreconcilable conflict in values), the relationship is over.
In summary, INTJs may look stodgy, uncompromising and even plain in everyday interaction, but their private life is an entirely different ball game.
When an INTJ loves, they worship – even if no-one but their partner ever gets to see the depth of their devotion.