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Thread: Female INTP - Male ISFJ

  1. #1
    TJ TeresaJ's Avatar
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    Female INTP - Male ISFJ

    I was going to call this a "post-mortem" but I think it's still too early to call. Even if this is really the end, I still haven't really accepted that it's over. I give it... three more weeks... for at least a few new mental habits to have formed.

    Anyway. INTP-ISFJ. It can be done, but the tendency is for it to be a clusterfuck.

    The downsides, they were legion. They were exactly what one would expect. I still believe that, had circumstances been different, we could have made it work. But there were so many hurdles, a major one being long distance. He's a pessimist. No matter how much he wanted it, he never could really believe that it would work out.

    I think that the hardest thing was that I just couldn't give him what he needed. He needed to be aware of my love in a way that I just couldn't communicate. ...Or couldn't communicate strongly and often enough for it to sustain its meaning. Really frustrating for me and, I think, over time, for him he just eventually became numb and gave up.

    As much as I want to blame him for being so irrational and demanding... I am almost 100% certain that this relationship has been much more difficult for him than it has been for me. And it's been pretty difficult for me.

    So I want to remind myself of the good things.

    For both of us, the attraction came out of left field. I disliked him at first; he just thought I was strange. So then as we did get to know each other better and find ourselves attracted and falling in love... It felt more legitimate and genuine than any other love I've ever experienced. Because it didn't start with desire - it started with him just paying attention to me and getting to know me and really liking me. Me, for myself, not for some idea of me (like, oh she's really smart, or oh she's attractive and she likes to do X, or whatever).

    So. It didn't start with infatuation but with pure human interest - I think that's an ISFJ thing, the way they can concentrate on a person and store every detail. And then, when he fell, he became attached so quickly. It takes me forever to even register my emotions, and he was already opening up to me and coming to me for comfort. Me. Prickly, cynical me. It was like he saw straight through me to a heart I was hardly even aware of - no, that's not true, it was there; it was bleeding at the time. ...But still. Most people who know me question whether or not I even feel emotion and this man was coming home to me and laying himself in my arms.

    That was powerful. That's still powerful to remember.

    I felt loved and loving in a way I'd never experienced before.

    For a long time I was afraid of losing that.

    I've lost it. I'm almost completely certain that it's gone. It's not... devastating... the way I thought it would be. I think that all the difficulties of the relationship took their toll, and the relief of it being over is almost on par with the fear of loss.

    It's also highly possible that I just haven't registered, yet, that it's over. But even our fights used to make me so much more upset...

    Maybe that's how I know that it's over. We don't even bother to fight anymore. We used to have full-on outraged screamfests on a bimonthly basis, and now we just don't even bother to pick up the phone.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Spartan26's Avatar
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    Don't know much about the ISFJ. I'd wonder if he could be a bit of a martyr? What were the shoutfests about?

  3. #3
    TJ TeresaJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spartan26 View Post
    Don't know much about the ISFJ. I'd wonder if he could be a bit of a martyr? What were the shoutfests about?
    I think that the female mother/martyr ISFJ is a common stereotype for a reason. With my boyfriend... it's not so much "I sacrifice so much for you" but "I've put up with so much and you don't give a shit about me" which is just ugh. >_< He does have a tendency to work his ass off professionally with little reward, but that could just be that he's in a really shitty field rife with giant corporations that reward ass-kissing rather than actual work.

    The shoutfests were actually more in the beginning, and I couldn't even tell you what set them off most of the time. I think that they usually came down to the same thing: he thought I didn't care about him and acted jealous, I told him he was full of shit, yada yada... It was infuriating for me because if I weren't deeply in love with him I would have dumped his ass after fight #1. But then there are a lot of things that are self-evident to an INTP but that for an ISFJ require constant and overt communication in order to maintain their "true" status.

    So that was in the beginning, but there were also long periods of time when I got much better at communicating and some of the external stress in his life would settle down and we were actually... great. Instead of circular arguments over the-same-damn-thing we were totally on the same wavelength, very comfortable, enjoyed each other's company... Things were finally settling into a pattern of steady improvement, but then he took a job that involved travel and suddenly we were long-distance and that (among other developments) destabilized everything.

    I wonder if it's an INTP thing to cling and cling and cling to the memories of the good times and hope for good times in the future. I know that it can work between us. I've experienced it. It's that frustration - wanting to make it work in the long run - I wonder if the frustration itself is part of the reason I can't let go, a compulsion to fix a system that I know can be dramatically improved.

  4. #4
    Hasta Siempre Madrigal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TeresaJ View Post
    I think that the female mother/martyr ISFJ is a common stereotype for a reason. With my boyfriend... it's not so much "I sacrifice so much for you" but "I've put up with so much and you don't give a shit about me" which is just ugh. >_<
    So fucking annoying. Like what they give has a price attached that you're not paying.

    I think that people who need a great deal of attention and affirmation are manageable, albeit exhausting, but in the end you have to realize that there's a lot of people out there willing to be more attentive than you and capable of making that person happier than you can make them.

    I don't think INTPs have the same chances, but depending on what you most value (or what you most fear), you might be better off aiming for someone more like yourself.
    Everything under heaven is in utter chaos; the situation is excellent. - Mao

  5. #5
    TJ TeresaJ's Avatar
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    There are undoubtedly people out there who are better fits for both of us; that is true.

    Speaking for myself, I know that my frequency of meeting people with whom I could fall in love is quite small. As for having them love me back, right now I'm 1 for 3. So there's definitely a fear of being alone at play, but naturally I don't want to be ruled by it.

    For him, on the one hand I know that he could meet someone else... but it will take time, and in the interim he'll be (even more) miserable. Plus I want to be the one to make him happy. Me me me.

    ...There's also the fact that we have a kid. Which is a whole other set of complications on top of the other ridiculous soap opera-worthy sets of complications I'm not even mentioning. -_-

  6. #6
    Homo siderius Sistamatic's Avatar
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    I have dated men who needed, as life blood, a nurturing something or another that I simply cannot provide without toxic effect to myself. It ain't easy being an INTP woman in the dating world (there's a fascinating paper out there contrasting ENFJ women to INTP women with respect to the way the world accepts them). There are these guys who at first think that your not so girly but yet still a girl girlness is the best thing EVAR ... but then you end up crushing their poor little nurture starved souls with the other side of that coin ... your cold indifference to the violin-worthy saga of their every wittle splinter.

    Even without that complication, fitting two utterly ridiculously complicated whole entire adult lives in progress into one ship moving in one direction is so fucking complex I'm amazed it ever happens. There are no guarantees. Sometimes the wiser part is parting ways before the rigging is hopelessly tangled. Sometimes it is in figuring out how to hopelessly tangle it all in a way that still works.

    Good luck figuring out which...and I mean that non-sarcastically.

  7. #7
    singularity precursor Limes's Avatar
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    Behaviors can be learned and there's a certain extent of Pavlovian conditioning that goes on in being agreeable and striving for a compatible middle ground, but it's also possible that the only way that you'll be the person he wants you to be, is when you're trying to be someone you're not.

  8. #8
    TJ TeresaJ's Avatar
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    It's not so much that he's constantly trying to change me as that, whenever things do go south, he reverts to this one script in his brain that was established the first year we were together. Regardless of anything that's happened since or wildly different current circumstances, the script always reads: "She doesn't really love me; all she cares about is sex/food/money/whatever; I'm the emotionally needy one."

    Apparently, though, these past few weeks when I've been unable to have a decent conversation with him, feeling totally disconnected and therefore mourning the demise of our relationship, he's been... assuming that everything's fine, because (see the script) I don't give a shit anyway, so he never has to make any effort at all.

    *sigh* This is a whole new level of fucked up.

  9. #9
    Hasta Siempre Madrigal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TeresaJ View Post
    For him, on the one hand I know that he could meet someone else... but it will take time, and in the interim he'll be (even more) miserable. Plus I want to be the one to make him happy. Me me me.
    If you still want to make him happy that sounds like you still love him. It's a pretty simple and reliable indicator, IMO.
    Everything under heaven is in utter chaos; the situation is excellent. - Mao

  10. #10
    TJ TeresaJ's Avatar
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    So we did the thing where we had a big fight, and me getting hopeless and angry to the point of an outburst convinced him that I do give a shit. So now he's happy and actively participating in the relationship again, which makes me happy...

    Sigh. So it goes.

    This is so stupid that we have to do this again and again, but that's me as an INTP talking. With him he has to feel it or it isn't real. Luckily for him and for me (or, depending on how you see it, unluckily for us both) I don't stay angry. Once things are back to normal I'm relieved and happy.

    The beginning of our relationship was like this. Then as now, there are some fundamental weaknesses in the relationship. Then as now, those weaknesses may very well be temporary. If if if we can make it through the next few years of guaranteed distance and touch-and-go connection, we may very well come to a place where we can forge a stable life together.

    We did that once. There was one period of time when were we together and the future looked bright and the inherent conflict in our personalities actually contributed to growth and understanding rather than miscommunication and despair.

    But for the time being, we're long distance, and it looks like this is how the pattern is going to be: months-long intervals of declining security that culminate in crisis, which resets the security level, and so it begins again.

    We don't even get to have the frequent, passionate, make-up sex of our First Era fights. Damn.

    (Just as well, because with our luck we'd get pregnant again. Not right now - thank you!)

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