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I'll preface this question with some brief background... forgive me for that. So, I've been with the same person for nearly a decade and married her last year. We have decided to separate this year and she explained that she never felt a "spark" or a strong romance between us despite us being best friends. As I've explored my own mind during this recent separation, I've found out many things that I never really knew about. I've done some counseling and realized I'm very passive and generally a "people pleaser" by nature in that I let other people dictate things for me. More recently I've looked into Enneagram personality theory and found that I'm a 5w4 and the descriptions really hit home for me in good and bad ways. In one way, it makes me feel a little less "weird" so that's certainly a good thing. In other ways, the descriptions about isolation, independence and restrained emotions make me realize where my relationship lacked and why that "spark" likely was missing for her for all these years. I'm starting to understand that I likely will never have my wife as part of my life again (the separation was mutual but I do miss her) as neither a romantic partner nor a best friend possibly. The second one hurts much worse because she's the only person that I feel really understands me and my idiosyncrasies.

Sorry, I'm diving too deep into my personal matters... The main point to this post was to see what strategies you all take to ensure that you can be a good partner in a relationship as I worry that I will continue to lack in this area going forward. How do you make your partner feel loved while still embracing the very nature that goes along with being a 5?
 

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First of all, thank you for being honest with your experience. We 5s tend to have that stiff upper lip when it involves how we feel about things; in other worlds, the realm of emotions doesn't seem like one we eat up like other, more involved and less detached folk (?). With all that said, I think I may be on a similar boat as yours because I haven't been all that outwardly demonstrative with my former partners. I'm single now and imagine I will remain so for an indefinite period of time.

I remember a few things I did that came naturally enough to me and helped to convey that I cared. For instance, I'd give him the biggest bear hug imaginable, outta nowhere because I felt like it; I wouldn't say a thing and that bear hug did all the talking. Or when we were driving somewhere, I'd hold his free hand. Or I'd tap his bum because -again- I felt like it. Or I'd leave him small sticky notes in the morning before I left for work to tell him I loved him or that he was special. Or I'd make his favorite meal.

It's very strange and odd that I am typically alone and with my thoughts when I realize or am reminded just how much I love and care about someone, particularly anyone I am romantically and intimately involved with.
 

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It sounds like you're really going through a lot right now, so I'm sorry to hear that.

Personally, I knew as soon as I started dating around 18 years old that I had some serious intimacy issues. I was never comfortable with any kind of public kissing or hand holding. I was really, really passive to the point of self-deletion. I was terrified to ask for what I wanted and I felt way too self conscious to open up emotionally.

Honestly, having a few different (short-lived) relationships was a real help for me. When I was 18 a guy I had been seeing for 2 months ended it. The break-up discussion didn't last long because we were in public and I just bolted, so I called him up a couple of days later and asked him to clarify what was and wasn't working for him. That was enlightening. He wasn't mean or anything like that, but told me I seemed so passive and never spoke up and didn't seem to have an opinion about much.

The type of person my current partner is made a big difference in pushing my boundaries. He's a very touchy, PDA-liking 6w7, but he was also really patient with me and understood that in order for me to give him what he needed, I was slowly testing myself to see what I could become comfortable with. He also had to learn that sometimes, I just don't want to be touched or be in the same room, or talk. I just want to be left alone. That was really hard for him to understand in the beginning and it took a long time for him to not take it personally. We had a lot of fights over the first year and a half about me needing him to back off a bit and him needing me to show up a bit. Really, it took me about a year and a half to feel comfortable saying "I love you" and it took about two years to feel comfortable holding hands in public, making gestures without being asked.

The main point to this post was to see what strategies you all take to ensure that you can be a good partner in a relationship as I worry that I will continue to lack in this area going forward. How do you make your partner feel loved while still embracing the very nature that goes along with being a 5?
A big thing for me was realizing that I did need to step out of my comfort zone and I did need to push my boundaries - not just for him, but for me too. It helped me become more confident and deal with some of my insecurities and anxieties. We communicate a lot about what we each need/want and understanding we are very different types of people. My lack of reaching for his hand when we're walking is not a sign of rejection. His need to share his frustrations is not an invasion of my space. The Enneagram has been useful for us in terms of figuring out not only what we each need, but why we need it.

I think every couple probably has to find a happy medium that works for them where there is some give and take. Obviously what works for me is not going to work for all 5's and it takes a while to figure out how to get two separate people to mesh together.
 

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@sleepyhead

I am a 4, but have a really strong 5 wing that I can relate to all of this. Not only do I experience the push/pull 4s go through, I am also extremely detached in relationships. Intimacy was really hard for me to wrap my mind around, and I always waited for the guy I was dating to hold my hand or cuddle. I guess it made me even come off as cold and uninterested, leading to further relationship problems. I can also relate in that I was extremely passive and non-involved. I would not voice what I want or needed, and was so un-involved that he ultimately realized I was too passive and boring. Which hurts, as my core is a 4 and I would be swept in seas of emotions for him, but didnt know how to express them. It was like a barrier, keeping me from conveying to him how much he means to me. I am both self-conscious (4) and detached (5), and it basically destroyed the relationship. Being a 4w5 is tough as we feel so damn much, but am unable to get outside our bodies and mind.

I think the key is to know, understand, and do the opposite. I think we need to learn to get involved and not only that, let others know that we are trying however small it may be.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I remember a few things I did that came naturally enough to me and helped to convey that I cared. For instance, I'd give him the biggest bear hug imaginable, outta nowhere because I felt like it; I wouldn't say a thing and that bear hug did all the talking. Or when we were driving somewhere, I'd hold his free hand. Or I'd tap his bum because -again- I felt like it. Or I'd leave him small sticky notes in the morning before I left for work to tell him I loved him or that he was special. Or I'd make his favorite meal.
Thanks for your honesty as well! Your displays of affection sound similar to mine. And, in looking back on it, I'm pretty sure that she always felt "loved" by those things I'd do but she would talk about not having a "spark" or a feeling of romance and I think that's a whole other issue. In my mind, that's likely created by a lot of my 5w4 personality (which I'm still learning about as I go so I can't give specific examples of).

sleepyhead said:
A big thing for me was realizing that I did need to step out of my comfort zone and I did need to push my boundaries - not just for him, but for me too. It helped me become more confident and deal with some of my insecurities and anxieties. We communicate a lot about what we each need/want and understanding we are very different types of people. My lack of reaching for his hand when we're walking is not a sign of rejection. His need to share his frustrations is not an invasion of my space. The Enneagram has been useful for us in terms of figuring out not only what we each need, but why we need it.
These are excellent points as well. In a foolish sense, I never really put enough effort into the relationship aspect of things. I had found my mate and felt things were fine there so I could focus my wandering brain on other issues. It never occurred to me that I needed to analyze and research how to make our relationship better by doing things like stepping out of the comfort zone. It sounds silly in retrospect but makes sense now at least. I like how you laid it out though and I'm glad you found something that works for you!

singinbluebird said:
I think the key is to know, understand, and do the opposite. I think we need to learn to get involved and not only that, let others know that we are trying however small it may be.
Very well said! I like that. It's a good mantra to remember.
 

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We had a lot of fights over the first year and a half about me needing him to back off a bit and him needing me to show up a bit. Really, it took me about a year and a half to feel comfortable saying "I love you" and it took about two years to feel comfortable holding hands in public, making gestures without being asked.
I'm curious was he telling you he loved you during this time? If so, how did you respond...or did you? Did the fights include falling out and not communicating? If so, who typically re-initiated the communication? I'm not sure if you can really answer this one but what motivated you to push yourself in this relationship? Was it fear of losing him? You were tired of the same relationship pattern? Or something else?


A big thing for me was realizing that I did need to step out of my comfort zone and I did need to push my boundaries - not just for him, but for me too. It helped me become more confident and deal with some of my insecurities and anxieties. We communicate a lot about what we each need/want and understanding we are very different types of people.
If it's not too personal and in a broad sense how would you characterize your insecurities and anxieties and what if anything did you trace it back too? If this one is too personal, I certainly understand a denial to elaborate or if any of the questions above are. Just trying to gain some insight into the 5w4 that I know.

My lack of reaching for his hand when we're walking is not a sign of rejection. His need to share his frustrations is not an invasion of my space. The Enneagram has been useful for us in terms of figuring out not only what we each need, but why we need it.
So interesting you said this. I sense that the 5w4 that I post about often views my sharing my frustrations in this way and then he shuts down and withdraws which only escalates my feelings of rejection and of course it gets translated into anger and then I resort to my own form of rejecting and hanging out my "go eff yourself" sign.
I think every couple probably has to find a happy medium that works for them where there is some give and take. Obviously what works for me is not going to work for all 5's and it takes a while to figure out how to get two separate people to mesh together.
I applaud you for your willingness and commitment to try. Golden advice. :wink:
 

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I'll preface this question with some brief background... forgive me for that. So, I've been with the same person for nearly a decade and married her last year. We have decided to separate this year and she explained that she never felt a "spark" or a strong romance between us despite us being best friends. As I've explored my own mind during this recent separation, I've found out many things that I never really knew about. I've done some counseling and realized I'm very passive and generally a "people pleaser" by nature in that I let other people dictate things for me. More recently I've looked into Enneagram personality theory and found that I'm a 5w4 and the descriptions really hit home for me in good and bad ways. In one way, it makes me feel a little less "weird" so that's certainly a good thing. In other ways, the descriptions about isolation, independence and restrained emotions make me realize where my relationship lacked and why that "spark" likely was missing for her for all these years. I'm starting to understand that I likely will never have my wife as part of my life again (the separation was mutual but I do miss her) as neither a romantic partner nor a best friend possibly. The second one hurts much worse because she's the only person that I feel really understands me and my idiosyncrasies.

Sorry, I'm diving too deep into my personal matters... The main point to this post was to see what strategies you all take to ensure that you can be a good partner in a relationship as I worry that I will continue to lack in this area going forward. How do you make your partner feel loved while still embracing the very nature that goes along with being a 5?
I regret to hear you are having to go through this experience. Divorce is not easy for any type. I can only imagine your level of disappointment, anger, and/or frustration. Especially since you know the depth of feeling and emotions you have for your spouse. I wonder what she meant my she never felt a "spark"...as that can mean so many things for so many different people. I'm sure it must be challenging to be a Five and to love and adore someone but for whatever reason it's challenging to fully express the love and adoration you have for another. Or, it's challenging that it is being expressed in one's on language but the other person fails and/or doesn't recognize the expressions of the love and/or adoration.

I wanted to thank you for the courage to be honest and share your experience because I believe this is a really good thread topic and am hoping more Fives will contribute to this topic. Thanks again.
 

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I'm curious was he telling you he loved you during this time? If so, how did you respond...or did you? Did the fights include falling out and not communicating? If so, who typically re-initiated the communication? I'm not sure if you can really answer this one but what motivated you to push yourself in this relationship? Was it fear of losing him? You were tired of the same relationship pattern? Or something else?
This was the one time I started dating someone that I felt like I was falling in love after a couple of weeks. He told me later he knew he loved me after a month but he waited until we were together for 3 months and I said it back, although it's always been hard for me to say the words. Even now, I don't usually say it first and I still feel kind of self conscious when they cross my lips. I had already been wanting to say it but was terrified and wasn't going to do it first, and I also thought 3 months was fast.

We never had a total falling out - although some of the fights were really hard to deal with at the time, they usually ended up making us closer. After a particularly bad one in the first few months he actually drove over to my place right after and we worked it through - to be honest, I can't even remember what the fight was about. I'm not the kind of person who withdraws during a fight because I want to have a concrete resolution ASAP.

The motivating factor with him was, honestly, I truly knew I loved him and I still haven't had the same experience with another person. Whatever it was, he had me hooked right away. In previous dating experiences, after 2-3 months I always realized we were not a good fit and the person didn't really know me so I always ended it. I don't really know why but I felt really safe and accepted by him, and like he didn't make assumptions about me and knew the real me. I wish I could give you a more concrete answer, but I just knew he was worth pushing my comfort zone for. It definitely had everything to do who he was and how he made me feel. I've always been happy being single and I knew I wouldn't settle for anyone who didn't elicit that spark - my past unsuccessful relationships were always about the other person not being a good fit for me, rather than running from a potentially good relationship.

If it's not too personal and in a broad sense how would you characterize your insecurities and anxieties and what if anything did you trace it back too? If this one is too personal, I certainly understand a denial to elaborate or if any of the questions above are. Just trying to gain some insight into the 5w4 that I know.
This is a funny question, because a few years ago I was going around asking all my family members if they had intimacy issues, or if they were uncomfortable with PDA's, or had trouble opening up to their partners at first. There were some similarities between my family and I, but no one had the same extreme level of aversion to intimacy that I did. I haven't really been able to trace this back to anything concrete. My parents are very close and very much in love, but they never really kissed or held hands or anything like that when we were growing up - too busy with 3 young ones. The things that made me most anxious had to do with expressing my feelings, getting comfortable holding hands or being touched randomly, having someone in my space, being honest about some of my fears. I would just say basic intimacy fears.

So interesting you said this. I sense that the 5w4 that I post about often views my sharing my frustrations in this way and then he shuts down and withdraws which only escalates my feelings of rejection and of course it gets translated into anger and then I resort to my own form of rejecting and hanging out my "go eff yourself" sign.
This was a tricky area for the two of us. I initially took his compulsive need to share and "complain" as an invasion and he took my lack of sharing and "complaining" as withdrawing. I also have a way of listening to people while doing other stuff, not looking them in the eye, and it can appear like I'm passively listening even when I'm actively listening. That used to drive him nuts, but he now knows that yes, I am still listening even when I'm not having a reaction to what he's saying.

I have to be conscious of not shutting him down and and making him feel rejected and he has to be conscious that my withdrawing is not rejection. I think we both trust this now, and again, knowing about the enneagram has been very helpful in depersonalizing some of our ways of relating.

I just started reading one of the Naranjo books and I think there's some really applicable passages that I could post in here in terms of how 5's relate to the world, but I don't have time at the moment. :p
 

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I think we both trust this now, and again, knowing about the enneagram has been very helpful in depersonalizing some of our ways of relating.

I just started reading one of the Naranjo books and I think there's some really applicable passages that I could post in here in terms of how 5's relate to the world, but I don't have time at the moment. :p
Thanks for responding. I appreciate your openness and honesty. Which Naranjo book? I have Enneatype Structures. Please let me know.

Edit: Also, I'm curious what Enneatype is your boyfriend?
 

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Hello all.

I think the perhaps the toughest issue facing a FIVE in love is that 5's..
- Need things to make sense.
- Are hardwired to look for more. As though nothing can ever be taken at face value.

Why this mentality doesn't work with love.
- Love doesn't make sense. Making sense of it is not the point anyway. There is no point. It cannot be quantified or dissected. It just is.. It doesn't make sense and never will. Coming to terms with this is not easy. Emotions defy logic on the surface.. But they motivate us in everything we do. Their value is paramount. It's wise to listen to your own and those of others. They tell you more about truth than any other source. learn to trust rather than fear them.
- Now this will seem a bit counteractive and/or contradictory to what I just typed above. But sometimes what you see is what you get. No matter how hard you look.. If you find nothing.. It is likely you are finding nothing, because nothing exists.
In English? OK.. Your fear of being made a fool of does not mean you are somehow missing some important aspect, and that if you "look hard enough, you will find it, and then all of this will make sense". .. You have to remember point 1.. This thing called love doesn't make sense. By looking for the meaning.. You devalue the meaning the person is trying to convey. Shut up and listen for once. And accept it for what it is.. Does it feel good? Trust things to be OK and stop being such an emotional miser.

That is all. I am speaking as much to myself as I am anyone else. I trust you wont feel insulted.
 

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Trust things to be OK and stop being such an emotional miser.
Interesting you would say that I was just venting to a very close friend of mine about the 5w4 that I know and I said he was emotionally stingy. And, the funny thing was she said her husband probably says the same thing about her. It started because I asked the 5w4 for some affection and his idea of affection was to put his arm out for me to lie on it and snuggle up to him. And, I shared with her my idea of affection was some rubbing and caressing. She said shared the same idea of affection as the 5w4 and husband shared the same idea with me.

At any rate, it's the first time in a year and half I have asked for it...I only have a desire for it if I'm under extreme stress so I really didn't understand how he thought that was giving me affection. Anywho, I just thought that was an interesting choice of words. :wink:
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
I'm sure it must be challenging to be a Five and to love and adore someone but for whatever reason it's challenging to fully express the love and adoration you have for another. Or, it's challenging that it is being expressed in one's on language but the other person fails and/or doesn't recognize the expressions of the love and/or adoration.
Thank you. I'm starting to realize my lack of ability to accurately express love and admiration. I think my way of doing it had been through smaller gestures like doing things I know she appreciated. In retrospect, those things aren't quite as romantic or amazing as being able to express love and admiration verbally or physically. I'm learning a lot through this experience regardless.

I think the perhaps the toughest issue facing a FIVE in love is that 5's..
- Need things to make sense.
- Are hardwired to look for more. As though nothing can ever be taken at face value.
That's a great point. I was constantly looking for more, I think, which is what made me able to withdraw from my relationship eventually. I do regret doing that as it put me in a situation of realizing that there wasn't really more out there (from what I've found thus far) and that I did appreciate what I had previously.

Another thing I've realized is that I don't think I've ever been at the level of a Healthy Five and I constantly was stuck in a loop of interpreting the world and talking about my interpretation of the world with my significant other. I never really got to the healthy point where I was taking in reality and experiencing it together with someone... I was just trying to bring them into my interpretation of the world instead. I'm not sure if that makes sense now that I'm writing it out.

Why this mentality doesn't work with love.
- Love doesn't make sense. Making sense of it is not the point anyway. There is no point. It cannot be quantified or dissected. It just is.. It doesn't make sense and never will. Coming to terms with this is not easy. Emotions defy logic on the surface.. But they motivate us in everything we do. Their value is paramount. It's wise to listen to your own and those of others. They tell you more about truth than any other source. learn to trust rather than fear them.
- Now this will seem a bit counteractive and/or contradictory to what I just typed above. But sometimes what you see is what you get. No matter how hard you look.. If you find nothing.. It is likely you are finding nothing, because nothing exists.
In English? OK.. Your fear of being made a fool of does not mean you are somehow missing some important aspect, and that if you "look hard enough, you will find it, and then all of this will make sense". .. You have to remember point 1.. This thing called love doesn't make sense. By looking for the meaning.. You devalue the meaning the person is trying to convey. Shut up and listen for once. And accept it for what it is.. Does it feel good? Trust things to be OK and stop being such an emotional miser.

That is all. I am speaking as much to myself as I am anyone else. I trust you wont feel insulted.
Thank you for this as well. I like these points and I certainly agree with them. In love, it seems that it is best for a Five to get out of his/her own head and just start experiencing things at face value and appreciating them without interpretation.
 

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Thanks for responding. I appreciate your openness and honesty. Which Naranjo book? I have Enneatype Structures. Please let me know.

Edit: Also, I'm curious what Enneatype is your boyfriend?
I just picked up Character and Neurosis last week, so I'm pretty early in but I'm really enjoying it. It's very heavy (as I hear most of his books are) but it's already reflected some really relevant things back to me that I haven't seen in other enneagram books. I just got back from being out of town, but I may try and post some parts this week. How do you like Enneatype Structures? I'm already wanting to get some more.

My partner is a 6w7 SO (unsure if he's SX or SP second - I think probably SX, but it could go either way). I never really had a clear picture of who a good partner for me would be, but he's pretty different from the kind of person I expected to end up with.
 

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I just picked up Character and Neurosis last week, so I'm pretty early in but I'm really enjoying it. It's very heavy (as I hear most of his books are) but it's already reflected some really relevant things back to me that I haven't seen in other enneagram books. I just got back from being out of town, but I may try and post some parts this week. How do you like Enneatype Structures? I'm already wanting to get some more.

My partner is a 6w7 SO (unsure if he's SX or SP second - I think probably SX, but it could go either way). I never really had a clear picture of who a good partner for me would be, but he's pretty different from the kind of person I expected to end up with.
Thanks. I must add that one to my library. Ennea-type Structures is an awkward read for me so I have to definitely read it with an uncluttered mind and give it my full attention. But, I have learned a lot from reading it. I will definitely get Character and Neurosis as that seems to be the one that is referenced the most. Thanks for letting me know.

I hear you on having a clear picture...my sentiments exactly. The 5w4 was good in many, many ways but not so much in other ways. But, I must admit... he has been the only man to cross my path that I fully trusted. I think if I found an average to healthy 5w4 in the same season of life as me...then I truly believe 5w4 would be an ideal match for me. :wink:
 

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I'm a bit of an unusual case in that my partner is also a Five (not completely sure about his wing, but he seems to be less emotionally volatile than me, so my guess is 5w6). I had had a little more experience with casual dating than he had when we started dating, but other than that it's been the first 'serious' relationship for both of us, and I feel like we've done a lot of learning together.

In the beginning of our relationship, it was a struggle for him to get outside of his head and act -- for example, when he wanted to hold my hand in public, he would mentally build it up to the point where it was such a complicated request for him to make that he would be paralysed by the fear of what he thought had to be imminent rejection and never ask, which made him feel disappointed and unfulfilled because his strongest love language is undoubtedly touch. An ongoing example would be the fact that is very difficult for us to sleep in the same bed because he gets so sucked into his head and consumed by his thoughts about me when we're together that he will be up the entire night without hardly sleeping at all. I often wake up in the middle of the night when we are together to him hugging me or stroking my back while he is lost in his thoughts, a million and one miles away from me. You would think that some of my novelty would have worn off by now, but I guess I'm a pretty novel person :wink: Obviously when I am awake, I can try and ground him a little more, but this is simply not possible when I'm asleep, so I'm currently trying to come up with a solution to that one that isn't just "we will always have to sleep in separate beds" because I actually sleep better when he is with me -- I feel safer and more relaxed.

Because we are so similar (we're both INxJs to boot), it is easy for me to read him on a very basic level, but it also has meant that in order to 'help' him deal with his Five-ish idiosyncrasies and fears about intimacy, I've had to deal with many of my own -- the days when he is most firmly lodged in his head tend to be the days that I am most distant and restrained with my emotions. Because he is also an INFJ and is therefore very responsive to my emotional state, if I'm a little bit more candid with him and giving him a clear opening to act, it's very easy to coax him out of his head and into action simply because it would be against his nature to leave me hanging or hurt me in any way whatsoever.

I think that in dating someone as similar as he is to me, you always run the risk of having a really stagnant relationship, but I really feel that the opposite has been true in our case. Maybe it's because we both felt very misunderstood and alone as children, but having so much understanding between the two of us has really created an atmosphere that has allowed us to grow as people.
 

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I have a habit of doubting the relationship, which causes me to accuse him that we're not good enough anymore, which only (at least in the past) has created a rift and then a break-up as the doubt creates illusions of arguments etc. I'm currently in a relationship where the man is more of a strength and so he constantly, when this happens and he notices it, tells me and reminds to stop doubting the relationship. I'm in a relationship where we both, as to grow in the relationship, are honest with each other. He's an INFP while I'm an INFJ.
 

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I'll preface this question with some brief background... forgive me for that. So, I've been with the same person for nearly a decade and married her last year. We have decided to separate this year and she explained that she never felt a "spark" or a strong romance between us despite us being best friends. As I've explored my own mind during this recent separation, I've found out many things that I never really knew about. I've done some counseling and realized I'm very passive and generally a "people pleaser" by nature in that I let other people dictate things for me. More recently I've looked into Enneagram personality theory and found that I'm a 5w4 and the descriptions really hit home for me in good and bad ways. In one way, it makes me feel a little less "weird" so that's certainly a good thing. In other ways, the descriptions about isolation, independence and restrained emotions make me realize where my relationship lacked and why that "spark" likely was missing for her for all these years. I'm starting to understand that I likely will never have my wife as part of my life again (the separation was mutual but I do miss her) as neither a romantic partner nor a best friend possibly. The second one hurts much worse because she's the only person that I feel really understands me and my idiosyncrasies.

Sorry, I'm diving too deep into my personal matters... The main point to this post was to see what strategies you all take to ensure that you can be a good partner in a relationship as I worry that I will continue to lack in this area going forward. How do you make your partner feel loved while still embracing the very nature that goes along with being a 5?
Pay attention to their needs. When they try to engage you, respond to them. Learn what makes them feel good and try to do that. Don't close yourself off. I am willing to bet your wife tried to enage you on many occasions and show you what she needed, but you did not realize how important it was to her. Eventually she gave up. You stood still and she moved on.

Love isn't about compromising who you are for someone else. It's about becoming more than the sum of your parts for them. You don't lose you, you gain them.
 

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I'm a bit of an unusual case in that my partner is also a Five (not completely sure about his wing, but he seems to be less emotionally volatile than me, so my guess is 5w6). I had had a little more experience with casual dating than he had when we started dating, but other than that it's been the first 'serious' relationship for both of us, and I feel like we've done a lot of learning together.

In the beginning of our relationship, it was a struggle for him to get outside of his head and act -- for example, when he wanted to hold my hand in public, he would mentally build it up to the point where it was such a complicated request for him to make that he would be paralysed by the fear of what he thought had to be imminent rejection and never ask, which made him feel disappointed and unfulfilled because his strongest love language is undoubtedly touch. An ongoing example would be the fact that is very difficult for us to sleep in the same bed because he gets so sucked into his head and consumed by his thoughts about me when we're together that he will be up the entire night without hardly sleeping at all. I often wake up in the middle of the night when we are together to him hugging me or stroking my back while he is lost in his thoughts, a million and one miles away from me. You would think that some of my novelty would have worn off by now, but I guess I'm a pretty novel person :wink: Obviously when I am awake, I can try and ground him a little more, but this is simply not possible when I'm asleep, so I'm currently trying to come up with a solution to that one that isn't just "we will always have to sleep in separate beds" because I actually sleep better when he is with me -- I feel safer and more relaxed.

Because we are so similar (we're both INxJs to boot), it is easy for me to read him on a very basic level, but it also has meant that in order to 'help' him deal with his Five-ish idiosyncrasies and fears about intimacy, I've had to deal with many of my own -- the days when he is most firmly lodged in his head tend to be the days that I am most distant and restrained with my emotions. Because he is also an INFJ and is therefore very responsive to my emotional state, if I'm a little bit more candid with him and giving him a clear opening to act, it's very easy to coax him out of his head and into action simply because it would be against his nature to leave me hanging or hurt me in any way whatsoever.

I think that in dating someone as similar as he is to me, you always run the risk of having a really stagnant relationship, but I really feel that the opposite has been true in our case. Maybe it's because we both felt very misunderstood and alone as children, but having so much understanding between the two of us has really created an atmosphere that has allowed us to grow as people.

Honestly, your boyfriend seems a lot like me in certain ways. My love language is 100% for sure touching, but I am in a relationship with someone who hates to touch and be touched. This makes it even harder for me to initiate intimacy. Every once in a rare while, we will have moments when we both want to be physically close to each other (and not just in a sexual way). But I can never tell when these situations are going to take place, so attempting to initiate them is almost terrifying to me. I prefer to stay in my head and mull over all the ways he is going to reject me. I even do the same thing when my partner is sleeping. The only time I'm brave enough to touch him, I suppose. I'll just lay there with my hand on his back or something thinking... Then he'll roll over and I'll lose my nerve :p
 

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Sorry to hear about your breakup. Thing you are doing one of the wisest things you could do....trying to understand why your past relationship fail so you can work on it and improve your next one.

I don't have much experience in this area because don't have feel it to be a priority..still in the process of knowing myself.Think my last relationship was 3 years ago. I can related to what you share with us because we can be seen kind of distant to most. The irony is that we feel emotions very strong but are very careful of letting others inside our inner chambers. To establish a healthy bond we need to let that other person in.

I have growth a lot since my last relationship and know I will be a great boyfriend/spouse. I have been always what I can do for you kind of person..I am very good at reading other people and my intuition is 99% correct, to the point that some of my friends have joked that I am kind of psychic ;p. I find joy in taking care and looking after others. I am the kind of guy that will write you a poem or bring you flowers for no reason at all. For a type 5 when I lower my barriers I am very touchy, passionate and sexual. Imagine that some people have called me tenderhearted :p.

I also realized that almost all the problems arises because of lack of communication. Because of my gifts I come very close to mind reading as you can get yet no one really knows with 100% of certainty what you are truly feeling/thinking. If something is bothering you speak up and tell the same thing to your future partner. We tend to fill the blanks and usually do a bad job...never suppose anything, when in doubt..ask. Just doing this simple thing will reduce 90% of all the problems that exist in relationships. Yes is that important.

Also never take a relationship for granted. Every day try to show to your significant other what he/she means to you. Don't let the calendar tell you when you have to give love. Usually for a men not being needed is like a slow death, for a women not feel desired/wanted hurts a lot. Be supportive and above all things...listen.

Think the only issue I have left to deal with is to be more open to others people affection. In the past because of certain events, I had to tough myself up to survive in what I perceive to be a tough environment. I healed those wounds so only I need to lower my barriers..it has been a long process but I am getting there. Imagine how frustrating will be for you been in love with someone that cherish and treasure you yet finds difficult to let you in.
 
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