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I am an INFP, and I recently got out of an abusive marriage. I was married for 15 years and with some help was finally able to leave last October, a little over 10 months ago.

I played an online MMO for the last 3 to 4 years of my marriage and during that time, I became very close with someone who also played, who happens to be an INTP. I think we were both at a point in our life where we were escaping reality through a game, and for that reason neither of us play anymore. During the entire time of me trying to leave and going through all the ups and downs and fears that I had, this person was always there, encouraging & supportive. We have spent more hours than I can count in mumble, on the phone, on skype, in games, just talking and being with one another. We have an amazing connection and talk about everything. We make each other laugh and truly enjoy each others company. I've never felt so free or at peace and content with anyone in my life.

I have been away from my ex husband now for a little over 10 months, and I am in counseling and trying to rebuild myself and my life. I have made some major changes for the positive and enrolled in college, got my own place, bought a new car etc. This person, is still continuing to be there and is patient and loving and caring...all the things I could ever dream to find in a relationship or in a partner. The problem is I am terrified. I care about him so much, but I am so afraid that all of the baggage I am carrying with me will somehow destroy any future we could have if I haven't worked through it before entering a new relationship.

He lives in Canada, just north of the state I live in inside the U.S. So, we are within reasonable distance to try to make something work. We are both over 30, in case that helps with any of this. He is very serious about meeting and taking things to the next step...but each time he pushes or suggests that, I feel like running away in fear. I love our relationship, how it is right now. I love spending time with him in the evenings and watching movies or playing an online game...just sharing parts of my life and my day with him. I just don't feel like I am ready for more than that yet. I have children and the divorce and the move has been extremely difficult for them. He spends time playing Xbox with my son, he sends them presents for their birthdays, he feels like part of our lives in so many ways yet... I am scared that the things I still need to work on will end up destroying the good parts we have in place. I'm so fearful that taking on a new relationship while I'm trying to process and sort through my old one will derail me and the progress I am making. I don't feel ready and yet I feel this immense pressure to meet and try to begin a physical relationship, one where we are more real to one another.

I understand how patient he has been already. I have never asked him to wait or to stand by me like he has, even though I love his presence in my life. I have repeatedly encouraged him to try to date or see other people, which upsets him. I continuously tell him I am not sure when or even if I will ever feel ready to be with ANYONE again. I feel like I have so much work and healing to do to make myself happy before I can even consider a new relationship...he says he has already committed himself to me in his mind and heart and he has no desire to find someone new. He says he will wait but I can't stand the guilt (because that is essentially what it is) I feel over him not experiencing so much in life while he sits and waits for me to get my life together. I feel an immense amount of pressure from that and like I need to try to hurry up a process that is impossible to speed up. I try so hard sometimes to push him away and explain to him that I don't feel this is healthy for him, but he says that is his decision to make and I just need to worry about myself. I feel sick over this and at times have thought about doing something, even if it means saying something to hurt him, to help him to move on and let go. It tears me apart inside to see him wasting his time on something I'm not even sure I can ever be for him.

I am not sure if it is common for INTPs to idealize someone to the point where they can't see or are blinded to all that is wrong with a potential relationship? I can't figure out if he sees qualities or a future that he genuinely feels is worth waiting for. I can't figure out if our relationship is healthy for him, for me or for us and I should relax and resign myself to his logic since at this time in my life nothing seems very clear. It is so hard to ignore when everything inside me is screaming how wrong this is for him. I keep backing away hoping to gain some perspective and insight. I find it so infuriating that he never seems to waiver. I wish I had that clarity and confidence like he does. I don't see what he sees. I can't let go of the nagging voice inside me telling me I am being selfish for accepting his presence in my life, when I have nothing to give to him in return right now. I feel like smacking him with it sometimes and telling him to wake up, to realize he has given this over 3 years of his time already and that I still don't have any definitive answers for him. I hate feeling like his life is hinged on mine, when mine feels still so out of control.

I am so completely torn in half and honestly don't know what the right thing to do is anymore. Sorry for the length of this and thank you in advance for any insights or perspectives that you may share.
 
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If he is that dedicated to you, then it's about some quality you possess rather than what you can offer him.

-but- at the same time I'm not sure that he could wait forever.

Based on my own experiences. When I find the perfect girl, I'm happy for awhile. But then letdowns start to accumulate and become overwhelming. I'll try things to 'fix' the situation, but if I get nowhere, I end up leaving the relationship abruptly without warning.
 

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Man, the INTP you are describing reminds me so much of myself. I dated an incredibly emotional INFP with terrible life problems and her brother having suicide issues. She had an incredible amount of drama going on in her life that she felt like she was pushing onto people. Til this day I still think about her. She pushed me away from the relationship and moved. Despite all of her baggage I still saw things in her that I can't really explain. I still loved her.

I think he may see something in you that you don't see yourself. He also seems to a high amount of trust in you and a high amount of compassion for you as well. INTPs can be pretty damn loyal and loving if they have developed some of their weaker functions.

Honestly, I see the faults in nearly everything but not when I am in love. I overlook the bad and only see the good traits that outweigh all the potentially bad ones.

I don't really know what to tell you about what you should do, but to be honest I think he is entirely aware of all your baggage. He probably already knows exactly who you are and he still seems to love you for it. He seems to have accepted you but you haven't accepted yourself.
 

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Here are some thoughts:

  • A 30+ INTP has probably almost given up the notion of time completely.
  • INTPs can at times be idealistic, but the logic overrides this, it doesn't last for long periods of time.
  • INTPs can be very loyal.
  • The problem is not his feelings, it's yours. If you feel suffocated or trapped into being responsible for his feelings, this probably isn't good for you at this time in your life and it may slow your healing. Listen to your intuition. Trust yourself.
  • If you can maintain a friendship, then do that.
  • Whether you're in, or out of his life, it probably won't make much of a difference to the way the INTP lives his life.
  • If you want to have a friendship, then limit the contact time (on the phone, etc). No flirting.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Man, the INTP you are describing reminds me so much of myself. I dated an incredibly emotional INFP with terrible life problems and her brother having suicide issues. She had an incredible amount of drama going on in her life that she felt like she was pushing onto people. Til this day I still think about her. She pushed me away from the relationship and moved. Despite all of her baggage I still saw things in her that I can't really explain. I still loved her.
I hope you don't mind me asking another question, since it sounds like you still miss her very much. I am wondering if even though you had/have these feelings for her, do you in some way agree with the decision she made? Do you feel that it was a positive thing in the end for you both to have moved on with your lives....or, do you feel like she gave up too soon and threw away something that could have truly been special?
 

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I hope you don't mind me asking another question, since it sounds like you still miss her very much. I am wondering if even though you had/have these feelings for her, do you in some way agree with the decision she made? Do you feel that it was a positive thing in the end for you both to have moved on with your lives....or, do you feel like she gave up too soon and threw away something that could have truly been special?
I respected her decision and wished her well. I have no strong feelings about it either way.

I don't really think about that. When I move on from something I move on, I may still have feelings for her but does don't matter much. I may still miss her but it makes no sense to me to be dwelling on it too much.
 

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  • Whether you're in, or out of his life, it probably won't make much of a difference to the way the INTP lives his life.
  • If you want to have a friendship, then limit the contact time (on the phone, etc). No flirting.
I disagree with these.

It makes a huge difference if someone I'm in love with is in or out of my life. I need things reciprocated. If I even suspect they will leave, I start to try to cut emotional ties.

Likewise, if she ignores flirts and limits contact time unreasonably or tries to force things into a friend mode, I will react the same way. Abandon the relationship, maybe not immediately if there are strong emotional ties, but I will be quitely working hard to free myself of those.
 

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I disagree with these.

It makes a huge difference if someone I'm in love with is in or out of my life. I need things reciprocated. If I even suspect they will leave, I start to try to cut emotional ties.

Likewise, if she ignores flirts and limits contact time unreasonably or tries to force things into a friend mode, I will react the same way. Abandon the relationship, maybe not immediately if there are strong emotional ties, but I will be quitely working hard to free myself of those.
It wasn't stated that he's in love with her. This is likely an internet fantasy. Such contact can continue in a more balanced/grounded way after the realities have been dealt with.

Yes, INTPs can have an on and off switch with regard to emotion. However this is more likely to relate to real in person relationships than perceived online curiosities. Given that neither person is a real part of each other's lives at this point, (except in mind) they are effectively carrying on their own lives anyway.
 

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It wasn't stated that he's in love with her. This is likely an internet fantasy. Such contact can continue in a more balanced/grounded way after the realities have been dealt with.

Yes, INTPs can have an on and off switch with regard to emotion. However this is more likely to relate to real in person relationships than perceived online curiosities. Given that neither person is a real part of each other's lives at this point, (except in mind) they are effectively carrying on their own lives anyway.
I see phone calls, skype, countless hours and that it's gone on for 3 years. It sounds like both are very intertwined in each other's lives.
It may not have been explicitly stated that he's in love, but he's acting like an INTP who is. She wouldn't be fretting about this if he wasn't
 

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I see phone calls, skype, countless hours and that it's gone on for 3 years. It sounds like both are very intertwined in each other's lives.
It may not have been explicitly stated that he's in love, but he's acting like an INTP who is. She wouldn't be fretting about this if he wasn't
It's unlikely an INTP would fall in love without direct evidence that his/her perceptions are correct. An INTP may have an online crush and believe in that to a certain extent, however if he is believing that he is in love without (relatively) objective evidence, he's operating in his Si-Fe.

It's only a matter of time before Ti will demand to see some evidence.

It is an infatuation which may or may not become love. However as it stands, it exists as an idea, not an actuality (if love can ever be such a thing).
 
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I try so hard sometimes to push him away and explain to him that I don't feel this is healthy for him, but he says that is his decision to make and I just need to worry about myself.
We INTPs have a very small circle which consists of friends. Rarely, if any will be a woman who is interested in him or accepts him beyond "just friends" for the true INTP that he so often camouflages from others outside his circle of closest friends and family in fear of being rejected. We have learned that revealing our true selves isn't ideal in most situations, thus the conditioned response to conceal. I think that's a hard concept to grasp if you're not an INTP. When we open up to a girl and she isn't deterred from it, this is amazing. We want to hold onto it so badly because we know how rare it is to find a girl like this. Him idealizing the situation helps him rationalize all your actions. Why give up on something you may never find again? Also, we like familiarity. Starting the whole process over is a pain in the ass. Happened to me, but came to my senses and left. I still miss her, but know better not to go back. That's the INTPs problem.

Now to your problem. You're broken from your past relationship, scared of commitment and/or have low self-esteem and believe you don't deserve love again. Taking the relationship to the next step forms a mental constraint on you. Commitment in the mind means no backing away, forced to pull through (The pressure you described). So you fend off the commitment while enjoying his presence in the form you wish to have (All take, no give). You know in your subconscious that he'll keep coming back no matter what, so why not put only just enough effort to get the benefits you want? When he doesn't back away, you loose respect for him ("Wanting to smack him"). Your attraction to him diminishes with each attempt thereafter because it reinforces the idea in your head that he's willing to settle and wait around, a loser. Women do not respect men they can walk over.

You need to be firm and direct, while remaining respectful to him. INTPs like to be to the point and direct with people, and expect the same in return. You're "suggesting", you're explaining INDIRECTLY what you want him to do without saying it out right in hopes he will just get the message that is so "obvious". You don't want to leave him, you want him to leave you so you're no the "bad guy". There is no battle plan that survives contact with the enemy. Enemy in this case is "hurt feelings". Every option will hurt at least one of you. Stop the madness and just end it. You're wasting your time and his time.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
@mcstuart17 I see some truth in what you said, so thank you for your post. However, parts of it I feel I needed to address or clarify. I have never or will never lose respect for him. He is one of the most intelligent, stubborn, intellectually stimulating men I have ever met. I honestly never expect him to "keep coming back". His reluctance to let this go puzzles me, frustrates me and makes me doubt my own viewpoint, because I respect his opinion and perspective on things very much. I try to be as direct as I can be with him, he has taught me how important this is to him and over time it has become much easier for me to find my voice when speaking to him about how I feel. It also happens to be one of the qualities that I love most about him... I always know I will get a truthful, straightforward answer, no matter what I ask. Typically I feel that overall we share the same morals, values and points of view. It is the moments when I feel we are seeing things so differently that scares me. When we reach this point, like the one described in my post, it seems no matter how we try to convey our thoughts and feelings to one another it is to no avail. We end up at a stand off which is where we are at right now, and is why I posted all of this here. I typically would not lay out such intimate thoughts or details on a forum, except that I am sincerely hoping in some way it will help me sort through all of this or at least gain a new perspective to consider. I am not sure what I was looking for exactly, except maybe to find an insight or two from an INTP that is not emotionally vested or connected to the situation.
 

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there is this person I've been interested in for a long time. Even though the odds are against us ever becoming a couple, I can't give up. There's something inside of me that says she's perfect. even though, I only know her as a friend of a friend. But I've spoken to her a few times. I've been ridiculed for it. truth is, they're probably right. But I just can't shake the feeling, or the thought that she is the one. I have no desire to pursue anyone else. I still date other people, but I don't know.

If I were you, I wouldn't feel guilty. He said he loved you and he would wait. Take his word for it. INTPs don't generally leap before they look. Just keep yourself comfortable. If you feel he is getting to close to your family. Let him know you're not ready for that. If you like him coming around all the time and spending time with you. He's probably happy to do that as long as he'll be waiting. The last thing he'll want is to add more emotional baggage to your back. And he's probably confused that he's making you feel guilty.

I want to congratulate you on your success of getting out and I wish you and your family the best getting over such a horrible situation.
 
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