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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I met this great guy 6 months ago. In the beginning he was verbal about his feelings, i.e. "I can't stop thinking about you", "I feel like we were meant to meet", "You're the best thing to wake up too", "I'm getting nervous how good we seem together." We became exclusive. Then we were long distance for 3 months b/c of his work and he became less verbally affectionate. No more sweet words. And definitely no "I love you". I've tried addressing it with him, by asking him what happened and if something has changed. He hasn't able to come with a good answer, though he recently pointed out half our relationship has been long distance and we should get to know each other better. He's also older and has never been engaged or lived with a woman. His longest relationship was 4 yrs. He also has a hard time accepting compliments.

However he is still very physically affectionate and looks at me with googly eyes all the times. And not just sexually, I mean holding hands, having his hand on my shoulder etc. I met his family and friends. He goes out of his way to do nice things for me including once driving 3 hrs to pick me up for the airport.

I'm conflicted. On the one hand, I think his lack of ability to open up is a red flag (combined with the other factors I mentioned above.) I've never been in a relationship with a man so reticent to express his feelings. I also question why he was able to express himself before and not any longer. On the other hand, he does seem to genuinely care for me and I sense that deep down he does care for me more than he lets on. But I'm not sure I want to stay in a relationship with someone that closed off.

Any thoughts from INFP males on why he shifted gears? Is there anything I can do or should I just throw in the towel?
 

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I am not an INFP male, obviously...I do have a bit of experience with INFP males, and know that some are more expressive than others, for various reasons that I am about to list:

1. Experience, someone who has been hurt, or is having trouble getting past a past love can be recitent to open up to a new person
2. Enneagram, type 4 INFPs are pretty expressive, but in contrast, type 6 INFPs are locked and guarded vaults that only share when they're absolutely ready and it takes a bit for them to do so.
3. Individual personality. Some individuals no matter what the above criteria are guarded.

what should you do about it?
some things you can do is try opening up a little more, yourself. Sometimes guarded people open up if they see the other person open up first and make themselves vulnerable. Just be open about how things make you feel. Be really patient, and if you sense he needs space, or if he tells you he needs space, give him space, but check in every now and then. Try not to be too smothery. Just be open and consistent.
 

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INFPs can be idealistic projecting their ideals onto people that don't have those characteristics, then they get disappointed. INFPs need to develop more gratitude because modern relationships, due to commuting long distances for work, are going to continue being difficult. A lot of times people just turn off each other because their goals are being diverted towards the relationship more, and they may not want that. Getting to know his big ambitions and how you might get in the way will be an important bit of information no matter what type you are dating.

I personally think that all personality types have some problems and need to individuate and develop all the functions to become more balanced.
 

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I think he may simply be feeling a little bit more doubt or at least cautiousness after the initial excitement. In my mind he might just need some more time or clarity to open up, 6 months is not a very long time so I don't think "throwing in the towel" just on account of it is a really great idea if you really want to get to know him, after all he did say he wanted to get to know you better. He might be having doubts about where it's headed in the future or just having second thoughts about it all, but it seems more like caution and slow-ness from what you described. Either way I think you should just ask him some more about what he's feeling and get him to check it truthfully with himself. It's not a good idea to force INFP's to rush into something they're not comfortable with, and "open up super open after 6 months of knowing each other or else I give up" may definitely not be his cup of tea.
 

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I agree with @Adonnus

And about that initial excitement, it probably had him working a lot in Ne, which is his auxiliary, not dominant. In the end, he's an introvert. It takes energy to be like an extravert. He could have been giving his all to match your energy in the beginning, and now he has to recover a bit.

About him coming up with a "good answer", do you come up with a definitive answer for complex questions all the time? Things are always in a state of change and modification, especially in one's emotional life. It doesn't have to be for good or bad, although it could be. Is it possible that your Te and Si are begging for a firm answer where one isn't needed yet?

I find it very challenging to answer questions about my inner self, and depending on the question and person, I'm probably going to stall out like a bad engine. I personally find it very challenging to say "I love you" to anyone, and I can't even whisper it to my dog. The second it leaves my lips, it feels like a lie. Sometimes you say something, whether you feel like it or not, because you know it's true. Sometimes you wait to say something until you feel and know it's true. Sometimes the feeling is too strong to be spoken in words, language, any form of communication, so it's best to be the truest of all and not even speak. I let them feel it in the breeze so they know the truth.

But regardless of type, infatuation happens. If you don't like him now, you can break up with him. But introverts "open up" best and fastest when you give them all the time in the world.
 

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I'm not a male, but your entire post made sense to me... so I'll just give my two cents...

The long distance thing ---> Uh-oh, bad.

he recently pointed out [...] we should get to know each other better.
This makes perfect sense to me. I am the type of person that out of sight out of mind. If I'm not seeing and touching my partner on a weekly basis, that's not a relationship to me, and in this scenario I would feel like the relationship is not real. I would need to build it up again from the ground, as if we just met, whenever we were in-person again.
But that's just me.

I've tried addressing it with him, by asking him what happened and if something has changed. He hasn't able to come with a good answer
I don't believe the bolded part, I mean I don't believe that he doesn't know what he's thinking/feeling. I think he does but doesn't want to tell you, and if he doesn't want to tell you his thoughts it means that it's because he doesn't want to hurt your feelings. And if he doesn't want to hurt you, it means that the content of his thoughts/feelings is not something positive.

I think his lack of ability to open up is a red flag (combined with the other factors I mentioned above.) I've never been in a relationship with a man so reticent to express his feelings. I also question why he was able to express himself before and not any longer.
Exactly. I'm thinking what you're thinking.

But I'm not sure I want to stay in a relationship with someone that closed off.
Yeah. I think you should address it again with him, and be very clear.
Now, if his response continues to be "I don't know..." "I'm not sure..." he's lying. He does know, he just doesn't want to tell for some reason.
It's weird that he trusted you (vulnerability) in the beginning, and now suddenly he doesn't.

He's also older and has never been engaged or lived with a woman.
This isn't a red flag. I won't go into details now, but let's just say I'm "older" like him and only had 1 relationship and never lived with a man. I know other INFPs who are like this, we just don't click with people easily and we don't go around jumping from bed to bed, person to person. Lack of experience is not an indicator of emotional unavailability or anything.

Any thoughts from INFP males on why he shifted gears? Is there anything I can do or should I just throw in the towel?
Like I said, I think that the long distance thing fucked it all up.
I wouldn't throw in the towel just like that without addressing it more with him. I know you said you've addressed it already, but I think that it's best if you do it again and get very clear. Ask him what he wants in a relationship, or for his future, and state what you want. Talk about it.
If he continued to say I-dont-knows and be vague, I would then dump him. But that's just me. I dislike confused men who don't know what they want.
It's one thing to not know HOW to get what you want. That's okey because as long as you know what you want, the "how" is research-able and find-able.
But if one doesn't know what they want and they're just floating around aimlessly, that's an indicator imo and ime that they're just wasting time and they will leave once they find what they truly want elsewhere.
 

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Be patient (6 months is little) and be present in his life, even if in a LDR. You can still talk on Skype, have fun, share your lives. If you want to get him to open up, shower him with real compliments and tell him how you appreciate all the nice things he does. Yes, we have a tough time accepting them but we still want to hear them, especially how you feel about the nice things we do.

Although we can do LDR, it kind of sucks to be in one, this may not be true for all INFPs, but I really need the physical presence of the other in my life. If this LDR thing will go for too long, I may fall out of love into a friendship. (how long is too long depends on the individual). Do you like being in a LDR? Is there any way you see you two coming together? Even if it's a lot of time before things will change, make sure there is a clear deadline. (like if one is going to work in a different country, make sure it is specified that it will only be for x number of years)

He already told you what the problem is, he wants to get to know you better. This is kind of normal for INFPs, I think, we want to know the other really well before commiting to something more serious. There is an initial rush of energy for any type, at the beginning of the relationship, but this is only something to build upon. What comes next is that you two should see if you have meaningful, deep conversations together, have fun together, share quality time, have enough things in common to do things you both love. You need to plan things that you both love to do and then go do them.

The one thing that has always stopped me for going into a relationship with an ENFP was that we always seemed to have different paths. Get to know him, talk to him about what he dreams to do in this life, in this world, he's bound to talk about that even if he has no clue about the future. I think all INFPs have dreams about life and yeah, we are not very talkative but you got close enough that he can talk to you. Find out what his path is and then see if it matches yours. If it does, let him know that and imagine some plans for you to be on the same path.
 

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Hello @bubbles2000:

I'm a male INFP, but don't take my "hypothesis" as a 100% truth because at the end every person is unique but I have some advices to you:

- Express feeling is hard to us (INFP), If he did it in the past maybe was because he want to "catch" you attention, but that behaviour is hard to mantain in long term, this kind of behavior can be very exhausting for an INFP. BUT, do not assume he doesn't love you or he doesn't care for you.

- Maybe he doesn't say "I love you" anymore, but I'm very sure he is showing his love in other way that maybe you are not seeing. Open your eyes for this.

- Another possible reason maybe he is under a big amount of stress (at work). Stress can unbalance our life as you can't imagine making us to behave in irrational ways.

- The worst scenario is he lost the interest on you, and this might be possible because we are very idealistic and If we see a minor "defect" we can lost interest very fast. Here comes the funny, the wrong would be he, because nothing can be perfect. This is something I've learnt in life, and in my opinion every INFP would embrace to have a happy life. Being idealistic is fine, but looking perfection can be stressfull.

- I see you are an ENFP, I'm thinking that maybe your extroversion might make him nervous, the NFP is perfect but the extrovert part can be energy consuming for us. This doesn't mean you have to change at all, but he have to see this life isn't perfect and try to reach a middle point between.

My final advice is to talk directly about this, you and he are very lucky that share the NFP part, I'm very sure you can find an "elegant" way to talk and reach to a "common point".

Charly The Rabbit
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you for all the responses! Definitely some food for thought. What keeps me in the relationship is the fact that he is still very physically affectionate (not necessarily sexual, he can't walk down the street if I don't hold his hand) and he's told me again and again he doesn't want me to leave and he's apologized for being difficult. When he went out of town for the weekend, he did express that he missed me and wished I was there. He also brought me to a family wedding where I met his whole family.

I recently remembered when he asked me to be his GF, he told me that he'd been trying to play it cool bc he was afraid I would break his heart. At the time, I was like huh? Really?

So it seems like (from what I've read) it's hard for INFPs to open up and they tend to be more cautious. ENFPs (me) tend to be the opposite. Hence the struggle. Aside from this issue we are oddly in sync about everything. I'll try to chill out a bit. I just don't know if I should give him more space or reinforce that I care.
 
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