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Hi INFPs, I could really use your help/advice/pat on the back.

Ready for a Nicholas Sparks novel? I (the American ENFP) fall head over heels for a shy musician (the English INFP) on my year abroad in the UK. [[Spontaneous chemistry]]

I went too fast for him so we remained friends for eight months, and on my very last day in the UK he kisses me (a deep, sensual French kiss -his first kiss). We part ways that morning, and just before the train doors close he says very softly, "I love you." "I love you too," I replied.

The following month I send him a love letter and romantic CD, he sends me a break-up letter with a sad CD. The gist of it? "I'm not ready. I'm not strong enough to love you. I'm scared of losing you as a friend."

About 5 weeks go by (without contact) until we Skype for 4 hours in one long, tender conversation (telling me he's sorry for waiting so long, he was afraid, and he misses my voice). Three days later we Skype again and he's back to his seemingly carefree, confident self - "Well, nice chatting to you, I gotta rush!" and I hate it. "Just friends" again.

But I know his heart. He's cried in front of me (several times). "I've shared more with you than any other person," he says. I make him vulnerable. He loves my praise and attention, but I need that from him - a confirmation that he feels the same way... his regular attention and affection... maybe a promise that we'll see each other again (romantically). Things I'll never get. What does it take for an INFP to give something like that, especially in this scenario? I'm scared to write another letter, though I know he'll cherish it forever no matter what I send. Thanks for reading!

-Amorous in America
 

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I'm not ready. I'm not strong enough to love you. I'm scared of losing you as a friend.

Bad news. This is always bullshit.

If he's not into you enough to maintain a distance relationship then he's not into you as much as you're into him. That's the plain and simple gist of the matter here.

I've had men cry over me as well. Men who treated me very badly. It doesn't mean they secretly loved me. It doesn't mean I "knew their heart". It means that people are weird and sometimes they cry. They cried over the amazing connection and memories we shared... but all of that was, apparently, still not enough for them.

If I loved a person I would move the heavens and earth to maintain a stable amorous relationship with them, long distance or not. I'd already be talking about our next times together. I would need no convincing and no one could rationalize with me.

What he's doing is not chalked up to being an INFP. Make a clean break from this person or prepared to feel heartbroken over and over again.
 

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Oh gosh another one of these stories. I'm with Lola here. It's not an INFP thing, I've been through this with people of 4 different types.
What I've learned is that people love attention and affection. You are giving him exactly that, so he's playing with your feelings because he can. This doesn't mean he's a bad person, it just means he's immature, driven by ego (unconsciously, more likely, but who knows) and you are getting hurt, and will get even more hurt.
My humble advice -and from countless experience with these types of people- is that you stop offering your guts to him and move on. Like Lola said, if he wanted to be with you he'd be with you in crystal clear terms. Here's his exact words & behavior:

1: he sends me a break-up letter with a sad CD.
2: "I'm not ready. I'm not strong enough to love you. I'm scared of losing you as a friend."
3:
Three days later we Skype again and he's back to his seemingly carefree, confident self - "Well, nice chatting to you, I gotta rush!" and I hate it. "Just friends" again.

Don't put different words in his mouth, don't create a different scenario in your head than the one that's happening in front of you. He's telling you X ---> believe X. Seriously. That's all there is.

But I know his heart. He's cried in front of me (several times). "I've shared more with you than any other person," he says. I make him vulnerable.


Been there done that. Like I said, he likes your affection and your attention. He probly doesn't even realise it and is confusing it with love.

If you are fine being friends, then be that and ONLY THAT. You are not a toy to be played with. Yu deserve someone with a decent level of maturity, someone who doesn't play the push-pull game with you. Seriously, this always ends badly, and it is your heart that will get broken, not his. You have a lot more invested here than he does, from what you've explained.
Now, if you absolutely cannot stand being just friends, then break all contact and move on. I know this sounds like the most terrifying thing to do right now because "omg finally I found someone I click with! I won't find anything like this anywhere, I gotta hold on!". This is the scarcity mindset and:
a. it's a lie
b. continue to play by his rules and watch yourself be used emotionally only to get your hart broken in the end when he decides that nope he's just too insecure to have anything with you.

He'll play with your feelings for as long as you allow him. Don't.

He loves my praise and attention, but I need that from him - a confirmation that he feels the same way... his regular attention and affection... maybe a promise that we'll see each other again (romantically). Things I'll never get. What does it take for an INFP to give something like that, especially in this scenario?


I've read this bit several times and I still don't understand it *scratches head* There's no love here, only egos & starvation (this starvation on both sides is what's blinding you).

What does it take for an INFP to give something like that, especially in this scenario?


Still unsure what you mean. You mean give praise, attention, affection? (sorry if that's not what u meant, I'm using Te hardcore here to decipher things xD I dunno what's wrong with my brain today sorry). It only takes that I think positively of you, then I'll tell you what I'm thinking. It doesn't take any epic story of having my protectve walls destroyed or anything. I must admit I'm much shy-er with friends in term of affection. I just don't feel like it. But a romantic interest? That's a different world entirely. I'd be showering you with attention if I'm interested in you.

 

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Oh gosh another one of these stories. I'm with Lola here. It's not an INFP thing, I've been through this with people of 4 different types.
What I've learned is that people love attention and affection. You are giving him exactly that, so he's playing with your feelings because he can. This doesn't mean he's a bad person, it just means he's immature, driven by ego (unconsciously, more likely, but who knows) and you are getting hurt, and will get even more hurt.
My humble advice -and from countless experience with these types of people- is that you stop offering your guts to him and move on. Like Lola said, if he wanted to be with you he'd be with you in crystal clear terms. But here's his exact words & behavior:

1: he sends me a break-up letter with a sad CD.
2: "I'm not ready. I'm not strong enough to love you. I'm scared of losing you as a friend."
3:
Three days later we Skype again and he's back to his seemingly carefree, confident self - "Well, nice chatting to you, I gotta rush!" and I hate it. "Just friends" again.



Been there done that. Like I said, he likes your affection and your attention. He probly doesn't even realise it and is confusing it with love.

If you are fine being friends, then be that and ONLY THAT. You are not a toy to be played with. Yu deserve someone with a decent level of maturity, someone who doesn't play the push-pull game with you. Seriously, this always ends badly, and it is your heart that will get broken, not his. You have a lot more invested here than he does, from what you've explained.
Now, if you absolutely cannot stand being just friends, then break all contact and move on. I know this sounds like the most terrifying thing to do right now because "omg finally I found someone I click with! I won't find anything like this anywhere, I gotta hold on!". This is the scarcity mindset and:
a. it's a lie
b. continue to play by his rules and watch yourself be used emotionally only to get your hart broken in the end when he decides that nope he's just too insecure to have anything with you.

He'll play with your feelings for as long as you allow him. Don't.



I've read this bit several times and I still don't understand it *scratches head* There's no love here, only egos & starvation (this starvation on both sides is what's blinding you).



Still unsure what you mean. You mean give praise, attention, affection? (sorry if that's not what u meant, I'm using Te hardcore here to decipher things xD I dunno what's wrong with my brain today sorry). It only takes that I think positively of you, then I'll tell you what I'm thinking. It doesn't take any epic story of having my protectve walls destroyed or anything. I must admit I'm much shy-er with friends in term of affection. I just don't feel like it. But a romantic interest? That's a different world entirely. I'd be showering you with attention if I'm interested in you.

You are spot on here. I went through 2 years with a woman, somewhat long distance, who was doing just that - showering me with her attention. But there wasn't enough for me to consider the long distance worth it. So I was confused for quite awhile. When we spent time together it was like heaven because of all the attention she specifically sent my way. But when I got away from her and had time to think, there were many things I didn't care for about her and I would once again try to end it.

It felt very manipulative and desperate and that was a big turn off.

I ended it very recently although I do miss her. It was for the best in my case because she was endlessly insecure and manipulative.

If a guy says he wants to end it, I wouldn't encourage him to give it more time. He knows already that it's not worth the time to him.
 

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Thanks for your replies. Very 'been there, done that!' and I agree with all of you.

What he's doing is not chalked up to being an INFP. Make a clean break from this person or prepared to feel heartbroken over and over again.
I agree with you. Because he's a young, horny man unsure where his feelings lie and inexperienced with romance in general, he's just going to step on my heart if I let him (long distance of course) until he knows what he wants, and that may be some other girl along the line. I guess I want it both ways - the freedom to be single in Texas in case someone who's head over heels for me does come along, but the reassurance that "I love you" meant "I love you" from this boy, my first love and his first kiss.

Sidenote: I also do modeling, acting, singing, voice overs, broadcast journalism, party planning and speeches, radio DJing, art, piano, photography and article writing, so I tend to draw a lot of attention. He was totally flattered when I came out and told him "I like you". He was bullied throughout middle and high school, always insecure about his appearance and thought I was totally out of his league, but man did I ever love him like crazy.

They cried over the amazing connection and memories we shared... but all of that was, apparently, still not enough for them.

If I loved a person I would move the heavens and earth to maintain a stable amorous relationship with them, long distance or not. I'd already be talking about our next times together. I would need no convincing and no one could rationalize with me.
I think you're right, but at the same time I suppose he always knew in the end I would be leaving the country indefinitely. I never thought he would be brave enough to make a move, but he insisted on spending my last day in England with him in Brighton and taking me to his parents' house. He wanted me to stay the night and meet his grandmother. We kissed at 4am in his parents' living room. He's a weird boy. Once I mentioned that I might just stop by London Heathrow to visit next summer, and he said "You'll probably be married by then." He said he wants to meet my parents on Skype. His parents want to meet my parents on Skype. "When I come to Texas, not if but WHEN, we'll have to go to Austin." "When is that?" I ask. "Probably after my graduation." He comes from a humble background without a lot of money and can't afford to come visit me. "The thought of letting you down pains me. Here on the other side of the world, I cannot be there to watch out for you in the way you need." The whole aftermath was really hard and it felt like his 1000-word letter drafts were stained with tears, but you're right, I have got to break.

Still unsure what you mean. You mean give praise, attention, affection? (sorry if that's not what u meant, I'm using Te hardcore here to decipher things xD I dunno what's wrong with my brain today sorry). It only takes that I think positively of you, then I'll tell you what I'm thinking. It doesn't take any epic story of having my protectve walls destroyed or anything. I must admit I'm much shy-er with friends in term of affection. I just don't feel like it. But a romantic interest? That's a different world entirely. I'd be showering you with attention if I'm interested in you.
He used to tell me absolutely everything and hang out with me all the time, but communication just wasn't/isn't very flirtatious or romantic. He once had a severe crush on another girl for six months and never told her he liked her but kept the whole thing platonic, so yes, introverted is an understatement. I guess that's why I posted to the INFP boards, thinking he was a special case of "boy who can't express his feelings".

Thanks again for your comments, I will take them to heart! I guess I still want to keep in touch with him and not let the embers totally die, just in case we do see each other again next year. I'm stopping in London next September en route to my journalism internship in South Africa (oddly enough where his father is from) and we'll probably meet up. Is it possible to remain friends if I distance myself emotionally? All we talk about are emotions anyway. Can we be pen pals like we promised (before he kissed me) in Brighton? I understand his side, he's busy in school and can't just jump on a plane for another 2 years. I'm a fashion model he thinks is gonna get snatched up any minute by better men than him. I would not describe my self as desperate, but woman recovering from falling in love for the first time? yes.

Cheers!
Sarah
 

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I'm not ready. I'm not strong enough to love you. I'm scared of losing you as a friend.

Bad news. This is always bullshit.

I'm not trying to cause offense, but this right here is based on personal bias and you can't call bullshit on a person you know nothing about.

To the original poster - I have felt and said these things before. The 'I'm unlovable, I'm not ready etc. etc. Why? Because at that time in my life I wanted, craved love but I was terrified and really not sure how to open up to love. And yes I wanted attention. I wanted affirmation that I wasn't the horrific person I thought, but the affirmation that I was actually capable of being loved.

I think what you need to do here is be the assertive person and give him two options.

1. You maintain a friendship on the basis that there is no more silent treatment, sulkiness and mind games.

2. He commits to you and is completely honest with his feelings. You can help him face whatever fears he has but you are only willing to do this if there is commitment from both sides.

Sadly in life most people aren't willing to stick around for martyr's and in time he's going to learn that. People don't fix you or your self worth only you can do that. I really feel from personal experience this person isn't ready for a relationship which is a shame because it sounds like you could help open him up.

Alternatively remember that you owe happiness to yourself and that you can only do so much for one person before you have to let them help themselves.
 

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@Funny Girl

Thanks for the reply.

My wise brain says don't stay friends, BUT, that's far from what I'd actually do. I'm still maintaining a friendship with an ex-lover. Unwisely, of course. Reading your story made me realize I should probably cut all ties with this person. He's seeing another woman and that continually rubs salt in my already shredded heart. It also prevents me from greeting other eligible men with a pure, unattached heart.

As an INFP, I don't know what emotional detachment is. I tried it once and became sick. If you're capable, I guess it wont hurt to try to be friends.
 

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I'm not trying to cause offense, but this right here is based on personal bias and you can't call bullshit on a person you know nothing about.

To the original poster - I have felt and said these things before. The 'I'm unlovable, I'm not ready etc. etc. Why? Because at that time in my life I wanted, craved love but I was terrified and really not sure how to open up to love. And yes I wanted attention. I wanted affirmation that I wasn't the horrific person I thought, but the affirmation that I was actually capable of being loved.

I think what you need to do here is be the assertive person and give him two options.

1. You maintain a friendship on the basis that there is no more silent treatment, sulkiness and mind games.

2. He commits to you and is completely honest with his feelings. You can help him face whatever fears he has but you are only willing to do this if there is commitment from both sides.

Sadly in life most people aren't willing to stick around for martyr's and in time he's going to learn that. People don't fix you or your self worth only you can do that. I really feel from personal experience this person isn't ready for a relationship which is a shame because it sounds like you could help open him up.

Alternatively remember that you owe happiness to yourself and that you can only do so much for one person before you have to let them help themselves.
This is a thread about personal issues. Therefore, most advice given will be firmly based in personal bias. That doesn't negate the truth to many sentiments expressed here.

Looking back on the potential lovers you couldn't "open up" to...

If you're honest with yourself (and I'm not assuming you're ever not - I don't know you), were you really that into them? Did they not just have what you wanted, but what you needed?

My experiences and observations tell me that every self-professed damaged, scared, not-ready-for-a-relationship "commitment-phobe" is just a person who will be married almost instantly to someone more suitable. Once they've met them.

We shouldn't encourage broken-hearted people to stick around and coax hesitant suitors of their shell. As well, her giving him ultimatums and "options" will almost surely not bode well. His reaction will most likely be like UpCloseandPersonal's reaction over anything positive.
 

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@Funny Girl

Thanks for the reply.

My wise brain says don't stay friends, BUT, that's far from what I'd actually do. I'm still maintaining a friendship with an ex-lover. Unwisely, of course. Reading your story made me realize I should probably cut all ties with this person. He's seeing another woman and that continually rubs salt in my already shredded heart. It also prevents me from greeting other eligible men with a pure, unattached heart.

As an INFP, I don't know what emotional detachment is. I tried it once and became sick. If you're capable, I guess it wont hurt to try to be friends.
Wow, that's intense. Out of curiosity, do you and the ex lover live in the same city or is it long distance now? If you're not in the same city, is it easier to let go? Now that I'm back in the USA, I never see him, and there's nothing in my environment to remind me of him. He, on the other hand, framed the drawing of his favorite composer I made for him and put it on his door, along with caricatures, Xmas cards and other things I made around his room. He keeps my letter in his desk drawer. Doing that must remind him of me every day which I would assume is difficult?


Littlehawk said:
I think what you need to do here is be the assertive person and give him two options.

1. You maintain a friendship on the basis that there is no more silent treatment, sulkiness and mind games.

2. He commits to you and is completely honest with his feelings. You can help him face whatever fears he has but you are only willing to do this if there is commitment from both sides.
When he called me up after a month and a half, I told him this: If you promise to be my "always friend", don't ignore me. If you do I won't be able to take that again. He promised yes, yes, no, no I will keep in touch, doesn't want to lose me, etc. Messaged me the next day thanking me for the phone call and everything I said.

This is quite an impossible situation. I can't have him until we're together, and who knows when that will be? and who we'll meet before then? But my love is autonomous- I can still choose to send him a pen pal letter with the goings on of my life and what I've been thinking about that month. I can still encourage him and that sort of thing. I can mention that I'm dating other guys. I just don't believe any woman will ever send him a hand-written ornately decorated playlist of songs on scented stationery like I did! Hahahaha
 

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@Funny Girl

Same rural county, different towns. I'm going to have my drivers license in a few months and I am hoping I have the strength not to start hooking-up with him again.

He's been divorced for a year and a half and is basically lost. Has gone through a few women since then. His wife broke his heart, left him for someone at work a year after the birth of their child. I believe he'll find love again but, unfortunately, it's not me. His wife will be a tough act for any woman to follow. They were ESTJ/ESTJ cop duo (I can't make this shit up) and he adored her. Was very proud of who she was, her drive in life.

A problem is that I'm very socially isolated but once I have a license I'll have a chance to see more people. Take classes, get a job, etc. After a certain period of grief, I think that's what helps the most with these things. Not feeling isolated and alone. Meeting new people.
 

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@Funny Girl

Same rural county, different towns. I'm going to have my drivers license in a few months and I am hoping I have the strength not to start hooking-up with him again.

He's been divorced for a year and a half and is basically lost. Has gone through a few women since then. His wife broke his heart, left him for someone at work a year after the birth of their child. I believe he'll find love again but, unfortunately, it's not me. His wife will be a tough act for any woman to follow. They were ESTJ/ESTJ cop duo (I can't make this shit up) and he adored her. Was very proud of who she was, her drive in life.

A problem is that I'm very socially isolated but once I have a license I'll have a chance to see more people. Take classes, get a job, etc. After a certain period of grief, I think that's what helps the most with these things. Not feeling isolated and alone. Meeting new people.
Man, how long have you known him? Since before his wife or after the divorce?

I personally HATE IT when men compare you to the "woman on a pedestal". Even when they're smiling at you, when they're not smiling you wonder if they're thinking about "woman on a pedestal". And that's unfortunate, because she cheated on him and they had a child together. Life gets complicated with that guy!

Maybe a whole new town altogether will help. Proximity just messes everything up sometimes, especially when less is more and you want more, more, more. I couldn't have stayed in England and watched "my guy" get attached to other girls and it never be me. Distance gives a person time to think.

Every once in a while we go through a slump - a low period of mundane activity, routine jobs, forgetfulness and sometimes loneliness. This requires a change up! Hope your drivers license takes you somewhere amazing... like Canada!
 

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Man, how long have you known him? Since before his wife or after the divorce?

I personally HATE IT when men compare you to the "woman on a pedestal". Even when they're smiling at you, when they're not smiling you wonder if they're thinking about "woman on a pedestal". And that's unfortunate, because she cheated on him and they had a child together. Life gets complicated with that guy!

Maybe a whole new town altogether will help. Proximity just messes everything up sometimes, especially when less is more and you want more, more, more. I couldn't have stayed in England and watched "my guy" get attached to other girls and it never be me. Distance gives a person time to think.

Every once in a while we go through a slump - a low period of mundane activity, routine jobs, forgetfulness and sometimes loneliness. This requires a change up! Hope your drivers license takes you somewhere amazing... like Canada!
I've known him for almost a year now. We met after the divorce. I pursued him. Spent last Christmas together...this one will be on my lonesome.

I live in Canada. Ha!
 

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Now THAT is a fantastic coincidence.

Drive to Texas! Hahaha. But seriously, you're right about attachment. Love is not like Facebook. Once you "like" someone you can't just "unlike" them.
 
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