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Enneagram 4w3 soc/sx here. I'm seventeen years old... And I've only dated one guy. It wasn't even for that long; it was only like two weeks. And though I'm sure I'll never know, I'm pretty sure he ended things because as usual, I got extremely needy and insecure and totally over analyzed everything he said. It took only a week for me to start crying and be all worried that he was already over me because I wasn't good enough, and if he wasn't things would eventually go wrong cuz he would see how messed up I am, and bla, bla, bla.
With this guy I've got to say it's really impressive that I managed to make him sick of me, as we were both INFP's, and he was really sweet and supportive and I could talk to him about almost anything.
Even though he was the only guy I've dated, this has happened with several other guys who have liked me before. Once I realize they're interested in me, suddenly my world changes, and they become "my problem", and I make mountains out of molehills, and eventually end up sabotaging things- I manage to bring up my insecurities, and then take any of their reactions personally and get all defensive and passive aggressive about it, and eventually succeeding in making them hate me.
And I'm wondering, do you think this is because I'm still really young and inexperienced or is this a common challenge for Enneagram 4's?

Cuz I know how they say, "No one is ever going to love you until you learn how to love yourself". Is this even possible for a 4?

I'm just wondering, are any of you in any healthy relationships that have stayed positive for a while? And what does real love feel like? How do you know?

Really looking forward to your responses. Thanks.
 

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I have never been in a healthy relationship; the first few were with ladies I'd never met in-person, the next few after that were in-person and the sex was so-so but I couldn't stand them after so long, they got on my nerves, and one of them threatened to mutilate me, albeit jokingly, on more than one occasion--which was fine until her friends started to say it, too, and that's when it got a tad uncomfortable.

I think my longest relationship was maybe 2 months... Usually what happens is, the person stops talking to me on a regular basis and, after the first couple weeks of joy and fun, get "comfortable" and start being themselves, different from how they acted when I'd first met them. I get to thinking, I can't really deal with this person for the rest of my life, and if I'm not dating to find the perfect gal for me, why am I dating this person?--and so it takes me about a week to sort my feelings out, with constant questioning from her in the form of "Are you okay? Why are you being so distant? Why don't you wanna hang out?" before I cut the girl loose. I do make mountains out of molehills; they'll do something small and it just irks me to death, but I don't want to bring it up because it's so insignificant but to me it's everything. I've told many girls I've loved them and I didn't mean it. I thought at the time I did, of course, but after the relationship is done, I'd realize I really never meant it. I didn't feel anything, though I wanted to, and thought, if I said it, it would come true, but it doesn't. I suppose that's one of the learning pains you have to go through; love simply doesn't happen, it's not an emotion, but more a state of mind; when you love someone, you can get over the small irks and quirks, you can enjoy their company for long periods of time, you can help them and let them help you, because it's not the little things that matter, it's the person: the person matters. It is when you come to the conclusion that this other person comes first, before all your other worries, that they're more important than the simple things that won't matter, I believe this is when you'll find it appropriate to say you love them.

So I can safely say, if we're using this definition of love, that I've never been in love. I'm not in love with myself, of course, but I've certainly never loved another, not in this way. But I feel I'm getting closer all the time to loving myself; there's still much I need to do and much I want to change, but I'll someday be content in my own skin. So maybe love is just not something I need to be focused on right now; I've got my life ahead of me. I certainly never want to get married, anyway.
 

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Yes, I have. I'm 4w3 sx/so(6w7-1w9) and my partner is 5w6 sp/sx(9w1-2w1) and our relationship is very healthy, to the point where my therapist comments on it. We've been together for over two years now.

Things were a little bit rocky for the first year and a half of our relationship because I was clingy and he was distant, but we got into a giant fight and almost broke up around that time and have been working really hard at communicating with each other ever since. In spite of this being one of the most difficult years of my life so far, we're closer than we've ever been and have been in a glorious honeymoon period for the last 10 months *swoon*

It sounds like your problems are a result of being young. It's true that you probably will never be in a satisfying relationship with someone until you can love yourself -- after all, if you don't, then why should they? This isn't to say that you can't falter and absolutely everyone needs a little help from time to time, but in general there's a lot of truth to it.

It's true that 4s sometimes have self-esteem problems when they're average/unhealthy because 4s are characterised precisely by their perceived lack of identify (poor self-esteem seems natural when you don't know who you are!), but don't forget that as we integrate to 1, we naturally become more externally engaged and less self-indulgent. We undoubtedly have the ability for an extremely deep kind of self-awareness, but that's not the same thing as marinating in our perceived inadequacies and tragedies (which do make it difficult to be in a healthy relationship).
 

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Once I realize they're interested in me, suddenly my world changes, and they become "my problem", and I make mountains out of molehills, and eventually end up sabotaging things- I manage to bring up my insecurities, and then take any of their reactions personally and get all defensive and passive aggressive about it, and eventually succeeding in making them hate me.

And I'm wondering, do you think this is because I'm still really young and inexperienced or is this a common challenge for Enneagram 4's?
I don't know how you reason things out as an INFP, as I'm INFJ, but inexperience, your instinctual variant and maladjustment within being a 4 is likely what's exacerbating your experiences. See MBTI as your sense of logic. Your cognition's dominant Fi desires maintaining social effectiveness in ways ideally independent of practices you might find too robotic. Through a 4's motivation to prove and master its abilities (which 4s perceive as burgeoning, but requiring the right form), an INFP can try to reason out problems from the 4's perspectives.

That's how it happens for me: my Enneatype is my engine, my MBTI is my tool set. Meanwhile my Instinctual Variant Stacking is my model (like that of a vehicle, or whatever else engines go to); how I go about using my logic and making satisfying adjustments to my engine.

How do you try solving problems you experience as a 4? We know 4s want to use their self-awareness to become what they believe lies dormant in them, but how do you deal with what's keeping you from that? It represents the INFP strategies you use. It's important to understand your processes so you can believe in yourself more.

I'm also Social/Sexual. Oh...my gosh. -_______-;; It's like hell when you don't feel acceptable to groups for whatever reason, though you try putting your best foot forward. It's worse somehow when one is a 4. You want placement in a community and special confidantes (soc/sx), and you can suffer from separateness from your visions (4wX). 4w3s will deal with meeting, or not, good complements to their sensual image more than 4w5s. If you feel you lack a quality another has that's better, you feel inferiority that conflicts with your vision of yourself. It's kinda bipolar-ish when you think about it. 4w3s are more intimate with the 'incompatibility/dysmorphia' of the 4s, while 4w5s are with the 'analytical/aloof' qualities. All 4s experience its counter subtype's energy as well. Altogether it makes that familiar melancholy we oft possess.

Cuz I know how they say, "No one is ever going to love you until you learn how to love yourself". Is this even possible for a 4?
If the 4 stops identifying with its future as something set in stone, and learns the value of patience (and setting realistic expectations. for instance, you can't expect to be your ultimate vision any time soon at all. you need small goals. SMALL goals, paced a step at a time) in reaching long-term goals, and toning down the perfectionism, then it can level itself out.

I'm just wondering, are any of you in any healthy relationships that have stayed positive for a while? And what does real love feel like? How do you know?
I don't know if there were healthy ones. I've been in so many unhealthy ones, not even involving love interests. My "best friend" friendships suffered due to immaturity on both sides. I recognize I was too consumed in my pride, or my expectations, and lack of reaching them. I've learned how to pick my friends better, but I keep fearing they're sick of me. My latest good friendship is trying to stabilize.

Healthy relationships involve the ability to look out for one another, and being mutually willing to do so. The closest I came to that may have been a friend I am fond of. The fondness/love is real, not pure infatuation, but I'd used unhealthy coping strategies to keep him near. He had to leave town to invest in his future. I fucking fell apart. lol I'm healthier now, but still working on it.

I learned love by being around that guy I'm fond of. I don't think it was mutual, but that's how I knew it was real to me; I didn't mind if it was never mutual. I want to protect him if I can, and want to be a part of his becoming happy, even as a stepping stone. It'll be that way forever, because I know his...'soul,' one might say? Love is caring, simply put. If one can stop caring, they didn't account for caring through any unspeakably horrid times. You gotta know who you would care for, then care. Although I know you can only go by faith in depending on your friends' loyalty or character, if my friends (i have a special group of them) ever hurt me badly it wouldn't matter. I care for what's beyond any actions I could associate them with. That's my way of indicating love. I trust them with my life.
 

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My current relationship is my healthiest. Not that it started that way, of course. We initially met in 07 on a writing forum for teenagers, hooked up in 08 (I was sixteen at the time, she was fifteen which now makes me feel a little weird but I digress) and that lasted for three months. The problem there was that I took the whole thing very seriously and hadn't yet formed anything resembling a filter on my thoughts so she got the full brunt of whatever ran through my head.

Long story short, I got too intense, she broke it off and we didn't speak for two years. We got together again in late 2010, went through two more breakups (this time I initiated them, partially due to some unresolved resentment I felt towards her and my inability to process and accept that maybe, just maybe I've found someone who genuinely gives a crap and isn't got to abandon me, I'll get to that little nugget later). The first break up lasted a week before I came back to her, tail between my legs, feeling ashamed and stupid. The second lasted three months, and oh god did she hate me for it.

After that we both agreed to actually talk openly about things that bothered us and to work on the problems, as opposed to sitting on them and letting them fester. Since then we have gone from strength to strength and have now been living together for over a year.

My unhealthy relationship was 2009, with a girl I had known for years, kind of had a thing for and ultimately got together with on a mutual rebound (I was still crushed by my first relationship, and she had just got out of one with a guy who cheated on her). Things went well for the first three months. Superficially, at least. I doctored my personality to fit in with her friends and her interests. I became a stereotypical metal head, listening to music I hated, wearing uncomfortable clothes, stopped reading the books I loved, and overall just dumbed myself down. That left me feeling strained, repressed and claustrophobic.

Then she went away to a festival with friends and slept with another guy. She confessed the night she came back and, being the idiot that I was, I forgave her and said that we could move on. We couldn't. I hated her for what she did, hated myself for not being the right kind of person that she wanted. In fact, let's just put hate up there as the overhanging emotion in that whole relationship. Things went well for a little while, and then I began psychologically and emotionally tormenting her until she left. I didn't do it consciously, but I was ultimately responsible, so from my perspective when she ended the relationship I felt abandoned. Here was a relationship I had invested nine months of my life for, betrayed my entire sense of self for and all that hammy crap, and it was over in a flash.

So it was a mixed bag, I think a lot of what went wrong was due to differences in maturity and my own problems with working out problems as and when they arise. I kind of hope someone out there will learn from this, but they most likely won't.

Still, good to vent.
 

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I've been in healthy relationships.

Any person can have a healthy relationship, if they're healthy individually. You're pretty young and it sounds like you have a lot of issues with self-esteem.

I think the key here is learning that you don't truly NEED anyone to be complete or happy. You don't need other people to affirm you. I know that's easy to say but it kind of goes in one emotional ear and out the other. But seriously. I think we experience great angst if we feel like we're not being recognized as lovable or attractive or whatever we think we need to be. Personally I think this is because I don't believe I truly am these things, so I'm always in danger of having the mask fall off and exposing myself as empty and boring and plain and so on.

I know I'm personally actually very afraid of coming across as needy or clingy, so I don't usually verbalize my concerns (until later at least, when I can properly communicate for clarification without seeming frantic or desperate). But I will secretly torture myself about it, if I'm having trouble reading the other person or not fully understanding the situation. I will ask myself over and over what I should do, what I could have done differently, to "fix" whatever disconnect or distance I am worried about. It's funny how I always assume that I have full responsibility to be good enough to convince people they should like me. I put an unreasonable amount of pressure on myself to be a certain way (even if I have no true control over some of the things I agonize about), and don't look at the circumstances or the other person.

Anyway. Accept that rejection will happen in life but it doesn't mean anything about your inherent worth. You don't truly NEED anyone or anything, it's a delusion if you think otherwise. And it causes you suffering. That doesn't mean you can't love someone, and have meaningful intimacy with them. But you can't get to that point without allowing yourself to be vulnerable. Be brave and take the risk of trusting them to know what they want, to tell you if something is wrong, and to make their own decisions. You are far less in control of their perception than you realize, and, when you try so hard to change this you lose any control you did have in building an equal, trusting relationship.

Counselling would probably be helpful if you have that option somehow.
 

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Every relationship I get into turns into some unhealthy nightmare. I haven't been in that many romantic relationships, however. But as I've gotten older, I've been more able to realize that it's unhealthy while I'm in it. Yet, I still desperately pursue the relationship, because my feelings towards the other person are so strong.

Right now, I'm in a bad situation, as I met someone a few months back. She's an amazing person, and we became close really fast, went on the world's most romantic date, etc. But after I'd known her for a couple of weeks, someone from her family committed suicide and she can't handle romance now. So we're just friends. Yet, she says we're soulmates. Yet again, I never really get to spend any time with her + she never texts me. Soon, I'm gonna have to have a serious talk with her... Anyway, the last couple of months have been very painful on a daily basis, but I've endured it out of love. And I know it's real love, because even after all this, I'm 100% convinced that she's my one true love; a concept I didn't even believe in before. So it hurts even more, because I know I'm gonna have to "break up" with her soon, if I don't want to end up in an insane asylumn.

Bottom line: I wouldn't even be able to recognize a healthy relationship, if one was based on love and trust, and the other was based on fear and suicide threats...
 

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I'm just wondering, are any of you in any healthy relationships that have stayed positive for a while? And what does real love feel like? How do you know?

I'm against the stereotype that Fours can't be in healthy relationships. Any unhealthy type will be in an unhealthy relationship, and healthier individuals will experience happiness with their SO. I personally try very hard to be aware of whether or not my needs and desires are sensible, in fact, I've been told that I tend to err on the side of caution rather than be demanding. I also very much value communication. Whenever something bothers me, I speak up about it, no matter how difficult it may be. Keeping quiet will only result in built-up resentment, and distance from my partner. How else would they know what's bothering me? They're not mind readers.

Ne helps in this; I typically look at a situation from all angles and try not to jump to conclusions before having all the information. It took some time, but I'm getting better and better at taking a step back and being objective, rather than ruled by my emotions.
 

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No because none of the "relationships" were right. The last few were straight up hellish experiences. I'm partly to blame for that. Hard to have a healthy love when you don't know who you are and what you want. Plus I was doing a lot of foul stuff that had to be mirrored back to me so I could cleanse and work on my issues. I've now come into the core of who I am and what it is I want. There are still some details to work out but at least now I know for sure what I do NOT want. I do not want or need some savior and I'm sure as hell not going to play savior for anyone else. With that said, I am now taking the fearful and uncertain step to prepare myself to give and receive real healthy love. Being open, vulnerable, way less self-absorbed. It feels weird to even say that as I love my independence and intimacy scares me. But it's time. It's time. I have a North Node in the 7th house which means HEALTHY relationships is a part of my destiny. Just took a whole lot of, ummm...experiences, to finally "get it".

All we need is love....
 

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So I can safely say, if we're using this definition of love, that I've never been in love. I'm not in love with myself, of course, but I've certainly never loved another, not in this way. But I feel I'm getting closer all the time to loving myself; there's still much I need to do and much I want to change, but I'll someday be content in my own skin. So maybe love is just not something I need to be focused on right now; I've got my life ahead of me. I certainly never want to get married, anyway.
I know that must hurt. But I've actually found someone that I loved, in that way. But I can never seen her again, because we're physically seperated and she has a boyfriend on top of that.
 

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I've been in a healthy relationship for over a year. We dated for two years before, and my unhealthiness destroyed the relationship, so we didn't see each other for a year or two. You really do have to love yourself first...or rather get yourself under control. But anyone can be in a healthy relationship eventually. As far as love goes, I've only romantically loved one person, but in my experience, you just know. It's nothing you have to question. You want nothing bad to ever happen to them and you appreciate every tiny little part of them, no matter how imperfect. Oh and my advice is to verbally establish that both of you will be completely open with your emotions, and you should also not enter a relationship if you're not yet capable of being self-reliant. You'll just drown the person and upset them.
 

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I don't mean this in a condescending way but I think a lot of your problem is being so young. I didn't get in my first relationship until I was 19. We were together for more than six years and other than the first year (which was very dramatic) and the last year (which was very unhappy) we were a healthy and happy couple. So give yourself some time to grow up. :)

And definitely work on your insecurity - not just because that's an unattractive quality but also because you owe it to yourself. Yes, it is possible for you to live yourself. Plenty of 4s do... some maybe even a little too much. Also, neediness will kill any relationship and is also a massive turn off. It probably stems from your own insecurities. I have also struggled with these same issues. It takes time and effort to move on

I think that in order for you, (or anybody else for that matter) to be in a healthy relationship you first need to deal with your own issues and figure out what you want from a relationship. Then you need to find a compatible person who also has their shit at least somewhat together. Remember that nobody is perfect and no relationship is perfect.

I firmly believe that any Ennea type is capable of healthy or unhealthy relationships. I'm not sure why 4s are stereotyped as being hopeless at romantic relationships. Sure, insecurity is hard on a relationship but so are the issues of other types. Maybe being an sx 4 gives me a skewed perception but 4s really don't seem worse than any other type.
 
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