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(tl;dr down below)

Hi, I'm 28 years old, and I have an issue that some of you might relate to or have experience with.

Three months ago I got into the first relationship of my life. I feel like she's the perfect woman for me, and if you'd ask me if I want to spend the rest of my life with her my answer would be: "Hell yeah!". There's nothing about her that I don't like, I feel so comfortable when I'm close to her, when I hug her or when we snuggle, our goals and believes are the same, we share a lot of common interests and she definitely is close to my heart.

However, there's one thing that's been creeping in my mind from time to time, usually if I'm in a little anxious state of mind: the infatuating feelings are not as strong as I expected them to be, or not as strong as I think they are for others. It actually shouldn't really be a surprise, after dreaming about love and a partner for the last 15 years, expecting it to be the most intense and life-fullfilling feeling in the world by far and to fill my world with rainbows and butterflies 24/7, I created a dream that reality couldn't match in the slightest. Also, most of my relationship "experiences" came mostly from watching romance and Disney movies and listening to songs like this, which didn't really help either.

What makes me anxious as well sometimes is that there have been moments where I don't really feel that much, sometimes when I'm with her too.

The unmatched imagination and expectation of feelings is also something I experienced in practically any aspect of my life: my positive feelings always fall short to what I imagine or what I expect them to be. For example finding a best friend after being practically friendless, getting asked to be the best man of said friend or starting an exciting degree in a new city - it never felt as intense or "fireworky" as I thought it would be. I can perfectly deal with that, I'm a very happy and content person and think I just feel different, that I have less "spikes" and more warm, cozy, deep and timid feelings inside me.

However, when it comes to relationships I can't shrug that difference off so easily. I read that INFPs are said to seek perfection in a partner, and I think that's definitely the case for me too. When I read about how others experience crushes, and when I realize my feelings aren't as intense as theirs I start to get anxious and I start to have doubts whether my feelings are strong enough, or whether I just haven't found the right person yet. These doubts and comparisons can really cloud my mind and make me forget or question the good feelings and lovely experiences I had with her.

What I also realized in this relationship and my past dating experiences (which never resulted in a relationship): I strongly feel responsible for the other person's feelings, that I'm responsible for their heartbreak if I continue to see them even if I'm not 100% percent sure we're going to stay together for the rest of our lives. Thus I react very carefully and anxiously to any kind of doubt or imperfection. I tend to spend a lot of time (also when I'm with them) to analyze my feelings and to make comparisons, which "blocks" any feelings to come up and makes me kinda act like I'm trying to control or force my emotions instead of just "going with the flow".

Now, when it comes to the less pleasant feelings, they definitely showed up big time. I've cried more often in the last four months that I have in the last four years before that. I felt anxiety, loss of appetite and had trouble concentrating during work. I also, for the first time in my life, had two (and a half) panic attacks when I was at the brink of losing her. I'm going to see a therapist soon about those panic attacks. There have also been many happy tears and really joyful moments when we worked things out again or when I overcame an episode of doubts and anxiety.

Did anyone have similar experiences? How did it turn out in the end? Or does anyone have advice or an idea how to deal with those thoughts?

Any experience, opinion, link to an article or thread or other comment is very welcome and appreciated :)

Thank you, and have a nice day :)

tl;dr:
  • I'm not a person for intense, firework-like emotions
  • I don't have the same emotions 24/7
  • I tend to look for perfection when it comes to a partner
  • I compare my feelings to how other people experience love
  • Since I don't experience it as intense I start to doubt if I feel enough
  • These doubts and comparisons take a hold on me and won't let me experience my feelings freely
 

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Yes, I understand. I think that our tendency to construct an ideal person makes falling in love very difficult, even unlikely for us. I can't really offer a solution. I suppose my personal experience tells me that it is possible for an INFP to feel that deep love, but I've only felt it once, and this doesn't mean you'll be the same. I think the important thing to remember is that there's nothing wrong with you; try to avoid comparing your experience of love to others'. Other personalities find it difficult to relate to this sort of INFP idealisaton, and they fall in love much more quickly and easily, but this doesn't mean the people they fall in love with are right for them. I do believe that INFPs idealise in part because they understand themselves and other people very deeply, and therefore recognise what qualities would suit them most in a partner more acutely than other people do. This means INFPs are less likely to settle for people they know they won't be right for them. This doesn't mean you're incapable of love; it just means that there are a lot of requirements that need to be met for you to feel it. I'd say give yourself time. Three months isn't terribly long; if, after a few more months elapse, you still have these doubts, she may not be quite right for you. But if this is your first relationship, just try to remember that it takes time for an INFP to get over the initial hurdle of dating a real person, with all of their shortcomings, rather than an imagined ideal. You may very well find that once you've gotten over the hurdle, the doubts will disappear.
 

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(tl;dr down below)...
  • I'm not a person for intense, firework-like emotions
  • I don't have the same emotions 24/7
  • I tend to look for perfection when it comes to a partner
  • I compare my feelings to how other people experience love
  • Since I don't experience it as intense I start to doubt if I feel enough
  • These doubts and comparisons take a hold on me and won't let me experience my feelings freely
I am about as far from being a therapist as one can be.

I am only a member of PerCafe, with NO cred. what-so-ever, but here goes (my perspective)...

  • I'm not a person for intense, firework-like emotions. Neither am I. I'm usually calm, quiet.... but inside I can get outta control. It is exhausting. I hate it. Intensity. I hate it. Makes me grumpy and taxed. I am not built for intensity. I do love a smooth ocean with small, laping waves. NO STORMS. Just pick a partner that likes your "STYLE". There are about 400 million different styles out there to choose from.
  • I don't have the same emotions 24/7. I see myself as pretty even keel and steady, but you know what messes up my emotions? The introduction of other people. Left to my own devices... left alone, I'm as HAPPY as can be. Happy little birdy. But, the more people introduced during my day, the messier I am.
  • I tend to look for perfection when it comes to a partner. Well...good luck with that! I hope the perfect person shows up.
  • I compare my feelings to how other people experience love. This is very foreign to me. What I mean is, not foreign as in another country, but I just can't look to others for guidance on how to experience love. Or what job to take. Or what clothes to buy. Or what books to read. I just can't. I want no parts of what others are choosing, (for themselves) in the 💗Love Department💗.
  • Since I don't experience it as intense I start to doubt if I feel enough. Ah, well. There are different kinds of love. All kinds of different shades, colors, combinations. If you crave the intensity of love feelings all the time, I got good news.... there are people out there that are looking for the same sort of relationship. Just hook up with them. 24/7 Intensity for decades (till death do us part). I don't know how humans can keep it up. Must be drinking lots of caffeine or Red Bull. Not sure.
Hormones are not your friend. Being young is difficult. See that therapist, they should be able to give you some really good ideas. If your therapist sucks -- keep trying to find one that is your match and you can respect. Good luck. You seem like a VERY smart person.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Yes, I understand. I think that our tendency to construct an ideal person makes falling in love very difficult, even unlikely for us. I can't really offer a solution. I suppose my personal experience tells me that it is possible for an INFP to feel that deep love, but I've only felt it once, and this doesn't mean you'll be the same. I think the important thing to remember is that there's nothing wrong with you; try to avoid comparing your experience of love to others'. Other personalities find it difficult to relate to this sort of INFP idealisaton, and they fall in love much more quickly and easily, but this doesn't mean the people they fall in love with are right for them. I do believe that INFPs idealise in part because they understand themselves and other people very deeply, and therefore recognise what qualities would suit them most in a partner more acutely than other people do. This means INFPs are less likely to settle for people they know they won't be right for them. This doesn't mean you're incapable of love; it just means that there are a lot of requirements that need to be met for you to feel it. I'd say give yourself time. Three months isn't terribly long; if, after a few more months elapse, you still have these doubts, she may not be quite right for you. But if this is your first relationship, just try to remember that it takes time for an INFP to get over the initial hurdle of dating a real person, with all of their shortcomings, rather than an imagined ideal. You may very well find that once you've gotten over the hurdle, the doubts will disappear.
Thank you very much for your answer! Your words really did reassure me 😊
My feelings for her and my attachment to her grow every day, and there's nothing I don't like or love about her - in a way, she is the perfect partner for me. So taking my time and relax seems like the best idea :)
It's only that silly comparisons of how others experience love compared to me that sometimes haunt my mind. But after your and Sily's comment, and a long talk with a friend I feel more assured in trusting my own feelings now.

I wish you all the best and that you find that deep love again firstautumnfire! 😊
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for your perspective Sily :)

I compare my feelings to how other people experience love. This is very foreign to me.
Yes, since I haven't had any relationship I didn't know how intense my feelings are supposed to be, so I tried to find an answer online or by talking to other people. Which I now learned is silly, and that I should go with my own feelings and emotions :)

If you crave the intensity of love feelings all the time, I got good news.... there are people out there that are looking for the same sort of relationship. Just hook up with them. 24/7 Intensity for decades (till death do us part). I don't know how humans can keep it up. Must be drinking lots of caffeine or Red Bull. Not sure.
No thanks I'll pass, I want a smooth friendly ocean just like you 😄

And thank you very much for the compliment! 😊
 
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