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I am 5w4 (INTP), and I have been dating a 9w8 (ISTP) for almost 8 months. Oftentimes, I find that we are not the best at communicating how we feel about each other. I get scared to talk about my feelings. It makes me feel overly vulnerable, and I worry about not being able to handle bringing up an emotional situation. I pretty much avoid talking about feelings, which works for my boyfriend because he isn't particularly open about his emotions either. We instead show how we care about each other in other ways. He'll take care of me with his actions by providing me with food, paying for pedicures, keeping my stuff at his place etc. We have a comfortable companionship, a fun friendship, and a hot sex life, but I definitely notice his avoidance of anything that could rock the relationship boat. Any time an issue has arisen or we had an emotional conversation, the moments are swept under the rug, and things go on as usual. I'm never sure if things are really resolved because he won't talk about it, and I won't bring it up because I prefer to avoid the emotional vulnerability. I know that I need to be better at communicating how I feel, but I know that it is not my strong suit. I want to tell him that I love him, but I have no idea how to express it. I'm, also, afraid that I'll be disappointed if he doesn't follow suit and let his emotional guard down. Any recommendations as to how to bring up the topic? Or any insight as to being a number 5 or 9 in a relationship? I'm collecting data to feel better prepared for the situation.
 

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I'm a type 9w8 ISFP, not ISTP as the guy you're dating, so I'm not sure how helpful I can be. But here are some thoughts.

I've noticed that nearly everyone I've ever been close to, dating back to college years (I'm 52 now), has been an INTP e5...and mostly 5w4s. And I think that 9w8 matches up very well with 5w4s. It's hard for me to explain why exactly, but for some reason with the e5's I know, we just seem to understand each other, if that makes sense. Sort of like the rest of the world is a different species, and we're in our own little world so to speak.

But back to your question. Socionics has helped me understand MBTI better. In socionics, INTPs have their POLR as extraverted feeling, which makes it more difficult for them to express their feelings. As an ISFP, extraverted is my creative (2nd) function, so it's easy for me to gradually share my own feelings and to patiently wait for the INTP person to open up without feeling threatened. But since ISTPs also have extraverted feeling as their POLR, it might be harder for you guys to both share the same weakness...sort of like the blind leading the blind.
 

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Another thought. 9w8s don't like to rock the boat, but we're good about being patient and consistent. As long as we don't get too bored or taken advantage of. And once we trust someone, we're extremely loyal.
 

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Also, one thing I appreciate is that type 5's, especially 5w4's, tend to bring me out of my shell. Other type 9s bore me. There's nothing interesting for us to talk about. But the type 4 is passionate about interesting and important things (which works well with my 8 wing), and the type 5 dynamic is non-threatening but also very interesting for me as a 9.

So that's why I said that 5w4 and 9w8s seem to get along well in my experience.
 
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