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Excellent article from Personality Junkie:

INTP, ENTP, ISTP, & ESTP Relationships: Common Roadblocks - Personality Junkie

INTP, ENTP, ISTP, & ESTP Relationships: Common Roadblocks

By Dr. A.J. Drenth

INTPs, ENTPs, ISTPs, and ESTPs experience similar challenges in their relationships. Many of these challenges relate to the fact that their Feeling function, Extraverted Feeling (Fe), resides lower in their functional stack and is therefore more unconscious and childlike.

One effect of an inferior Fe is a tendency to fantasize about the ideal romance. Since Fe represents a sort of goal or endpoint of TPs’ type development, dreaming of ideal love can provide a “quick hit” of ephemeral bliss or wholeness. To further fuel these feelings, TPs may turn to musical ballads or romantic movies, which soothe and support their childlike ideals of the fairy tale romance.

While highly idealistic on the one hand, an inferior Fe can also produce ample doubt and cynicism toward relationships on the other. TPs with sufficient dating experience come to realize just how challenging relationships can be and may at some point come to doubt that they (or any prospective partner) have what it takes to sustain a deeply meaningful relationship. Since TPs, especially ITPs, are disposed to developing a bipolar, love-hate relationship with their Fe, they often exhibit the same bipolarism (i.e., idealism vs. nihilism/cynicism) toward their relationships. In many ways, the capacity for TPs to individuate and their ability to develop healthy, meaningful relationships runs along the same track.

In ENTP and INTP relationships, it is not only Fe that contributes to relational doubt, but also their Ne imagination. As with other things, Ne is adept at envisioning numerous ways in which the relationship could potentially fail. NTPs may worry, for instance, that it is only a matter of time before their partner will start trying to control or make excessive demands of them. INTPs, in particular, may be terrified of compromising their cherished independence and autonomy. Unfortunately, while their Fe, Ne, and Ti may contribute to a perfect brainstorm of fears and concerns, NTPs are often reluctant to reality test their hypotheses. Namely, they may fail to express their fears and concerns to their partners in order to determine whether they are well-founded. But why is this the case? Why are TPs reluctant to disclose their fears and concerns to their partner?
Reasons TPs Fail to Communicate in Relationships

One reason TPs may fail to communicate their thoughts in relationships is a concern for hurting their partner’s feelings. Considering their status as Thinking types, it may seem a bit strange that TPs be overly concerned about hurting others feelings. But there may actually be more going on here than meets the eye. In reality, TPs may be less worried about their partner’s feelings than they are their own discomfort with navigating emotional situations. Their real fear may involve feeling ill-equipped to effectively handle emotionally sensitive situations. Many TPs feel and act like children when it comes to dealing with emotional matters. Again, this can be attributed to the inferior development of their Fe.

Another reason TPs may fear expressing their relational concerns is the fear of saying something that will jeopardize the relationship (e.g., “If I tell her how I really feel, will she still love me or want to be with me?”). This fear is typically rooted in deeper fears, such as the fear of being alone, of being rejected or unlovable, or of being unneeded. Such fears are not entirely baseless in the sense that Fe is a real part of TPs’ functional stack; they do enjoy and benefit from love and relationships. But as we’ve seen, when it comes to Fe matters, it is easy for TPs to think in extremes and imagine the worst. So although they may be highly rational when it comes to T matters, their thinking can veer into the irrational when it comes relationships. Some TPs may even worry that each new relational problem or obstacle is irremediable and a likely portent of relational doom.
What are TPs Thinking? The Danger of Concealed Thoughts

When TPs conceal their concerns about their partner or about the state of the relationship, they do neither themselves nor the relationship any favors. Here are some examples of thoughts TPs may harbor and fail to share with their partners:

“There she goes being irrational again. Another emotional rant.”

“I’m really not interested in what she is saying right now, I wish I could escape and do something else.”

“She is so needy and demanding. I wish she would just leave me be for a while.”

Such thoughts involve judgments that can lead TPs to close themselves off to further information. For instance, by assuming that the display of strong emotions is irrational, they close themselves to the possibility that there may be a rational basis for the emotional response, even if they fail to see it upfront. By sticking to such judgments, they are really acting tyrannically and disrespectfully. They assume their subjective response is correct and their partner’s is inferior. In such instances, they are not really relating to their partner, but judging and demeaning them.

What is most curious is the fact that this process often occurs entirely internally, in the TPs’ mind. In the meantime, TPs may outwardly feign participation in the conversation in order to avoid escalating the conflict and to preserve their “nice guy” (or girl) persona. Unfortunately, many TPs fail to realize that what they are doing is really not nice at all. Rather, they are being passive-aggressive, controlling, and cowardly.

It can also be easy for TPs to consider their hidden thoughts benign, perhaps reasoning that some degree of secrecy and dissatisfaction is inevitable in any relationship. What they may not realize, however, is the degree to which their undisclosed thoughts serve as raw material for further relational breakdown. Such thoughts can lay the foundation for the construction of an alternate reality to which their partner has no access. As this alternate reality grows, it becomes increasingly difficult for TPs to truly love their partners or to perceive them fairly and accurately. Rather, they become increasingly dishonest, passive-aggressive, disinterested, and detached from the relationship. This also reinforces TPs’ love-hate relationship with their inferior Fe. They become more cynical toward love and perhaps even toward life.
 

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Part 2

Closing Thoughts

If Fe represents open, honest, and effective interpersonal communication, it is unfortunate that TPs, who can be seen as striving to realize Fe in their lives, often undercut themselves by failing to be open and honest in their relationships. In short, they often idealize Fe while at the same time failing to exercise Fe principles in their actions. They may choose to be “nice,” which really is nice at all, rather than being honest. Like most folks, they are controlled by their fears, concerned that fully unveiling themselves is a sure road to rejection. But it is only through complete vulnerability that TPs will find the depth of love and acceptance they desire. Only an uncensored relationship will hold their interest and keep them from constantly retreating into their own minds.

As discussed in my recent post, Mature vs. Childish Relationships, real love, mature love, is built on reality rather than on illusions or ideals. Love must be founded on truth, even when it hurts. When partners are completely open and honest with each other, the roots of the relationship can extend ever deeper as problems, fears, and frustrations are successfully expressed, analyzed, and integrated.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Can any of you relate to this?

I sure can...
 

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This is me spot-on.
 
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Totally. l see that in INTP's too.
 
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I can sort of relate. The alternate reality thing switches for me though, and it's not as dramatic I think, as I'm able to ground myself in reality when need be. I usually use an alternate reality when trying to make a situation better. If I'm with a guy, which me and my friends both know isn't right for me, I'm well aware, but maybe at the time my vagina is in charge, so I don't necessarily listen at first.

Such conflicts usually lead to reaching a cynical and negative point where I end whatever is going on abruptly, and usually harshly, or I tend to vanish in thin air and am never heard of from them again.
 

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i spent the evening with a mature, healthy estp lady, and me an ENTP.
I can see MUCH of this in us. She and I are BRUTALLY honest about what is going on in our lives, and we both tell everything which might affect the other.
We are good friends, we care for each other, but we are not in love or anything.
Like I said, brutally honest. I want to date her. She says no, we are not compatible. She is probably right. she talks about her dating life, I tell her about mine, we support and console each other, but remain friends.

No passive aggressive, but plenty of active aggressive.
 

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Spot on.

Still, I'm not quite so naive to not have seen it before (or noticing it for that matter) - so it's not exactly a relevation. I'm also quite fast at projecting my anima onto the female gender from the get-go and wouldn't ever act on it prior to them dying down to see reality for what it is. Needless to say I typically have lost interest by that time, too.

While I whole-heartedly agree with

As discussed in my recent post, Mature vs. Childish Relationships, real love, mature love, is built on reality rather than on illusions or ideals. Love must be founded on truth, even when it hurts. When partners are completely open and honest with each other, the roots of the relationship can extend ever deeper as problems, fears, and frustrations are successfully expressed, analyzed, and integrated.
this is nothing I'd have attributed to any of my partners, either. While it's undoubtedly noble to make the first step it's also fruitless endeavor if the other person isn't already there, for you will not change anyone but yourself. The irony though is, I can easily pick up if there's something dwelling within people but I often find myself to not be responsible for their emotional discomfort if they don't voice them openly (and more importantly constructively) - if all they do is bitch and moan 3 times a day, then yes, I'll be fed up rather quickly and go my ways.

I don't like people to whose existence I'm the sole contributor of happiness/unhappiness - especially if then it statistically turns out I'm the unhappiness contributor more often than not.

You know, it's kind of a question where does my responsibility end and the other's begin.

In the meantime, TPs may outwardly feign participation in the conversation in order to avoid escalating the conflict and to preserve their “nice guy” (or girl) persona. Unfortunately, many TPs fail to realize that what they are doing is really not nice at all. Rather, they are being passive-aggressive, controlling, and cowardly.
This I'd also like to question. I've never once done this to preserve some sort of nice guy image or persona, rather than avoiding conflict in actuality. If I went full-force into such conflicts I'd shred people's hearts apart and unnecessarily strain everything there is; the person in question, the relationship and last but not least myself.

While it is self-preserving to an extend it also sort of preserves the 'balance' of a situation/moment/relationship. People don't take ISTP/INTPs going on a verbal mayhem all too well, for it generally leaves nothing behind it but burned landscape and ashes.

Granted, this is strongly dependent on the individual and ideally any TP in question should never have pent up frustration to this extend, for then he should know he went wrong somewhere, too, as far as communication goes. This takes maturity and acute self-monitoring, though. Plus, more often than not me may simply truly have chosen an incompatible partner.

For myself however, I've hung relationships onto the nail for most part - at least the kinds I've found in the past. If they're any indicator (which they're not, naturally) of what the future entails I'd pass on them altogether without a second doubt in my mind :mellow:

TL;DR: Being open-minded and balanced is good an all, if your partner however doesn't bring the same qualities onto the table (s)he'll inevitably make your balance tip over as a result. As such: It takes two.
 

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That is so me.

Recently, I've been trying to get closer to my INTJ partner and I just feel like what if it doesn't work out and all of this goes to waste, etc etc. I'm already expecting the worst to happen lol

Also I surprisingly need my personal space a lot. I hate being around people for too long, even my own family. I just need to be alone sometimes for a really long time. Kinda like recharging my batteries.
 

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sounds similar to me... although (i don't know my type), it's hard to verbalize what a reaction to events should be when they're all so subjective and open to each person's interpretation.

i can think on certain situations and see myself a great deal in those descriptions, but i can then try looking at it all in a greater context and really, neither mine nor the other persons' reactions (in relationships of all types) were wrong, because neither person is really ever in the right (or at least in my opinion--there's always a certain misunderstanding where each person just cannot possibly view the problem/situation with the same, unique, subjective lens of their partner... at least, not without work).

i would have more of a problem with just giving myself over to the relationship and the emotion it came with; instead, i sort of just staunch my own, acknowledge it in the other person to an extent i think is "reasonable" based on the current circumstance/whatever, and then become unconsciously overwhelmed with my own emotion, that i then project negatively onto the other person in the form of "you're crowding me!" (when it's really, "oh my god, this is frightening and i'm uncomfortable--but don't yet realize it").

it's really kind of eye-opening, in a way. for now... lol, i'm trying to start slowly, to incorporate that awareness into relationships that are more mild, where the ups-and-downs don't have such a distance between themselves (to bring it into existing friendships--feels like training wheels, and at times seems kind of fake and pointless, but even that reaction is just a way to bring me back to the previous state of mind, one where i've been for quite a while).
 

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sounds similar to me... although (i don't know my type), it's hard to verbalize what a reaction to events should be when they're all so subjective and open to each person's interpretation.

i can think on certain situations and see myself a great deal in those descriptions, but i can then try looking at it all in a greater context and really, neither mine nor the other persons' reactions (in relationships of all types) were wrong, because neither person is really ever in the right (or at least in my opinion--there's always a certain misunderstanding where each person just cannot possibly view the problem/situation with the same, unique, subjective lens of their partner... at least, not without work).

i would have more of a problem with just giving myself over to the relationship and the emotion it came with; instead, i sort of just staunch my own, acknowledge it in the other person to an extent i think is "reasonable" based on the current circumstance/whatever, and then become unconsciously overwhelmed with my own emotion, that i then project negatively onto the other person in the form of "you're crowding me!" (when it's really, "oh my god, this is frightening and i'm uncomfortable--but don't yet realize it").

it's really kind of eye-opening, in a way. for now... lol, i'm trying to start slowly, to incorporate that awareness into relationships that are more mild, where the ups-and-downs don't have such a distance between themselves (to bring it into existing friendships--feels like training wheels, and at times seems kind of fake and pointless, but even that reaction is just a way to bring me back to the previous state of mind, one where i've been for quite a while).
YES! Very well said! :)
 
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A bit familiar. Can't say I ever idealized romance. Some sounds a lot like my first "real" relationship. Dating was just a verb until there was this one guy that seemed to be particularly attached to me. I really didn't hear what he was saying at the time. And didn't connect that I actually cared about him. He saw right through me and still loved me. He also figured out that I wasn't mature enough to return his affections and had some growing up to do. I'm sorry he got hurt, but I learned that I was lovable, the rest was up to me. If I wanted something meaningful from a relationship, I would have to find someone I trusted that I could be completely open and honest with. It's really not easy. The truth can lead to arguments that aren't worth having with most people. But it's worth it when you love them.
 

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Initially i was in denial. A rational person idealizing romance? Never! Then I remembered all the accusations thrown at me from past relationships. I'm guilty of most if not all the listed examples. Thanks for sharing.
 

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l was just looking over two INTP threads and it made me feel odd, l think they might even be a bit more romantically uh, inclined?

So they seem to really have a clear vision in mind, at least, whereas all this time l've been single l haven't even felt very weird about it, but now l feel weird and think other people must think l'm weird and l wonder if l really should just date some random douche.

l'm kind of confused e_e and slightly worried...l think now l'm panicking lol.
 

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Sigh...yeah, this hits pretty close to home. I usually avoid all emotional discussion, I hate arguments, they drain me too much. I've never discussed where the relationship is headed or what we want from eachother. I would always get afraid that the relationship would fail, start imagining terrible scenarios which turn into reality...a vicious circle/self-fulfilling prophecy, really. That's probably the reason I've been dumped every time.
 
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