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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

I am an ENFP in a 12 year relationship with an INFP. The strength of our relationship comes from solid shared values and a shared vision that has included parenting, politics, community, etc. The weaknesses of our relationship - well, there are many, too many to get into right now.

I'm looking for insights about a dynamic that has been particularly hard for me. In a nutshell I think it comes from my ENFP need for positive assurance and affirmation and my partner's INFP tendency to be reserved about expressing his feelings.

(I also think our mismatched "languages of love" play a big part. I score high on "Words of Affirmation" and "Acts of Service," which he scores low on.)

Anyway, time and time again, I feel so unloved and unwanted when I express my feelings and get nothing back. Then I get upset and ask for a response. He reacts negatively to my being upset. The response I usually get is "I'm processing." I may eventually get a response, a day later, a few days later, or even months later. It is often in the form of a letter or email. And while the thoughts and feelings are often very touching, I can hardly absorb them.

I try to be understanding. I get that introverts need time to process. And on top of it, he's a trauma survivor, sort of frozen and locked inside himself.

But I just don't know how much longer I can live with... what feels like an ice cube. I know there is a deep well of love and passion in there. I just don't feel it.

Maybe there's something lacking in me that I can't feel it?

Any advice?

I am about to throw in the towel. I can't figure out which will hurt more, staying in the relationship or a divorce.
 

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First, welcome to the boards. Second, maybe check out the ENFP and/or INFP forums. Usually there will be threads about specific types in relationships on those boards. If you can't find anything maybe post this in one of the type specific forums, you might get more answers/advice that way. Do look around, these boards are full of great resources. Sorry things are so frustrating for you right now.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Good point mimesis. I'm not sure, but my guess we are both anxious avoidant or something like that! :( I'll look further into it.
 

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You mean both of you are fearful avoidant?

Then you both have a challenge, I think.

Here's a attachment style test, 36 questions.
Attachment Style
And yes, welcome to the forum. With both have a challenge I mean individually. Attachment style is how safe we feel connected to the other, or to connect ourselves to the other, when we, or the other looks for affection or affirmation.

For instance, someone who is avoidant, is not neccessarily avoidant because he doesn't want to. He or she has a negative expectation of oneself, or the other (or both). One doesn't show affection, affraid to be disappointed and turned down. One may be avoidant because feels insecure of oneself and is affraid to disappoint the other.

I understand your need for affirmation. But your style may cause fear in him. You probably think 'I'm just showing how eager I am, and how much I love him, what can be wrong with that?'. True, but he might be just very shy to begin with, but if you push it, it can make him scared or even more insecure, because basically you question his love, a f f i r m i n g his fear. Still after 12 years. I know, you can't f e e l 12 years. But 12 years is a long time for people to be together. You both may not do as bad as you think. So that's why I think you both have a challenge. You can't become a self-secure person just like that. But you can improve your attachment style, if you both commit yourself to work on it. As you are both insecure, you might consider a mediator or therapist.

I recognize you feel hurt, and it hurts to divorce. But if you don't change your style, your problems will not likely go away. It's not just the responsibility of the other, it's also a responsibility to the other, but in the first place, you owe it to yourself.
 

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You mean both of you are fearful avoidant?

Then you both have a challenge, I think.

Here's a attachment style test, 36 questions.
Attachment Style
And yes, welcome to the forum. With both have a challenge I mean individually. Attachment style is how safe we feel connected to the other, or to connect ourselves to the other, when we, or the other looks for affection or affirmation.

For instance, someone who is avoidant, is not neccessarily avoidant because he doesn't want to. He or she has a negative expectation of oneself, or the other (or both). One doesn't show affection, affraid to be disappointed and turned down. One may be avoidant because feels insecure of oneself and is affraid to disappoint the other.

I understand your need for affirmation. But your style may cause fear in him. You probably think 'I'm just showing how eager I am, and how much I love him, what can be wrong with that?'. True, but he might be just very shy to begin with, but if you push it, it can make him scared or even more insecure, because basically you question his love, a f f i r m i n g his fear. Still after 12 years. I know, you can't f e e l 12 years. But 12 years is a long time for people to be together. You both may not do as bad as you think. So that's why I think you both have a challenge. You can't become a self-secure person just like that. But you can improve your attachment style, if you both commit yourself to work on it. As you are both insecure, you might consider a mediator or therapist.

I recognize you feel hurt, and it hurts to divorce. But if you (both) don't change your style, your problems will not likely go away. It's not just the responsibility of the other, it's also a responsibility to the other, but in the first place, you owe it to yourself. That's just my opinion.

Good luck!
 
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