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I'd be very grateful for any advice you could give me about my current situation with my INTP ex-boyfriend. We were friends for about a year before we went out, and the break-up was amicable, though heartbreaking for me at the time. The main reason things didn't work out was a total misunderstanding and lack of communication about our needs and expectations. Since then, I've come to understand him much better with the help of MBTI and this forum, and realised that I made a lot of mistakes.

Neither of us has remained friends with an ex before, but we both care about each other and definitely wanted to stay friends. Whether we will get back together or not is something that we've left open, but for the moment I can say for myself that I would much rather get to truly know and understand him without the complications of romance for now. We have spent time together just the two of us, as we used to do before we dated, but I sense he feels awkward because he doesn't know what to do or how he should act, e.g. if it's still appropriate to hug me, if we should stick to small talk rather than sharing our thoughts, knowledge and ideas as we used to do. He has told me in the past that he struggles with simply not knowing what to do in a relationship, and it seems like he's finding it tricky now.

I also wonder if he is holding back for fear of giving me the wrong impression, because he might be wondering if I'm hoping for us to get back together. As always, the downside to keeping things open is the uncertainty!

Is there a way I can help him feel less awkward in this situation? Is reassurance and feedback what's needed, or just more space and time?

Also, apart from in a few emails sent before we began seeing each other as friends again, we haven't talked about 'us' at all. I thought that this would make things easier and more lighthearted, but I now wonder if it's the elephant in the room that's stopping us from moving on.

Thank you for any thoughts or advice!
 

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There is two things that could be happening here, as far as I know. There could certainly be more options.

1. He still likes you a lot and doesn't really want the relationship to end but doesn't want to bring it up in fear of things not going well. So he just thinks about possibilities. Should I do this? Should I do that? If I do this she may think I'm still into her. Which I am but I don't want her to know. There could be so much going on in his head that he doesn't know what to do or what to not do.

Remember the feeling side of an INTP is the least developed, so if breaking up was not fully his idea then chances are that he's not really sure how to deal with it. If it wasn't his idea he will tell you what he thinks you want to hear in order to avoid a conflict that he doesn't want. His strong thinking side is going to kick in and tell him "ok, if she doesn't want to be with you, then it would be illogical to try and change it". But that feeling side doesn't just go away, and since it's not very mature it can be quite difficult to deal with.

2. He could have accepted the breakup just fine and what you are noticing now is just an INTP being himself with a friend. We don't look for people very often unless we really like them.

I've remained friends with almost all of my Ex's, but I hardly ever talk to any of them. I appreciate them and the moments we had but they are in no way a close part of my life.

My advice would be to email him about it. We can be very expressive on emails when asked. He is probably dying to talk to you about it but doesn't know how to bring it up. But first you really should decide what you want first, because an INTP's heart is not made for this "maybe one day" thing.
 

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黐線 ~Chiseen~
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Show him the stuff you enjoy doing and have him pay attention. For example, baking, cooking, dancing, adventuring, hiking, etc to name a few activities.

Be sure to remind him that the friendship is mutual and don't bother overthinking into it for mixed signals. The purpose is to hang out and have fun. In fact, slap him (right across the cheek) to make him remember that fact for good measure... just so it'll sink in for him.

And then, you can finally say "Ready? Let's go have some fun." Grab his arm or go behind him and kick his ass and move forward. He won't retaliate much. Have fun and create some memories. Good luck.
 

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Maybe explain it to him, plain and simple, straightforward how you think you should/could be around each other.

We aren't exactly the social-whizzkids who know how to deal in such situations . . or even most simple social situations . .



Edit: another mention for @Richard , since he appreciated them so much :)
 

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I'd be very grateful for any advice you could give me about my current situation with my INTP ex-boyfriend. We were friends for about a year before we went out, and the break-up was amicable, though heartbreaking for me at the time. The main reason things didn't work out was a total misunderstanding and lack of communication about our needs and expectations. Since then, I've come to understand him much better with the help of MBTI and this forum, and realised that I made a lot of mistakes.

Neither of us has remained friends with an ex before, but we both care about each other and definitely wanted to stay friends. Whether we will get back together or not is something that we've left open, but for the moment I can say for myself that I would much rather get to truly know and understand him without the complications of romance for now. We have spent time together just the two of us, as we used to do before we dated, but I sense he feels awkward because he doesn't know what to do or how he should act, e.g. if it's still appropriate to hug me, if we should stick to small talk rather than sharing our thoughts, knowledge and ideas as we used to do. He has told me in the past that he struggles with simply not knowing what to do in a relationship, and it seems like he's finding it tricky now.

I also wonder if he is holding back for fear of giving me the wrong impression, because he might be wondering if I'm hoping for us to get back together. As always, the downside to keeping things open is the uncertainty!

Is there a way I can help him feel less awkward in this situation? Is reassurance and feedback what's needed, or just more space and time?

Also, apart from in a few emails sent before we began seeing each other as friends again, we haven't talked about 'us' at all. I thought that this would make things easier and more lighthearted, but I now wonder if it's the elephant in the room that's stopping us from moving on.

Thank you for any thoughts or advice!
I have been in a relationship with an INFP, and we went to being friends..

main problem was lack of communication. That's what wrecked the relationship, and made the friendship so gut-wrenching.
Yes it's awkward.. yes he probably doesn't know what to do, where he stands with you, and what his boundaries are.
Worst thing was our communications devolved into smalltalk. I would say share the deeper stuff!

I don't talk to her anymore. It got to the point that I no longer saw value in the friendship, it just reminded me of the pain I went through.

Plus she completely held back any display of feelings. I felt like she didn't really care about me. Only when I stopped talking to her did I see something..

So yeah there's an elephant in the room. Find ways to talk about the elephant
 

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I'd be very grateful for any advice you could give me about my current situation with my INTP ex-boyfriend. We were friends for about a year before we went out, and the break-up was amicable, though heartbreaking for me at the time. The main reason things didn't work out was a total misunderstanding and lack of communication about our needs and expectations. Since then, I've come to understand him much better with the help of MBTI and this forum, and realised that I made a lot of mistakes.

Neither of us has remained friends with an ex before, but we both care about each other and definitely wanted to stay friends. Whether we will get back together or not is something that we've left open, but for the moment I can say for myself that I would much rather get to truly know and understand him without the complications of romance for now. We have spent time together just the two of us, as we used to do before we dated, but I sense he feels awkward because he doesn't know what to do or how he should act, e.g. if it's still appropriate to hug me, if we should stick to small talk rather than sharing our thoughts, knowledge and ideas as we used to do. He has told me in the past that he struggles with simply not knowing what to do in a relationship, and it seems like he's finding it tricky now.

I also wonder if he is holding back for fear of giving me the wrong impression, because he might be wondering if I'm hoping for us to get back together. As always, the downside to keeping things open is the uncertainty!

Is there a way I can help him feel less awkward in this situation? Is reassurance and feedback what's needed, or just more space and time?

Also, apart from in a few emails sent before we began seeing each other as friends again, we haven't talked about 'us' at all. I thought that this would make things easier and more lighthearted, but I now wonder if it's the elephant in the room that's stopping us from moving on.

Thank you for any thoughts or advice!
I'll be as short as possible. Try to figure out what YOU want out of it all. Uncertainty is good but to a point. You need to have the 'talk' with him about what you want and what he wants. I can't speak for others but when it comes to relationships, my feelings seems to be more obvious. The more intimate (not relationship related) talk you have with him concerning theories, ideas, thoughts, feelings, etc. the more comfortable he'll feel with you. We naturally have our defenses put up, and you need to pull them down.

Don't reach an impasse. That is all.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank very much for your reply and your advice. It makes a lot of sense, and it's good to reminded about the INTP feeling side because it's too easy for me to underestimate how difficult it can be to deal with. Although we both knew the relationship wasn't working, ultimately I ended it. He didn't try to change my mind, but he also has never agreed or said 'it was for the best.' I did email him asking what his thoughts were about the situation before we started seeing each other as friends, but he was very conflicted and unsure of what he really thought.

I thought things would be simpler once we'd agreed to be friends, but I can see how he might still be uncertain about things, and that his feelings aren't doing what his mind is telling them to.

It's interesting what you say about the INTP's heart not being made for 'maybe one day'...I tend to think that he prefers things to be open-ended, and knowing how he dislikes feeling pressured to make a decision, I haven't wanted to push for us to decide for certain if we will just be friends and nothing more. I will keep what you say in mind and make sure I'm very clear with him about what I want once I've decided.


There is two things that could be happening here, as far as I know. There could certainly be more options.

1. He still likes you a lot and doesn't really want the relationship to end but doesn't want to bring it up in fear of things not going well. So he just thinks about possibilities. Should I do this? Should I do that? If I do this she may think I'm still into her. Which I am but I don't want her to know. There could be so much going on in his head that he doesn't know what to do or what to not do.

Remember the feeling side of an INTP is the least developed, so if breaking up was not fully his idea then chances are that he's not really sure how to deal with it. If it wasn't his idea he will tell you what he thinks you want to hear in order to avoid a conflict that he doesn't want. His strong thinking side is going to kick in and tell him "ok, if she doesn't want to be with you, then it would be illogical to try and change it". But that feeling side doesn't just go away, and since it's not very mature it can be quite difficult to deal with.

2. He could have accepted the breakup just fine and what you are noticing now is just an INTP being himself with a friend. We don't look for people very often unless we really like them.

I've remained friends with almost all of my Ex's, but I hardly ever talk to any of them. I appreciate them and the moments we had but they are in no way a close part of my life.

My advice would be to email him about it. We can be very expressive on emails when asked. He is probably dying to talk to you about it but doesn't know how to bring it up. But first you really should decide what you want first, because an INTP's heart is not made for this "maybe one day" thing.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
He is quite a bit taller than me, so I'm going to find it hard to slap him in the face ;) But I appreciate what you're saying, and this is really what I'd love to be able to do - just say 'let's have an adventure!' and go do something fun.


Show him the stuff you enjoy doing and have him pay attention. For example, baking, cooking, dancing, adventuring, hiking, etc to name a few activities.

Be sure to remind him that the friendship is mutual and don't bother overthinking into it for mixed signals. The purpose is to hang out and have fun. In fact, slap him (right across the cheek) to make him remember that fact for good measure... just so it'll sink in for him.

And then, you can finally say "Ready? Let's go have some fun." Grab his arm or go behind him and kick his ass and move forward. He won't retaliate much. Have fun and create some memories. Good luck.
 

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Thank very much for your reply and your advice. It makes a lot of sense, and it's good to reminded about the INTP feeling side because it's too easy for me to underestimate how difficult it can be to deal with. Although we both knew the relationship wasn't working, ultimately I ended it. He didn't try to change my mind, but he also has never agreed or said 'it was for the best.' I did email him asking what his thoughts were about the situation before we started seeing each other as friends, but he was very conflicted and unsure of what he really thought.
Keep in mind his Fe is his weakest, so that ultimately means that whatever his feelings truly are, he feels powerless to do anything about it.. like if he didn't agree with the breakup, he probably felt that nothing he could do or say would change your mind, and any attempt to do so would make him feel clingy or desperate. I can't say for sure that that is what he felt, but I think the fact that he didn't say it was for the best says alot!

I thought things would be simpler once we'd agreed to be friends, but I can see how he might still be uncertain about things, and that his feelings aren't doing what his mind is telling them to.
Knowing that you are friends now, he may feel guilty for having any romantic feelings towards you, and try to rationalize them away.

It's interesting what you say about the INTP's heart not being made for 'maybe one day'...I tend to think that he prefers things to be open-ended, and knowing how he dislikes feeling pressured to make a decision, I haven't wanted to push for us to decide for certain if we will just be friends and nothing more. I will keep what you say in mind and make sure I'm very clear with him about what I want once I've decided.
it would be good to find out for sure how he feels about that. I had a similar situation with my INFP. We're friends now, but she dangled the maybe we can be more someday. I struggled with this. Again, my inferior Fe doesn't know how to get to "maybe more", because once you say friends, I put up all these barriers that I would not cross, even though I didn't want them.. they were protection from things getting too uncomfortable, which again needs Fe persistence to navigate.
 

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I'm really sorry that your friendship didn't work out. I can see my and my ex's friendship going a similar way if I don't say something. I admit I've been less expressive of my feelings, because (ironically) I didn't want to make things awkward after we'd decided to be friends. I also don't want him to think that I'm trying to manipulate him into wanting a relationship with me again. Truth is I love him very much, but enough that I don't want us to get back into a relationship without really understanding what needs to change and us both being completely sure that it's what we want.

You're right; I do need to find some way to talk about the elephant.





I have been in a relationship with an INFP, and we went to being friends..

main problem was lack of communication. That's what wrecked the relationship, and made the friendship so gut-wrenching.
Yes it's awkward.. yes he probably doesn't know what to do, where he stands with you, and what his boundaries are.
Worst thing was our communications devolved into smalltalk. I would say share the deeper stuff!

I don't talk to her anymore. It got to the point that I no longer saw value in the friendship, it just reminded me of the pain I went through.

Plus she completely held back any display of feelings. I felt like she didn't really care about me. Only when I stopped talking to her did I see something..

So yeah there's an elephant in the room. Find ways to talk about the elephant
 

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I'm really sorry that your friendship didn't work out. I can see my and my ex's friendship going a similar way if I don't say something. I admit I've been less expressive of my feelings, because (ironically) I didn't want to make things awkward after we'd decided to be friends.
Lol-- and stalemate :)
usually we err on the cautious side of signals.. for instance, if she showed me more feelings, I wouldn't conclude that she wanted to get back together, I would conclude that she still enjoyed my company. It would help put me at ease and melt the ice.

I suppose you have an idea of what you'd like the friendship to be like. He probably has an idea of what he'd like it to be like. Maybe it's similar? One time I had a discussion with INFP after we became just friends about how things weren't the same. It seemed like we both wanted the same things! But for some reason we never got there. :(

The main problem.. I don't know if you are like this, but whenever I tried to discuss these things, she'd view it as a confrontation, and the discussions never went well. To me it seemed like there was no way to raise tough issues.. usually I was only looking for answers, not intentionally finger pointing. But she seemed to think I was blaming her. The way I saw it, we had one problem.. we only ever had one problem. Every problem was a manifestation of it. We miscommunicated. I'd say X, she'd hear Y, She'd say Y, I'd hear Z. We didn't know what the others' expectations were. So when I start asking about the problems, I didn't look for blame, I was looking for a way to stop miscommunicating.


I also don't want him to think that I'm trying to manipulate him into wanting a relationship with me again. Truth is I love him very much, but enough that I don't want us to get back into a relationship without really understanding what needs to change and us both being completely sure that it's what we want.
I would say don't worry about him thinking that. Your main goal is try to dispel any awkwardness so you can have a normal platonic friendship.. maybe first trying to reset his boundaries. Like if he is unsure about hugging you and it's not a problem for you, let him know that.
 

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Lol-- and stalemate :)
usually we err on the cautious side of signals.. for instance, if she showed me more feelings, I wouldn't conclude that she wanted to get back together, I would conclude that she still enjoyed my company. It would help put me at ease and melt the ice.
Ehh, many INTPs would make the other conclusion. In this situation, it may be better to just directly say it. INTPs would never start the conversation themselves, but they don't mind nor would they be offended by the other person doing it.

From my experience, it really depends on how the relationship was originally setup. For me, if I went straight from not knowing someone to it become a friendship/flirt -> relationship, upon termination of the relationship, I generally also ceased contact with them. As douchey as that sounds, I do think it is better off for some people. In all honesty, I would not be able to treat or view the person as just a 'friend' after having originally had them under a different context. In my past, my ex and I went 6 months without even eye contact.

INTPs are really easy/difficult to deal with. If you want them to know something, you have to directly tell them. Sending hints will confuse them and they will get all kinds of different ideas.
 

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I try to be friends with all of my exes. The best way to keep it from getting awkward is to not talk about it. Not necessarily times that you had while dating, but feelings and emotions. I was talking to one of my exes today and she said, "I miss you," and I wasn't exactly sure what she meant by that, so I just said, "Sucks man." But I don't feel awkward at all talking about good times we had while we were dating. If he still has feelings for you, it's probably best to not try to be friends with him yet. And if you want to know, the only way is to ask him straight up. We aren't going to pick up on anything subtle. If he still does, he will be truthful.
 
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I think you have to give one another space for a little bit, especially if he is getting his signals crossed.

I remember an ex invited me to her place one night to watch a movie after we recently broke up. We shared a bottle of wine and she changed into her bed clothes. I thought this was code for something else, but I got shot down and she told me to remember we were just friends. Pure awkwardness after that. I then called my friend up and met him at a bar proceeding to be more awkward while I abruptly left.

Distance is the best thing for both of you, in my opinion, because this will establish boundaries. However, you need to establish what you really want so as not to lead him on.
 

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Ehh, many INTPs would make the other conclusion. In this situation, it may be better to just directly say it. INTPs would never start the conversation themselves, but they don't mind nor would they be offended by the other person doing it.
It depends on the girl too. In my experience, INFPs can send weak signals that aren't as obvious as other types.
 

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黐線 ~Chiseen~
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omg... the more i read this thread, the more i'm angered and upset ...

just go bite his arm already and go *nom nom nom nom nom*

Someones' gotta budge and give.... eventually.... sometime... perhaps... maybe... even so... then again.... although.... however... but...
 

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I try to be friends with all of my exes. The best way to keep it from getting awkward is to not talk about it. Not necessarily times that you had while dating, but feelings and emotions. I was talking to one of my exes today and she said, "I miss you," and I wasn't exactly sure what she meant by that, so I just said, "Sucks man." But I don't feel awkward at all talking about good times we had while we were dating. If he still has feelings for you, it's probably best to not try to be friends with him yet. And if you want to know, the only way is to ask him straight up. We aren't going to pick up on anything subtle. If he still does, he will be truthful.
I used to (and probably still) do that and I realized that is the worst thing to do. There is a reason people call each other assholes and what-not. You're supposed to hate each other so that all your focus is on the one you're currently dating. Sometimes, trying to be the nice-guy is not all that nice. Girlfriends don't like the fact that you're in touch with your ex.
 

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I used to (and probably still) do that and I realized that is the worst thing to do. There is a reason people call each other assholes and what-not. You're supposed to hate each other so that all your focus is on the one you're currently dating. Sometimes, trying to be the nice-guy is not all that nice. Girlfriends don't like the fact that you're in touch with your ex.
They don't even know that the other girl is my ex unless I tell them. I act towards them the same way I would to anybody else. I don't ever get back with my exes; I did that once and it led to disaster and depression. Not tryin to have that again. Besides, I don't like losing people from my already limited circle of friends.
 

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Hmm. Going through something not entirely dissimilar with an INFP. What can I say?

Well, first off, if he's still hanging around after the breakup, he must *really* like you. I think that what that means is that he'll be willing to hang around under any reasonable conditions you set.

The most important thing is *boundaries*. I think you INFPs have more emotional "settings" than we do, so you're going to have to be in charge of setting your own boundaries. I think he'll try to be as close to you as you'll let him, but he doesn't want to frighten you off by getting too close too soon. If you can tell him where the boundaries are, that'll reassure him. It'll tell him what he can do without offending you. If you don't show him where the boundaries are, then he's going to eventually push until he *discovers* them. And that won't be good for either of you. So, if he does anything that annoys you, then politely but *firmly* tell him to knock it the hell off. Be polite about it, but don't be subtle. INTPs aren't terribly good at picking up on "subtle."
 
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