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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Alright people. So, I need some advice here and I will greatly appreciate anything you can put forth. I am the ENFJ in this scenario and until about 8 months ago I was married and in a monogamous relationship with my husband of 15 years (we were 19 when we got married- you can do the math if you want to get our ages. ha!) with two kids that we adore.

8 Months ago my husband and I decided that we had romantic feelings for our close friends (of 5 years) and found out that they felt the same way about us (there was some alcohol involved, on the fateful night that this all came out...as you might imagine). If you are wondering the specifics of the relationship now, here goes: I am female, bi, and an ENFJ, my husband is straight and an ENFP, my girlfriend is an ESTJ and bi, and her fiancé is straight, male, and an INTP.

ANYWAYS, this all can get very long and complicated very fast due to the polyamory aspect. We are a closed (monogamous) square and all has been going pretty well over all with the "polyamory" aspect, although I never would have thought I would be ok with it, but I am surprisingly not jealous. The thing I want advice on more specifically is the 4 of us getting along with all of our very different personality types in the mix.

Probably the biggest conflict tends to be between me and the ESTJ. We have a lot of issues connecting emotionally and I am wracking my brains trying to make this work. I am very much in touch with my Fe and she is not in touch much at all with her Fi. I have been trying to not be hurt when she says abrasive things to me or when she ignores me for other people in the group repeatedly, but it is difficult not to get emotionally hurt. I figured that we would do really well on an intellectual level because we are both interested in world politics and current events, but ever since we started in this "romantic" relationship (as opposed to friendship only) she seems to dominte every conversation I try to have with her and feels that she is always right. I feel like she is attacking me and won't take my point of view into account. From the reading I have done it appears that ENFJ's and ESTJ's often have conflict and this seems to be true in our case. I am wondering if instead of trying to focus on spelling out what I want and hoping for her to respond in kind and with romance, I should just give up on romance (sigh, boring!) and focus on her physical presence. She is very dependable, but I do not feel a deeper connection like I am looking for in a loving relationship and liek the one I feel with the others in our group. I haev to wonder if this is due to her having a Sensing preference and the rest of us having a iNtuitive preference?

I also can't help but think it is interesting how well I get along with the INTP and so does she, but we drive each other nuts a large part of the time. Everything seems so awkward with her and surprisingly easy with the guys.

I have noticed that myself and my husband argue a lot more than I do with the INTP and that the ESTJ always jumps to my husband's defense. Strange to me...I would say that in all honesty he is right about 1/2 the amount of time in actuality, not 100%. It almost seems like she is tryin to protect him from me. And that makes me smile because my husband always says how supportive of him I am...

I have also started to notice my own frustration at times with the two "Thinkers," when I am feeling emotionally vulnerable and they seem to just look at me with a blank stare. Maybe this is just how it goes between Thinkers and Feelers? I am happy to work on being more rational/logical, but I am not going to be able to stop being warm and caring and sometimes excitable, that is just part of who I am and I know they would not want me to change....

I suppose like the typical, ENFJ, I am looking for a "win-win," and with 4 peopel it becomes much more difficult to find that.

I cringe to devolve all of us to the 4 letters of the MBTI...but that is only to try and make it easier for you to understand who I am talking about and the personality connections or disconnections.

Any advice is welcome. Thanks!
 

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Sounds interesting! Firstly, I'm excited that your post is not about the generic "Is poly morally right? Monogamy can't work! OMG we're poly!" it is about 4 people trying to make a relationship work in a way that is meaningful to all of those involved. period! Its a subtle nod at the lifestyle which I presume is becoming less of a 'big deal' so people can focus on the important stuff, not the semantics! Yay! Anyway on with the show: Without really knowing any of you, my knee-jerk reaction is to say that your sensitive Fe makes you worry about and feel responsible for maintaining 'happy group cohesion'. Since you're married to an ENFP you probably usually get good constructive feedback about how he's feeling, so you can relax with that feeling of 'win-win' more easily... Now you add a couple of Thinkers in to the mix and it gets tricky! I'm married to an ISTJ, and in many ways I feel like we became overly "enmeshed", and it has been difficult for me to separate out my own feelings enough that I can go out and have a good time and feel happy even if she is in a bad mood or just wanting to stay home and read a book... Some might say that is 'cold' or 'selfish' of me, but I really like what Kahlil Gibran says about having space in your relationship. Check out his poem on Marriage in "The Prophet": The PROPHET, by Kahlil Gibran It may be possible that the two new people in your relationship can be very happy and content and don't even have the same concept of a "win-win" as you do. I know some INTPs that are very self-contained and can do quite well and be content in a situation that might drive a more stereotypically 'emotionally close desiring' person nuts! The INTP might not even notice if they're busy in their own world doing their own little projects... It doesn't mean they might not come out and enjoy some physical closeness and be totally satisfied... Likewise the ESTJ is probably used to "being the boss" in her relationship, so naturally she should "take care of things" for you guys too! haha... She might be well meaning in fact and wonder why you don't appreciate her efforts more! :) So I would almost tell you to focus on the good things you get from these important people in your life, try to overlook the annoying things (cuz we all got dirt, and they have to change themselves), and hang out with some friends outside of the group to keep your sanity! :) Sounds like a normal marriage! haha... Now if only I could solve my own poly problems instead of dispensing questionable advice...
 
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Oooh, this was interesting to read. Thanks, @Ladyintricate, for sharing. It seems like this arrangement has been for the most part a positive experience for you, save for some complications with the T-F difference. I hate to reduce things down to just type too, people are people and not just their type, and maybe you're already aware but ENFJs and ESTJs don't share any functions. Plus, you first function is extroverted feeling while her inferior is introverted feeling. Actually ENFJs and ENFPs don't share any functions but at least their opposite functions are in closer order. However ENFJs and INTPs have extroverted feeling and introverted thinking in common. ENFPs and ESTJs have all their functions in common, just in different order. Personally, I've known some xSTJs and always felt that we rubbed each other the wrong way. I think there's just some misunderstandings involved. Maybe that's happening to you?
 

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I have more questions than answers.

I don't know how to solve your problem with the ESTJ. I assume that she unaware of your feelings. One of the great things of the ESTJs I know is that they don't harbor bad feelings, and are quick to forgive. My solution is to simply let her be and focus on the people that you get along with better and learn patience with those you don't get along with so well.

Now for my questions

Do you all live together or do you live separately as you did before becoming romantically involved? I'm wondering if you are living like a larger family sharing all thing in common (perhaps even money) or if you live like people who date and get together for sex and good social experiences.

I'm interested in group marriage but not only for the sexual variety. I think it has enormous potential to provide greater social and economic support. As monogamous couples we are sometimes too isolated and need help both, financial and social. I suppose that's what friends and extended family are for but there is nothing like the sexual/marital bond and the deep connection that comes from sharing all things in common.

If you are all living together I suppose you have at least one additional income to rely on, maybe two. That would be great. There would also be the communal living support of additional people at home to help with domestic duties and to provide additional support and love to children. I would love to hear your input on these ideas.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Sounds interesting! Firstly, I'm excited that your post is not about the generic "Is poly morally right? Monogamy can't work! OMG we're poly!"
I appreciate that. Yes, I find that reading most posts that are polyamory related are like that and I have already gone through that phase and moved on to the meat and potatoes part of the relationship. :) A year prior to what is currently going on, my husband (the ENFP, go figure.) "came out" to me that he was polyamorous. THAT was an interesting time in our lives, let me tell you.

Anyway on with the show: Without really knowing any of you, my knee-jerk reaction is to say that your sensitive Fe makes you worry about and feel responsible for maintaining 'happy group cohesion'. Since you're married to an ENFP you probably usually get good constructive feedback about how he's feeling, so you can relax with that feeling of 'win-win' more easily... Now you add a couple of Thinkers in to the mix and it gets tricky!
I think you are right. Thinkers can be quite different in how they express themselves regarding relationships (I am discovering) than Feelers. It is not necessarily better or worse..but different and this is quite an adjustment for me since I am so Fe dominant. I am working to try and just chill out more and take a step back from the emotional part of things to look at it with a fresh (unemotional) perspective. The number one thing for me is that I want us to all be happy and all feel loved. I think for the most part that is the case. I am certainly very verbal about it with the 3 SO's. Sometimes I feel like I may be wanting too much from them or pushing too hard and I don't want to do that, especially if it makes them uncomfortable, but I also want my needs met too. Work in progress…just like all relationships.

I'm married to an ISTJ, and in many ways I feel like we became overly "enmeshed", and it has been difficult for me to separate out my own feelings enough that I can go out and have a good time and feel happy even if she is in a bad mood or just wanting to stay home and read a book... Some might say that is 'cold' or 'selfish' of me, but I really like what Kahlil Gibran says about having space in your relationship. Check out his poem on Marriage in "The Prophet": The PROPHET, by Kahlil Gibran It may be possible that the two new people in your relationship can be very happy and content and don't even have the same concept of a "win-win" as you do.
The INTP and the ESTJ seem to be pretty happy for the most part. Especially the INTP. He is such a chill, go with the flow, sweetheart. I think that my husband and I are a bit "enmeshed" as well and sometimes not in a healthy way...but that is another story. Regardless, I think part of all of this is being married for 15 years and now trying to deal with still being married and having two new relationships as well. Whew! It is wonderful and joyful but also a bit exhausting for me at times. I love that quote (the marriage part) from the "Prophet." I have read it before and it is very true in my experience. It is important to have both: things that are special together activities and interests, as well as separate ones. I think that another factor in my personal confusion regarding the relationship may be that I am not getting much "outside" interaction away from the group. Only a few of our friends know about our "relationship" and I may have been unintentionally
isolating myself on top of that in my excitement and concern over the new relationship (Ooops! Typical ENFJ behavior).

I know some INTPs that are very self-contained and can do quite well and be content in a situation that might drive a more stereotypically 'emotionally close desiring' person nuts! The INTP might not even notice if they're busy in their own world doing their own little projects... It doesn't mean they might not come out and enjoy some physical closeness and be totally satisfied... Likewise the ESTJ is probably used to "being the boss" in her relationship, so naturally she should "take care of things" for you guys too! haha... She might be well meaning in fact and wonder why you don't appreciate her efforts more! :)
That sounds right on about both of them! I guess I need to take a breath and just remember that we all love each other and that I need to let them be responsible for speaking up if they are unhappy and be satisfied that I have told them I am concerned about it and open to suggestions, etc. if their needs are not being met.

So I would almost tell you to focus on the good things you get from these important people in your life, try to overlook the annoying things (cuz we all got dirt, and they have to change themselves), and hang out with some friends outside of the group to keep your sanity! :) Sounds like a normal marriage! haha... Now if only I could solve my own poly problems instead of dispensing questionable advice...
I appreciate your advice and I will try to take it! Also, yes, marriage is tough and so are relationships in general. Luckily, I have found that they are totally worth the effort for the most part!
I will look and see if I can find any of your posts about your own poly problems and see if I can throw in my two cents.
 
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@Ladyintricate

I read this the other night. Every last word. From an outsider looking in perspective this is what I see ...

1. you have 2 successful tripod scenarios. But as a square it's not harmonious.

2. because of personality types, the 2 tripods have a different connection. As an NF, I think you have to realize that the lack of harmony is a personal sacrifice you will be making in order to keep one or both of the men in your life. That is completely a solo choice. You need to love yourself first, but I am aware that sometimes there are personal emotional sacrifices people are willing to make. I think if I were you however, I would be confiding in the men to see what their opinion is. And I would gauge whether my feelings were be respected and cared for, at all, by ALL of them ...

3. Final thought ... I think that after reading it, the first word I thought was LOUD. The whole scenario is LOUD. I think (although you are an extrovert) - my BEST ADVICE would be for you to take a break. Get away if at all possible for some ALONE time. At least 48 hours of solid no contact with ANY of them ... I think it would be fair to give yourself that before coming to a conclusion of any kind. I think that if anyone gives you a hard time, you should consider that "telling" ...

Best of Luck.
You sound like an amazing heart(woman) and I hope everything works out in the end for you ...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Oooh, this was interesting to read. Thanks, @Ladyintricate, for sharing. It seems like this arrangement has been for the most part a positive experience for you, save for some complications with the T-F difference. I hate to reduce things down to just type too, people are people and not just their type, and maybe you're already aware but ENFJs and ESTJs don't share any functions. Plus, you first function is extroverted feeling while her inferior is introverted feeling. Actually ENFJs and ENFPs don't share any functions but at least their opposite functions are in closer order. However ENFJs and INTPs have extroverted feeling and introverted thinking in common. ENFPs and ESTJs have all their functions in common, just in different order. Personally, I've known some xSTJs and always felt that we rubbed each other the wrong way. I think there's just some misunderstandings involved. Maybe that's happening to you?
Glad that my “book” was not just blathering. :happy: I do find the interconnection of the four of our personalities and how right on most of the MBTI stuff is about us fascinating. Being very much an NF in temperament, I have rarely had trouble with people in my life in any capacity where I feel that we are just not “connecting,” or not “getting” each other. I am now coming to the realization that this is probably because I have had very few people in my close circle who were not iNtuitives. For the ESTJ and myself, I think that this is the heart of my frustration. I can’t use my almost magical ability to know how she is doing or feeling because it is like we are not speaking the same language or not recognizing each other’s signals. Frustrating for me when I am trying to feel close to her and she seems to think that I am almost always mad or unhappy with her. It is definitely an issue I have not come across before in my life with people and it leaves me scratching my head more than probably any other interpersonal problem has before.

The ENFP and I can definitely relate on a NF level and I think that his inspiring and fun personality is wonderful. However, he drives me nuts with what a slob he can be and how inconsistent he is with promises (I think that is the Perceiving vs Judging coming to the front). I guess it goes to show that all relationships are tough and you should love the one you are with and try to focus on their positives as much as possible.

The INTP is so incredibly laid back that it is difficult for me to imagine having an out an out fight with him. But time will tell. It seems like I am rather overwhelming to him at times with my very much Extraverted side to his Introverted side. I try to compensate by giving him his time alone when he wants it and it seems to be working.

Thanks for your input and help!

I suppose the gist of this whole thread is: Relationships = Complicated. :laughing:
 
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It's time for you to sit all of them down with you and to calmly explain to them how you are feeling. All relationships, whether monogamous or polyamorous, depend on healthy communication. If the Thinkers in this relationship smoke you out and won't even give your feelings any considerations after you are clear with how they've been treating you, I'm afraid that your relationship with them isn't working out in the best way. The other thing I'm a little confused about is how your ENFP husband is like with the Thinkers- Are they all super close and you feel like they're pushing YOU away from them as a group? I'd let your husband know how you feel about this, too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
@ Zelder

As far as your questions are concerned, they could probably be a whole thread on their own, but I will try to answer you and keep it brief.

It is my understanding that each poly couple ddoes things their own way for the most part. There is no "one way."

Our living situation for now is that the two "couples" live separately. My husband an I and our kids and then the ESTJ and the INTP. We live almost an hour apart and tend to have a date night each week where two and two mix it up at the two houses and then on the weekends we all 4 spend time together. We are only 8 months in, so have been seeing how it is all going to work before moving in together, but we have certainly talked about it and that is our loose long term plan.

My and my husband's kids have known what's going on (that we love them very much and we also love the other two people in a romantic way) for about 6 months now and seem to be fine with it and know that there is complete open communication and WE are still their parents and nothing will change that. We were lucky because having been friends with Aunt A (ESTJ) and Uncle J (INTP) for years before the Poly stuff started we already knew that the kids got along well with them and they were already practically family.

Financially, we do not currently share responsibilities, but plan to in about a year when we all move in together. That seems like it will be a benefit (added security for all) for the group, but we are going to do a lot of thinking before we merge our finances on the best way to do it because it could also turn into a sore spot. Finances are after all the #1 thing couples fight about.

Our lOose plan is to get a duplex so that oth couples will he their own areas and communal areas.

I was still very long winded...but hopefully that answered the majority of your questions.
 
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