Sometimes in order for rusted patterns to undergo a meaningful change, it takes a bit of wrenching and struggling and cracking. I guess if it were easy for people to see exactly what others need, to know what to do with themselves, all that that's needed for smooth social operating, we'd be living in a utopia.It does indeed apply to him. My being an INFP, my place is messy too. My thoughts were, Let me help you if you want to clean it. But I think two things are going on with him...he's ashamed of the mess and the mess gives him an excuse to not invite anyone over and it therefore remains a safe haven. Seeing how difficult it was for him to even step into the threshold of my home, where so many of our memories together reside--I can see how not having those types of memories in his home means that it continues to be a respite and sanctuary.
It's ironic that I understand him and his needs so much better, after the breakup. :/
But hey, you're seeing this change happen. It's because of that that I got the impression that just taking the time to *tell him about this*, to get really indepth, just talk it out, explore the comfort zone, explore the borders of what he's okay with talking about, that that could really work for you.
I personally find it easier to connect to people I can trust with myself, that I have to hide nothing from, not my good and not my crappy facets, because I know they are patient, they understand that I do my best in my own dumb way, that they won't judge me or reject me when I lay myself bare. 'I'm me, I hope if I show things how they are you won't be dissappointed, but this is just how I am'.
The fellow sounds like he has his own demons and insecurities, same as you, just his own, and that he does feel like you are a big presence in his life that he doesn't wish to let go of. But if you're willing to, I think you two can reach entire new levels of understanding, and with that often comes a renewed sense of connection, of trust, of caring. You don't mean it badly for each other at all, that much is very clear. I think it's definitely worth the shot.
Do you have any sort of idea or plan on how to approach that sort of thing? 'Talking' about the big and the small stuff? Of course it all depends on the individual and how wary they are of that sort of thing, but I don't think it's an insurmountably difficult thing for us INTPs to do if we feel like we'll be taken seriously, and that the person we're talking to will be able to read our struggles as 'our struggles' and not an attack or blaming the them for it.
When I got all uppity and teenagery in high school and went through a bit of a 'UGH asskissers' phase, and refused to study harder than for getting a B, and mom pushed me for challenging myself more, at some point she started getting the idea I was just being difficult to 'get back at her'. That REALLY hurt me, because it's quite unfair when you're accused of not loving them by a loved one, when in fact the only problem is 'look, I'm just being a dick, okay, I need to do things my way and mess up sometimes, it's NOTHING PERSONAL'.
It made me lose trust in our relationship, because, if she really understood and knew and appreciated me, if she really accepted me as a person and would be patient and love me even with my mistakes, she would not misread me that way. I was being accused of something entirely false, while the real tangles remained tangled and I never did figure out how to motivate myself through the juvenile resentment.
Sure, that sort of thing can happen, that we're angry and lash out and are unfair to you, in which case, do freaking speak up and put us in our place, because we wouldn't want our loved ones to let us get away with being assholes to them. We don't want to be assholes. But, if you do talk, and stuff comes up that might be hard to hear, please try to remember this. 'It's nothing personal, we're just human beings, too, and we have a hard time dealing with that sometimes'. 'It's not you, it's me'.