Who Needs a Relationship to be Happy? (These Personalities Might)
Are you good at being single? Do you feel that being in a relationship is great and all, but shock, horror! It's not the purpose of your existence. You'd much rather wait for the right person than date someone who isn't really compatible just for the built-in security of being in a couple.
Or do you find it difficult to be on your own? Are you forever lowering your expectations for what you want in a partner just so you can have a special person in your life? Do you fall hard and fast and leave a first date thinking you've met your soulmate – every single time?
While it's easy to see that both types of people exist in this world, what's not so obvious is how our relationship-status preferences are intertwined with our personality preferences. For the following four types, well, it's complicated. These types are much more likely to feel "complete" in a relationship than on their own, and it's all down to their personal wiring.
ISFJ – The Serial Monogamist
Warm, practical and attentive with an urgent need to be of service to others: is it any wonder that ISFJs make such loyal and loving partners? As dominant sensors, these types focus right down on the here and now, becoming deeply committed to their current relationship. They tend to have intense feelings for their significant other and seek to make a lifelong commitment to the person who is without doubt the ISFJ's first priority in life.
People with this personality type experience genuine joy in pleasing others – even going so far as to make this their life's mission and duty. They are susceptible to moving from one monogamous relationship to the next, with little solo space between, as a means of fulfilling this mission. They have an especially tough time in letting go and may dwell on a past relationship or yearn for a former partner long after the relationship is over. This makes being alone pretty unbearable, and ISFJs are likely to latch on to the next person they meet for the next lifelong commitment, rather than spend time recognizing their own needs and waiting for the right person who might fulfill them.
Kindred spirits INFJ and ISTJ share similar traits and might also put forth tremendous effort to make their relationships work. But, unlike ISFJs, they need reciprocity. ISFJ's don't, and this puts any relationship at risk of codependency. Problems arise when the ISFJ becomes so concerned with making others happy that her own happiness depends on it, and she cannot see any alternative to the "being in a relationship" model.
INFP – The Type Most Likely to Stay in a Bad Relationship
As an INTJ, I'm puzzled by the idea that someone would rather be in a bad relationship than be in no relationship at all. But, it happens. If you're an INFP, it probably happens a lot. Those who lead with introverted feeling have the peculiar ability to empathize with people who are struggling or making mistakes. When someone is behaving badly, you are inclined not to judge them, but to help them, even if the person's poor behavior is hurting you. Underneath all the crazy lies a good person, right? You genuinely believe that, so you take it upon yourself to help that person turn things around. After all, you'd want them to stick with you if you were struggling like that.
Combine your deep empathy with your NF idealism – the desire to make the world a better place – and you get a personality that is inclined to allow bad situations more time than they are worth in the optimistic hope that they will get better. INFPs have a tendency to fantasize about the "perfect" relationship and romanticize the (imperfect) relationship they have to fit this idealized mold, often putting their mates on a pedestal and seeing qualities that are simply not there.
Am I saying that INFPs will be happy in this type of relationship? Of course not! Logically, you know that a healthier outlook would be to stay single and happy until the right person comes along. But logic can sometimes evade you. The problem here is that you are so happy striving to meet your partner's needs that it tends to skew your decision making. Throw in some extreme conflict aversion, and you get a personality who struggles to see the negative in a situation and has difficulty calling out the poor behavior of others. The upshot is a tendency to attract the "takers" who need your special brand of mothering, and to hang onto bad relationships for far longer than you should – even when it's toxic for both of you.
ENFP – The Straight-up Love Addict
Yes, love addiction is a thing. It's characterized by a tendency to fall in love easily and very quickly, based on a heart-racing, pulse-fluttering initial attraction to someone. Once that attraction is established, you'll brush aside the signs of major incompatibilities because love itself is so seductive! In fact, you'll probably fantasize about it – even when you're not in love. Love addicts tend to carry an image of the ideal partner they hope to meet, and have a genuine excitement for the experience of high passion that's coming their way. The thought of never finding that special someone terrifies them.
Since extraverted intuition is responsible for creating head-in-the-clouds ideas that may not be in sync with reality, and introverted feeling is responsible for romanticizing the perfect, positive human connection, it's reasonable to assume that ENFPs may fall prey to some degree of love addiction. Human intimacy is a wonderful thing for ENFPs and there's a certain pleasure-seeking quality to them that leaves them wide open to attachments of the heart and the imagination, typically for one person at a time who they will adore completely. They're not good at admitting defeat, either. Most ENFPs are extremely eager to do whatever it takes to promote their relationship in playful and flexible ways. You love the thrill of the chase!
A problem area is your lack of follow through. ENFPs have a tough time staying in a dedicated relationship when it stops being rainbows and endorphins and constant euphoria. But you never forget the thrill of love itself, and this has a tendency to keep you in relationship after relationship after relationship, with the full passion and vigor of someone who really loves to be in love.
ENFJ – Scared of Being Alone
After ESFJs, ENFJs tend to be the most extraverted of Extraverts so it's easy to see why they have a deep-seated fear of being alone and doing things on their own. Of course, extreme extraversion does not always translate to a need for a relationship, since most Extraverts get fulfillment from their friends and social networks. For ENFJs, it's not that simple. These personalities have a special skill for getting deep with people. They have an urgent need for intimacy and never feel the same connection with friends as they would with a romantic partner who really "gets" them. In the ENFJ pursuit of happiness, romantic relationships are front and center.
Being disconnected from a significant other can literally drive the ENFJ mad, as this type tends to turn in on itself when physically or emotionally isolated. Their entire personality is geared towards loving, supporting and encouraging others, and not having a significant other to lavish affection on can make them feel completely lost. They also need approval from others to feel good about themselves. Since they are more likely to get this type of validation in a long-term relationship, ENFJs may go to great lengths to find, and keep, a special someone. They can be a bit smothering in the ways they express their love and caring.
Hopefully, the relationship they end up in is balanced and reciprocated and allows them to exercise their natural desire to look after people. But there's also the risk that an ENFJ will get so wrapped up in a significant other that she loses her own identity – seeing a relationship, rather than her own special talents, as some sort of personal salvation. ENFJs have to learn to slow down and retain a degree of independence in their relationships so they don't go too far and burn out by neglecting their own needs. Work on that, and they should be okay.