I've read descriptions of our personality type that refer to difficulties in romantic relationships. Here on Truity, for example, the INFP profile includes the note, "Second highest of all types to report marital dissatisfaction." How can this be, when we're so lovable? ;-) Seriously, though, I can think of one trait that has big potential for causing problems.

Some writers have observed that INFPs tend to look outside themselves for validation. I know that rings true for me. I think that has been very problematic in my relationships in at least two ways:

First, having this trait led me to go into a long-term relationship without really having formed a firm idea of who I am and what my values are--much less being confident and affirmative about myself and my values.

Second, when I'm unhappy with something my partner has done, or something that's going on between us, or even with the relationship itself, I have tended not to look first at my partner or the dynamics of our relationship, but at myself--as in, "I must be wrong. Something's wrong with me. I have to change."

Of course, sometimes our behavior or attitude *is* the problem, or part of it, and needs to be addressed. But when "the problem is with me" is the automatic, unquestioned reflex, you can end up going along with situations that don't suit you, hiding your true self, or even going on for years in a relationship that should have ended for both partners' sakes early on.

That's been my observation and experience anyway. I guess I'm wondering two things as I post here:

1. Does anyone else have ideas about or experience with INFP traits that can lead to trouble in a relationship?

2. At a more personal level--any advice on how, after many years of this pattern, I can stand up and change things--which may lead to some drastic changes--without causing a lot of hurt and sense of betrayal?


Johnwhiteartist says...

Certainly, when my wife is annoyed or goes quiet and unfriendly with me, I've always tended to assume I've done something wrong - most of the time. And whether I feel it's my fault or hers, the most I'll usually do is sincerely apologise.
But I rarely have a proper discussion with her about it. The lack of proper, sensible communication about problems has built into a huge problem in itself and we're now in real difficulty in the relationship.
She also avoids discussing issues, but instead we've had episodes every few years, after things have built up and boiled over with her and she's sat me down and given me a good talking to with veiled threats of leaving. Usually I don't say a lot and get depressed.

Bard says...

"Usually I don't say a lot and get depressed"--that is certainly a familiar scenario for me. I don't know whether such difficulty in standing up and defending myself in a disagreement, or when being criticized, is an INFP thing or a personal thing. Or both. Whichever it is, I could certainly add it to the list of relationship-killers in my life.

ponylover25 says...

Yep that must be true

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