Everyone struggles in relationships. But not everyone struggles in the same way.
While some of us are busy over-accommodating our partners, others are busy placing unrealistic demands on theirs. While some of us are prone to stirring up conflict, others are preoccupied with running away from it.
Our inherent personality traits often lead us to encounter the same challenges in relationships, time and time again. Here’s the challenge that’s probably tripping you up when it comes to love and romance, based on your Myers-Briggs personality type.
ENTP: You want every relationship to happen on your own terms.
When it comes to life, work and love, you’re a master at visualizing what you want—sometimes to a detrimental extent. You get an idea in your head of what you want your relationships to look like, and there are no lengths you won’t go to, to fulfill that vision. It’s just that you don’t always remember to check in with your partner to see if that’s what they want, too. Which can cause a bit of resentment, to say the least.
INTJ: You tend to be oblivious to what your own feelings are (or how to voice them) until it’s already too late.
It’s not that you lack emotions, it’s just that it takes you a while to sort through them and determine what you’re truly feeling. Which means that the opportune moment to express yourself tends to pass you by. When you find yourself in a relationship with someone who is more naturally in tune with their own emotions, you often find yourself struggling to keep up—it’s not that you don’t feel things deeply, it’s just that it takes you a bit of extra time to find the precise words you’re searching for in order to express yourself clearly.
ENTJ: No matter how strongly you feel for someone, you find it almost impossible to compromise your goals or plans for them.
There’s nothing you wouldn’t do for the people you love—unless it means compromising your goals and ambitions. You have great plans ahead of you and you just can’t bring yourself to slow down or take a break in order to pursue a relationship. Which means that unless someone fits perfectly into your pre-existing life plan, you have a hard time making the commitments you may need to make in order to keep them around.
INTP: You generally have no idea what romantic partners want or expect from you.
You do genuinely want to provide and do well by your loved ones—it’s just that emotionally subtlety is more than a little lost on you. Unless you find yourself with an incredibly blunt partner, you often struggle to understand what is expected of you in a relationship—and how to meet your partner’s needs without them having to overtly voice them every second of every day.
ESFJ: You wear your heart on your sleeve.
You’re incredibly in touch with your emotions and you are not shy about expressing them. You see no reason to hold back on the way that you’re feeling, but more than a few partners have found your radical openness to be intimidating. Not everyone moves as quickly as you do, and you have a tendency to find yourself miles ahead of your partners in terms of emotional investment—which can make for a lopsided relationship at best, a failed one at worst.
ISFJ: You feel guilty voicing your own needs, which causes them to get pushed under the rug.
There’s nothing you want more than to make your partners happy—even if it means compromising a few of your own wants and needs. You tend to get so used to making compromises that you slowly make yourself miserable throughout the course of a relationship. And by the time you finally do speak up about what isn’t working for you, things are usually already at a breaking point.
ESFP: You jump into relationships heart-first—and by the time your head catches up, you’re usually already in trouble.
You feel things passionately, deeply and intensely—and you have a tendency to let that passion carry you away. You often neglect to consider the practicality of a relationship before you invest yourself emotionally. By the time you realize how difficult it’s going to be to make something work, your heart is already hopelessly devoted.
ISFP: Even in a happy relationship, you’d rather pull a disappearing act than deal with conflict.
You love being in love, but you love keeping the peace even more. When conflict rears its ugly head, your natural instinct is to retreat—even if you know that sticking around to duke things out might be the best decision in the long run. Your fight-or-flight instinct is eternally set to ‘flight’—making it difficult to work through the issues that are bound to arise in any relationship.
ISTJ: You hold your partners to unrealistic standards.
You choose your partners carefully and you’d never enter into a relationship with someone you do not respect. That being said, you have a tendency to assume that your partner will follow your own moral code to a T. And if they don’t, you start looking at them in a whole new light. The moment you see your partner holding themselves to a different standard than you hold yourself too, you start to question your choice to be with them—instead of accepting that your differences are what keeps things interesting.
ESTJ: You play it safe when you ought to go out on a limb.
You have your ducks in a row and you aren’t interested in taking unnecessary risks. Unfortunately, relationships often call upon you to do just that. When it comes to a standoff between the relationship you want and the goals you’ve invested yourself in, you almost always choose the latter—even if it means your partner has to do a bit more compromising than they’re comfortable with.
ISTP: You value your independence to a fault.
It’s not that you dislike relationships—it’s just that you need a great deal of alone time and you have trouble finding a partner who respects that. You have a tendency to ‘check out’ of relationships when things start getting too intense, in favor of doing your own thing. Your independence is one of your best traits but when you refuse to compromise it at all, it can lead to significant problems for your love life.
ESTP: You’re drawn to excitement and intensity—whether it’s healthy or not.
At your core, you know that you fare best with a stable and consistent romantic partner. In practice, you’re drawn to excitement and variety—which causes you to check out of happy relationships when they’re running smoothly. And occasionally, it causes you to check into relationships that end up yielding nothing but conflict.
ENFP: You cannot stop questioning whether the grass might be greener in other relationships.
You love deeply, passionately and intensely, but you are constantly tuned in to the opportunities that might exist elsewhere—and you have a tendency to idealize those choices you didn’t make. No matter how happy you are with a partner, you always find yourself wondering whether you’d be happier with someone else. And that wondering can start to drive you mad.
ENFJ: You have a need to feel needed—and it draws you to unhealthy partners.
There’s nothing you want more than to watch the people you love thrive. However, this tendency causes you to gravitate towards people who need ‘fixing.’ You regularly find yourself investing in partners who take advantage of your giving nature (either knowingly or unknowingly)—and it leads to imbalanced relationships at best, dependent or failed ones at worst.
INFP: You always want to believe that love’s enough.
You’re an absolute romantic at heart, and you believe that love is great enough to conquer everything. Unfortunately, this isn’t always true. You have a tendency to hold onto bad or impractical relationships long after you ought to let them go—because you believe that if you can just love someone harder, understand them better or fight for them more meaningfully, all the other problems you’re up against will simply fall by the wayside.
INFJ: You selectively hide yourself from partners.
You want to know your partner down to their absolute core—but you rarely, if ever, let yourself be seen in the same way. You’re afraid that if you let your partner in on the messy, unresolved parts of yourself that you’re still struggling with, they’ll realize you are not worth loving. So you hide yourself away from your partner, at the times when you ought to open up to them the most.
Heidi Priebe is a personality psychology writer who focuses primarily on the Jung-Myers model of psychological type. She is the author of five books, including The Comprehensive ENFP Survival Guide and How You’ll Do Everything Based On Your Personality Type. Follow her on Facebook here or argue with her on Twitter here.