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Jan

12

2010

Myth of the soulmate

Have you ever notice that for INFPs, a description of soulmate is like a shopping list that takes 15 minutes to describe when they’re 20 and single, and still takes 15 minutes when they’re 40 and single?

INFPs everywhere are protesting that we aren’t that shallow. I can’t believe how many times I’ve heard that my soulmate is just someone who “gets” me.

My response is this: do you have to be physically attracted to your soulmate for them to be your soulmate?

What if he’s bald and noticeably shorter than you? What if she has bad teeth and a laugh that scares off harpies? Can they be your soulmate if they have horrendous hygiene and you find them disgusting?

Have you even looked? Perhaps that urine smelling homeless man that’s old enough to be your father that you pass every day on the way to work is the one person in the whole world who understands you and will accept you completely. You’re never going to find out by giving him the occasional dollar bill as you walk by.

INFPs seem offended by the notion that there’s a minimum attractiveness quotient before someone can really understand why some days we’re on the verge of tears for no apparent reason.

Here’s some bad news for you. If you believe there’s only one soulmate, that one person who’s just perfect for you, given that there’s 6 billion people, is statistically in a different country and most likely married or dead depending on the age. That’s a depressing thought so INFPs with Soulmate Syndrome have an additional condition called Destiny Delerium, the belief that the universe will make sure that their paths will cross.

Did you meet your one true love already and didn’t recognize that person as your true love? Maybe, you thought someone was your one true love until the really nasty divorce and now you’re realizing that your soulmate is someone who gets you and someone who doesn’t play World of Warcraft all day and picks up after themselves every once in a while.

Maybe, you won’t meet your one true love until your 70. Fate isn’t time bounded and has a wicked sense of humor.

I don’t know why so many INFPs choose to hold onto the belief of the one true love. It’s counterproductive because long term relationships have little to do with love. Love doesn’t conquer all. There’s a reason why our divorce rate is 50%. It’s from the belief that love fixes everything and when it doesn’t then you aren’t in love anymore.

For example, many couples break up over infidelity. Infidelity has very little to do with love and more to do with one partner looking outside the relationship to find whatever they think is missing in the current relationship. It’s not as if one person stopped loving the other. It’s about a breakdown in the relationship and differing values. Love has very little to do with maintaining long-term relationships.

Most INFPs I know want a loving, lasting relationship. Great relationships come from similar values, communication, mutual effort and timing. So why do INFPs focus so hard on finding that one person that “gets” them and not the person that picks up after themselves? I’m not saying that those traits are mutually exclusive. I’m just saying that finding someone who picks up after themselves is easier and contributes more to a lasting relationship than someone who understands your soul.

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124 Responses to “Myth of the soulmate”

  1. Ross

    Jan 12, 2010

    5:09 pm

    Beautifully put. The difference between reality and romance? Am I oversimplifying? At any rate, I usually end up managing to tease myself at least a little – what is it that’s so great about my soul anyway? Why am I so obsessed that I be properly understood? I can just imagine at the end of destiny’s trail, finally meeting the ultimate perceiver – he gazes upon my beauteous soul and he’s like “Ew. You haven’t picked up after yourself in years.” :)

    [Reply]

    ockhamdesign Reply:

    I think romance has a definite place in reality. Romance can’t be the only reality. Also, I don’t think anyone has to understand you completely for a relationship to work. They just have to understand you enough.

    [Reply]

    Karen Reply:

    I completely disagree!! Are you sure you’re arent an INTJ?? We INFP’s are values people. Being understood is the whole ballgame. I can pick up his socks for crying out loud! I can be annoyed that i have to do it, but it won’t kill me. But being misunderstood is divorce material!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    [Reply]

    Anna Reply:

    As an INFP myself who has an INTJ boyfriend, I can attest that this post is still very consistent with INFPs and their values. With a strong set of beliefs and values, it is very important not to depend on others as all your answers and resources are within. Before anyone can really understand you, you must first notice and acknowledge how much you really understand yourself.

    Melinda Reply:

    @Karen – I heart you – as you speak the words of my soul.. Stand up for the INFP that DOES believe and hold true to who they are….and being understood IS what its all about……INFPs have a mission in this life to be understood so others can learn….

    Wayne Reply:

    I agree because most of the people in my life know very little about me, despite my efforts to help them understand, and the idea of someone else who gets the big picture, who gets me and all that I am and want to be. Well that’s important to me because most of my life I’ve felt so alone and out of place and knowing that there is someone out there that’s on the same wavelength as I is perhaps the greatest thing that could happen to me. So those of you whom agree with this above article about the myth of the soulmate, I’d implore you to take the MBTI test again and this time answer the questions with complete honesty because any true INFP that reads this article would disagree with it, because 1. It sounds like the writings of a rational mind (I.e. INTJ, INTP, etc) 2. It denounces principles held by INFPs, which I feel are being violated, and 3. It’s just not what an INFP is about. Those of you whom continued to read this far whom agree with this article I would like to remind you sometimes people change, and you’re no exception, so perhaps your personality has changed or you may not have been honest whilst taking the test. Either way I believe you should take if again to figure out who you truly are because you might have been an INFP, but times change and so do people, and you might not be who you once were, but who knows. I just want want people to have understanding and be happy…

  2. Julie

    Jan 12, 2010

    6:18 pm

    I’m glad you chose to write on this topic. It’s very true. There is no way that there is ONE person out there meant for “you.” It’s about being open (and not “shallow”). I completely agree w/ the last sentence….actually the whole paragraph. Two INFP’s together, while maybe understanding each other’s “souls,” might not last due to other traits. Whereas, an INFP and another type might last due to “practical” traits that the other person has (strengths maybe?) that the INFP may not hold. Just a few of my thoughts. Oh, and I do think that “love” can make a relationship last. But love in the truest sense of the word…not “romantic” love, but the kinda love where you love the person, as an action, even when you don’t “feel” like it….consciously choosing to love.

    [Reply]

    ockhamdesign Reply:

    Loving someone is definitely an action. You do loving things in order to show love for another person and it’s in that doing that grows and sustains a loving relationship. I always point people to the book, The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman since people feel loved in different ways.

    [Reply]

    Jennifer M. Reply:

    Excellent book! I’m constantly referring people to that one, too.

    [Reply]

    Caitlin Reply:

    love is a verb never a noun ==> part of a friends poem that stayed with me. Love this post! So true. I read the love languages book years ago and it definitely helped us in my past long term relationship.

    [Reply]

    Juls Reply:

    Does anyone else out there have an ESTJ partner? The last thing they want to to do is read and discuss a relationship book. It is so disappointing. I learned a lot from this book but it does not help our many relationship challenges. I often feel that if only I had chosen someone with an ‘N’ in their type, I would be much happier. Not willing to lose my 27 year relationship but it has not been an easy road.

    [Reply]

    Nina Reply:

    I totally agree with the “it’s all about being open” statement. Love is definitely a state of mind, in my opinion. It’s about accepting and knowing yourself enough so that you can turn to someone else who is different from you and learn to accept them and value them for who they are. I strongly believe that everyone equally deserves love and respect. The real factor is how much difference you are able to handle in your relationship. In my opinion, looking for someone very similar to you (someone who “gets” you) just indicates that you need reassurance and that you are not able to detach from your inner self very much and experience difference. Anyway. My conception is probably very naive… I might also consider being an Enneagram 9 :p.

    But when you say in your article there needs to be minimum attractiveness etc… In my extremely idealistic view, the most real and absolute love would be a relationship that is precisely not spontaneous at all, where each partner is so open that they can learn from their complete opposite and embrace their differences with determination and harmony. This would be beauuutiful :)

    [Reply]

  3. julie

    Jan 12, 2010

    9:31 pm

    Yes! I have that book and have read it a few times. Definitely a good read. I have also recommended it to people. I think “quality time” is my main “love language.” Oh, and “words of affirmation.”

    [Reply]

    ockhamdesign Reply:

    My main ones are quality time and physical touch. My wife’s is acts of service and quality time. So I remember to do the dishes and she tries not to roll her eyes when I hug her all the time.

    [Reply]

  4. INFP lady

    Jan 14, 2010

    10:18 pm

    Amen! This is so true, and especially for INFPs. I was under the Destiny Delusion, and Soulmate Syndrome when I was first married. I know I made an amazing choice though, seriously would be hard-pressed to find a more supportive, responsible, interesting guy, who also shares my values.

    Amen to WORKING on relationships… not finding the ‘perfect’ one.

    I too am married to an INTJ. I really think it’s a great choice for INFPs. He helps me ‘access my not crazy side’ (The Office quote)

    [Reply]

    ockhamdesign Reply:

    The one thing that INFPs have in our favor is good intuition. We can pick out the ones that will work on the relationship with us.

    It’s when we ignore our intuition when it tells us that the bad things in the other person is detrimental to the relationship. Everybody has behaviors that the other person doesn’t like which is fine, unless those behaviors are detrimental to a relationship (i.e. alcoholism, gambling, bad spending habits, avoidance issues, etc.) It goes bad when we convince ourselves, we can change that other person, and when we finally realize that we can’t, that’s when the relationship falls apart.

    What you get, is pretty much what you get.

    [Reply]

    Jennifer M. Reply:

    That’s a good point. The worst relationships I’ve been in are the ones that I ignored my intuition about. I tend to convince myself that I can change that other person and that never ends up working well.

    [Reply]

    akhila Reply:

    Am in a relationship… something like the man in my imaginations springing out of my dreams and standing in front of me!

    During the decision phase, I was too particular about NO incompatibility regarding values, and of course, he’s the only one so perfect in getting connected with my weird world!

    Actually, i trusted my intuition. Trusted it so badly, that I didn’t step back though I had a billion reasons to do so, subsequently. though my logical mind betrayed me and gave me constant feedback that I’m being wrong, I strongly believed that I’d have got a hint if it were really wrong. I might have ignored the hint at that time, but still I’d remember that I had a hint.

    Oh I was right! He accepted me, and now I realize why things suddenly went wrong all because of me! I’ve grown up, am better now… So is he!! And we’ve a wonderful world!!!

    EricaM Reply:

    This is very true. had a bad relationship where i kept having doubts and bad feelings about it, but stayed out of a sense of obligation and fear of hurting him. (i was young and we were engaged). I made excuses for his behaviour, blamed myself and believed it would change. we were in love, how could it not work? i didn’t know his type but it could have been a very warped infp. he certainly had the misunderstood artist thing going on, would be weird on purpose like he was proud of not fitting in. he never cleaned his house and sat around reading and playing games. he professed that he didn’t care what people thought (protest too much?) He was very negative and 13 years later i’m still recovering from trying to change myself into a negative person to fit into hislife. Anyway, it didn’t end well and i was finally just relieved it was over.

    Now I’m married to an entj. I was careful to listen to my intuition when we were dating. Which basically means listening for misgivings or doubt of any kind. there was none. someone asked me the morning of my wedding if i was nervous. I replied that i wouldn’t be getting married to him if i was nervous about it, but i was worried about being late.

    We are still happily married. coming up on 10 year anniversary. He definitely doesn’t “get” me, but he loves me. we have common interests, (reading, religion, games, sf, computers) and some not in common. He respects my privacy and alone time, is not needy, and pushes me to do more than i would on my own. He doesn’t hate going to work.

    I don’t wish for someone like me. They would be far too self absorbed to make me happy.

    Sorry for such a long comment.

    [Reply]

  5. Bindy

    Apr 9, 2010

    3:10 am

    Hi
    I love your blog. I found out I was INFP about 4 years ago and it was a revelation to me in terms of why I spent most of my life feeling like a square peg in a round hole – it certainly helped with my self-acceptance and my endless quest to transform myself into something that seemed more socially-acceptable (ie something more along the lines of ESxx).

    Anyway, re: the soulmate thing – I believe this is common in NFs and is due to our high degree of empathy; we want to mutually connect with our significant other at that level. Indeed, I have read elsewhere that one of the most frustrating things about being INFP is that feeling that you always ‘get’ what is going on in the core of other people while you rarely feel that anyone ‘gets’ you. I’m not an overly romantic person, nor do I believe in ‘The One’ but I do know that I need that deep connection with my significant other. I’ve dated a lot of INTx and although I love the shared ‘N’ way of looking at the world, ultimately their lack of empathy and cold, hard, logical way of being leaves me cold. The one person I did connect with on a profoundly deep level was an ENFJ. His warmth and empathy were amazing – we could talk for hours. I would say that he ‘got’ me in a way I’ve never experienced before or since. I had no idea that type of connection was even possible until I met him. That particular relationship didn’t work out, but that’s the level of connection I now look for – it’s hard to accept anything less once that has been experienced.

    [Reply]

    Jennifer M. Reply:

    Yeah I agree w/ you on this. I definitely feel that I “get” people much more than they “get” me. I confess I still hold onto the souldmate ideal, but mainly b/c I don’t want to settle for someone who doesn’t “get” me.

    [Reply]

    ruby Reply:

    i also agree with this…the one where i need to be in a deep connection with my chosen partner…i’ve experienced it twice and the first one didn’t work out but the second is well…it’s a really far fetched relationship and rather vague but i’m working on it…and because of those experiences, i do not want to accept anything that’s less than those…it’s not that there is only ONE person for you…it’s just that it’s really rare to find someone who can complement your soul…and for me, it’s not a matter of someone who ‘gets’ me…i just love the feeling that i have when i’m with them or when i’m talking to them…it’s like i can do anything for them without them even knowing it…

    [Reply]

    Anita Reply:

    Yep, well said. These are my feelings as well. Especially these last few lines: “i just love the feeling that i have when i’m with them or when i’m talking to them…it’s like i can do anything for them without them even knowing it…” Fits perfectly.

    [Reply]

    Fenfen Reply:

    Hi, just a comment on the INTx lacking empathy…. I’d like to caution others about pigeonholing people. Everyone’s different and with some INTx’s it may be true about the lack of empathy or coldness, but with others, it may just lie deeper beneath the surface. I’m married to an INTJ, and in some things, the seeming lack of empathy (which comes out sometimes when we are debating issues….which is always tough debating with an INTJ, since it often feels like arguing when for the INTJ he finds it “fun” to play devil’s advocate….INFPs like to debate too , but in a more harmonious way :0) Oops, sorry for getting off track. I was trying to say my INTJ husband is deeply empathic, but unlike INFPs, he expresses it differently, or sometimes seems not to express it although he feels it deeply.

    In a previous relationship with a fellow INFP, it was incredibly intense and exciting because we totally “got” each other and I didn’t need to prompt him to share, however, when we argued or clashed, it was so frustrating because we were both overly concerend with the other person’s feelings to the extent of no real issues ever got resolved! Happy to have found this site! :)

    [Reply]

    Matt Reply:

    This website

    https://www.personalitypage.com/html/INFP_rel.html

    suggests that an ENFJ makes an ideal partner for an INFP. The author also suggests that an ESFJ is a very good match. However, as idealists I think we need to be careful with the notion of finding the “perfect” person. I’d rather be with a good “any-personality” than an ENFJ with substance abuse problems or a personality disorder.

    I’m not a believer in soulmates, but I do resonate with the need to feel UNDERSTOOD, the need to feel COMFORTABLE, and our idealistic need to be INSPIRED. So, it makes sense to me in theory why an ENFJ would be an ideal partner.

    I personally have always felt more comfortable and excited around gregarious “E” people than with other quiet “I” people. ***comfort/excitement***

    I find it great to talk about ideas and feelings and dreams with “NF” people. I really like all the “NF” people I have ever met. ***mutual understanding***

    I also admire people who are “J” because they get things done. They inspire me to get things done. ***inspiration***

    The closest I have come to finding lasting love was with an ESFJ. We didn’t share this world of ideas (N), but we did share the other things I mentioned above, and she was very in tune with fashion and other worldly things (S), and that intrigued me.

    So should we be on the look out for an ENFJ or an ESFJ? Should we abandon a “good” relationship with someone who doesn’t fit the mold? Could the grass be greener on the other side?

    [Reply]

  6. bicicletaazul

    Apr 9, 2010

    5:02 pm

    My husband is ESTJ…not heaven as far as being “gotten”. It’s been plenty of work, and plenty of feeling misunderstood, especially in the earlier stages of our relationship. (And he hasn’t always felt valued by me, for sure..) But–in a practical sense he’s been really good for me. He’s helped me so much to develop confidence in my (worldly)abilities, and his common sense has given me a much more useful way to manage the world around me when I’m feeling swirled in a visionary idealism that can keep me from getting anything done.. the main thing is that he loves me with a loyalty and patience that I’ve never before experienced. We may not always feel “percento de ciento simpatico”–but on a deep level he’s got my back, and I’ve got his. That’s worth millions.

    [Reply]

  7. anonymus

    Apr 12, 2010

    9:55 am

    It’s because they want it that way. What it means for them won’t ever be the same for you. That’s the basic concept of “perceiving”. Nothing is right and nothing is wrong. People who find it hard to accept something usually has a tendency to “judge” more than “perceive”. Example : Is it hard for you to accept that 1+1 is not always 2?

    [Reply]

    ockhamdesign Reply:

    I think what I find the hardest to accept is that INFPs for all our vaunted ability at perceiving, we’re pretty damn crappy when it comes to relationships. I’m not talking about meaning. I’m looking at actual measurable results which are INFPs on forums complaining how terribly they’ve misjudged people and how those relationships end badly. I just don’t believe INFPs want it that way.

    [Reply]

    Mark Reply:

    It’s not the perceiving that’s the problem–its the idealism! We can perceive flaws in ourselves and others all to well!

    Don’t settle, but you said it, you don’t have to be understood perfectly–just enough.

    [Reply]

  8. hello

    Apr 18, 2010

    2:14 am

    I like what you write. As an INFP, I’ve noticed the changes that I’ve gone through as I’ve gotten older from .. getting offended that physical attraction IS in the equation .. to accepting that I am somewhat shallow and it’s fine. Sadly as a result, I’ve noticed that I get annoyed by other INFPs more easily than before.. because it seems like many of us impose ideals on ourselves or think we have qualities or preferences that we don’t actually have. You sound like you’re very mature and have a good understanding of how we function. It’s been fun reading so far :)

    [Reply]

    ockhamdesign Reply:

    I don’t think it has anything to do with being shallow and everything to do with being realistic.

    I think it’s great that INFPs hold ourselves to our ideals. Though we may not have those qualities now, our Self Ideal is something to strive for. However, everything should be questioned and nothing taken for granted including our ideals.

    I can’t tell any INFP that their ideals are right or wrong. But I want other INFPs to ask if their ideals are right for them. Everyone has their vision of the ideal mate. However, if we’ve never found our soulmate or if we found our soulmate and they left, maybe it’s time we re-examine what soulmate should mean.

    We believe our ideals because we think they are right. We hold onto those ideals long after they’ve proven to be unhelpful because we don’t want to be wrong. I’ve noticed that being right and being effective are two different things.

    [Reply]

    hello Reply:

    right, I guess “shallow” is not a good way to put it. I can be extreme in my choice of words sometimes. (Is that an INFP thing?)

    have you ever posted something about how you met/ended up with your wife? It’s not exactly the theme of your blog but I think it could be helpful/interesting

    [Reply]

    Jennifer M. Reply:

    Ouch. That’s a very good point. I met (who I thought was) my soulmate in college; he and I had amazing conversations and he’s one of the only people I ever felt truly “got” me. Unfortunately he moved on with life, didn’t want a relationship with me, and yet I still find myself clinging to the notion that he is “the one” for me. Sometimes I wonder if that’s why I have such trouble finding a guy now. Maybe I’m still clinging to that ideal that I had back then and not letting go or reassessing what’s important. Definitely something I’ll need to think about.

    [Reply]

    INFP Reply:

    I know exactly what you mean. And as healthy as it is to remind yourself that there may not be “the one,” I find it hard to lower standards to a point where you feel like you’re living inside of yourself and pretending like you’re living with someone else. It is much easier if you’ve never had anyone get you. Then, you just think that’s how life should be. You love people, they try to love you back but you don’t think anyone’s ever going to understand you the way you know yourself.

    Finding someone that does “get” you can potentially ruin your life. Because then it’s not some fantasy that you were fed by the world about finding a soul mate. It’s a real feeling. A real connection.

    I’m not saying that there is only one person ever who you can feel that with – but I am saying that it takes accepting that you’ll be alone for a while (maybe forever) if you want to feel that connection with someone again.

    It’s as dangerous and risky thing, but what else is life about? Connect with people as deeply as you possibly can, and I’ve got to keep believing that there are more people out there that will find me to not be a sweet person who lives in my head, but will be capable of actually getting to know all the undefinable parts of me.

  9. Here and Now

    May 5, 2010

    4:18 pm

    This blog has been an absolute GODSEND! I am just learning that I am an INFP and reading all of the comments have FINALLY made me feel as if SOMEBODY gets it! Are there conventions designed for our personalities? If not, it would be a great idea for someone to initiate!

    [Reply]

    ockhamdesign Reply:

    INFPs have much in common but at the same time were so uniquely individual. If you want to connect with other INFPs and discover all the different shapes and psyches of INFPs, I would recommend checking out the forums on Personality Cafe or Facebook. You can find those links under my Social Networking Resources.

    [Reply]

  10. Hekutoru

    Jul 9, 2010

    1:03 am

    I have a question, when ever the girl that i like talks to me i kinda get an emotionally “explosion”. where i get shy, scared of being rejected, and i just can’t think about what i should say back, i also feel like leaving the room because am afraid of other people listining to my conversation, and it happens at concerts, are activitys with the band, do you have any advice on how i can overcome it, are how i can tell that she likes me. (am a clarinet player for the band, i hate the part where we perform lol.)

    [Reply]

    Corin Reply:

    This is very hard, but other people not just girls respond better at the beginning of relationships if they’re not the most important things in your life. There so much less pressure on you and on them at the beginning when you have other activities and goals that are much much more important that having a relationship.

    My wife was about 4th on my list when I first met her. Writing, dancing and personal development came before relationships. We dated but I had more important things and so did she. I enjoyed spending time with her, but mostly I focused on writing and dancing. We really didn’t start become important to each other until 6 or 8 months later. It was about 14 months after we started dating when I realized that she’d become one of the most important things in my life was when I decided to ask her to marry me.

    [Reply]

    Maeve Reply:

    I just discovered this particular post. I’m actually starting to fall into this path of making my goals and pursuits the most important things and stop pining after love. I keep idealizing people who are not a good match and the infatuation just takes up all my energy. It’s really at the core of playing hard to get. And I guess people do respond to it better.

    [Reply]

  11. Hector

    Aug 21, 2010

    12:48 pm

    How do i stop loving someone? i really need to know because it hurts, ever time i see my best friend, who is in love the same girl, I need to know because at first i thought that my best friend liked someone else, but he has more of a chance and i think he told her he’s feelings last night when we were all at the movies together, i feel heart broken and am getting nightmares and i am in denial and am depressed. and i can’t help loving her i promised myself that i would stop loving her, even tho she doesn’t know it but am trying my hardest to tell her, am just so depressed from being deprived of my only steady flow of motivation, and i don’t want to not feel pain anymore, what should i do?

    [Reply]

    Corin Reply:

    More than any other type, I think INFPs regret those things they didn’t do over things they did that didn’t turn out well.

    [Reply]

  12. Hector

    Aug 24, 2010

    12:08 am

    why do we always want to feel loved, but left alone, and we are very demanding, INFPs have to feel loved when there out of there alone time, but the majority people don’t understand us or don’t want to understand us, and we are like big children we need to be motivated, and if you motivate one you open up possibilities that weren’t there before! i need a lover! <3 lol first time i did that!

    [Reply]

    ruby Reply:

    love…as to be loved…understand…as to be understood…and motivate…as to be motivated…be a lover to get a lover…heheh…^^

    [Reply]

  13. Al

    Aug 30, 2010

    11:24 pm

    Firstly, I like your blog. I do disagree with this post though.. but I am an overly romantic INFP.. :-)

    I must be one lucky INFP – I’ve been married nearly ten years to my one true love who is my soul mate. We have an almost psychic connection and domestic bliss rules in our house….

    Luck? Well, I was praying for it for two years and the Lord blessed me by answering my prayers. I married a girl who had been a very good friend for six years. We have two wonderful kids now. I will say the foundation of our marriage is a solid friendship, loving each other’s company and being true soulmates.

    Isn’t belief in divine serendipity and true love part of being an INFP? You can’t take it away from us.

    [Reply]

    INFP Reply:

    Congratulations! That’s really special and I’m glad you’re cherishing it.

    Do you know what type she is (just curious)

    [Reply]

  14. Mack

    Oct 29, 2010

    8:55 pm

    Regarding a soulmate my point of view is i would want to choose someone where the prospect of success is high. It does mean not everyone will do it’s not however a destiny thing. If we are not suited as partners then life could be harder together than apart

    [Reply]

  15. Tulay Gunes

    Dec 16, 2010

    12:36 pm

    I’m an INFP and I get what you’re saying about reality v. fantasy. However, I could never ever see myself settling down with someone who picks up after themselves! I don’t know what exactly you mean by that and as a result I’ve probably oversimplified it to mean someone who doesn’t have disgusting habits.

    I don’t believe that there is only one true soulmate out there for us, I believe there are many – the evidence I have for this is purely anecdotal – I have fallen in love twice in my life (I’m 25) and I know that every 2 years or so, an extremely special guy comes along my way (whether we get together or not is a different matter altogether) that makes me think I really really like him to the point that I could see myself loving him. These guys have always been attractive to me – I’d never be attracted to a guy who doesn’t wash himself or whom I find repellent in other ways. I think people fall in love when there is equality of attractiveness – whether that be physical, personality-wise, emotionally, spiritually or a combination of all.

    Also, I’d rather be single my whole life and meet the right guy for me in later life than be with someone who’s simply nice and treats me well but there’s no chemistry. As an INFP I’m quite happy being solitary and entertaining myself by engaging in my passions (art and writing) – I don’t need a body to touch just to know that my hand can feel alive. I feel alive already, I don’t need someone to validate me, if that makes any sense.

    [Reply]

    INFP Reply:

    I agree with a lot of what you’re saying. I hope that the author of this article didn’t truly think that inviting somebody who prides themselves on cleanliness into their home and marrying them is a good idea. Hopefully all these other INFPs don’t have friends that they hate or think are disgusting. How else would you start to get to know someone than by being friends first? I don’t feel like that’s such a stretch. Being in love is not the end-all-be-all of existence, but it is real. It can be incredibly real and incredibly important.

    [Reply]

  16. lelia

    Jan 11, 2011

    7:54 am

    oh i’m so glad there is people like me! I always felt so lonely and misunderstood and now I’ve found out what personality type I am…
    I ‘m trying very hard to overcome the destiny delirium and soulmate thing. it caused me a broken heart for years actually I’m sad to say, and closing doors to some lovely , maybe more fitting suitors. How silly can I be !!!
    thank you for all your posts!

    [Reply]

  17. Robyn Walter

    Jan 16, 2011

    10:20 am

    I think people hold misconceptions about what a soulmate truly is. Hollywood romanticizes love and sets unrealistic standards for its viewers. I don’t believe a soulmate is simply a “one-and-only.” I believe a soulmate is anyone who does “get” you. A family member, a best friend, a confidant, a lover, etc… The lucky one’s are those that find a spouse who does “get” them. They basically make up the entire list: family, best friend, confidant, and so-forth. I am in my second marriage. The first time I didn’t believe in the idea of a soulmate or a one-and-only. But, that is just it! I had the wrong idea of what a soulmate is. Love is HUGE! But, loving someone is not enough. Loving someone who you “get” and who “gets” you is ENORMOUS! I have been lucky enough to have that this second go around. I do believe he is my soulmate, not my one and only. I have other soulmates, like my best girl friend and even some people I associate with , but don’t necessarily do anything with. The beauty of being married to a man who identifies with me and who I am at my core self is indescribable because having this in our relationship does make it much easier when things get hard and I think this has a great deal to do with personality types. I am new to this topic and I am learning so much more about my own type and the correlation to that and my relationships. It is captivating.

    [Reply]

    Frd Reply:

    I felt like I was reading something I would write! I think I have several soulmates already and yes the odds are low of anyone ever finding that but it is possible and it is so worth living for! As INFPs, our whole lives are defined by our emotions in a way and we are so capable of feeling things deeply and strongly. The opportunity to feel love and genuine connection for us is probably one of the strongest things that happens to anyone in the world.

    [Reply]

  18. Spring

    Jan 19, 2011

    3:41 pm

    Do you subscribe to the Socionics theory? It goes into type relations and pairing. According to socionics, an ESTP is a good match for an INFP. When I was single, I attracted ESTPs, but I wound up marrying an ENTP. It’s been a very difficult 10 years with a lot of him wanting me to pick something and stick to it and me being very needy and irresponsible. Because of his ENTP nature, he studied personality typing for years and helped me to discover I was an INFP but it made me feel less hopeful about our relationship, realizing that the things that are a conflict are things that I really can’t change. I can be more responsible, but I will always be kind of mushy, moody and leaning toward hippie tendencies. We connect well when we are philosophizing about some weird esoteric things, but neither of us is very practical and he oscillates between being obsessed with a project or subject and wanting to have fun. But we don’t consider the same things fun. This would all be very entertaining if I weren’t living it.

    [Reply]

    Corin Reply:

    I’ve never studied Socionics. I find that relationships and the interaction between two people are much more complicated than can be adequately explained by type.

    My wife is an INTJ which basically means that she would prefer that I show up on time. How INTJ/INFP relationships work out is very different depending on individual values.

    As far as relationships go, I prefer the The Five Love Languages. It’s a very general look at how relationships work but I like it for the same reason I like the MBTI. Both are very broad and works as a good starting point. Neither are the end all to figuring out how I work or how relationships should work.

    [Reply]

  19. Spring

    Jan 20, 2011

    9:08 am

    I agree with you about relationships being more complicated. My belief is always that there is no measure to the human spirit. If someone wants to do something and believes in a cause, they can be or do anything. Type only tells us how we might do it. Still, I’m reminded by my husband that he would much rather do things in a group than us just having one on one time.

    [Reply]

    Frd Reply:

    That must be difficult. I think all relationships go through a lot of phases especially once you’ve been together for a while and feel like you can take each other for granted. I think this same thing can happen with people who’s types match up perfectly. It’s hard to be all things to somebody, and it probably shouldn’t work that way. If it makes you feel any better about that particular predicament, I don’t know if there’s a way out of it. If you’re an I with an E, it’s going to feel like that sometimes. But, even I and I relationships feel like that because one person will end up saying that they wish the other made them go out in groups more. Opposites attract more often than not (and that’s what the Socionics relationship suggestions thing is sort of based on) but that doesn’t mean it’s not hard. Every relationship is hard.

    [Reply]

  20. Penny

    Feb 4, 2011

    3:35 pm

    I do believe in “Soulmate”. When you meet, there is this feeling right away that you have known each other before in another life, the comfort is amazing as you feel completely relaxed around this person. I found I could talk more freely and open, always being myself. It is an amazing experience.

    [Reply]

    Aloha Reply:

    I agree with you, Penny. I don’t ”believe” in it, I know that it exists. The feeling is awesome and I found myself feeling compassionate for people who didn’t experience it.. I just think everybody should experience that. It is so satysfying and refreshing.

    [Reply]

  21. Ashlee

    Mar 18, 2011

    4:02 pm

    This is a really good website. I agree that no personality theory is adequate to explain what will happen between two people, but is just a general guide. I like the Five Love Languages as well, but have a hard time picking any. It’s not gifts or acts of service, but I crave all the rest!

    I’ve never believed in “the one” but do believe in soul mates, and that soul mates can take many more forms than romantic partners, and that we can have many soul mates in our lives. My unrealistically romantic and idealistic INFP tendencies have caused me to become quite depressed when the man I love has not been able to fulfill my every need. Over the last couple of years I’ve matured and realised that we need to spread ourselves out and have at least a few close relationships at a time. Realising this has helped me a lot.

    [Reply]

  22. Libby

    May 10, 2011

    10:53 am

    I absolutely agree that the soulmate idea is a total myth that gets in the way of reality. If somebody got me completely (or nearly) he’d be my therapist, and how exhausting wouldn’t that be for him six or more hours a day?

    After now 36 years or so together, I know that my ENFP husband doesn’t always get me – he’s not my soulmate, but he’s my great friend and companion. There’s a lot he gets about me, is non-judgemental, affectionate, non-critical – just nice. We talk about all kinds of stuff (but not my deep dark inner stuff).

    I have the idea that lasting relationships come from all kinds of sequential choices, to accept that person where he or she is, to keep going, to be grateful for what they are to you and so on. I’m INFP, anyway, but I think the soulmate thing is a mistake – waste of time. Be the one who gets yourself. That’s hard enough work! and spares the other to be themselves.

    [Reply]

  23. PSkalla

    Sep 9, 2011

    1:01 pm

    Interesting point of view. My personal belief is we all have many “soul mates” that are meant to serve differing purposes, not romantic ones exclusively. I have two very close friends, one I dated the other I did not. The friend I did not date I never had romantic feelings for, but did connect with on a pretty deep level. The notion there is only one is somewhat unrealistic.

    I wish I could remember what my ex wife was. (Leaning hard toward ENTJ) She seemed to get me early on, eventually letting her logic take over and rationalize away however I felt. I truly thought she was the one, until the little differences starting cropping up and growing. The funny thing is that she didn’t really meet many of the ideals I’d built up…but I clung onto bending her closer to the ideal. (I wonder how many INFPs do that)

    I do carry some physical ideals, but to me they are secondary to personality. (After all a gold plated turd is still a turd)

    Interesting blog, keep it up. :)

    [Reply]

    Dmd Reply:

    Wow. I completely agree. I still hope my current relationship works out, but that is absolutely what it feels like. I have best friend soulmates and it’s an amazing mutual expereince. In fact, my boyfriend was one of those to me. We had no physcial attraction until one day (literally a single day) both of us just wanted each other. That brought on a whole different level that we hadn’t felt before. But, he is incredibly logical and rational to the point that I feel like my emotions don’t count as much as I think they should. Now, things are seeming like they should downshift back into friendship but I’m not ready to let go of the other connections we have. To answer you’re wondering, I’m an INFP who feels like I’m doing a similar thing – clinging onto what I know his ideal could be.
    The physical ideals are either there or they’re not in my opinion. Like I said, someone can be your soulmate on one level and then if you’re attracted to them as well, that can change it to something different. I am having a hard time though, because I think that having a sexual connection with someone who also has the potential to understand you is so wonderful, and I don’t know what it would be like to let it go.

    [Reply]

    PSkalla Reply:

    I will give you a piece of advice about switching back down into friends gear from having a sexual (or semi so in my case). It’s very hard, and will test the limits of the friendship to the extreme. In my particular case, when I’d met the young lady she was actually engaged. I had told her that I realized that she was engaged, but was interested in a friendship. So for around 3 years and 4 boyfriends we wrote to each other. One of those little quirky things we did. Eventually we dated, and due to bad timing and some outside interferences we broke up. She ended up marrying a mutual friend. For me it was tough to switch back down to being friends after being in such an emotionally charged relationship. For many years (well, until another moderately traumatic relationship) I just buried the emotions. Not until I got married to my ex did I fully reconcile. Once I was married, it was much easier to relate to this friend of mine as something other than a love interest.

    Oddly enough, she ended up getting divorced recently herself…We almost hooked up again, but realized the fire just wasn’t there and it was okay.

    The problem that I usually have is difficulty meeting people in the first place, and then acting like a lost pup when I get any attention. I’ll idealize them to the point that I get internally jealous and a little crazy. I’m learning to temper that with patients.

    [Reply]

  24. Kendra

    Dec 1, 2011

    10:15 am

    Aaaah! I have this picture in my bedroom! I love it! As for your insightful view on the “soulmate”… well done. You have an interesting way of putting things into perspective! I agree that the thought of one person that you are destined to be with is ridiculous. Thankfully I have been with someone for a long time that understands my quirks and loves them! He is completely the opposite of me and appreciates how I “lead with my heart” while he mulls everything over and analyzes everything. I appreciate that he also picks up his dirty socks and does laundry. We complement eachother well.

    [Reply]

  25. Andy

    Jan 12, 2012

    1:27 pm

    Soulmates – I personally believe they exist. Do I believe there is only one match per person… No. Do I feel that attraction is part of it, it has to be, but define attraction. An individual can be physically gorgeous and be completely unattractive… and I am quite sure it can work the other way too (as for the homeless man who smells of pee? well I sadly must admit I am a bit shallower than that… sigh) I do understand the concept of this blogpost though. There truely is something to be said for some-one who picks up after themselves and contributes more to the relationship than ‘getting’ you and good sex. First off I have found that we must first ‘get’ and like ourselves or we will forever be searching for some-one to make us complete. Two halves do not make a whole – they make two halves that are desperatley trying to be whole while co-existing with one another and blaming one another for their perpetual state of unhappiness. Also resentment is a very ugly emotion that builds easily when the said ‘soulmate’ doesn’t contribute – pick up after themselves, do chores, work!!! etc…

    I long for “fireworks”, for the “perfect” match, for the “soulmate” – MY soulmate… but a good friend who is there, who will listen even when they don’t get me – well there’s something kinda nice about that thought… I may not be able to change the fact that I am an INFP (and I don’t want to) but I can adjust the way I choose to see things. My personally type is not a law book of how I am to behave but rather a guide to help me understand why I behave the way I do so I can change the things I don’t like or am unsure of.

    I also think there is something to be said for reality. Being a dreamer sucks if all it ever is, is a dream. I want to touch it, feel it, make it real. Anyways I may have gotten a bit off topic there…

    Back to soulmates a good friend told me her theory on love: Immature love wants you because it needs you. Mature love needs you because it wants you. Thats what I am looking for. Being NEEDED is like an anchor around your neck, it drags you down and drowns you. I just want to be wanted, for who I am and nothing more.

    [Reply]

  26. Hummingbird

    May 1, 2012

    4:32 pm

    I screamed with laughter all the way through this article. It is absolutely HILARIOUS. I don’t understand why the others didn’t find it HILARIOUS! I love the idea of the old homeless man, and the guy who plays world of warcraft all day. I have had boyfriends from both camps he he he. And I STILL haven’t found my ‘soulmate’. And yes, my description of my ‘soulmate’ would take a few novels to write. Or a good four hour lecture. I’d just like to find the Nora Barnacle to my James Joyce. She made him happy, I believe, somehow. Anyway, thanks for the laughing, that was great. I am a high introvert, high feeling, INFP. Yay for being that!!

    [Reply]

    Corin Reply:

    I’ve had a ton of discussion with people on Personality Cafe about soulmates. The ones who believe in soulmates are in two categories: the people who believe in THE soulmate vs the people who believe in A soulmate.

    If you believe that more than one person can have soulmate status then relationships stop becoming an issue of finding one person in a very large haystack. Instead, relationships issues center around belief that soulmate status makes it easier to solve relationship problems and love and soulmate status will eventually triumph.

    So that’s where the 50% divorce rate doesn’t fit into the equation. With the ones who get divorced, did they marry a non-soulmate and that’s why it didn’t work out or did the marry a soulmate and it didn’t work out even though they were soulmates?

    [Reply]

  27. Doris

    May 7, 2012

    7:18 am

    I love how people always tell the soulmate thing is naive and everyone should grow up and see there’s no soul mates. Ok, so there’s no soulmates, no one who will ever understand me. That means I will be lonely for the rest of my life, every day, just like I have been lonely every single day my entire life. 90% that are important to me (like my dreams, my perceptions of life, my philosophical ideas) are not understood by anyone, in fact, I only share them from time to time to just keep my friends on the verge of boredom. I have had a happy life, but I’ve never felt completely happy, not for a moment. If I don’t meet someone in life who gets me, I’m probably going to commit suicide at some point, like 50 years from now. Yeah, the soulmate thing is so naive, I probably shouldn’t look for them and grow up.

    I have a great boyfriend, who always listens, even if he doesn’t get what I say, I have dear friends who accept me who I am. But I just won’t stop looking for someone who I can really communicate with. He doesn’t have to be my boyfriend. Heck, I if she was a girl, I don’t mind dating her at all. But I don’t have to be romantically involved with that person. I can have a spiritual master years and years older than me. Or an apprentice, a girl who is 8 years old and as dreamy as I was her age. I don’t care. I can have all of them, because I don’t believe in just one person. But I die inside without the spiritual connection with anyone. And I don’t know why some people find that funny or naive.

    And have I tried searching? Yes, I have. But it’s not like searching someone who shares your hobbies: you join the football forum and you can talk about football all day long. It’s not about hobbies. It’s about someone who would have a rich inner life that would interest me and who would have an honest interest in my inner life. It’s not something you can check by just looking at people, by the first talk, or by their internet profiles. You just need to be patient. But so far, I always get gradually disappointed, because someone is not willing to share, or is constantly trivializing what is important to me, or just turns out to be a shallow a-hole, as it happens with some people interesting on the outside. And there are lots and lots of people who can wear dark colours, play guitar and read philosophy, but are just empty inside, much emptier than the regular people that usually have something interesting inside them.

    But even if I don’t find a soulmate in my life, someone who thinks and feels similarly, it would be nice meeting someone who loves me for who I am. My friends love me for being a listener, for being such a clumsy daydreamer. My boyfriend for being sweet and funny… my family, God knows, I think they just love me because they have no other choice. But I don’t care about funny or nice. I want someone who would love and admire me mostly for the magic inside me, even if he/she didn’t have it. I met really only a few people who could notice I am this person in my heart, not some funny clumsy emotional girl. I feel like I was a hostess standing in the center and handling everyone peanuts and diamonds, but everyone just chose different peanuts and ignore the diamonds. I even shout to people “Look! I have diamonds too!” but they ignore it, and ask for more peanuts. I feel like all my inner beauty is just wasted.

    [Reply]

    Corin Reply:

    So one of the qualities of soulmate for you that this person recognizes your inner beauty. That’s a great quality to find in another person.

    My issue with soulmates is the belief that finding a soulmate will imbue both parties with the skills or the desire to learn the skills that it takes to have a successful relationship.

    I haven’t seen any statistic that says INFPs are more successful at relationships then any other type. So for the INFPs that have been divorced or have broken up from important and meaningful relationships:

    1. Was the relationships with a non-soulmate and that’s why things didn’t work out?
    2. Or were they in a relationship with soulmate but their relationships skills weren’t up to the task of keeping them together?

    As for being lonely, I wrote 2 very long articles on loneliness and I’m still working on the 3rd. But I don’t think loneliness and connection has anything to do with whether someone understands you. I’m leaning towards Brene Brown’s research that says lack of connection comes from our intolerance for vulnerability.

    [Reply]

    Doris Reply:

    Thank you for answer, I wasn’t sure if you would answer after 2 years of writing this article. Well I agree people completely miss the point when they think being with a soulmate doesn’t involve a huge amount of work on the relationship. I think it actually takes more work, because you can treat non-soulmates with much indulgence: “it’s not their fault they are like this/they don’t understand you”. It’s might be hard to be with a perfect person for you and find out the relationship isn’t perfect. But eventually, having low standards doesn’t mean your happier, and being just fine with a non-soulmate who doesn’t get you most of the time may not be what some of us want.

    And I don’t understand your view on loneliness, what exactly you are trying to say. I’ve read the articles, but well… as I said, I have great friends, great boyfriend, I can count on my dearest friends and family every single time I need them, I can talk for hours with people. It’s not that I feel there are not good enough to be close to me. They are really close to me. And still I feel somewhat unhappy, because, as I said, there is a part of me, a very important part, that I just can’t share with them. I may try to share but talking about football to a person who never saw a ball in their life. They can’t really comment, they’re not really interested, they can’t (or don’t want to) become interested. So how is it possible that these things aren’t connected, and I just should evolve internally and decide to be happy just smiling to people without being able to share what I’m so eager to share? Or learn to tolerate my vulnerability, whatever that means :) I won’t be fully happy until I’ll find the right people AND learn to be friends/soulmates with them, but there just have to be the right people, and they are very hard to find.

    [Reply]

    Fenfen Reply:

    Hi there. I’m married to a non “soulmate,” however we are both growing as we learn about each other and our different world views. I’m starting to believe that people can grow into being each other’s soulmates.

    In the past, I’d been in a relationship with a kindred spirit (i prefer that term to soulmate). It’s hard to put into words how that felt, the sense of connection and mutual desire to open up to each other about our dreams, fears, and fantasies. It ended because the timing wasn’t right. But in retrospect, I wonder if it would have worked out, even if the timing was right? I don’t know. All I know is that I agree with Corin’s comments about how you have to work at all relationships, whether it’s with a “soulmate”/kindred spirit or not.

    [Reply]

    Aloha Reply:

    ”90% that are important to me (like my dreams, my perceptions of life, my philosophical ideas)” – oh, Doris, I think I understand you. I always analyse my dreams, try to figure out truths about my inner life, other people, world in general. I ask thousand questions. I care for things more practical people don’t care about, and vice versa. I wonder what exactly do you mean by “diamonds” hidden within you, but I’ve quite recently met someone who, as you say, finds my inside beautiful. Many of my traits, which others find aanoying or neutral at last, are awesome to him. You might try to use the law of attraction. I used affirmations. Affirming 2 times a day to attract a soulmate (focusing on a feeling that it have already happened). And after a month.. he appeared. :D
    If you’r reading this, I’d like you to elaborate what do you exactly mean by being understood.

    [Reply]

    Helen Reply:

    I used affirmations too. I was 30, and had been through quite a few relationships with men who were ‘nice’, but some part of my soul felt unsettled, the relationships didn’t feel ‘right’, it was frustratingly intangible. The year I turned 30 I threw caution to the wind. I started really living my truth, and followed a powerful hunch to take work I was passionate about in another city. I felt at home right away, and was more energised than I’d felt in a long time. I met someone right away that I ‘clicked’ with, and I knew that he was someone special. Within a couple of weeks we formed a bond, and felt very comfortable in each other’s company. I ‘knew’ this was something different. It developed naturally by itself. Four years later we have a little daughter, and still feel the same connection (and have been through hard times too). We have a lot of things in common that I’ve never found with anyone else, and yes, we feel ‘understood’. It must be a hard road to make things work with in a relationship where you don’t understand each other. It’s a wonderful, deep contentment to find that person, whatever the future brings. Being true to yourself, and allowing the other person to be themselves is crucial (even when the idealist in you starts getting annoyed about the socks, ha ha).

    [Reply]

    Aloha Reply:

    Beautiful post! Thank you! :) It’s so good to read that you’ve found that special one – and immediately after you truly ”found” yourself. :) I think we need to be truly happy before we look for relationships. I wish more people could find their special one and their purpose. What was the job you’re passionate about, btw?

    Helen Reply:

    Ha ha, I wasn’t expecting a when I commented on an old thread!
    :-) Thank you. I’m a very creative person and I went to work at Weta Workshop in Wellington, New Zealand. They make film props and costumes for movies and other things. The best thing about it was that it was full of other creative and interesting people. Around half of them are women and I’d never met so many amazing, intelligent, clever women! My partner still works there, but since we had our little girl, I now do my own work part time- photography, painting and face painting :-) We’re not wealthy, but we’re happy :-)

    Helen Reply:

    Oops, I think those huge smileys have messed up the formatting… hope you can still understand!

  28. Maeve

    Jun 16, 2012

    11:49 am

    I don’t think there’s only one person/soulmate for us. But I do think there are people out there who fit us like a glove and…if the timing is right, we meet and fall in love. And yeah, sexual attraction strongly figures into it.

    My life would be a lot easier if there were many more people who fit me like a glove. But…as an INFP, I’m quirky and it takes a certain type to put up with me. Maybe the whole thing feels like soulmate material when you’re talking about rarer personality types who ideally fit with other rare types. At that point it becomes a treasure hunt.

    I think there are a lot of men I could probably be happy with provided I wanted to compromise. If I’m willing to let go of the romantic aspect and go for the practical (which I did in my former marriage), it can be a nice match. But…there is something missing in such unions– and in my case it did spell the end of the marriage. Not because we lost our spark for the other. But because something critical was ALWAYS missing despite love and deep tie.

    I’m not a magical thinker, so I have confused feelings about this. But I have to say I can count on two fingers the people I had an intensely deep, romantic, soul-mate-like bond with. It wasn’t infatuation either. I know all about that. This was real. I know Men are From Mars gets a lot of flack…but I do buy into the notion that our ideal mate is someone who matches us from an intellectual, spiritual, emotional and physical standpoint.

    [Reply]

    Corin Reply:

    I’ve been married 16 years and my wife and I both agree that for us, long-term relationships are about transformation. We have to know that being in a relationship we are better people today then we were yesterday.

    Many people go into relationships because:

    1. They want to be less lonely and feel more connected
    2. They think a relationship will make the happier or more fulfilled

    The problem is that connection and happiness are internal and you don’t need another person for that. Once you figure that out and am able to feel connected with anyone (since it’s a learned skill) and are perfectly happy (from within) then the question becomes what is the purpose of any relationship in the first place. And if we don’t have a really good reason to be in relationships, then we won’t stay in one.

    [Reply]

    Maeve Reply:

    Very good points. I think any of us–when single, will approach the relationship thing from an angle of wanting to feel less lonely, more connected and to feel happier. And I think those are not, in and of themselves, wrong reasons. I think it’s similar to the sex issue, where when you’re celibate for awhile, sex takes on this hunger and importance which would be less so in a relationship where sexual needs are taken care of. It’s important but not the main ingredient.

    So I think happiness and connection do have their place in a healthy relationship. But it doesn’t stop there. It’s kind of like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, where once the basics are satisfied, the human psyche seeks the next level of need gratification.

    In terms of my own experience, I have to confess that being in a relationship stabilizes and grounds me. Having known that somewhat instinctively all my life, I made a pretty good choice. I idealized my exhusband for a long time, never got sick of him or disillusioned in the long term.

    Where we failed was mutual avoidance of conflict. We rarely fought and when things were smooth there were no problems. However, the problem with that is when the inevitable conflict finally did arise neither knew how to communicate effectively: he couldn’t deal with my anger. And I couldn’t deal with the cold shoulder he gave me due to childhood issues….and things spiraled out of control. In a more balanced relationship, this would’ve been a blip on the screen.

    I’ve spent years trying to figure out what I did wrong and have done a lot of personal soulsearching about what makes a healthy relationship.

    Personally, as lonely as I can get (and I have a high threshold for loneliness) I would never settle into a romance to take eradicate loneliness.

    I don’t necessarily buy into the notion what one has to be happy, healed or whole within oneself before getting into a relationship. I tried that path and I might as well go into a convent if I wait for perfection in that corner…haha!

    I do think you need to find someone with complementary communication styles because being sympathetic to each other’s needs is key.

    [Reply]

    Randi Reply:

    Corin,

    How can I accomplish the internal happiness and connection? I’m 29 and single and want to learn how to have a long term relationship for the right reasons.

    Thank you, I am just recently learning about relationship skills and how love does not sustain a long term relationship.

    Corin Reply:

    My wife and I talk about why relationships work and why they don’t often. Here’s what we think has made ours work for so long.

    1. We’re each responsible for our own happiness. It’s not her job to make me happy and it’s not my job to make her happy. I’ve always believed that happiness is proportional to the amount of control you have in creating the life you want. Control is the our personal ability to achieve a result. The life you want is not only the goals you want achieve but also how you want to reach those goals. My wife has her goals and I support her and help her if I’m able. She does the same for me. And we have goals together. Her methodology for being happy is completely different than mine. People don’t achieve happiness the same way. Figure out what your way is.

    2. Relationships should make the day-to-day easier (cooking, cleaning, household maintenance). At the very least, being with a person should make the daily task of living easier. If it doesn’t, then it’s taking energy from the other parts of a relationship that need attention. The day-to-day goes on for the rest of your life. If being with a person is more work, they’re not the right person.

    3. One person can’t be everything to the other. Sorry, it just doesn’t work. My wife just found some people to go see foreign and art films with. I like them but I just don’t have time. With our limited discretionary time, I’d rather be out dancing. My wife doesn’t like the music I dance to so I go with people who do. Non high-value common interests aren’t necessary to sustain relationships. However, interests that are high in our values we share like personal development. Maintain your friendships. They’re just as important as your primary relationship.

    4. Connection is key. Connection is about vulnerability (see Brene Brown). Since everyone is afraid to be hurt, we try to protect ourselves by being vulnerable to a very select few. The problem is that those very select few have lives and might not be available and then we start becoming desperate for a primary relationship where we can be vulnerable and feel connected more often. This longing for connection leads to bad decisions about who we choose for our primary relationship. If you already have connection with many people, then you have more objectivity when you start dating.

    5. The only real reason to have a primary relationships is for transformation. What’s the difference between having a BFF that you tell everything to and a life partner. Besides sex, the huge difference is that you go through a life building process with a life partner and not a BFF. You don’t have to figure out bills and laundry with a BFF. The process of creating a life with someone should be transformative in a way that can’t be done with a BFF, should make you a better than you were the day before. The object of all relationships is to help transform us into the better person that we want to be.

    Helen Reply:

    Corin, what you’ve said here in this thread could make a whole ‘nother post. All those things about what’s important in a long term relationship, but particularly what you said about vulnerability. Your explanation of sitting next to your dad, shoulder to shoulder- really resonated with me. I too was hit by my dad as a child, and even as an adult, that has a physical effect on me- my body does not want to be near his body. We both want a relationship, and I remember how much I loved him and wanted him close as a child, but it takes a real conscious effort to contact him or hug him while my body instinctively repels it. He’s a good man, he was just young and stressed and in a relationship that didn’t work, so I have to find was to forgive that and try to move the relationship to something better, to not ‘punish’ him, nor let it hold me back. Thank you.

    Joel Reply:

    I wanted to reply to your subsequent message (but there wasn’t a reply button) where you say Connection is about Vulnerability and we shortchange ourselves by trying to be vulnerable to a small few.

    I found this quote from Brene Brown:
    ‘Live-tweeting your bikini wax is not vulnerability. Nor is posting a blow-by-blow of your divorce . That’s an attempt to hot-wire connection. But you can’t cheat real connection. It’s built up slowly. It’s about trust and time.’
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/relationships/self-help/9536381/Brene-Brown-on-the-power-of-vulnerability.html

    I once told my Mom, “I want to live and sacrifice for a higher purpose.” When I told her this, she said she didn’t understand what I meant. I explained it, but my own value had no place in her own value system, and so it meant nothing to her. I tried to be vulnerable, but she couldn’t receive it, so I felt no connection. I could have shared that information with my Dad, my siblings, co-workers, or a lot of other people I know, and I’m pretty sure that *none* of them would have been able to receive my vulnerability, which is why I often don’t share things that are important to me.

    You’ve often intimated that connection is within our own locus of control, but how can I successfully be vulnerable unless I’m lucky enough to find someone capable of receiving my vulnerability? In other words, how can I be vulnerable unless it’s to someone who understands me?

    [Reply]

    Corin Reply:

    I don’t see being understood and being vulnerable as the same thing. I have lots of views of different things and just because someone understands my political view or my life view doesn’t mean they accept my life view. Also, just because someone doesn’t understand your life views and life choices doesn’t mean someone can’t accept you and the choices you make.

    Also vulnerability and shame have a strong connection. Posting a blow-by-blow of your divorce is not vulnerability unless you have a strong amount shame attached to not being able to make your marriage work. There’s no vulnerability unless there’s a risk of rejection in a high value area by someone that’s important to you. Just because your mom doesn’t understand your life view doesn’t mean she’s never going to speak to you again.

    Also, there’s a misconception among people who haven’t been in long-term relationships that just because someone understand and accepts you for who you are means that you’ll feel connected. I’ve been married 16 years and that connection has to be worked at. Most divorces happen because a couple loses that sense of connection and couldn’t get it back.

    One of the reasons why I have wrote my 3rd article on why were lonely is I’m still experimenting with vulnerability and what it truly means. I don’t get along with my dad that well. He had a really stressful life when we came to America as refugees and had to start over. He also had a temper so I get hit a lot. Now he’s 70 and his memory is going. And at the last family gathering which we have monthly all my siblings avoid him. We talk amongst ourselves and my dad just ends up sitting on the couch alone. So my experiment was this. I just sat next to him close enough that our shoulders were touching. He’s not a touchy-feely guy.

    I’m currently at the age where he had to completely restart his life when we came over to the US. He doesn’t really understand my life choices or how I managed to do as well as I am, but he doesn’t have to understand me. I understand him now and how hard he had it and how damn stressful it must have been working 3 jobs to barely feed a family of six. He deserved better than sitting alone at 70 for 30 years of hard work for his family. I just sat there and just enjoyed being with him and being grateful for what he’s done.

    Several days later when I had enough time to process that moment, I realized that I was in one of my truly authentic moments. That was me really being me to someone I cared about without being defensive or having my walls up.

    If you want to know where to start, start with authenticity and figuring out what it takes not to where all your masks at work, with family, with friends.

    Randi Reply:

    Hi Corin,
    I was thinking about this post again. A couple years ago I posted about cultivating inner happiness and connection. I did a lot of hard work and now I am happy to say I have been in a happy and healthy relationship for the past year with an awesome ESTJ. One thing I have been struggling with however is feelings of jealousy/insecurity. I remember you writing something about this before but I couldn’t find it. I’ve noticed that I am projecting my ideals onto my partner and getting hurt when he is just being himself. I trust him completely and know he will do everything he can to help me. But sometimes I find myself thinking, “…why does he do x behavior? I wouldn’t/don’t do that…” For example, texting, social media, talking about, hanging out with, dancing with etc. other opposite sex friendships. I know it is innocent and he truly has a heart of gold. We have tried to trouble shoot this together but haven’t found a strategy that really works. The thing is, it’s not that I want him to stop or change his behavior, it’s just that when I see or hear any perceived threat (however irrational or unreasonable), I have a fear reaction, and I think, “Why did he/is he/does he do that?” And if I find out why, whether indirectly or by asking directly I am immediately calmed. It’s like I need to understand the intention behind what he’s doing. But it’s not realistic or reasonable for me to monitor all of his behavior and question it- I can see how that is controlling. He has offered to stop and has voluntarily and naturally cut back on his opposite sex friendships but I also don’t think that is the solution. It hurts him that he is hurting me and I think he is frustrated that I am still feeling this way after a year together. It’s almost as if the closer we get, the more I feel this way. Can you recommend any resources or offer any advice?

    Thanks for your response to my previous comment. I reflect on it often.

    [Reply]

    Corin Reply:

    Jealousy stems from fear of loss of something to an external source (a person, a hobby that becomes an obsession, etc).

    Your relationship with your boyfriend is giving you something you feel you were missing from your life before and you’re afraid of losing that. This could be a sense of connection, a feeling of contentment or happiness, etc. When you discover motives for his behavior, you have a sense of assurance and your fear of loss is assuaged. It’s hard to create a long-term relationship when you are in constant fear of losing your needs. Basically, you put all your eggs in one basket (him) and that’s a lot to ask of any one person even if you consider that person “the one”.

    My advice to you is simple. Figure out all the things you were missing from your life before he was in it and find multiple ways to fill those needs. If you we’re missing a sense of connection then take what you’ve learned about connection from your relationship with him and re-connect with the friends you stopped seeing.

    If you were unhappy before, figure out why because happiness isn’t all or nothing. You are happy about some things and unhappy about other things. You may be happy in your relationship but if it was your job that was making you unhappy before then you’re relationship is just temporarily distracting you from your unhappiness in that area and it will come back.

    There’s two parts to making relationships last. Fix relationship issues that will break you up. Create things that make the relationship worth having.

    If your relationship is solely based on getting things you both felt were missing before, then you’re neither fixing anything or creating anything.

  29. Fenfen

    Jun 23, 2012

    10:03 pm

    Hi, I’m happy to have found this website. It’s been really interesting reading everyone’s comments! I’m still trying to figure this out. I find that my closest friends, even if I haven’t spoken with them for months, are mainly INFPs or INFJs. I am married to someone, however, who’s MBTI type is quite different from mine. We are both introverts, but that’s about it. Although incredibly frustrating at times, it has also been incredibly eye-opening. He forces me to consider a different world view. Even if I don’t agree with it, it’s still interesting to know such a view exists! What *is* frustrating is the feeling sometimes that I’m not understood or appreciated, but what I’ve been learning over time (by calling more on the less developed, logical side) is that even if he is not expressing it in “my” (F) language, he does appreciate me… even if he doesn’t always quite “get it.”

    That begs the question: how important is it really for others to “get you” 100%? If we are secure in our selves, then does it matter? In my experience, INFPs, while having a strong sense of self, sometimes feel insecure mainly because of the largely ESxJ world we live in.

    I read a few years ago about how our siblings greatly influence our choices of romantic partners, even more so than parents! It makes sense to me, given that people tend to seek out the familiar and comfortable, assuming good relationships with the sibling. =) Has this been your experience?

    [Reply]

  30. Lucy29

    Jul 2, 2012

    4:24 am

    I have a date today, with the world’s best INTJ. That being said, I don’t believe in soulmates. But I do believe in quality, and compatibility, and courage, and luck. And yes, I am an INFP, I swear. Just a very psyched one.

    I also don’t think that being understood is the MOST important thing in a relationship. It’s a requirement, but I know people who understand me very well, and value and respect me, and I don’t want to date them.

    [Reply]

  31. CHERRY BLOSSOM

    Jul 8, 2012

    10:04 am

    im 22 yr old girl.. my parents are divorced and that affected me a lot. The most important man in my life ( my brother and my dad) are the ones that have hurt me the most. for a while i blamed that for me running away from relationships, i find every reason (or excuse? its hard to tell since its a reason for me but i might also be just creating an excuse so i wont romanticly connect myself to some one and then be hurt) i’ve become adicted to have guy friends and when they” fall in love” with me cut them off my life. ive always say i dont want to get married but now i realize i dont want to b 30 or 40 n still not have an exclusive meaningfull relationship with a guy… point here is: i’ve been talking to a guy for 2 yrs now. he is a E?FP he doesnt “get me” most of the time i think thats why im not in love with him. i enjoy his company and i’ve become attached to him, i love him but im not in love. 1) he doesnt get me 2) he has no life besides me, he has no other interest, no hobby no thing he raher be doing at any time but to b with me. and i appreciat that but i cant fall in love with that, i cant get into his life because his life is me. that also gives me a lot of responsability because since im his center of the universe and his happiness i feel horrible pushing him away or asking him for some lone time. he supports me in every single thing i want, oil paint, pastels, airbrush, drawing, guitar etc but he does not inspire me…. i think i can live with that. being in love can hurt, im not inlove with him but he makes me happy ( always puts me in first place, respects me, is suuuuper patient with me, gives me flowers very often, cleans my apt, cooks for me etc) how i said i can live with that but there is something else that even though i feel evil saying it is true…”m response is this: do you have to be physically attracted to your soulmate for them to be your soulmate?
    What if he’s bald and noticeably shorter than you? What if she has bad teeth and a laugh that scares off harpies? Can they be your soulmate if they have horrendous hygiene and you find them disgusting?”
    He is loosing his hair a bit on the top (i know pretty soon he is going to b bald) he is noticeably shorter than me and that is something that i dont think i can live with, he has ugly teeth and even though he does take showers hes apartment is just HORRIBlY durty and yeah… sad to say… some times he disgusts me =/…..
    but then i think.. when im 50yrs old his apparience is not gonna matter, what matters is that he loves me more than his own life and would do/ change anythig for me. still i havent get over it. what if i find the most handsome guy in the world but he doesnt respects me or loves me as much or cheats on me? i know i strive for perfection and i wont have it but right now i just cant get over it…. what can i do?? please please respond

    [Reply]

    Maeve Reply:

    If you’re not physically attracted, in fact, if there is little chemistry or appeal, except for the fact that he treats you well, that is poor foundation for a relationship. It’s settling.

    There is a world of choice between finding Mr. Perfect, and settling for the guy who treats you well but for whom you feel nothing, no physical attraction etc.

    Let me illustrate it another way: I have chemistry with a man who is overweight and is balding. Balding never bothered me all things being equal, but notably overweight is not something I’d typically go for. I’m not talking chunky here, he’s overweight. However, he takes good care of himself, is active, has a very charming and warm personality and I find him fascinating. He has an exciting life.

    If the qualities I see in him are for real and not some veneer for an effed up personality, then I could fall hard for this guy. That much I’m certain about. That, in my opinion, is what you should be looking for, according to your preferences, of course.

    [Reply]

  32. cherryblossom

    Jul 16, 2012

    1:10 pm

    I hate that you are righ on the “poor foundation” statement. Besides that, is “settling for the guy that treats you well” and makes you happy really settling? or is it falling for the guy that you’re madly in love with, but doesnt treat you as good ?

    My point is: whats more important? to be in love or to be happy? of course in the perfect relation, being in love will make you happy because he loves you too and because of that he treats you right, he loves you the way you wanna b loved, (there’a a lot of ways to love, we all prefer differently) and he’s qualities are right for you, but the prefect relationship doesn’t exist.

    Illustrating: My mom fell in love with my dad, which she was also physically attracted to. In their 17 yrs of marrige, he cheated on her, he hurt her emotionally and physically, and of course that hurt her twice as much becasue she was “in love with him”. Love makes us vulnerably
    On her second marriage, she is not in love with him, but she needed support and company. He respects her, and treats her desent. She is happier now that in her first marrige

    Love doesnt necesarly make us happy. My problem right now is not that I’m not in love. I’ve known couples that get married not being in love and with time they do fall and they still together. The problem sad to say is….he’s short and it bothers me a lot!( he’s balding, belly or teeth doesnt bother me as much) how inmature that makes me! i know, but that is the problem that i have right now

    [Reply]

    Maeve Reply:

    You are 23 years old. How about giving it some time and try to meet someone whom you have chemistry with? In my opinion, you’re seeing it in black and white–based on your mother’s bad experience.

    There are plenty of people, however, who make smart choices and have chemistry. The chemistry is not blind infatuation, or pure lust. It’s built on a more solid foundation.

    You do have a point in that you need to be cautious and hone your skills for meeting good men. You didn’t grow up with a good example, so the responsibility is yours to cultivate skills you weren’t taught.

    If you marry the first guy who comes along and treats you good (yet you feel no chemistry with him) then mark my words, the risk is high that you’ll cheat sometime in your marriage. You’ll feel you missed out.

    Your mother has made her choices based on low self esteem, you on the other hand, have the choice to break out of the mold and have your own experiences. You don’t have to repeat her pattern. The world isn’t that small and dismal. Really. It’s up to you though. No one else can force you…

    [Reply]

  33. CHERRY BLOSSOM

    Jul 19, 2012

    2:52 pm

    Thank you for your advice. Sadly at this point i took a decision. Thinker mode on, another good soul that i push off my life( and that i believe is the best for him) this is the 10th one in a row ( that i remember for now)
    Oh and kinda funny, about your question “How about giving it some time and try to meet someone whom you have chemistry with?” I met that guy already (ESFP)and i pushed him away.
    I met the one that was smart and will fix every problem in my life (INTJ) and i pushed him away,
    the one that completely “got me” (INFP) and i pushed him away,
    the one with the exciting life that I truly admire (ESTJ) and i pushed him away,
    the one that took me to fun places (NT) and i pushed him away,
    the one that will buy me everything (ENTJ) and i pushed him away
    the one that will give his life for me (ESFP) and i pushed him away.
    I met the one i fell in love with (ENFJ) but was not right for me and guess what… yup i pushed him away.

    How I said I had a hard childhood and not such a good love example and now I don’t know if is because of my parents divorce, his alcoholism, my brothers favorite stress realize method( making me miserable) me being a survivor (sexually abused) or just my stupid INFP personality of wanting everything perfect i don’t know exactly. Sometimes I recognize some of the reasons, some other times I can only try to guess. My endless duty of discovering myself is not done and will never be.

    Just wished i would stop torturing my heart by pushing all this people away once i have bonded with them ( it deeply hurts every time, especially when they try to call ask for another chance etc. my motto is “no mercy” which is not me at all, but it needs to be done) I just wished i would stop breaking hearts. I hate that now i do it consciously, but I’m addicted, I don’t know how to stop. Next victim (or lucky guy) is already in my life and I’m just planning how and when to do it…

    Anyways I guess none of that matters right now, i just have one question… how important is physical appearance? ( that hasn’t been a reason up until now)

    [Reply]

    Aloha Reply:

    I recommend reading Barbara de Angelis books abot life and relationships. They might help you. They are very informative.
    As for the appearance.. it’s hard to say exactly, but you need to be attracted to the guy for it to work. Remember, chemistry is also about smell, voice, way of being. But it surely is important, otherwise it’s friendship (hard to accept for us INFPs).

    [Reply]

    Helen Reply:

    I too have pushed people away who I thought were getting too close to my vulnerability. It is frightening when your heart starts to open up and you realise the pain and suffering that is in there, left over from a painful childhood. We push people away so we don’t have to feel the pain, don’t have to show anyone our weakness or sadness. It took me a good 10 years after leaving home and several relationships to work through some of this stuff. To start to soften and lower my guard. To, most importantly, trust and follow my instincts.

    It is most difficult to have any kind of relationship when you have turmoil in your heart.

    Be open. Trust yourself and love yourself deeply. If you follow your heart and your truth, the right kind of life and relationships will come to you.

    Physical appearance doesn’t matter, it’s whether you are drawn to the person or not. You will feel either pulled or repelled. You will either feel as though you want to be in their company or you will feel turmoil. If you are ‘not sure’, do not feel pressure to make a decision, touch base with your heart and your instincts and keep living your life.

    Much love.

    [Reply]

  34. Maeve

    Jul 23, 2012

    1:36 pm

    Cherryblossom, I can relate somewhat to your experience although I don’t think my childhood was as traumatic. However, when I was younger I pushed away really, really, really good guys (whom I felt chemistry for, and they made me feel GREAT and safe etc). The thing was, I knew I was emotionally immature and didn’t want to hand them my baggage.

    It sounds like you have a lot of things to work out in your life. Perhaps it’s time to consider that you might be pushing away for a good reason. Not so much the guys, but you. Sexual abuse survivors have some really heavy issues to work through. Have you been to a specialist therapist for that? Family alcoholism is another thing that lends itself to emotional unavailability. It’s in my family too, so I know all about that.

    By the way, part of what you might be grappling with is that you don’t know what you want. We all go through that. Nothing wrong with it. Be patient with yourself .

    [Reply]

  35. Missus

    Aug 24, 2012

    3:26 am

    I believe in good friendships and I have no particular lists or ideas of what I want in a partner, thing is, we either click and/or stick or we don’t and relationships aren’t meant to be perfect, they only last if your willing to put the hard work in & if you have the devotion and commitment to see it through.

    I s’pose out problems with relationship today is that we want everything ‘perfect’ in our partner, but don’t want to address our own imperfections, we want the relationship to run smoothly and freely with joy WITHOUT having to face and fix the problems within it, and we want it to last without having to maintain it.

    There’s a quote from an aged long time married couple of many years regarding how they stayed married for so long that you may be familiar with ; ‘We were born in a time when if something was broken we would fix it’.

    Relationships are tough for me, cause’ they require me to open up to my vulnerabilities, and things about myself I may not want to face, but, you know, I will have to face at some point. Relationships with each other reveal our insecurities in a light where we may acknowledge them or portray them onto others in a blame and shame manner rather than come to terms with them in ourselves.

    I s’pose it is partly down to our culture. But that culture is made up of individuals (ourselves) right?

    Mmmhhh… how can I improve my life and the lives of others. If you can’t help them, at least don’t harm them right?

    [Reply]

  36. AJ

    Sep 25, 2012

    10:39 am

    Okay, I’m starting off by saying that I’m an male ESFP in a relationship with a female INFP.

    It seems that the INFP’s here tend to be drawn to INTJ’s and easily note a bunch of complications. They both seem to have the “IN” in common, but differ in FP/TJ. Me and my girlfriend, however, differ in ES/IN, but are both FP’s.

    Now, typically you’d think my girlfriend would be the person who raves about commitment, making things last for the long term, gets emotionally attached, dreams about where this relationship will go, whereas I’d be the fickle one who tends to stray or wants his independence.

    However, it’s quite the other way around. My girlfriend is the more realistic person in this relationship, sometimes wants her own space, and I’m the one who takes it hard when this happens. Due to being 2 hours apart by distance, we only get the chance to hang out once a week – if even that much – and I keep talking about how awesome it would be if we could do it more often, while she reminds me how hard it would be due to our situations. When I do come over, I ask if I can come over super early (like, 9 AM), and she insists that I come at a more reasonable time (say, 11 AM). Furthermore, I perceive her need for alone time as cold, sometimes. I’m extremely committed to our relationship, hoping that she could be the one; she however, while committed and exclusive, keeps making the realistic points that we’re both still so young, not yet financially independent (I’m just out of college and trying to figure out what my career path is, she’s just starting college). I’m insecure that she’s going to find someone who “understands” her better, who triggers her emotions and can give her that idealizing/dreamy relationship INFP’s are said to chase after; she, having low self-image, is insecure that I’m going to go find “hotter” chicks to chase.

    She tends to be emotionally reactive/very sensitive at times, as well; whenever I try to express problems I have with her, she shuts down fast, and hard, from crying/getting angry, to wanting her space again. Usually, when she tells me the things I need to improve on, I try and do so. I try and simplify what I feel our needed directions are; she often talks in abstract concepts that sometimes don’t make sense to me.

    However, one positive of us is that I bring out her fun, crazy side. There are days we just marathon TV shows/animes together, or play video games together, or go out and splurge on dining out. The affection isn’t a problem with her; luckily this is one INFP who doesn’t get overwhelmed by affection/”physical touch” as a love language (I read the “5 love languages” thread in the INFP forums on PerC – what a coincidence that the most common INFP love languages are Physical Touch and Quality Time! I never seem to get enough of her and always cherish being in physical contact).

    However, it is also me who is learning that making this girl, making my partner, the sole focus of my life, and the sole center of my happiness, was a mistake. I’m the one learning that while she can be a great part of my life, she can’t be my life in it’s entirety.

    [Reply]

    Aloha Reply:

    I wish you good luck, but.. I learned that S plus N can be unsatysfying to the Ns. Odds are high she doesn’t feel that connection. I didn’t and finally left, even thought I was much more committed than your gf. Well, just be warned, those abstract discussions and discussions in general are important to us.

    [Reply]

    Helen Reply:

    In that last paragraph you may well have found the solution! I have a lot in common with your GF (from what you’ve noted about her), I never raved about commitment- if I had any fears at all, marriage was the main one! I craved my space sometimes, and other times wanted to be in physical contact a great deal. Introverts are funny like that. I also would not want to be the centre of someone’s life (introverts don’t want to be in the spotlight- we feel like we have expectations on us or that we have to be responsible for your happiness).

    If you take the spotlight away from her, and continue to follow your own passions and interests, you may just find a sweet middle ground. Best of luck!

    [Reply]

  37. rory

    Sep 27, 2012

    2:59 pm

    this is hysterically funny and i suppose sadly very true…
    i have said these exact things many times,, if only i learned to heed my own advice!!
    you can imagine the depth of my sorrow at the time i signed off my deceased ptnr to the funeral driver… and the regret of the mess i have left in others lives..
    still off onto the next obsession, as deep and real as ever..
    peace to all.

    [Reply]

  38. Heather

    Oct 13, 2012

    7:19 pm

    My spin? I think we have many soul mates in life – romantically and otherwise. A person doesn’t need to ‘get me’, but it does help if I am accepted. In terms of intimacy, however, I do need that “click” or chemistry and I don’t think that is exclusive to INFPs.

    [Reply]

  39. Valerie

    Jan 28, 2013

    5:03 pm

    I’m not under any illusion that there is one individual out there who is my soul mate, or who is meant for me, or who gets me. But I’m 30 years old.. it’s been 7 years since I’ve been in a relationship. And I’d rather die an old cat lady than be with someone who doesn’t “get” me.

    [Reply]

  40. Joseph

    Mar 5, 2013

    3:11 pm

    Hi!

    I wish I had listened to this a little while ago. I believed I had found my soulmate and completely ignored every red flag that something was wrong between us until a lot of hurt had been inflicted, not only on she and I but on our families too.

    You are spot on with this article. For the INFP personality, finding someone like a soulmate would be the ultimate experience. It’s strange, though, that oftentimes this quest leads to far more pain than fulfillment. To me that’s the hallmark of a deception.

    I’ve discovered since that experience that there is a central “place” from which I must engage reality. If I try to move beyond that, hell is the only thing waiting for me out there. There is a definite core to who I am, and it cannot be compromised. My “soulmate” could not participate, and did not even seem to know anything about, this core. She was “out there” on the vast ocean of ever-changing waters and depths; swimming (INTP).

    For me, however, it’s like I’m on a ship. I need to find someone on my own ship, because in the ocean, I begin to drown. Seeing her was like seeing a playful mermaid. I wanted her to be in my ship; she would die if she came there. Likewise, I would die if I tried to dive into those deep, dark, cold depths that are her home.

    ~

    [Reply]

    Helen Reply:

    I love the poetic language you’ve used :-)

    [Reply]

  41. Jacqui

    Jun 10, 2013

    5:37 pm

    I find the “soul-mate” concept robs my relationship of personal responsibility. Yes, we found each other and click in a way I have never found before or since. We have changed together over the years. We frustrate each other, but we make each other happier than any other person could. And the thing I first fell in love with was that he wanted to understand me more than anyone else. And he found a way to communicate that to me clearly, so I felt it.

    But to say that it is just because we are fated to be together… if I believe that I’m afraid I’ll get lazy. I’ll start to take him for granted. I’ll second-guess little things as signs that we aren’t actually soul-mates.

    It took me a long time to see our relationship as having the potential to last forever. I was young, but it still took years. It took me a long time to fall in love. We were great friends, why would I want to risk losing that? But we kept ending up in the same corner of the world. Kept finding that when we were together time melted away. I thought I was afraid to commit – but then after I thought about it, I realized I had already committed, and had been committed for quite some time.

    I had a moment when I thought “wow I really love him” – and then he asked me out later that day. My instinct was no! but I made myself think about why I would say no…. and what I would lose by saying no… my head had a talk with my heart. My heart decided to live with the chafing term “boyfriend”, in order to get closer to this amazing person.

    Now we are 28 and our daughter is 4 months. And I did get over my aversion to holding hands in public and now love doing that!

    [Reply]

  42. Juls

    Aug 21, 2013

    7:02 pm

    “I’m just saying that finding someone who picks up after themselves is easier and contributes more to a lasting relationship than someone who understands your soul.”

    Ok, I get what you are saying. Our dream mate (and what INFP does not have that image in their head), does not exist, or may have existed before we were born, or may be swimming in the Amazon, but is certainly not the person we are currently in a relationship with. I get that. It took a long time to accept. And I have. But I still feel that someone who understands your soul is the brass ring. Socks or no socks, it would still be my preference. And it would not be perfect. But to be able to fall into that soft spot. Bliss. I found someone close in my early 20’s, but didn’t realize what I had. So sometimes, we pass in the night, without recognizing how rare that connection is for people like us. It is all a process, and a preference, and we are all so very unique.

    [Reply]

    ProfessionalINFP Reply:

    When I started dating my wife, she was not my soul mate. She is an istj. She doesn’t just automatically ‘get’ me. We speak completely different cognitive languages. Her emotions are buried deep and she doesn’t live in them. Mine are not so deeply buried and I do live in them. However, she and I share many of the same values and she wanted to know why I adhere to them so differently than her. So, she went on an exploration of my thoughts and feelings over the years we dated. It took a long time and some painful experiences, but in the end, she found my soul.
    Let me repeat that. She. Found. My. Soul. Hunted it down, found it and brought her own soul with her. It wasn’t easy or fun and we still struggle sometimes, but she became my soul mate.
    So, I do believe soul mates exist, just that some have to be deliberately sought out rather than wandered across. Destiny doesn’t do all work, if any.

    [Reply]

    INFPgal Reply:

    Hi, I can relate to what you wrote. I’m a few years into marriage with an INTJ. His emotions are buried deep and he doesn’t live in them. His usual reply to “how do you feel about…” is {shrug} “I dunno.” It’s quite frustrating at times!

    What do you mean by your wife “went on an exploration of your thoughts and feelings?” How did she do this? I wish that my husband would do that with me, and I certainly share my feelings and thoughts with him. But if sometimes feels like he is minimally engaged. In addition, he is burnt out by his job but fears change so much that he is unwilling to consider changing. Then, he seems to resent that I’m changing career directions because I was burnt out by my emotionally draining job. I made a change to save more emotional energy for my marriage and have found that my husband doesn’t have much emotional energy to give.

    He is a kind, dependable person, but I wish I knew how to inspire him to be more curious and interested. I’ve been struggling to change my expectations so that they are more realistic. I’d love to hear more about how the process went for you, and also, what difficult changes (if any) you have had to make? Thanks for sharing!

    [Reply]

  43. Natalie

    Sep 5, 2013

    8:07 pm

    I believe in soulmates because of my parents’ story. They first met on a blue moon at a cafe with their friends, saw each other, and started talking. When my mom and her friends were about to leave my mom said “I can’t leave. That’s the man I am going to marry” without even meaning to or thinking it. They’ve been together for 20+ years and haven’t even thought about divorce. That is why I am so certain soulmates exist.

    [Reply]

  44. Steve

    Dec 17, 2013

    2:42 am

    Are there any INFP meetup groups around dallas area?

    [Reply]

  45. Diane

    Dec 19, 2013

    8:12 pm

    I have been married to an ISTJ for 3 1/2 years (have known him for 7). We have two young boys together. I am a very strong “F” INFP. Until recently, I never even thought about “types.” My husband is very laid back, avoids conflict and can’t handle stress at all. He is an only child and was very happy and content with HIMSELF when I met him. It’s one of the main reasons I was attracted to him. Upon reading a lot of psych lately, I definitely thought he was a SUPER INFP!! He had it all figured out and if I was with him, I had no doubt I would figure it out too! Around two years into our relationship, I realized we had no connection. Call it “soul connection”, call it whatever you want, we just didn’t have it. BUT, he is a decent guy, I’d definitely dated worse! I really, really, really wanted to start a family and I thought if I married him and we had children, things would evolve. Somehow I thought, he would eventually “get me” and appreciate me for everything I have to offer. Well, it never happened. He never turned into my “ideal” husband. This past year has been particularly bad. A lot of work stress (mostly self inflicted to escape my marriage), on top of raising the previously mentioned two young boys turned me into a stress-ball, at-my-wits end, short-tempered, not-so-easy to be around person. It caused me a lot of grief because it just wasn’t me. I was juggling all the plates, which I’m happy to do, but I just wasn’t feeling any support from my husband and he was actually making me feel bad for “imposing” my stress on him. I went out one night with a friend and ended up meeting a guy – ENFP. We carried on a easy conversation and it felt so good to be heard. The attraction was instant but we both knew better. The days and weeks after really got me soul searching and wondering how I turned into this person. I really feel like my marriage had turned into a father-daughter relationship and I was constantly being “harnessed.” I feel like I met my “soulmate” but I also know that I’ve made a commitment to my husband and I don’t want to put my needs before my family’s. I’m in that CRAZY, MAKE-UP-YOUR-MIND ALREADY! phase in my life (well known to the INFP) and it’s driving me over the edge. Any advice is MUCH appreciated!

    [Reply]

    Corin Reply:

    New relationship energy disguises itself as connection but it’s only dopamine and norephedrine being released by your brain. The dopamine eventually wears off and puppy love stage comes to an end. That’s when the real relationship work starts. It’s also when you start seeing a person clearly without the rose-colored glasses. Same thing will happen with the ENFP. Spend two years with them every day and dopamine goes away and then the person you thought was a soul-mate was just some guy you once had a connection with.

    Loving someone or feeling connected to someone doesn’t mean you’re capable of having a relationship with that person. Relationships end when the relationship problems are bigger than the relationship skills of the people involved. Just because two people love each other doesn’t necessarily imbue either people with the skills, the desire to learn the skills or even the ability to learn the skills that it takes to maintain a long-term relationship. Love isn’t a relationships skill. With a skill, when you do more of the skill, then you should see improvement in the area of the skill. Loving someone more doesn’t fix money issues, communication issues, connection issues. Relationship skills fix those things and those skills are learned and practices. You don’t automatically get them or get good at them because two people love each other.

    Creating and maintaining real connection is a learned skill. Anyone can feel like your “soulmate” until the dopamine phase wears off. That can take 2-4 years. Once the dopamine phase wears off, the right person is the person who has the ability and desire to learn better relationship skills with you.

    [Reply]

    Nina Reply:

    ”New relationship energy disguises itself as connection but it’s only dopamine and norephedrine being released by your brain. (..) Anyone can feel like your “soulmate” until the dopamine phase wears off. ”

    I do not agree at all. Otherwise, we would feel the connection with almost everyone we meet. And I’m definitely not interested romantically in most people I talk to. It’s true that hormones wear off, but heck, some things stay for so much longer (forever?). Similar sense of humor, values and outlook on life, way of talking and thinking, those don’t change.
    Don’t tell me the connection doesn’t exist and random Joe from the street could be as good as my INTP bf with whom I had so much in common from the begining, including mind-links, cause I’ll laugh. Many things are super easy with the right person. (We have our clashes, but those are not value-connected, mainly cleaning issues).

    ”Loving someone or feeling connected to someone doesn’t mean you’re capable of having a relationship with that person.” I can agree with that, a lot depends from maturity, etc, and other factors, you can feel connected, but not attracted, you can be unble to live together due to habits or preferences, you can be scared of such intimacy, and so on.

    [Reply]

    Helen Reply:

    I totally agree that the relationship skills are crucial, but I think Nina has a point. I don’t think ‘anyone’ can feel like your soul mate. I think you can fall in love or in lust with just about anyone, but experiencing the connection that people call soul mates or ‘the one’? That feels different to love and lust.
    I didn’t experience it as a rush of feelings, it was more like the universe was telling me this was the person for me, in a very comfortable and content way. Like a gentle magnetism. I’ve had several other relationships, and experienced a range of attraction levels (some more powerful than this) but none, NONE had the feeling of ‘rightness’ that this does. There was no forcing, no arguing, no need or desire, it just WAS. The relationships skills are still required, but go hand in hand with loving someone gently, respecting them, and wanting to be with them. I had relationship skills with other people, but that didn’t make up for the relationship not feeling right.
    Maybe part of the feeling you get with the right person is a sense that you are each other’s best person to grow with over a lifetime? That would partly explain my previous relationships where the guy wasn’t as interested in growth as I was.

  46. Juls

    Jul 6, 2014

    5:00 pm

    “the right person is the person who has the ability and desire to learn better relationship skills with you”. These are key words. And that is where I identify with Diane’s frustration with her partner. I too have run into people I feel a connection with and when you feel like your primary relationship is devoid of connection, it makes one yearn for it wherever it can be found. It certainly doesn’t mean you need to take it to the next level. But still, a lot of INFP’s do not have a lot of other outlets, or connections. At least I don’t. I’m working on it, but still feel that if my primary relationship was better, life would be better. And you are right, maybe there is no magic storyline, maybe the people I passed by would have eventually landed in a similar way, but I don’t think so. I just think that others closer to me in type required an intimacy I found too hard to share with anyone; hence, the relationship I chose with my ESTJ.

    [Reply]

  47. Erin

    Jul 8, 2014

    7:34 am

    INFPs by nature feel very alone, isolated and different to most people. Of course we want to be understood. I don’t expect anyone to ever understand me (my psychologist told me I’m very complex and difficult to understand so there’s really no hope in that area) but I want someone who wants to.

    I don’t believe in numerous “soul mates” nor do I think there’s only one person meant for another. Soul mates don’t end up together often, I really do think it’s rare and the people that find each other are very lucky but it’s not something to strive for because you’ll always be disappointed.

    [Reply]

  48. Diane

    Jul 8, 2014

    10:38 am

    I really do believe in soul mates and soul “groups/families”. In looking back on the time when I wrote my original post, I realize there was a divine purpose for the ENFP coming into my life. I had become complacent and “asleep at the wheel” in my life and I really needed a jolt to get me back on track. We are all growth-seeking and I believe you’ll typically meet soul mates to spur growth and change. These people always have something to teach you. In many ways, they are mirrors because they have so many similarities and by looking at them, you can see things within yourself that need to be tended to. Whether it’s your parents, children, husband, wife, or someone you lock eyes with and just can’t put your finger on why you can’t get them out of your head….there are specific reasons they are in your life. As far as primary relationships, I think deep soul connections provide a much more fulfilling existence for an INFP because being able to express and retain your true self in a marriage is essential. For me personally, I felt like I was hiding or sacrificing my true self (voluntarily) to make the marriage work which caused unrest in my soul. I do agree that finding a soul mate doesn’t magically create a perfect life because there will always be new things coming up to deal with but at least you can be genuine. People are constantly changing and growing, whether we know it or not, so it’s very difficult to have a long-lasting relationship with someone that hates change! Ideally, couples would change and grow together….happily, without resentment.

    [Reply]

    Juls Reply:

    You articulate so well, “I felt like I was hiding or sacrificing my true self (voluntarily) to make the marriage work which caused unrest in my soul” and I so identify. I wonder if you were able to work this out in your marriage, and if so, how? Or, if you ended up leaving the marriage, are you happier? I’ve made much progress in my own authenticity over the past few years, I understand who I am, I like who I am, but yet, our couple hood remains set in ESTJ stone, or so it seems. I find that I am devoid of the deep soul connections I crave, that ability to share “me” on a daily basis with a partner who has much difficulty connecting on that level.

    [Reply]

    Diane Reply:

    I am still in the process of integrating my new-found knowledge. In other words… it’s complicated. :) Because of our two young children, I find it very difficult to move out and separate myself from my husband. I care about him deeply and love our family. However, I don’t feel as though there is a purpose for us staying together outside of raising our boys together. Someone recently told me that marriage is when both people are able to live their truth and amplify that by being together. She said “it’s not 1+1=2, it’s 1+1=3.” It made a lot of sense to me. I have found myself in a place where I don’t feel like I’m getting anything from the marriage that I can’t get on my own. I do anticipate a divorce but I’m still working on creating the most ideal solution in a not-so-ideal situation. Best of luck and blessings to you Juls! It’s not easy, no matter how you look at it. I no longer believe there are right or wrong choices, you just have to follow your heart.

    [Reply]

    Helen Reply:

    Diane, you’re very brave. I wish you the very best on this next stage of your authentic journey xx

  49. Juls

    Jul 9, 2014

    5:45 pm

    I related to what you wrote below Corin, regarding your relationship history with your dad. I have also found a way to relate to mine; no expectations, just my love for him, and a feeling of complete contentment sitting in the same room as him, not talking, simply sharing time together. I admire his courage in getting through his own childhood and youth, and all he sacrificed to make sure our family was taken care of financially and otherwise. I look forward to my time with him, and the authenticity of those moments.
    You wrote:
    “One of the reasons why I have wrote my 3rd article on why were lonely is I’m still experimenting with vulnerability and what it truly means. I don’t get along with my dad that well. He had a really stressful life when we came to America as refugees and had to start over. He also had a temper so I get hit a lot. Now he’s 70 and his memory is going. And at the last family gathering which we have monthly all my siblings avoid him. We talk amongst ourselves and my dad just ends up sitting on the couch alone. So my experiment was this. I just sat next to him close enough that our shoulders were touching. He’s not a touchy-feely guy.

    I’m currently at the age where he had to completely restart his life when we came over to the US. He doesn’t really understand my life choices or how I managed to do as well as I am, but he doesn’t have to understand me. I understand him now and how hard he had it and how damn stressful it must have been working 3 jobs to barely feed a family of six. He deserved better than sitting alone at 70 for 30 years of hard work for his family. I just sat there and just enjoyed being with him and being grateful for what he’s done.

    Several days later when I had enough time to process that moment, I realized that I was in one of my truly authentic moments. That was me really being me to someone I cared about without being defensive or having my walls up.

    If you want to know where to start, start with authenticity and figuring out what it takes not to where all your masks at work, with family, with friends.

    [Reply]

    Helen Reply:

    I feel you’ve hit the nail on the head, Jules, when you say to start with authenticity and not wearing masks in life. The truer we are with ourselves, the truer we can be with others, and the easier it is to recognise truth in others. It this way we can have authentic relationships with our loved ones, and those we are yet to love.

    [Reply]

  50. Helen

    Nov 15, 2014

    12:02 am

    My INFJ ‘soulmate’ waltzes in, and without reading the post or the comments, on hearing my description of it, simply says: “what if they pick up after themselves AND understand your soul?”

    Well… ha ha ha, can’t really argue with that, can you?

    What I’m really getting out of this is that everyone’s experience is different, and everyone’s stage in life is different. Some people might be more fulfilled having their ‘soulmate’ kind of grow out of the person they are already with. Other’s might recognise that lifelong partner in someone they’ve just met. Both will require relationship skills to keep things harmonious and productive as the years go by. The one thing I think is missing though is instinct and listening to your heart (and the heart of the other). Is it really best to stay with someone for practical reasons even when something deep in yourself (call it the soul or whatever) doesn’t like it, isn’t growing, or at worst, feels like it is dying? Is it wise to tell people that soul mates are a myth even when people have found that kind of connection?

    Learning and growing through a significant relationship is incredibly rewarding when you are doing it with someone with whom you feel connected to. But you must know and be authentic to yourself first.

    [Reply]

  51. JC

    Dec 17, 2014

    10:25 am

    This kind of reminds me of the series How I Met Your Mother (SPOILER ALERT) in the finale. Even though a lot of people dislike it, there’s one thing that i love about it. The main character Ted (Who it’s totally an INF, i’m not sure if he’s J or P) was always looking for “the one” and waiting for a sign. But the one he loved was Robin, who he had a relationship with and failed because they had different dreams and expectations, thorugh all the series they both were in love with each other but couldn’t be together, but then “The Mother” appeared, and she made Ted overcame Robin and they got married and had 2 children. Robin married Barney, but her dream about traveling the world was more important to her than anything, so it ended up in divorce.

    I seemed like the conclusion was that, after all, Robin was not “the one”, but the mother… And after some timesthe mother died. So 6 years after she died, when Ted was telling his kids the story of how he met the mother, they realized that the story was not about the mother, but about their “Aunt Robin” (It even started the day he met her). And they encouraged him to go for her. After all those years, they both acomplished their goals and being together wouldn’t make them sacrifice their dreams any more.

    It shows how there’s not such thing as “the one”, because the mother and Robin are totally different. And how you shouldn’t sacrifice your dreams and freedom because of a relationship, because it’s not gonna end well. Something that a lot of INFPs should learn.

    [Reply]

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