Can we as ENFPs survive in a relationship with an ISTJ?

topic posted Wed, July 18, 2007 - 11:51 PM by  Christine
Can it acutally work? An ENFP mated to an ISTJ?

I just had a recent break up with an ISTJ, but I still love him.

Does anyone have any thought on this, or know of this scinerio working? I keep debating the issue in my head.
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  • I heard that one of the main indicators of whether or not a relationship will survive is if there is "contempt" present in either party then it is doomed to failure. I read it in the first chapter of a book called "BLINK" - talked about a scientific study. So... I guess I would go back and look at your verbal and nonverbal interactions. Was he contemptuous of you or you of him? If so, maybe it is not hte right relationship... If you can afford to let each other have your differences then things might work out. Its hard when you have differnet personalitites but sometimes that can provide the balance needed.

    my 2 c

    C'est Moi
  • I was in a LTR with an ISTJ- although I cared for him, I don't think that I see myself growing old with him.. I also wouldn't really want to date another ISTJ after having been in a relationship with one.

    I really tried to broaden my horizens by dating him. It just wasn't very FUN.
    After having had multiple long-term relationships, I came to the conclusion that I am HAPPIEST with someone who accepts me for who I am, someone I feel that I simply "click" with, someone who shares the same values, someone who's just a bestfriend.

    A relationship with an ISTJ, for me, really drained out my self-esteem and was really taxing on my energy. Don't want to sound so negative, but I believe things happen for a reason. Perhaps dating the 'ex', although temporarily the pain may be there, you will be 10 X's happier dating someone who is more similar to you- that way, both partners grow "together" rather than apart.
    • Unsu...
      i can't contemplate being with someone whose mind works so different from my own. i think that ultimately true understanding will keep a couple together long term. the differences attract initially but for long term you really want someone with similar passions, interests, values, viewpoints . . . i think the more these things are aligned or similar the greater the longevity & health of the relationship.
  • My best girlfriend is an ENFP and her hubby is ISTJ. They fight like children a lot, but they are made for each other. They share all of the same fundamental values about life, so even though their approaches are opposite, they find a middle ground to make it work. They really love each other and I can't picture either of them with any one else, it wouldn't make sense. They've been together for 8 years.

    It seems like types are a good start, but by no means the ultimate authority.
    • I'm an ENFP woman dating an ISTJ man and it works really well. We are both in our mid-30s and have made our mistakes in earlier relationships. We respect and appreciate our differences, which is VERY key to this combination. I enjoy that we share similar values about making a difference in the world and treating people well - and being generous in general (I find it very difficult to date people that I find to be 'selfish'). My ISTJ had done a lot of personal growth before I met him which is a major bonus. He made a personal commitment to improve his communication and relationship skills as he recognized that they limited his previous romantic relationships. The one area where I had some worry initially was feeling that his traditional ways might "box me in" so I was very clear that I am a relatively free and creative spirit and that I need space to be myself. He 'got' this when I put it this way because he also needs space but in a different way.

      So, in short, yes a relationship between an ENFP and ISTJ can work very well yet it depends on what you want and what's most important to you. Previously I had a pretty good relationship with an ESFP who was very similar to me but he was INSANELY DISORGANIZED which I found incredibly stressful and inhibited my personal sense of freedom and creativity. In contract, I like my ISTJ because he loves to do the taxes, naturally enjoys doing the dishes and generally seems to revel in keeping things organized which means that it doesn't fall so heavily on me and I can draw on my strengths and bring fun and laughter into our lives I also had a long-term relationship with an INTJ which I didn't enjoy as much. While I admired his intellect and ambition, I found him to be judgemental about our differences - and it was always my fault according to him - and he was generally way too private and aloof.
      • i have had the exact same experience except im the enfp and im male, other than the difference in our age your spot on with my experience.... past relationships made us appreciate the way we are and i love how she does the mundane everyday tasks .... also she doesnt let me forget deadlines which i have a terrible time with. glad to see someone else having a positive istj enfp relationship
  • AJ
    offline 2
    I am married happily to an ISFJ, but that isn't the same...
    • I am in relationship whit ISTJ and it frustrating me. But on the other hand i admire to him and his control,its almost a magic for me to be able to control emotions that well. I am trying to learn from him how to control emotions but in some point i am wondering does he have emotions at all. Sometimes i think i need profesional help whit that relationship.
      • I don't think so. I know some are able to do it, but I think it depends on the degrees of your personality type. My ISTJ experience, while growth-changing, has been emotionally and physically draining just like others have mentioned. It has been 4 years, and not much changed. We have grown to be this amazing communicative couple who overcomes our differences daily, and I have learned patience, organization, and to not be so emotionally and overly dreamy. But while it has taught me so much, I am just exhausted from it.
        The work NEVER ends.
        If we spend more than a few days apart in different social circles, we have to start the work all over again. We have to re-learn to get back into our modes of communication. Whenever, I find myself needing more "NF" types around or other ENFP's, we end up fighting later. It's like we each our able to dilute our personalities enough to be together, but one thing can throw us off. As rewarding as it is to learn how to make this work, it's really not enough. It's always work, and it's something you have to be conscious of 24/7. Can it work? Probably, but you just have to decide how much you are willing to give, and you have to be straight with yourself to respect and love the ISTJ for who they are. I was disappointed for the first year or two just because I kept hoping my ISTJ would become more "NF" like. As in, I was hoping they'd one day love to go out more and be social, or one day come up with a spontaneous idea, or one day actually become as excited about learning something new as I was. But that never happens with an ISTJ. A leopard just can't change it's spots. So, you have to know that and accept it to be with and ISTJ. If not, you are gonna continually fight and be disappointed over and over. It's appealing, opposites attract, but for me, I just don't think it will work. After this relationship, I will never date an ISTJ again if I can help it. It's just not that ENFP 'dream' kind of love. It's not that dream person who loves you for you and shares your passions or encourages you to take risks and be open-minded and social. I am constantly feeling restricted from my ISTJ, or feel like he constantly wishes I was more organized, less dreamy, more grounded and less desiring to be with people. I am the one who plans all of the fun activities, and then my ISTJ complains the whole time, doubts my plans, and basically bursts my bubble, that is, UNTIL he actually experiences the trip or ENFP adventure. Then, he's thankful, excited, and more appreciative. But I don't like that he doesn't trust my ENFP sense of adventure, I always make the trip fun, but he doubts it time after time. It's like, I understand why he needs me, (to be connected to the world, to introduce interesting topics, social outings, to give him a sense of purpose, etc), but I don't understand why I need him. Yes, the house it clean, yes the bills get paid, yes he does protect and provide stability, but at what cost? For me, the cost of losing the chance at a fun, romantic, spontaneous, feeling-sharing "NF" love is a lot. And that's the bottom line. For others it may be different.
        • Wow reading these is like looking in a mirror. I am an ENFP who has been married to an ISTJ for almost 18 years, and depending on what day you catch me on, it's either ok or not. It is still difficult, after all this time. It should be easier. But same things apply; he NEVER has any idea or comes up with anything spontaneous. Left to his own devices, he stays home, does laundry, watches tv and falls asleep on the couch at 9 p.m, which drives me crazy. All of our vacations and outings are conceived, planned and organized by me. But he sucks the fun out of anything spontaneous. He doesn't "see what I get out of staying in a hotel room." He doesn't see the point in spontaneous road trips. He doesn't enjoy taking off to a blues bar, dancing and drinking.

          On the other hand, the bills are paid, the house is clean, the garbage gets put out, the toilet gets fixed, he doesn't cheat, he's loyal, he tells the truth every time, and HE SHOWS UP, every time. Unlike a couple of charismatic, spontaneous ESFPs from my past who, as fabulously fun as they were, couldn't be trusted once they were out of sight. I tell people that I finally bought the character and not the charisma. But I still do miss the charisma. Thank God I have ENFP and ESFP girlfriends I can still get wild and crazy with...
          • Oh, and he's a GREAT dad. Trump card. However, I don't know if his ISTF black/white thing will make him a great date for a teenager. To be continued.
            • I have been married to an ISTJ for nearly two years... We fell completely, passionately in love and it felt as though there was nothing either of us could have done - we were both convinced we had to be together. A few years on, that is still there but sometimes it gets a bit buried beneath the quite profound lack of common ground in our personalities! We get on much better when we're alone together than when we're doing social stuff - that seems to really strain our relationship. Also, while things are great when we can relax together, daily life together can be a struggle! I relate to all the problems everyone else has had... I get so frustrated. I plan adventures and then feel as though I'm dragging him along. He complains about my irrationality and chaos, and the way that I fill all our free time with fun things when there is boring stuff to do at home, or we need to save money, or rest. I complain that he doesn't talk to me enough and that he's not curious enough about things. I only know he's an ISTJ because I forced him to answer a questionnaire while he was trying to watch TV - the whole subject made him really grumpy. He's younger than me but so much more grown up (practically speaking). And while he's a brilliant father (we have one child together) he finds it very hard to show love for his stepchildren (I had two already, having rushed into things at an early age!) - although I know he cares for them greatly.
              There are certain things - apart from being in love, which is bound to slip out of sight occasionally in a long-term relationship - that I value enormously in him and remind me how lucky I am. One of which is that he is extraordinarily grounded... He is absolutely sure of what he thinks, all the time, and nothing can persuade him to change his mind... Not even me!
              Although I am attracted to people with a similar personality type I feel much safer with people who are less easily bored, more consistent and less emotionally volatile. Safe doesn't sound very much fun but I suppose I have experienced how un-fun it is to be hurt.
        • I can relate. The reason he doesn' trust your natural ability to come up with a fun adventure on the fly, is bc ISTJs are the epitome of "has this worked in the past?" and you and I are people who counter that with "somebody had to be the first to think of it, and DO anything, so why not TRY?"

          I highly value the "how will you ever know ANYTHING if you never try" and my husband (ISTJ) seems to think "why try, when you might fail"

          Maybe its because I don't really believe there is such a thing as failure, only the opportunity to come up with a better stradegy, or quit. I don't even care his opinion about such things anymore. I just say "keep up if you can, because this is what I am going to do with or without you"
  • My ex was an ISTJ.We loved each other madly;and when I say madly I mean madly.We meshed well in alot of areas but the deal breaker for me was that he always was so logically trying to pick me apart and put me in a "box".His favorite line was-"That doesn't make sense." It drove me insane.I am an artist and when I would be in the process of bringing a vision to life he would tell me all the problems I might run into.I don't mean to sound like a wet blanket.He had qualities I liked and sometimes his rational side was very appealing but the relationship made me start second guessing myself.I love to take risks and let the cards fall where they may.So in the end we had to go our seperate ways.
  • I have been married to an ISTJ for almost 10 years now. If you can approach the relationship with the understanding that ISTJ is the polar opposite of you and therefore balances you, it can work. The mundane/boring/detail oriented things I detest doing, he doesn't mind doing and is actually good at. He listens and supports every new and crazy idea I have, and i have a new one almost everyday.

    Likewise, he NEEDS the fun and excitement I bring to the relationship. I NEED him to talk me out of impulsive decisions without the consideration of consequences.

    For a long time and I told him so (naturally) that I felt rejected because I always initiated intimacy. Knowing (now) that ENFPs are much more loving and giving than most other people, my perspective has changed.

    Personally, I prefer my friends to be "like me" and my husband to be "opposite me".
  • I have been dating an ISTJ last year, during about 9 months. He was 1 year younger than me and didn't have a lot of relationships before, and none of them was engaging or active (they did not form a couple). I was very fascinated by him and finally felt in love but I've always kinda felt that I was going out with my worst enemy. Not that he was mean to me. But the way he sees things and judge anything (me included) was unbearable and unfair.
    I finally tried to stop the relationship - even if I was emotionally very connected and attached to him -, but it took 2 months and a lot of force of will and "reason" to do it, for both of us.

    People say the opposites attract, others that birds of a feather flock together..
    Well in this case, the first is very very strong, and I wonder wether it is possible to live a passion with someone that is like us.
    • I think that opposites do attract, yet they are the hardest relationships to maintain. However I think that if you're willing to put in the effort and understanding you can make it work. But this involves a LOT of personal strength and determination, something we're not the best at. Learning to live with an ISTJ means overcoming our fears, our weaknesses and learning to give them their own space and time alone ( all of these are so much more difficult than they sound). I only know this because I've been blessed enough to have a beautiful wife who happens to be an ISTJ ;-). But learning to get along with and love your opposite spreads a light of understanding across the bridges that connect you together.

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