Who’s the right significant other for you as an INFJ? What do healthy INFJ relationships look like?
I only ever dated two people. One was an ISFJ I’d met in college. We dated for a few months, but she broke off the relationship because I was “too deep.”
Five years later, I met my now wife through friends at church. While we’re different, we share many of the same values, and our strengths complement one another. I’m incredibly thankful for what she contributes to our family, and I love what we accomplish as a team.
But who’s right for you? And what do you need to know about INFJ relationships?
Waiting for the Right Person
INFJs tend to take their time with many things. When doing research, for instance, they often take a comprehensive, big-picture approach and pour over all the resources before synthesizing the main findings. INFJ authors may spend decades mulling over their life stories before they ever sit down to write a memoir, according to Lauren Sapala.
INFJs need time to better understand themselves before they contribute to greater humanity too. Unlike extroverts who seek to impact the people around them before they try to understand themselves, INFJs start with a foundation of self-knowledge. They, like most introverts, may take years to figure out who they really are before they determine their place in the world.
It’s no surprise, then, that many INFJs take their time in getting into relationships. They don’t rush, and they usually “do their research,” even when pressured by others. Authenticity and personal integrity are big deals.
INFJs expect a lot from the people they date and themselves. While they, like many people, want to be attracted to their significant other, shared values, meaning, and purpose are especially important. And as idealists, they’re prone to holding out for the perfect person. All these factors tend to set the bar high for potential soulmates and may delay the start of many potential INFJ relationships.
But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, considering deciding who to marry is one of the most important decisions anyone ever makes. It deserves time and careful thought.
And though an INFJ may initially connect with someone special, if that person is disrespectful on a regular basis, fails to honor boundaries, or violates major values, the INFJ may slowly remove himself or herself from the relationship and let it die.
In relationships, INFjs can be described as…
They generally aim to learn all they can about the other person and what motivates him or her, including his or her sense of humor and favorite hobbies. They then express their love through careful listening, and warm verbal affirmation. They also encourage their significant others to pursue their passions, dreams, and potentials.
INFJs feel loved when their significant others spend quality time with them and build them up with kind words. It means a ton when they are accepted and appreciated for who they are and their unique perspectives and contributions.
The challenges in many INFJ relationships tend to relate to boundaries or a lack of them. Especially in relationships with extroverts who require more time and attention, INFJs may be prone to overextending themselves and sacrificing much-needed alone time to be with their companions. While they may be able to give up solitude for a time, they’ll eventually peter out. When they do, they may end up exploding, expressing their true needs in a forceful way, or withdrawing from the relationship.
Developing extroverted feeling (Fe) and, more specifically, personal boundaries is one of the best ways an INFJ can grow. The more work he or she can do in this area, the better prepared he or she will be for a longterm relationship. Every INFJ needs to learn to advocate for his or her own needs so that he or she can achieve greater personal balance and maintain healthy relationships. But this is a learned skill.
It’s also important to realize no INFJ relationships are perfect and no one person could ever fully satisfy or fulfill an INFJ – or any human being for that matter – despite what Hollywood suggests. This is a hard pill to swallow for idealists. But that said, a relationship is still noble and worthy when you develop it with the right person. INFJs would do well to balance their idealism and hopes and dreams for the future with a bit of realism learned from other older, wiser INFJs.
So back to the original question: Who should you marry? What person – or personality type – is right for you? Visit sites like this one, and you’ll find a list of personality types who will potentially fulfill you, compliment you, or put up a fight with you.
In general, however, if you mind these two main options and go into a relationship with your “eyes wide open,” you’ll be better off.
1. You’ll be happier if you see the world the same way.
When my wife and I were going through premarital counseling, the counselor working with us pointed out that people who share the same information gathering and decision making functions (e.g. INFJ and ENFP) tend to be happier because they possess the same “worldview”: They approach life in similar ways. In the case of an INFJ and ENFP, for example, both are interested in possibilities for people and helping others grow and reach their potential, as opposed to an INFJ-ESTJ relationship where one partner is theoretical and future-minded while the other is anchored in the concrete, present world, trusting only what he or she can verify with the senses.
No doubt, the benefits of sharing the same worldview are many, including common hobbies, motivations, general beliefs about the world, and interests. The commonalities reduce conflict, and, clearly, these kinds of INFJ relationships have a lot to offer.
2. Opposites attract.
The other perspective is that opposites are best because they’re complementary. The downside of seeing the world the same way as your partner is that you’ll inevitably have blind spots: You’ll struggle to pay attention to certain parts of the world and aspects of life (e.g. practical logic, hands-on chores, maintenance tasks, etc.). One of the many reasons I’m thankful I married my ISTJ wife is that she’s so good at taking care of our physical needs. Whereas I’m a thinker, creative, and long-term planner, she’s a practically-minded, detail-oriented, show-me-the-facts chore powerhouse. INFJ relationships comprised of partners with major differences can “watch each other’s backs.” They can also help each other grow and provide relief and support to one another in areas where the other lacks. Finally, they don’t compete for the same niche. It’s obvious that their gifts differ, and they tend to appreciate each other’s strengths.
The Most Important Considerations
In her book INFJs in Love, Megan Malone observes that an INFJ can be happy in a relationship with any personality type. What’s most important in INFJ relationships is that the INFJs and their partners share the same core values. Additionally, they need to respect, love, and remain committed, while appreciating each other as they are and supporting each other’s personal growth. In the end, character and values always trump personality.
Recovering From Break-Ups
If you’re an INFJ recovering from a breakup, keep in mind that you’ll need time to process. Time is essential to clearheaded reflection and healing following the dissolution of INFJ relationships. It also gives you opportunities to invest in interests, friendships, and other important parts of life. Growing in another area and gleaning from your experience can help you get your feet back on the ground. Keep in mind that the amount of processing time an INFJ needs depends on how invested he or she was in the relationship, the health of the relationship, and each individual’s personal life experiences.
If you’re an INFJ recovering from a break-up, aim to balance time alone with time with others. As an introvert and deeply reflective, thoughtful person, you’ll need alone time to think things through and recharge. At the same time, as a person wired for people and meaningful connection, some of the best healing will come from the time you spend with small groups of close friends and family. Furthermore, you may want to push yourself to escape from negative thoughts and be with others – even when you don’t feel like it. INFJs are prone to highs and lows, and after a major stressor like a breakup, you’d be wise to guard against depression.
Reflect and chew on uplifting thoughts, and seek out trustworthy people who can listen to and advise you wisely from time to time. Keep in mind that you need to think aloud to process many of your thoughts and feelings.
Also, see a counselor, psychiatrist, or another professional if you feel you need to. Many INFJs find great comfort from talking with professionals.