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Considering an ESFJ for Marriage... intj and esfj, marriage
Old 01-15-2009, 05:26 PM   #1
chipdouglas
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Hi guys, new 25 year-old male here. Been interested in personality types since I hit double digits, and have tested INTJ for a decade. I know there is room for misinterpretation, but to give you an idea of where I am within the INTJ type, I recently tested:

I (44%)
N (75%)
T (100%)
J (44%)


I used the search function to explore members' compatibility with the ESFJ type, and I am loath to acknowledge it seems uniquely grim. Been at it for 1.5 years though, so I don't want to give it up without a second opinion. For what it's worth, she scored strong in all ESFJ categories (especially J).

We are not having any problems and by rights this should be consummated with marriage. However, I recognize that the enamor will wear off sooner or later. Because I see marriage as a non-negotiable lifetime contract, I don't want to "test-drive" it only to find once the smoke clears that we really have nothing in common. She, on the other hand, "believes in love" and thinks my preoccupation with logistics/statistics is unromantic and unproductive.

Here is a look at our compatibility now, though let me preface the "weaknesses" by saying I have my own, partially-INTJ-related weaknesses: emotional detachment, coldness, self-absorption, poor listener, etc.

COMPATIBILITY STRENGTHS

E: In this category she complements me well because she can be the social half and introduce me, or allow me to seek solitude, in larger social settings.

S: She helps me execute plans today and plan the micro-level stuff as I dream about achieving longer-range goals tomorrow. I would rather have iNtuitive here, but the S has its merits.

F: She complements me well as I sometimes have a complete lack of empathy. I love how loyal she is to me, and I know she would never do anything intentional to hurt me. I love her but she probably loves me far more, so I guess that's a strength. I love how she always looks after me and wants to make sure my needs are met. She is also a great listener, which might also be related to F?

J: We are pretty close in this category, and both appreciate the idea of taking control of our own lives and planning.

COMPATIBILITY WEAKNESSES

E: She is in the unique situation of being "new" (6 years) to the area but never made friends here because she went to college cross-state. Consequently, her social network is her family, and a CONSTANT one. The immediate family is tolerable in moderation, but the extended family (whom she sees 2-3 times a week) is full of loud and belligerent SF women who wear masculine personality qualities. The males present are stereotyped, subjugated, and berated wholesale. I am assertive enough to keep this in check when it's just us, but the family is a recipe for an INTJ PANIC ATTACK and these gatherings are FREQUENT.

S: I like to debate; discuss; philosophize; and talk about themes, patterns, and motives. This kind of thought causes her stress. It is of endless frustration to me that when we disagree about something, I will feel as if I have her backed into a corner on a point with no wiggle room. Game, set, match, right? Well she will bow out, and I am confident I have disabused her of the notion. In fact, what I always find out weeks later is (1) she did NOT accept defeat and continues to believe and propagate the same point in the same form as if the discussion had never occurred, (2) she took the whole disagreement as an expression of my contempt for her rather than an emotionally-detached comparison of reasoning processes, and (3) there was zero intellectual activity going on in her mind at the time of discussion. Also, her complete inability to discern nuance can be another problem.

F: She is very easily manipulable and responds exclusively to emotional cues. There is a huge component of guilt manipulation in her family, and she is constantly making 3+ hour weekly trips round the region to see extended family for fear of "wronging" them. She can be wrangled into doing any number of huge favors for loved ones at any time for any reason no matter the inconvenience to her (or me). We're talking dozens of early-morning trips each month to take tenuous family members to the airport, etc. This often encroaches on her life (e.g., time off work) and is more appropriate for another person to do (e.g., that person's children who are available). Additionally, the SF presence *completely* clouds her judgment on values issues: generally, she cannot believe anything negative about people close to her. A specific example: a blood-related aunt cheated on the uncle, but the blame is exclusively on the uncle and boys because the uncle "wasn't taking care of himself" and the boys "are giving their mother too hard a time" about it.

J: We more or less get along in this category, as it is the only one we share. The only thing, and I don't know if it's a J issue, is that as a weaker J, I am more willing to take risks professionally. For example, she is pursuing a very traditional, structured, and predictable career, while I am trying to juggle a part-time managerial gig as I develop a B2B tech startup. We are both just out of college and she wants to get married sooner than later, so she thinks it is slightly irresponsible that I am not pursuing something more "safe" and predictable.

In retrospect, clearly this is as much about saying my piece as it is about getting feedback. Nevertheless, I hope here to get your thoughts, reactions, insights, anecdotes, etc. Thanks!
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Old 01-15-2009, 05:50 PM   #2
Synamon
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Great post. One caveat, the threads on here are people discussing problems because no one posts about their life when everything is working.

I've been married to an ESFJ forever (21 years) and it works great for me. There were and are a lot of compromises. There have to be in order for a relationship with an opposite type to work. On the plus side, you both gain balance and understanding.

E/I
It takes a lot of effort on the INTJs part to get the ESFJ to understand that we really, really don't want to socialize as much as they do and that it is ok, even awesome, if they go do that all on their own and leave us at home. Really, we like it. You will also have to just suck it up and tag along sometimes. Negotiating is required to find some balance you can both live with.

S/N
The other big adjustment is that ESFJs want a "helpmate" and NTs want an intellectual connection. Those are not the same thing, I would recommend you read David Keirsey's Please Understand Me II for more details on that. For intellectual stimulation I look to places like this forum and friends. He's happy when I do little things around the house.

T/F
Misunderstandings occur all the time. Communication is a bit of a challenge. The way you say something to an F is as important as what you say. They do not like criticism, period. They also like displays of affection, they can't get enough, so suck it up and hug and kiss them alot. You'll get used to it.

You seem to have a good grasp of the differences between you. It can work, if you both want it to and both work at it. Best of luck.
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Old 01-15-2009, 06:15 PM   #3
Zombicide
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  Originally Posted by chipdouglas
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COMPATIBILITY STRENGTHS[/B]
E: In this category she complements me well because she can be the social half and introduce me, or allow me to seek solitude, in larger social settings.

I don't get what her being an E does to allow you to seek solitude in large social settings.

If you have to question it, then you probably shouldn't marry her. Then again, it sounds like you've been stringing her along, so maybe you shouldn't have done that and should marry (settle for) her for her sake. If it doesn't work out, it won't work out. Doesn't matter. Marry her, don't marry her, you'll figure it out.

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Old 01-15-2009, 06:28 PM   #4
Synamon
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  Originally Posted by Zombicide
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I don't get what her being an E does to allow you to seek solitude in large social settings.

In a group setting an E takes the social burden off the I. You just have to smile and nod now and then and let the extrovert do their thing, chatting with and charming everyone. No one really notices that you aren't involved in the conversation, you just have to be physically present and can retreat into your head.

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Old 01-15-2009, 06:35 PM   #5
Sesquipedalian
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Firstly, let me point out something that you may not have noticed. See that weaknesses list? Notice how each category is about 3x longer than the strengths? That might or might not have something to say about the state of your relationship since INTJs tend to be critically-minded, but I'd think that you'd have more positive things to say about someone you're considering spending the rest of your life with.

My second point is not a point but a question: With the strengths... Are you trying to convince yourself that these are reasons to take the next step, or do you truly value those things in her? I dated an ESFP for close to 2 years and a long time after we broke up I realized something... We wouldn't have been together that long save for the fact that I had actually managed to rationalize how her strengths were beneficial to me.

Thirdly, let me ask you this... Are you both equally invested in the relationship? I ask you this not to judge whether or not she loves you, but whether or not she actually realizes how hard you're working at it vs. how hard she's working at it. The fact is, I wouldn't have stayed with my ESFP as long as I had if it weren't for the fact that I catered to her and put in 90% of the effort. What's worse, when things turned bad toward the end, she actually genuinely thought she was trying harder when in reality she wasn't trying any more than a rain "tries" to fall out of the sky when the humidity gets high enough. If she was angry, she expressed it. If she was frustrated with me, she expressed it. If she didn't want me to talk to that one girl that I clicked with in a platonic way, she told me about it and expected me not to spend time with her anymore lest she get upset with me and respond in an emotionally juvenile way. If you find yourself catering to her constantly then take a step back and examine things. You shouldn't be catered to either, there should be a fairly even give and take.

Fourth, take note that marriage only makes life harder initially. It will create far more problems than it will solve, and if you're actually ready for this thing then you should expect to be saying sorry, admitting you were wrong, and humbling yourself when necessary. Two proud, stubborn, unforgiving people getting into marriage is a recipe for disaster. Furthermore, you will be marrying her family, and as an F, good luck convincing her that they're selfish anuses who need to be cut off.

I'd say that, in general, INTJ + ESFJ is a horrible match. I and many other members on here believe that life is a whole heck of a lot better and easier when you match Ns with Ns and Ss with Ss. I do think matching Ts with Fs is a good idea and the I/E thing is negotiable, although personally I prefer to be more of a recluse so I like me some I :P. J/P also not a huge factor for me.

HOWEVER, if you're mature enough to learn how to best communicate with her in an S fashion, and don't expect to get any sort of intellectual stimulation or debate out of her, then sure, it could work. You'd be marrying someone that couldn't be your "everything" becuase she's not going to want to be quircky and creative and discuss all of the possibilities and delve deep into the intellectual minutia. If you're okay with that, then great. If you aren't, the think long and hard because the inconvenience and sadness of breaking up with her now is far exceeded by the angry hurt and bitterness of divorce.
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Old 01-15-2009, 06:44 PM   #6
Zombicide
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  Originally Posted by Synamon
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In a group setting an E takes the social burden off the I. You just have to smile and nod now and then and let the extrovert do their thing, chatting with and charming everyone. No one really notices that you aren't involved in the conversation, you just have to be physically present and can retreat into your head.

Oh, in my experience they've (embarrassingly) attempted to get me involved in conversations or complained and even gotten angry that I wasn't socializing / acting normal and that that should be considered shameful, so I've actually found the opposite to be true but I suppose others have had different experiences.

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Old 01-15-2009, 07:22 PM   #7
Zilal
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I wouldn't think about MBTI types... just look at how your values and hers match up. Do you have similar ideas about how you should treat each other? Handle conflicts, money, children?
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Old 01-15-2009, 07:23 PM   #8
Marcus
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  Originally Posted by chipdouglas
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We are both just out of college and she wants to get married sooner than later, so she thinks it is slightly irresponsible that I am not pursuing something more "safe" and predictable.

That's instinctive, IMHO. She needs (financial) security before having babies (and she has a biological urge to do it before 30). I think it's not healthy to sacrifice your risky, but probably more prospective carrier for a safe path when you're a 25 year old male.

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Old 01-15-2009, 07:30 PM   #9
amberlinen
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My mother is ESFJ, and I love her very much. But I don't understand why an INT would want to marry an ESFJ. I think something in common on important values and intellectual exchange is a must in a long term romantic relationship, but maybe it's me who value those too much.

Practically speaking what makes the marriage lasting is how you act during arguments. If her criticism doesn't escalate into personal attack, and you don't become stonewalling (being silent and not respond a word), and both of you don't belittle each other on the areas of weakness, then I guess it won't be too bad.
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Old 01-15-2009, 07:40 PM   #10
Synamon
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  Originally Posted by amberlinen
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My mother is ESFJ, and I love her very much. But I don't understand why an INT would want to marry an ESFJ. I think something in common on important values and intellectual exchange is a must in a long term romantic relationship, but maybe it's me who value those too much.

MBTI personality type is only one facet of someone's nature, specifically how they process information and come to decisions. ESFJs and INTJs can share the same set of values, the same sense of humor, many of the same interests, the same ideology, the same goals, the same <insert whatever here>. A relationship with an opposite type can be complimentary instead of conflicted.

You may have noticed that not all INTJs on this forum are on the same side of every issue. Matching or similar MBTI types is no guarantee of a fit in values.

 
Practically speaking what makes the marriage lasting is how you act during arguments. If her criticism doesn't escalate into personal attack, and you don't become stonewalling (being silent and not respond a word), and both of you don't belittle each other on the areas of weakness, then I guess it won't be too bad.

Excellent advice, communication is key in all long term relationships.

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Old 01-15-2009, 07:53 PM   #11
SeaCzar
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  Originally Posted by Sesquipedalian
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Firstly, let me point out something that you may not have noticed. See that weaknesses list? Notice how each category is about 3x longer than the strengths? That might or might not have something to say about the state of your relationship since INTJs tend to be critically-minded, but I'd think that you'd have more positive things to say about someone you're considering spending the rest of your life with.


This is the first thing I noticed as well.

  Originally Posted by chipdouglas
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Because I see marriage as a non-negotiable lifetime contract, I don't want to "test-drive" it only to find once the smoke clears that we really have nothing in common. She, on the other hand, "believes in love" and thinks my preoccupation with logistics/statistics is unromantic and unproductive.

This alone should throw up a red flag.

  Originally Posted by chipdouglas
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Consequently, her social network is her family, and a CONSTANT one. The immediate family is tolerable in moderation, but the extended family (whom she sees 2-3 times a week) is full of loud and belligerent SF women who wear masculine personality qualities. The males present are stereotyped, subjugated, and berated wholesale. I am assertive enough to keep this in check when it's just us, but the family is a recipe for an INTJ PANIC ATTACK and these gatherings are FREQUENT.

Here's another red flag. Unless separated by geography, when you marry, you are not just marrying the woman, but the family as well. Something tells me the herd here will eventually have you stereotyped, subjugated and berated wholesale, like it or not.

  Originally Posted by chipdouglas
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I like to debate; discuss; philosophize; and talk about themes, patterns, and motives. This kind of thought causes her stress. It is of endless frustration to me that when we disagree about something, I will feel as if I have her backed into a corner on a point with no wiggle room. Game, set, match, right? Well she will bow out, and I am confident I have disabused her of the notion. In fact, what I always find out weeks later is (1) she did NOT accept defeat and continues to believe and propagate the same point in the same form as if the discussion had never occurred, (2) she took the whole disagreement as an expression of my contempt for her rather than an emotionally-detached comparison of reasoning processes, and (3) there was zero intellectual activity going on in her mind at the time of discussion. Also, her complete inability to discern nuance can be another problem.

This is not a red flag, but, for me, a total deal breaker. Could you live with this for the rest of your life? Think about this. You would be confined to small talk about the weather and other niceties for fear of starting an unending arguement/disagreement.


  Originally Posted by chipdouglas
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She is very easily manipulable and responds exclusively to emotional cues. There is a huge component of guilt manipulation in her family, and she is constantly making 3+ hour weekly trips round the region to see extended family for fear of "wronging" them. She can be wrangled into doing any number of huge favors for loved ones at any time for any reason no matter the inconvenience to her (or me). We're talking dozens of early-morning trips each month to take tenuous family members to the airport, etc. This often encroaches on her life (e.g., time off work) and is more appropriate for another person to do (e.g., that person's children who are available). Additionally, the SF presence *completely* clouds her judgment on values issues: generally, she cannot believe anything negative about people close to her. A specific example: a blood-related aunt cheated on the uncle, but the blame is exclusively on the uncle and boys because the uncle "wasn't taking care of himself" and the boys "are giving their mother too hard a time" about it.

This smacks of neediness and someone who literally cannot see the forest through the trees.

Apologies for the harshness of these comments, but you did ask for feedback. Further, I would think that you know something is awry, or you would not have posted this to begin with. Marriage these days has less that a 50% chance at success. If you see marriage as a non-negotiable lifetime contract and want to marry this girl, I would suggest at least an iron-clad prenup.

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Old 01-15-2009, 08:40 PM   #12
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I am an INFJ so a little bit different (although probably the personality type most similar to an INTJ--my F preference is very low), but I was married to an ESFJ for almost 8 years.

Benefits:

1. I grew in so many ways as a person--learned to communicate better, be more outgoing, and became more well-rounded.

2. He made friends so easily and did all the socializing as you mentioned.

3. I could (and still do) easily manipulate him which gave me a lot of control over the relationship.

4. He was very loyal and a great friend, and we shared many of the same values.


Negatives:

1. Our communication on all of our major issues was horrible, and no matter how much I tried, it only got tolerable and never even up to good.

2. There was no mental connection, and I need that to stay interested sexually in a person. I eventually became frigid and uninterested in sex except at certain times of the month when my body had a craving for it. We ended up divorcing because of his constant and repeated inability to stay faithful, but it was very civil and we remain friends since I don't blame him at all.

3. I could not fully respect or treat as an equal anyone with such a limited narrow-minded view of the world, and he had problems feeling inferior to me. As a result of not being able to really respect him, I could not really fall in love with him.

4. His family was full of interfering ESFJ women who were controlling and manipulative and tried to constantly interfere in our lives. When we had a child together things got WAY worse. Family is a huge issue if you are considering children.

There are more, but those were the main ones.

I am currently with an INTJ, and the difference is unbelievable. We definitely have a few communication issues with the F/T difference, but it's more that he doesn't really "get" or understand my emotional needs. However, since we communicate really well, as long as I am clear and rational in conveying what they are and explicit about what he needs to do to meet them, he is good at meeting them as best he can. The mental connection though is what is amazing; I think without that your average INFJ/INTJ will slowly lose interest in regular, constant sex with the same person over a long period of time if their biological need for it is not incredibly strong.

I could go on and on, but the best way to sum this up is that I think on average (with a few exceptions like Synamon) that a relationship with an ESFJ would be great for a period of a few years, but not for a lifetime. The communication and the family issue would be too big, in my opinion, to make that kind of permanent commitment to someone.
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Old 01-15-2009, 08:44 PM   #13
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Does she realize that love also has a practical aspect? Believing in love is idealistic no matter how right it feels for her.

Would she be willing to move away from the family? If not, it might be the thorn in your side and cause a great deal of unnecessary stress and friction even if you are both compatible enough.
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Old 01-15-2009, 08:56 PM   #14
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hmmm...me thinks if you need to post to a forum to decide, she's ain't the right one buddy!
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Old 01-15-2009, 09:12 PM   #15
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You may find a few comments in this thread helpful as well.


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Old 01-16-2009, 01:49 PM   #16
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PREFACE: I'm aware this post is a doozie.

I see that many picked up on the disparate lengths of the Pro/Con sections. I assure you, that is a function of (a) my preference for criticism over praise (as Sesquipedalian picked up on), (b) my LOVE of commiseration, and (c) my interest in what YOU guys think about the problems, because of course I can already deal with her strengths... In fact, I considered leaving the Strengths part out entirely to avoid this misunderstanding; obviously it is too late for that. Nevertheless, it is clear at this point that it was disingenuous of me to say "we are not having any problems." What I really mean is we are not having any MAJOR problems.

It is clear from some people that an INTJ-ESFJ partnership is possible--if not happy--but what I hope to learn from the people who associate with ESFJs, especially in a romantic context, is can an INTJ-ESFJ partnership be mutually rewarding in the long term? It sounds like, save for 1 or 2 of you, the thought of an ESFJ's companionship sends chills down your spine. If so, is this coming from people with good ESFJ experience or is this just a reflex?

Zombicide: When I say she also allows me to "seek solitude," what I mean is she is willing and able, if only subconsciously, to represent "us" at a social function with little input from me. This gives me the chance to retreat elsewhere or, as Synamon said, into my own head. This does work, but I have also found myself in situations like yours, with Es verbally suggesting I socialize with people who can hear the suggestion. That's annoying.

Sesquipedalian: Some more context is in order. I guess I got lucky for an INTJ in high school, because I never had a problem getting a girlfriend. But between a term in the Marines (don't try it; it's an INTJ NIGHTMARE) and college, I found myself in situations where incompetence and logistics teamed up to produce a 5-year bachelor streak. This led to some desperation which is admittedly responsible for some of the present relationship. For that reason, yes, my attempts to describe her opposite qualities as "complements" to mine may just be feelgood spin. In fact, I have very strong friendships with a few NTs with whom I will spend several hours talking, so clearly, stronger similarities in personality seem to contribute to more natural and rewarding relationships.

At my age, the amount of time it takes to determine real compatibility, my personality type, and my investment in the relationship so far, it is understandably terrifying to think of breaking it off. For what it's worth, her compromises thus far have far exceeded mine: despite her impressive professional achievements, she is willing to move anywhere I want, let me choose how or if we have kids, and makes no serious protests about the prospect of waiting a few years to let me figure my financial life out before popping the question. In other words, there will be at most one stubborn person in the relationship...

Zilal: Our "values" regarding how we treat each other, handle money and children, etc., match up very well. At the moment, we are different ideologically. However, it is difficult to call hers an ideology because it appeals to gnostic emotional revelation as a way of "knowing," which is enough to crash any INTJ's computer.

Just for fun: last night, she informed me that people have a "right" to see "exciting architecture" (presumably at a cost to taxpayers et al.). When I explained to her that they literally do not have any such "right," she was appalled at my callousness. I asked her if the people who never get to experience the joy of bubble gum have a "right" to chew it, or if we have a "right" to see "exciting movies," to establish where we draw lines on essential human rights. Another game, set, match? Of course not: I know it went right over her head, and she believes anybody she can muster empathy for ought to be afforded draconian legal provisions at any cost to others. And generally, her worldview-preservation technique seems to consist of dismissing her own outright, acknowledged contradictions, or intellectual defeat, as attributable to my "nerdiness" (however endearingly) rather than to insufficient ideas or her insufficient defense of those ideas. She may still be ideologically curious, then... I just have to figure out how to communicate my ideas to her with something other than... logic.

SeaCzar: Appreciate someone, for once, who can empathize with my futile attempts to reason and communicate with an SF. And you're right: I hate to acknowledge it and I've probably known it all along, but the family situation is probably a wash. Dad is more or less loaded, so even if we moved cross-country, it is likely that he would be only too happy to "help" us make it back home 5+ times a year each time we had a vacation. This would at least solve the larger extended family problem, but in moving I would be giving up 25 years of area connections (friends and family) that even she doesn't have. Also, if it's of any interest, the 50% divorce statistic is a "myth" according to some for various reasons (e.g., does not account for current, intact marriages). At one point nearly 30 years ago it was true, averaged through a lifetime. But all numbers regarding my particular demographic (white, 25+, first marriage) suggest a divorce rate from 1 in 3 to 1 in 5. In other words, holding personality compatibility constant, the chances of the marriage lasting range from 66%-80%.

Blossom: Concerned about your intimacy disclaimer, and about not staying interested in somebody you can't connect with. Also not excited about merely "toughing it out" with somebody whose communication style may as well put them in outer space. She is not cavalier about children but "would like to" with me; tentatively, I was planning on 1 or 2 at the most. Bad idea? By the way, how did the controlling ESFJ women interfere and how tolerable was it? I may be experiencing this, as the mother's expectations of me seem to suggest she thinks I am dating her as well as her daughter. I have already told the GF, "tongue-in-cheek," that if her mother thinks I'm dating both of them, she's in for a long disappointment.

Countrygirl: I'm with you. Found this quote somewhere:

 
Busby addressed different myths that have the potential to break a marriage. One of these is the myth that love is enough. "So much of marriage is, in my view, commitment," Busby said. "Emotions come and go." Busby said another potentially problematic myth is a completely spiritual approach to choosing a mate will work. He warned against "shortchanging the brain."

I have my work cut out if I hope to persuade her of this.

The biggest issues I see so far are (1) her utter inability, even refusal, to communicate on an NT plane and (2) the ceaseless family meddling, with their penchant for inappropriately assuming control and emotionally manipulating anyone they can.

Naturally, any further insight/responses/anecdotes are welcome. Thanks for what I've got so far.

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Old 01-16-2009, 02:13 PM   #17
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  Originally Posted by chipdouglas
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S: I like to debate; discuss; philosophize; and talk about themes, patterns, and motives. This kind of thought causes her stress. It is of endless frustration to me that when we disagree about something, I will feel as if I have her backed into a corner on a point with no wiggle room. Game, set, match, right? Well she will bow out, and I am confident I have disabused her of the notion. In fact, what I always find out weeks later is (1) she did NOT accept defeat and continues to believe and propagate the same point in the same form as if the discussion had never occurred, (2) she took the whole disagreement as an expression of my contempt for her rather than an emotionally-detached comparison of reasoning processes, and (3) there was zero intellectual activity going on in her mind at the time of discussion. Also, her complete inability to discern nuance can be another problem.

This part really struck a chord with me. It brung back so many arguments I've had and thought were a closed matter only to have them resurface weeks later with renewed strength.

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Old 01-16-2009, 03:59 PM   #18
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  Originally Posted by Synamon
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You may have noticed that not all INTJs on this forum are on the same side of every issue. Matching or similar MBTI types is no guarantee of a fit in values..

I know what you are saying. I guess it's more problematic if it's a strong N vs. a strong S.

********

Just to add 2 more things to chipdouglas, from the experience from my parents' INT vs. ESF marriage, and also from my experience dealing with my mom.

1. In the main post the clearly shown contempt towards her intellectual ability writes disasters all over the place. If you want to live with a person you have to be humble and respect her values from your heart.

In order to be humble you should think like this: Book smart doesn't make you a better person. Any monkey can get an insight from a book. But when ESFJ have any insight coming from their experience, that's truly amazing, because that's the wisdom of life.

ESFJ doesn't need a professor who doesn't care about her. She doesn't need intellectual debates to prove who's smarter. She needs someone who can acknowledge her contributions and her feelings, mainly her contributions because she can truly be a very caring person towards family.

Give her what she wants.


2. Because ESFJs get their insight from experience, they can be very naive when they are young. That makes you the only person responsible for your future happiness, because you are the only person who's capable of seeing things beforehand using your book smart.

You know what you're getting into. If there's anything wrong, don't blame her because she wouldn't know better; blame yourself because you are too lazy/stubborn/stupid to devise a good communication system to make sure of your happiness.

you know how to do this, don't you? Go read a few good books or seek professional opinions.

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Old 01-16-2009, 05:04 PM   #19
blossom
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  Originally Posted by chipdouglas
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At my age, the amount of time it takes to determine real compatibility, my personality type, and my investment in the relationship so far, it is understandably terrifying to think of breaking it off. For what it's worth, her compromises thus far have far exceeded mine: despite her impressive professional achievements, she is willing to move anywhere I want, let me choose how or if we have kids, and makes no serious protests about the prospect of waiting a few years to let me figure my financial life out before popping the question. In other words, there will be at most one stubborn person in the relationship...


Blossom: Concerned about your intimacy disclaimer, and about not staying interested in somebody you can't connect with. Also not excited about merely "toughing it out" with somebody whose communication style may as well put them in outer space. She is not cavalier about children but "would like to" with me; tentatively, I was planning on 1 or 2 at the most. Bad idea? By the way, how did the controlling ESFJ women interfere and how tolerable was it? I may be experiencing this, as the mother's expectations of me seem to suggest she thinks I am dating her as well as her daughter. I have already told the GF, "tongue-in-cheek," that if her mother thinks I'm dating both of them, she's in for a long disappointment.


The ESFJ women that I know (obviously I can't speak for all of them) feel very strongly about the way children are raised, and think their opinions and views on child-raising are the only right ones and will severely criticize and try to manipulate anyone who is not following their way. My guess would be that her family would "influence" her into raising your children the way that they think is right. If your views differed from theirs, you would not only be attacked yourself, but it would cause severe stress on the relationship between you and your wife. Since women are often (don't know if this is your plan or not) the primary influence and care-giver of children, your influence will have to be subtle, and you may end up for the sake of your marriage needing to allow her family to essentially raise your kids.

Another point to consider is that while she may be willing right now to let you decide whether or not to have kids, most likely when she reaches her 30s or so, she will definitely want them if you have decided not to have them. And don't forget her family's influence on this matter too such as making her feel like an outcast, less of a woman, missing out on something in life, etc. There is no way a 20-something can predict that they will be okay with never having children, and I do not think that is something that should or really can be only one person's decision (unless it is for medical reasons) without causing serious problems. You should make this decision assuming at some point you will most likely have children with her if your marriage is to be permanent.

As I've stated, my opinion is that you could have a more rewarding, deeper, and easier relationship with an intuitive, particularly an NF, but they are so rare to find--especially one that is in your age range, well-balanced, and available. On the other hand you already have someone with all the benefits in the first paragraph I quoted above. If you do decide to make it work, I would strongly suggest that you look at the threads on relationships between intuitives and sensors. There are several people here who are in relationships similar to what you are describing who have given excellent practical tips on how to make things work.

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Old 01-16-2009, 10:30 PM   #20
SeaCzar
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  Originally Posted by chipdouglas
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What I really mean is we are not having any MAJOR problems.......

........yet. Your original post was very articulate, analytical and well thought out (how INTJ of you). You're obviously a smart guy. However, I read in that post that you have anticipated the pathway that this relationship will take, and from what I see, it seems that you are knowingly going in a direction that you do not wish to take. Perhaps I am interpreting this incorrectly.




  Originally Posted by chipdouglas
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It is clear from some people that an INTJ-ESFJ partnership is possible--if not happy--but what I hope to learn from the people who associate with ESFJs, especially in a romantic context, is can an INTJ-ESFJ partnership be mutually rewarding in the long term? It sounds like, save for 1 or 2 of you, the thought of an ESFJ's companionship sends chills down your spine. If so, is this coming from people with good ESFJ experience or is this just a reflex?

Experience. My (ex) wife was an ESFx. I cannot conceive of a more disasterous ending. I have not seen my daughter in more than 12 years. In a romantic context, it was, at the beginning, intoxicating. It was a whole new reality because of the NT/SF differences. It gave me a different perspective that, not having been previously exposed to, was initially intriguing. However, as you said, once the smoke clears, and it got down to the daily grind and confronting life, it did not work at all. The relationship lacked a basic congruity which was fatal to its longevity. It ended up being the most toxic and poisonous relationship I have ever had (This is my fault. I stayed in it too long because of my daughter. In the end, it made things worse).


  Originally Posted by chipdouglas
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This led to some desperation which is admittedly responsible for some of the present relationship. For that reason, yes, my attempts to describe her opposite qualities as "complements" to mine may just be feelgood spin. In fact, I have very strong friendships with a few NTs with whom I will spend several hours talking, so clearly, stronger similarities in personality seem to contribute to more natural and rewarding relationships......... However, it is difficult to call hers an ideology because it appeals to gnostic emotional revelation as a way of "knowing," which is enough to crash any INTJ's computer.

Your words, not mine.

  Originally Posted by chipdouglas
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Just for fun: last night, she informed me that people have a "right" to see "exciting architecture" (presumably at a cost to taxpayers et al.). When I explained to her that they literally do not have any such "right," she was appalled at my callousness. I asked her if the people who never get to experience the joy of bubble gum have a "right" to chew it, or if we have a "right" to see "exciting movies," to establish where we draw lines on essential human rights. Another game, set, match? Of course not: I know it went right over her head, and she believes anybody she can muster empathy for ought to be afforded draconian legal provisions at any cost to others. And generally, her worldview-preservation technique seems to consist of dismissing her own outright, acknowledged contradictions, or intellectual defeat, as attributable to my "nerdiness" (however endearingly) rather than to insufficient ideas or her insufficient defense of those ideas. She may still be ideologically curious, then... I just have to figure out how to communicate my ideas to her with something other than... logic.

First off, this does not sound anything like "fun", at least by my definition. I would say that her arguement,IMHO, is at best irrational, and that yours makes perfect sense. Again, forest/trees.


  Originally Posted by chipdouglas
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The biggest issues I see so far are (1) her utter inability, even refusal, to communicate on an NT plane and (2) the ceaseless family meddling, with their penchant for inappropriately assuming control and emotionally manipulating anyone they can.

You seem to have decided, at least for now, that your investment in this relationship is too great to sacrifice it. I can see how you could think this, as dating is at best a pain, given the barren and vacuous landscape out there. As Synamon is an example, INTJ-ESFJ can work. Regardless of what you decide, good luck with it.

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Old 01-16-2009, 10:33 PM   #21
anamatria
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  Originally Posted by Sesquipedalian
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Firstly, let me point out something that you may not have noticed. See that weaknesses list? Notice how each category is about 3x longer than the strengths? That might or might not have something to say about the state of your relationship since INTJs tend to be critically-minded, but I'd think that you'd have more positive things to say about someone you're considering spending the rest of your life with.

My second point is not a point but a question: With the strengths... Are you trying to convince yourself that these are reasons to take the next step, or do you truly value those things in her? I dated an ESFP for close to 2 years and a long time after we broke up I realized something... We wouldn't have been together that long save for the fact that I had actually managed to rationalize how her strengths were beneficial to me.

Thirdly, let me ask you this... Are you both equally invested in the relationship? I ask you this not to judge whether or not she loves you, but whether or not she actually realizes how hard you're working at it vs. how hard she's working at it. The fact is, I wouldn't have stayed with my ESFP as long as I had if it weren't for the fact that I catered to her and put in 90% of the effort. What's worse, when things turned bad toward the end, she actually genuinely thought she was trying harder when in reality she wasn't trying any more than a rain "tries" to fall out of the sky when the humidity gets high enough. If she was angry, she expressed it. If she was frustrated with me, she expressed it. If she didn't want me to talk to that one girl that I clicked with in a platonic way, she told me about it and expected me not to spend time with her anymore lest she get upset with me and respond in an emotionally juvenile way. If you find yourself catering to her constantly then take a step back and examine things. You shouldn't be catered to either, there should be a fairly even give and take.

Fourth, take note that marriage only makes life harder initially. It will create far more problems than it will solve, and if you're actually ready for this thing then you should expect to be saying sorry, admitting you were wrong, and humbling yourself when necessary. Two proud, stubborn, unforgiving people getting into marriage is a recipe for disaster. Furthermore, you will be marrying her family, and as an F, good luck convincing her that they're selfish anuses who need to be cut off.

I'd say that, in general, INTJ + ESFJ is a horrible match. I and many other members on here believe that life is a whole heck of a lot better and easier when you match Ns with Ns and Ss with Ss. I do think matching Ts with Fs is a good idea and the I/E thing is negotiable, although personally I prefer to be more of a recluse so I like me some I :P. J/P also not a huge factor for me.

HOWEVER, if you're mature enough to learn how to best communicate with her in an S fashion, and don't expect to get any sort of intellectual stimulation or debate out of her, then sure, it could work. You'd be marrying someone that couldn't be your "everything" becuase she's not going to want to be quircky and creative and discuss all of the possibilities and delve deep into the intellectual minutia. If you're okay with that, then great. If you aren't, the think long and hard because the inconvenience and sadness of breaking up with her now is far exceeded by the angry hurt and bitterness of divorce.

Can I ask why you don't feel a T or F is a good match?

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Old 01-16-2009, 11:22 PM   #22
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I agree, this is a great post. Let me mention to you upfront that whatever bothers you in the slightest prior to marriage is usually the factor for the demise of the marriage. I'm an INTJ woman socialized in an ESFJ family. Whew! I know what you're talking about. This is how I see it (...and I might be wrong), your ESFJ will assume a role of wife (and mother after the children are born) and she will follow what she believe is the right way to be a wife. She probably will be an excellent wife but she will totally forget about who she was when you fell in love with her. That person will no longer exist because she will be worrying about how her family and extended family are viewing her. Is she measuring up to be the kind of wife and mother that everyone expects her to be? She will be more concerned with how things "look" to the outside world than the qualities that made you fall in love with her.

Let me ask you.......is your mother a SJ personality type? That will be telling as to why you gravitated to an ESFJ personality type.

Once the surface stuff is gone, will you be able to have wonderful conversations with her for the rest of your life? INTJ's need mindmates or soulmates (NF's). It will be a tough road connecting for life.

It won't hit you initially but when you've been married twenty years or so, it will hit. What typically happens is that you find someone outside the marriage to fill the gap. Life becomes complicated.

I just watched Dr. Zhivago--a movie filmed in 1965. Gosh, did it illustrate it wonderfully in that film. I bet he was an INTJ or INFJ.....and I'm sure his wife was a "SJ". Watch the movie and you will understand what I'm saying.

Good luck!

ADDENDUM: Please get out of that relationship fast. I know it will be difficult for you but you must think about your life down the road. It will not be a happy one and you will spend your life frustrated. You walk this path of life just once. It's not a dress rehearsal. Divorce is tough and staying with someone for life because you don't believe in divorce is even tougher. Don't settle--never settle. Wait the right one will come along. Sometimes that right person is packaged very differently than you ever imagined.

Romeo is a woman who is almost 60 years old. I'm telling you from observation of friends and couples that I've associated with for many years. Listen to me, I'm wise. Please don't wreck your life and the lives of your children.





Romeo added to this post, 15 minutes and 0 seconds later...

  Originally Posted by blossom
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I am an INFJ so a little bit different (although probably the personality type most similar to an INTJ--my F preference is very low), but I was married to an ESFJ for almost 8 years.

Benefits:

1. I grew in so many ways as a person--learned to communicate better, be more outgoing, and became more well-rounded.

2. He made friends so easily and did all the socializing as you mentioned.

3. I could (and still do) easily manipulate him which gave me a lot of control over the relationship.

4. He was very loyal and a great friend, and we shared many of the same values.


Negatives:

1. Our communication on all of our major issues was horrible, and no matter how much I tried, it only got tolerable and never even up to good.

2. There was no mental connection, and I need that to stay interested sexually in a person. I eventually became frigid and uninterested in sex except at certain times of the month when my body had a craving for it. We ended up divorcing because of his constant and repeated inability to stay faithful, but it was very civil and we remain friends since I don't blame him at all.

3. I could not fully respect or treat as an equal anyone with such a limited narrow-minded view of the world, and he had problems feeling inferior to me. As a result of not being able to really respect him, I could not really fall in love with him.

4. His family was full of interfering ESFJ women who were controlling and manipulative and tried to constantly interfere in our lives. When we had a child together things got WAY worse. Family is a huge issue if you are considering children.

There are more, but those were the main ones.

I am currently with an INTJ, and the difference is unbelievable. We definitely have a few communication issues with the F/T difference, but it's more that he doesn't really "get" or understand my emotional needs. However, since we communicate really well, as long as I am clear and rational in conveying what they are and explicit about what he needs to do to meet them, he is good at meeting them as best he can. The mental connection though is what is amazing; I think without that your average INFJ/INTJ will slowly lose interest in regular, constant sex with the same person over a long period of time if their biological need for it is not incredibly strong.

I could go on and on, but the best way to sum this up is that I think on average (with a few exceptions like Synamon) that a relationship with an ESFJ would be great for a period of a few years, but not for a lifetime. The communication and the family issue would be too big, in my opinion, to make that kind of permanent commitment to someone.

Gosh, this sounds like my marriage. I'm so happy that I'm divorced. It was murder and I stuck it out for 35 years of my life because I didn't believe in divorce. I can't believe I was such a jerk.





Romeo added to this post, 5 minutes and 54 seconds later...

BTW--Sesquipedalian, you're brilliant!

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Old 01-16-2009, 11:46 PM   #23
BostonIan
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  Originally Posted by Zhen
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hmmm...me thinks if you need to post to a forum to decide, she's ain't the right one buddy!

I go the opposite way. If you're considering marriage even though you're not at biological-clock age, even though marriage and children presumably aren't an immediate goal, even though your list of negatives outweigh the positive threefold, even though you're a Logical, then she must be pretty dang marriageable.

Nothing's perfect. Peeling away when you're so close is silly. You kids have my blessing.

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Old 01-17-2009, 12:59 AM   #24
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  Originally Posted by chipdouglas
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she scored strong in all ESFJ categories (especially J).


ESFJ with a stong J? my god
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set your house on fire and flee!

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PS. Don't forget to take one of her pairs of panties

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Old 01-17-2009, 06:09 PM   #25
chipdouglas
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Thanks for the feedback so far, guys.

It's clear to me now, as it has been to all of you since the original post, that I'm looking for reasons to stay in this. Hopefully that's understandable with what I have invested in this at the moment. I'm going to take the consensus opinion as: successful INTJ-ESFJ marriages are POSSIBLE but unlikely, and even when they are successful, it is likely that neither mate will feel very satisfied with their partner's ability to emotionally or intellectually stimulate them. This certainly puts me in a difficult place, and other INTJs should relate to the induced panic of leaving a [temporarily] satisfying relationship to go find one of the rare iNtuitives,
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. Working the dating scene as an INTJ is terrifying enough, and made even more daunting by the thought of starting at 25 and sifting individually through the 73.3% of Sensors out there, an investigative process which could take weeks or months EACH before you blow the bridge.

THE FINAL QUESTION
Like most kids, probably, I started out as a Sensor, but my Introverted nature encouraged me to write a lot. For 6 years now I have written down my thoughts, opinions, etc., in a private journal on the computer. Now twice the length of the Bible, this (and compiling huge "cheat sheets" for common debates I have) may make me sound like a serial killer with Asperger's. In fact, it hugely cultivated my iNtuitive side: I am now capable of writing and speaking more articulately, more rationally, with a better vocabulary, and am able to discern nuance far better than when I was a Sensor. My question is obviously borne of desperation, but I know I can count on INTJs to look past that and analyze it for its merits: what do you guys think about the possibility of suggesting that she keep such a journal everyday to develop her iNtuitive side? I know marrying somebody on the condition of being able to change them is never the best solution. However, I do genuinely love her and want to know if this would be a helpful measure. And in the interest of equity--and sustenance--I am likewise willing to consult her and find out what components of my personality she would like to see closer to hers, and how she would recommend doing this.

Thoughts? (AND BELIEVE ME: I AM FULLY AWARE OF MY DESPERATION, AND WHEN I ULTIMATELY DO ACT, IT WILL BE ON REASON, NOT ON EMOTION.)
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