Grief and relationships

topic posted Sat, December 16, 2006 - 4:40 PM by  Spirit
I really struggle with relationships, just struggle. Over the past 6 years I have gone through 3 on again off again relationships with men. Long term, painful, mistakes I am beginning to see.

As an INFP I realize that it is difficult for me to end relationships. The guy has usually moved on and started dating others. I'm still struggling with the loss. Then once I get to a good place, start dating again, the ex reappears. It's almost as if they can tell that I've moved on. They come back, sad, their new relationship hasn't worked out, they want to "talk" about how they had feelings for me etc, but couldn't deal with them.

The thing that baffles me is that each one of these guys has done the same thing, left,came back, said "I had feelings for you but was afraid". I accept them...they run again...I'm sad again...they come back...I'm pissed...they're sad...I try to move on...with my anger and frustration.

I feel completely taken for granted. Then they act surprised when I'm angry.

Right now, one of them is leaving the state -- I have mixed emotions...sadness for obvious reasons.

Anger for how I let him play with me like a yo-yo
Anger for how it seems that our relationship meant nothing to him (he's an INTP)

Part of me wants to wish him well, the other wants him to just leave and get the hell out of my life. Another part of me knows that, like the others, he will be back...whining...about how he had feelings for me and didn't know how to deal with them. Sometime ago, I had another intuitive tell me that "I don't realize the effect I have on men". Well, apparently that affect is not beneficial to me or my heart since it seems it has only created a lot of heartache.

So three guys and I didn't mention this my ex-husband came crawling back after his disaster new girlfriend, of course he didn't even get a return phone call. Plus, I have guys that I had maybe one or two dates, call me back -- one called back after two years, that one ended for some reason of his own.

So, I don't know why I'm posting, maybe just to get some thoughts on dealing with this mixed bag, or some similar stories so I don't feel like I'm totally nutz. I've gotten to the point where I don't trust what men tell me. I don't expect total committment, but I don't want to be led through their anxious "I'm afraid of relationships" behavior.

*sigh* I don't know, I guess I need to sort this out.
posted by:
SF Bay Area
  • Re: Grief and relationships

    Sun, December 17, 2006 - 1:30 AM
    I had this happen a few times, or something similar. One came back a few months after breaking up with me and proposed, one wrote letters (and even sent my mom a Mother's day card) for 2 or 3 years after we had broken up, one told me they still loved me about 6-7 years after the relationship ended.

    It's hard for me to let go and not respond, but after three goes I think I've learned to not. Nothing good ever comes of it. That's not to say that people *can't* change, it's just to say that in my experience, the reasons for breaking up the first time seem to follow through additional tries.

    Good luck finding someone who is not only drawn to you, but compatible, worthy, and committed.
  • Re: Grief and relationships

    Sun, December 17, 2006 - 11:15 AM
    No relationship is ever a coincidence.

    It's been my experience that if a relationship didn't work out the first two times, it won't work out the third time. If during the second time around I'm noticing signs appearing that had appeared in the first round, then I know there isn't any sincerity in them being there and it's time to move on.

    It's been my experience that INFPs are loving people. I dont know why relationships for the INFP dont work out at times, but it seems to me that if you were that loving in the first place, that's why they come crawling back....because after their heart has been broken with the latest "love" interest, they know that you'll nurse them back......because you dont like to see someone suffer??

    I wouldn't give in to that. I would remind them that they're in the place that they're in (the post-relationship hurting) is where you were when they left. And ask them how does that make them feel? That you at one time felt the same level of emotional pain that they're currently experiencing? Try to get them to interact, dont just give.

    Someone once told me to define what I wanted in a relationship. And if the relationship were to end, how would I want the relationship to continue or not continue thereafter? I guess I think you should go with what you want, not what someone else wants.
  • Re: Grief and relationships

    Mon, December 18, 2006 - 12:43 PM
    Hi Spirit,

    I could have written this myself. I find that my mates also come back once I have FINALLY started to recover, after I have been quite hurt to trust them again. But they do come back. Although they made me out to be a crazy person (read: to emotional) at the time, they see my value and loyalty with 20/20 vision. And they know I'm a sucker for love, so I might entertain the idea.

    I think because it may be hard for INFP's to find suitable mates (strong moral values can be hard to come by these days) we might hold on when people are wrong for us because we're so romantically inclined.
    • Re: Grief and relationships

      Mon, December 18, 2006 - 6:15 PM
      very true with the INFP being romantically inclined and strong moral values. Thus we need to be more careful about choosing a mate. I for one am very Idealistic. I could fantasize and make a story book romance seeing no flaws whatsoever if Im crazy about a man. I realized that the slower and more time I take getting to know someone the more my eyes open to what is really there.....bad side to this is that I can become very dissapointed and start to feel as if I will never find the right person. The brighter side to it...I dont go thru any bullxxxx. Id rather be alone than in bad company. Ive learned to be a little more picky.
      • Unsu...

        Re: Grief and relationships

        Mon, December 18, 2006 - 8:07 PM
        <Id rather be alone than in bad company. Ive learned to be a little more picky. >
        and so, i am alone, but at least not lonely.

        i think part of my infp personality is such that i set high standards but settle for less cause of my insecurities and inate shyness. i gave up practising insanity in relationships many years ago, but alas, yrs. out of the jungle, i've become less inclined to find someone.
        ideally, i want them to drop in my lap.
        i have to learn to compromise and accept the defects of being human. i know i'm not perfect, why should i expect someone else to be?
        maybe because i live in a romanticized dream world and the realities of relationships is just too much. at least for now. yea, that's it. ..sigh
  • Re: Grief and relationships

    Tue, December 19, 2006 - 2:48 AM
    If you want in your face advice this is it:

    Step 1: Meet the right guys

    If I gave you a choice of having alkali poisoning, inoperable brain tumor or Ebola Zaire, which would you choose? Think about your choices. You should be picky.

    This is what I think when women say they have to be more picky about the guys they date. If your choices are crap, what's there to be picky about.

    People forget that you just can't choose who you date or everyone would be dating Johnny Depp or Angelina Jolie. You choose who you date from what's available. And by what's available, I mean the people who show interest in you initially and continue showing interest.

    For INFP women, meeting guys usually involves some guy coming up to them and starting conversation (ie, showing initial interest). I haven't met that many INFP women who approach guys. So what kind of guys do INFP women attract? The same kind of guys that non-INFP women attract. It wholly depends on that woman's nature. Picnics attract ants. Dead meat attracts maggots. Women who can be treated badly attract men who will treat them badly.

    A crappy guy is a crappy guy. I'm not just talking about those sweet talking, seemingly nice ones who turned out to be physically abusive once they've hooked you in. Those are pretty easy to spot unless you're a complete wimp. Physically abusive people don't start hitting right away. They have to make you feel sh*tty first to see if you'll take it. First time anyone starts yelling at me and calling me derogatory names, I'm out of there. You have to draw the line somewhere. I mean does the guy have to nuke Pakistan first before you think he's trouble.

    Crappy guys come in all varieties. The closed off guy who can't show his feelings and doesn't try to communicate. The guy who thinks he's doing you a favor by being with you because your so neurotic. And the secret about crappy guys is there's only one trait that truly attracts them and everything else is just a sidebar. Crappy guys are attracted by women they sense they can take advantage of. It's just this sixth sense. They know who they can treat badly and get away with it. They sense which girls they can take for granted and still be treated like gods.

    So what does all this mean? It means this:

    The only common denominator in all your failed relationships is YOU!

    Something about you attracts only the guys that will take you for granted. It is that same something that attracts the crappy guys that's a total turn off for the good guys. Have you ever meet a guy, had a great time, had great conversation, thought you connected on all levels, but after that initial meeting he doesn't seem that interested anymore? What happened? You thought everything went well.

    Well, what happened was this. During the time you were connecting with him, he caught a glimpse of whatever that something about your personality that attracts the crappy guys (ie neediness, neurosis or just plain baggage). And he got turned off. Whatever something about you that attracts the crappy guys is a total turn off to the right guys. The right guys won't show continued interest. So all you will ever have to choose from (the ones that show interest) are crappy guys? So you can be as picky as you want, but choosing between a brain tumor and Ebola means the relationship is pretty much Dead on Arrrival.

    So that's my initial advice which isn't really advice since I only explain my take why you're stuck with the guys you're currently stuck with and not how to meet the right guys. (And I should point out that this doesn't apply to INFP guys since the steps are totally different for INFP guys). I can explain Steps 2-4 on subsequent posts, but I really can't explain those parts unless you except the first part:

    The only common denominator in all your failed relationships is YOU!

    If you don't accept that then what can I say except all men are bastards and good luck meeting one who isn't because those meetings are absolutely and completely out of your control and you will be forever helpless in the capricious and callous whims of the universe. I think everyone is deserving of love, but when has Life ever been a meritocracy.
    • Re: Grief and relationships

      Tue, December 19, 2006 - 5:47 PM
      I tend to be alittle more positive in my out look ..yes I believe you can attract these kind of men for the simple fact that INFP are sensitive and truly want to feel for people. What i mean by picky is that you dont have to go out with just any one who gives some attention. You can develop good frienships. INFP men do exist so with the right choices you can find a good man. I am an idealist so yeah sometimes it seems like no one is what I expected them to be and in that case that is my problem. I have to modify some of my behavior traits. Yes you do have to work at some of these negative INFP traits and build up the positive ones. Try to find a mate that doesnt need your help all the time. Someone who enjoys helping you as well. Someone who doesnt seem broken to you and in need of some fixing. What happens with this situation is that ..they never get fixed or they get fixed and all of a sudden they are a diferent person to you so you dont like them anymore. All Im saying is to try to write a list on what you believe is a healthy relationship with its normal ups and downs and choose from that if you want to persue a certain relationship. I find notes help me remind myself of things that normalyy i would ignore. IAnother is ..if you find yourself in a bad relationship and its only been three months stay there. Disconnect your self as soon as you can. Plenty of fish in the will find a good man.
      • Re: Grief and relationships

        Tue, December 19, 2006 - 10:37 PM
        He's Just Not That Into You is a pretty good book.

        Women (and men) tend to mistake attention with interest. Being attentive is just being polite. This isn't the same as being interested. You can only have relationships with those who are interested.

        Don't date other INFPs. INFPs dating INFPs is a huge mistake. You're idealistic. He's idealistic. The chances that those ideals are the same or even compatible with each other is a rarity and you end up thinking less of each other because they don't have your ideals and it's all downhill from there.
        • JW
          offline 0

          Re: Grief and relationships

          Fri, December 22, 2006 - 7:59 AM
          You write all that good advice and then end it with bad advice. It's true that values compatibility between INFPs is very important, but in places like this with many INFPs we ought to be able to find compatible mates. Another book, LoveTypes, is the one that points out that INFP is one of, if not the best choice for, INFPs. I have not read the books by Pat Allen and Greg Behrendt, because I am not a woman, but I have seen both of them speak and believe they are wise and want to help people.

          In LoveTypes, Avila suggests that women who want to date INFP men need to be a bit more aggressive. Allen, now a colleague of his, would caution about doing more than dropping more than big hints. I myself suggest that women dress to attract the kind of man they want. Classy, friendly, confident, not slutty or standoffish/insecure. Although I myself would have a hard time identifying in person the INFP type in a woman who doesn't seem standoffish or insecure.
          • JW
            offline 0

            Re: Grief and relationships

            Fri, December 22, 2006 - 8:06 AM
            Also, even to attract mates of good character, both the INFP men and women need to present themselves as sexual beings. Don't be afraid to exercise or show your body's shape. Looking sexy does increase confidence, which itself helps to scare off abusers and lessen desperation.
            • Re: Grief and relationships

              Fri, December 22, 2006 - 5:11 PM
              good advice about that dressing to attract what you want and it doesnt mean provocative. and I agree with being able to show some type of sexuality because I always hid mine and Im slowly changing that. Im a woman and proud of it.......I am more mental than sexual but im practicing to balance that. I believe we can modify some of those more negative INFP traits . I have . I am. Does this make sense?....hee hee hee!
  • Re: Grief and relationships

    Fri, December 22, 2006 - 11:29 PM
    Avila capitalizes on the Western notion that appears in all movies that romance somehow equals compatibility for a lasting, meaningful relationship. INFPs are all about the initial romance and they wonder why the relationship breaks up after the 2nd year of marriage.

    LoveTypes makes the classic mistake all MBTI derivatives make. They mistake behavior for personality. How many successful INFP-INFP relationships do you know. For me, it's zero. I haven't seen one go over the 4th year of marriage. Having a long term relationship relies upon certain skills and INFPs don't learn (or maybe can't learn) all the skills necessary to make a successful relationship.

    The top 3 things that break up marriages are in order: 1. money . 2. children 3. sex

    There's a very specific reason why I just sign all my paychecks and turn them over to my INTJ wife. One, I don't care as long the bills get paid and get my monthly stipend to blow on whatever catches my fancy that month. In return, I don't have to deal with the monthly hassle of making ends meet and we always seem to have enough money to travel overseas each year. This just one example of why INFP-INFP relationships don't work out.

    At least one person in the relationship has to have good time and money management skills. Most INFPs I know either don't want to be bother, not interested or feel that it's just beneath them and to mundane to excel at those skills. I have decent time and money management skills, but certainly not good enough to hold up a marriage.

    INFP dating INFPs makes for great hot and heavy initial romance until reality sets in. No personality type should date the same personality type. You bring the same bad traits to the relationships without any balance.

    My wife is the communicator in the family when problems arise. She's the NT who realize that me crawling into my shell and ignoring problems isn't going to help our relationship. INFPs do that with touch relationship issues. Ignore the problem and hope it goes away especially if they're the ones at fault, if it's they're particular quirk that's causing the issues.

    LoveTypes will show you the person for your storybook romance. I always find it funny when the story end, "and the lived happily ever after" because they never tell you how that parts done. Of course, that's actually where the story gets interesting.
    • JW
      offline 0

      Re: Grief and relationships

      Sat, December 23, 2006 - 9:41 AM
      What I've heard is that Avila based his recommendations on actual relationship satisfaction data (of couples married for varying lengths of time, I assume). People tend to like people who are similar in type to themselves. If partners like each other, like being around each other, I think they can weather money problems better, maybe avoid sex problems, and possibly even compromise on children (although that's something they should be in strong agreement about before they marry). Everyone is capable of lessening negative tendencies. INFPs certainly can become decent communicators with intimates. Shyness with strangers might always be present and working just for the money might always be dissatisfying, but there are workarounds for such problems that don't require marrying another type. Marrying an INTJ is not for me.
      • Re: Grief and relationships

        Sat, December 23, 2006 - 10:31 AM
        i guess it depends on what peep's needs are... for me... i would prefer another INFP who will be willing to do things on a co level... i would rather share and do things together... rather than have one be totally responsible for certain aspects... too isolative for me...

        infp CAN and DO become excellent communicators with intimates... i become rather MORE communicative with the person i love and trust...

        perhaps tis just me :)
        • Re: Grief and relationships

          Sat, December 23, 2006 - 11:13 AM
          Like I said the Myer-Briggs is behavior test not personality test. Wanting to be an excellent communicator is a personality trait. Actually taking the steps to learning to become a good communicator is a behavior issue and INFPs don't have habit and rarely have that habit. And I'm not talking about sharing feelings either. That's the easy part. I mean talking about things the will hurt your partner, disrupt the easy status quo in hopes of strengthening the relationship.

          INFPs are all about the status quo if its working somewhat because working somewhat and not talking about it is better than working better and enduring a bad stretch where you are working it out. The MBTI is all about behavior. The Personality Self-Portrait. Now that's a personality test, not a behavior test.

          For example, I hate surprises and my wife is a J and loves them mostly because her life is pretty organized and she loves it when nice unexpected things happen. Of course, I deal better when bad unexpected things happened with my P. I go into lessen the impact and solve the immediate problems mindset. I deviate from the gameplan better because I really don't have set gameplay. That's behavior. This is how I react or behave when such and such happens.

          What I like and dislike is personality trait. And I don't like surprises (gifts, trips, whatever). So plan them and spring them. She enjoys them. And it works out.

          Here's a funny thing. My wife daydreams alot or use. I never do. I saw that immediately when I read her Personality Self-Portrait. You can't tell that because she tests as an INTJ.

          I think that's the biggest mistake with taking the MBTI at face value. There's alot the MBTI doesn't say, doesn't take into account. I knew that 15 years ago when I took for the first time. I said this is kind of me, but only kind of. No person can be relegated to 16 types. How do you explain the other parts? That's why I like the Personality self-portrait so much. You personality is a graph of 14 personality traits. So there's roughly 49,334,288,142,827,520 combinations.
          • Re: Grief and relationships

            Sat, December 23, 2006 - 1:28 PM
            this thread seems to be focusing too much on the negative traits of an INFP ..again Im a more positve person..anything can be worked and changed to some degree. But this whole thing seems to have taken another rather stiff turn.............. Life is good ..enjoy it! When I read the INFP profile it described me so well but I find that I managed to improve the things that I wasnt happy with. Nothing is written in stone and yes there is so much more to each individual. so now what!
  • Re: Grief and relationships

    Wed, December 27, 2006 - 9:25 PM
    Well, the thread certainly deteriorated away from the original subject.

    Thanks to those who replied, and stated that they have gone through the same experiences that I have. I believe that was what I was looking for, just to know that my INFP experience was not unique. Thanks to you all and good luck to you too.

    How the discussion diverted to "He's just not that into you", "find the right guy" and the faults of INFP's wasn't what I was looking for, but it looks like others found it great -- so yah for open forums.

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