ENTJ trying to date an INTP


Is this forum still active? Do people still browse this?

I’m here now in 2016, trying to start a relationship with an INTP. It’s extremely frustrating and I need some help, I suppose, which is why I did a search for this.

Get ready for a long post.

I’m apparently one of those rare female ENTJ’s, which is an incredibly lonely existence when you’re trying to explain the way you’re “okay” with certain things in relationships. Most of the females I seem to have “girl talk” with or whatever tend to be F’s and don’t really get why I think the way I do, or don’t understand Jung typology… they want the “man” to take care of everything for them, and see people and their personalities as a lot simpler than they are.

I’ve been kinda lurking around and decided to join this forum in hopes of… understanding, I guess.

Some quick background on me: I seem to have “scored” ESTJ on some of the online tests, but I identify a lot better as an ENTJ after reading about the two different types. I am 1% S, according to the tests. I like to go with the flow with my friends, but in relationships, I can’t stand people who don’t want to discuss deep, vague concepts. I love that shit.

I used to be a full-fledged ENFJ, complete with emotional manipulation and everything. It seems that I’ve chilled out and started caring more about my needs than manipulating others to get my way.

Now, with that being said…

I’m an ENTJ looking to start a relationship with an INTP. He’s extremely hard to convince, but I feel like my persistence is finally getting to him.

I feel unfulfilled though - it’s probably a strong calling of my developed F, though my T is dominant. I don’t know how to tell him that I want him to care more about the way I feel, without driving him away. He seems to be extremely averse to conflict, but I need resolution to conflict or else I feel so unsatisfied.

When I try to resolve conflicts, he tends to change the subject and talk about other things. I really want to tell him to care more about me and think about the way I feel, how he’s hurting me, etc. … But because he doesn’t even think along the lines of “people” at all, I don’t understand how to tell him to think more about me.

For example, he kinda lashed out on me and I was angry with him. I stopped talking to him and he came back to apologize, but then I told him, “Let’s talk on Saturday” … so 3 days later, on Saturday, I confronted him and he nearly avoided the topic entirely, enthusiastically telling me all about the other problems he’d been resolving. I felt conflicted myself, because throughout this past month of getting to know him, he was finally listening to all the things I told him to do.

I think, this was his way of showing me he cares? … And I wanted to be happy for him. All of this was great, because he was finally taking my advice and resolving all the issues that he’d been mentally torturing himself over for a while now…

And I ended up trying to be happy for him. He seems contented, but…

I REALLY need to tell him about how he completely disregarded my feelings and said hurtful words. I don’t understand what the best way to go about doing this is, without making him turn away because I’m starting drama.

What can I do? What is the best way to handle conflict with an INTP who doesn’t seem to know or want to deal with the fact he’s hurting someone else?


He’s not in love with you. It’s really that simple.

When it comes to relationships INTPs, similar to ENTJs, tend to use an all-or-nothing approach. If we feel like the love is fleeting, we wont give as much.

But if we’re actively in love, we care about everything, and will do whatever we have to do to take care of you, and your feelings.

I’m not sure you’re an ENTJ, even if you relate more to them, but if your guy is really an INTP, take it as a sign that he’s disinterested.


Grr. Wrote big long hopeful reply, but the forum kicked me off before I submitted. All those words, straight to the bitbucket. Maybe tomorrow. Tl;Dr, get thee to an INTP forum, they’ll get you straighten out. Now to bed!


Okay, back now. First off, I don’t see much sign that this INTP is in love with you, but I don’t see any sign that this INTP isn’t in love with you, or if he isn’t, that he couldn’t fall in love with you in the future. It is clear that he cares, but that’s not the same as being in love. So there is room for hope. But it is clear that there is a lot of miscommunication going on. Some might be on his side, but it’s clear that there is quite a bit on your side.

There’s a lot going on here, too much for me to sort through by order of importance, so let’s take it chronologically.

This seems to me to be a bit of a counterproductive way to land an INTP. I think if a woman came on that strong to me, I’d just shut down. (Of course, you might be a bit more subtle in your approach than you’re suggesting. And INTP obliviousness might actually be saving the day for once.) On the other hand, even a male INTP wouldn’t like to take the direct approach either. The standard move seems to be for the INTP to lay down a trail of “breadcrumbs,” and hope the other party reciprocates. For example, late in the process, you can expect there to be some plausibly deniable “non-dates.” I know this can be confusing for ISTJs, who seem to think anything that isn’t “official” isn’t real.

So how did you two meet, and when did you decide to target him? What happened between those two points? Is it possible he’s been putting the moves on you?

Next up:

This might be the most important sentence in your entire post. What set off your INTP? And, more importantly, what was bugging him before that? (The answers to these questions might be different.)

It generally takes a fair amount to set an INTP off, but when it does, you might not get much warning. What generally happens is something like this. You do something to irritate the INTP, cross some line without even knowing its there. That sets off his first function, Ti. But Ti is an introverted function, so he just grumbles a bit, and slouches on off.

Not knowing anything is wrong, you keep pushing that button. So the matter gets handed off to Ne. Ne is an extraverted function, but it’s also a perceiving function, not a judging one. So he does assert himself, but it’s going to be in terms of possibilities, not commands. “Hey, honey, why don’t you do x instead of y?” And a lot of conflicts do get resolved this way - the INTP suggests some alternative that solves the conflict, leaving all sides happy or at least content. And you might not even realize there was a conflict in the first place. Unfortunately, this kind of soft approach is very easy to miss or ignore…

Which means things get handed off to Si. Which may be the worst step, since that means he’s stewing about it.

And then you get that wonderful Fe explosion, leaving you all shocked and awed.

That explosion is not exactly fun and games for him either. For an INTP, an Fe explosion is a traumatic loss of control. We generally don’t like hurting other people, and it’s important for us to keep ourselves under Ti’s rational control. So, once we’ve calmed down a bit, and Ti takes back over, we’re going to be very embarrassed about that explosion.

So, if that happens, it would be a good idea to back off, give the INTP some space, let them calm down. Then you can talk about the situation like two rational adults. Figure out what is making him angry, and what the basic problem is. The thing that finally set off the explosion might not have much to do with the basic problem, since it could have just been the last straw on the camel’s back, and not the root reason why the camel was so overloaded in the first place.

… that may have been a mistake… INTPs live in the present, so putting things off for three days is about like putting a normal person off for three weeks. That’s a long time to be sitting in the chair outside the principal’s office. You do need to give the INTP some space, but that means like 15 or 30 minutes.

Of course, you have your own needs, and if you were too angry to discuss things before then, then, well, you were too angry to discuss things before then. You need to find things that work for you, not just for him. But is there some way of calming yourself down before then? Maybe if you try to see things from his point of view, see that he didn’t mean to hurt you, that he regrets his lack of self-control, that he’s embarrassed by it?

Well, even at that late date, you would probably be better off if you first focused on what he was mad about. If you can resolve that issue, then you can move on to addressing your own hurt. I think if you took things in that order, he’d be less likely to take drastic evasive action to avoid the issue.

And when you do address your own hurt, don’t think of it as punishing him for it. He almost certainly knows he hurt you, and, like I said, he’s regretting his loss of self-control. He’s already punishing himself far more effectively than you ever could.

Instead, focus on informing him. INTPs may not get people, but we do get systems, and people are some pretty shiny complex systems. He’s trying to form a model of your wiring system in his mind, and any information you could give him would help and be appreciated - so long as he doesn’t think you’re trying to guilt trip him. If you think something he said hurt you worse than he was intending, tell him about it, and explain why it did. Hopefully, he’ll take care not to hit that same sore spot in the future.

Of course, there is the danger that he’ll hit that same sore spot even harder. But that would be a sign that the relationship’s turned toxic, and it’s time to dump his ass.

Not quite. It does demonstrate that he cares, but I think he was more just trying to get out of the dog house rather than to tell you that he cares.

INTPs often care very deeply, but they are not in the habit of telling you about it. One part of it is that INTPs hate pointing out the obvious. An INTP would think that it’s “obvious” that they love you, so why should they bother to point it out?

Another part of it is that INTPs don’t really understand their own emotions, and they’re used to the people around them understanding their emotional side better than they do. That being the case, what’s the point of giving their own no-doubt flawed and erroneous report?

If you do want to address an INTPs emotional side, this might give you an approach: you have a theory about how they’re feeling, and you’re looking for confirmation from their own subjective report. You’re not prying or anything, you’re just a scientist trying to confirm a theory… An INTP might not enjoy the research, and would probably find it exhausting, but they could see the need for it.

It doesn’t come naturally for an INTP to tell you that he loves you or that he cares for you. He can be trained to do so, if you need it, but it doesn’t come naturally.

And which way would you prefer it? Myself, I wouldn’t trust a man who tells you he loves you too readily. He’s trying to sell you something. An INTP might not be forthcoming with his feelings, but at least he won’t play emotional games.

You do want to be careful about “fixing” an INTP. INTPs don’t desire power, but they do desire autonomy. It’s one thing if he recognizes he has a problem and he’s asking you for help with it. It’s another if you’ve unilaterally decided to fix his deck for him.

He might be willing to humor you, and the fact that he’s currently in the dog house does give you some leverage. But that won’t last, and I wouldn’t take advantage of it. If you do think he has a problem, then you need to present him with your evidence, and then let him sleep on it and make his own decision.

Also, make sure that what you’re trying to fix is a bug, not a feature. INTPs have a tradition of doing their best work when they were supposed to be doing something else. (Albert Einstein had his “miracle year” when he was supposed to be review patent applications.) Giving an INTP a planner is like giving a vampire a crucifix for Christmas. (… um… thanks for the thought?..) And even Albert Einstein didn’t live up to his full potential.

If those sorts of things are what you’re trying to fix, well, I would tell you that you should love him as much for his flaws as for his virtues, and I don’t mean despite his flaws.

Beyond that, I would recommend you take any further questions to an INTP forum. Those are generally a lot more active than ENTJ forums. Also, there is nothing INTPs love more than handing out wisdom and advice. For an INTP who actually managed to find someone, or for a woman who condescended to date one, they’d pull out all the stops. They’ll appreciate it if you could give them as much information as you can and answer their follow up questions. Thanks are not strictly necessary. They’ll secretly appreciate it, but don’t expect much of a response besides some blushes.