Relationship problems between an ENFP/ENTJ


#1

Hi! I’m an ENFP who is having problems with my ENTJ boyfriend, so I thought that I should turn to the experts on his personality type! Here goes:

I’ve been in a relationship with my ENTJ boyfriend for 4,5 years, and I’ve never loved anyone like I love him. He
challanges me emotionally and intellectually which I think is why we’ve come this far, because I feel like our relationship just keeps evolving. But at the same time it’s why it sometimes feels too difficult and painful to go on.

I think the bad sides of my boyfriend might be quite typical for an ENTJ:
He’s stubborn and thinks that his way is the only way in terms of solving problems or making plans (it’s very important to him that everything is efficient, time and money-wise), which makes me feel patrionized and pushed around.

Knowledge is important to him, especially about the things that he’s passionate and interested in, and to him it’s also important that I’m up to date and know my way around the same things (like computers and technical gadgets, which I’m totally uninterested in). If I refuse or can’t meet his standards he gets mean, patrionizing and generally unpleasant until I get angry, sad or upset. And when we talk about it he always apologizes and promises that he won’t behave like that again. But we always come back to the same situations and same arguments, and the same apology and promise in the end.

I feel like I need to prove myself to get accepted and loved by him, but he argues that he loves me so much, that he wants to be with me, enjoyes being with me, but yet behaves this way and hurts me by doing so.
Even though I’ve several times come to the point where I’ve told him that “I can’t do this anymore, it’s just too difficultl”, I’ve always felt that I can’t leave him, that there’s just too much good, and too much potential in our relationship. I feel free and independent with him, and I can study abroad without him getting jealous or smothering, and having his total support doing it.

I think that he’s a bit emotionally disconnected, and that he thinks that being emotional or even in touch with his emotions would be a sign of weakness (as it would stop him from being rational and efficient…), and I blame his parents for this. They have a VERY dysfunctional marriage and my boyfriend has told me that he, as a small boy, had to play the role as consultant and psychiatrist for his crying mother when his parents were fighting (they would throw stuff at each other, hit each other, and even leave the house for days at the time without telling their family were they were going or when they were coming back). So I think this has damaged him and made him shut off his emotions to cope. But it has also affected him in the way that he always want to solve our problems when we are fighting, which is one of his strengths.

My question is: How can I make this work? How can I make him understand that these are issues that he needs to work on, and more importantly HOW he’s needs to work on them. And why is it wo hard for him to show let go of the control and give me the respect that I deserve?

I feel like it’s important to mention that we love each other very much and are both dedicated to making our relationship work. It just feels like we need some advise on how to cope with our differences, problems and needs. Is there anyone out there with some advice or experiences to share?
Thank you
Siriit


#2

Hi, I’ve never been on a forum like this before but had to reply as you just described my relationship with my ENTJ to a tee. I am an ENFP and everything you describe is what I have too (have been daing him for 4 years).
He is such a sweet kind-hearted man but can turn very nasty/patronising very quickly - it’s hard to deal with particularly when we are ‘feeling’ people who are sensitive to that sort of thing!

My only advice is communication - but tactical communication in a way that keeps the situation calm but gets your point across. The best way and I know this is hard as it is for me, but the best way is to not let your emotions get in the way. I’ve found that works. They dont fear confrontation so it’s a lot easier for them to say what they want without worrying about the outcome, where as we are naturally the opposite. I have found when I am firm, calm and not emotional I get a lot further. It’s not always easy though!! They are worth holding on to in my books though- they just need to be made more aware of their actions/words and how they affect others!!


#3

Thank you for your respons!
The thing is that I feel like I’ve been taking all of the responsibility in making our relationship work, and I’ve told him that I for once want to lean back and trust him to take the wheel. It’s always about what I can do to make it work, change my attitude, stay calm and confront when I feel angry and hurt. I know I can’t ask him to change, he is what he is, who he is, and I love him for that. But I want to see him trying to get more open minded, more sensitive to my needs.


#4

Hello!

I read this with great interest because recently I was the angry sceaming ENTJ as described by the OP. What people see is this angry ENTJ but not why. I apologize for the straight forward manner of this post, but not enough water has passed under the bridge for me to be circumspect about this.

  1. "My way is the best way and only solution, for maximum efficieny, value for money and timely."
    That’s not always true that my way is best! I recognise good functional ideas come from many different sources and people. If it works beautifully I will adopt it.

I do get dismissive and patronizing when people
a) tell me something they have have not completely researched
b) tell me something that is untrue
c) tell me something that they have researched but not thought through
d) tell me that this is based on your gut instinct
e) tell me something where the facts are mixed up

What I feel when the above happens is that they are wasting my time, and I have to entertain them and their feelings when they have not come to the table with anything useful, at a time I have things to fix. I will also lose respect for them and will be try to be polite and listen to what they have to say, but will not even bother to take into account any of the points made - I will research it myself because their information cannot be trusted. Yes yes I will have to work on my poker face, because at this point, I will start to roll my eyes and get impatient - which looks like I am being patronizing, but really I feel patronized by all the substandard drivel that is being passed off as knowledge that I am expected to buy.

2)I don’t expect anyone to know everything.
Just be honest about what you know and don’t know. It just means that it is something to explore. I would rather be told “I don’t know” than any of the above. I suppose some people feel they need to bring something to the table even if they don’t know, ie they feel stupid when they say they do not know. What they don’t realize, is that they bring other things to the relationship that are valuable. Just because they don’t know something does not invalidate their intelligence or make them any less than they are.

Be honest and logical about what you bring to the table, probably more important that tact, but it helps.


#5

That’s not the problem in our relationship. Our problems revolve around him getting patrionizing when I say I don’t know, or ask questions, or even because he assumes that I don’t know something that I actually do know. Or when he’s convinced that he’s right when he’s actually not (for example one of our fights was about how to get to MY favourite restaurant, when he tells me that my route is impossible, and is so convinced that he was right that he actually made me believe that I was wrong. Until I looked it up and realized that he was thinking about a different restaurant. He wouldn’t even concider the possibility that he was wrong about the restaurant and just assumed that I was wrong.)

Instead of wasting time spitting out what you think is the right answer, maybe you should stop and listen to the question first.


#6

What you said describes how I feel about my boss! He’s such a moron I’ve lost so much respect for him.


#7

Just some things I’ve picked up from relationships with people close to me who were F types. I’m pretty close to the border - should be a lowercase T - but I identify with the ENTJ frustrations, certainly, and really had to work to hear other people’s concerns differently.

For example, one girlfriend used to complain often about me “not spending enough time with her.” This would usually lead to a fight, because my typical response was a bit objective - “I’m spending the same amount of time with you as we usually do” or “I just spent a whole weekend with you” or whatever logical point I was making about how I believed her complaint was not grounded in reality.

To say I was missing her point would be putting it mildly. Her point was that she doesn’t feel like we’ve spent enough quality time together. But the vagueness of what felt like an accusation from her was threatening to me. If she was saying I wasn’t spending enough time with her, after a weekend together, I panicked a bit and started to wonder if I could spend enough time with her. I certainly couldn’t spend any more. But it might be because I was working during that time, or we didn’t spend enough time one on one, or a host of other potential complaints. Which would be something I could only understand when I didn’t react in defensiveness. No need to get upset, no need to panic.

So for me, the takeaway when she said something that I (vainly, and dismissively) thought was “illogical,” was to stop, listen, hear her out, try to understand, ask questions before reacting. i.e. asking a question like “what makes you feel that way?”

And for her, the takeaway was to make more specific, actionable, constructive complaints. Not just “I feel like you’re mean to me.” That can be frustrating to hear, especially if you’re not trying to be mean, you’re just being you, and you’re already frustrated. Be specific. Say something like “When I tell you that I feel a certain way, I wish you wouldn’t immediately say that I was wrong. I wish your first response would be to hear what I had to say. It’s not always intended to be a criticism of you, and you don’t need to take it that way.”


#8

Thank you for a very constructive and helpful advice! I will definetely take that into concideration next time my boyfriend and I get into an argument!

Update on our situation:

Something definetely happened between us when I came home for the summer hollidays. I was feeling burned out and low from all the pressure from the summer semester, and he picked up on that, without me even saying anything about it, and was so supportive and loving! He has really been like the best boyfriend ever, loving me, supporting me, which has helped us to be better at communicating and being more constructive! I feel so happy about this, and more in love than ever! It’s amazing how all of these years has passed, with all this time we spent together, and there’s still room for improvement, more to know about each other and more love to feel towards eachother ^^.


#9

OP: Imo, you both would benefit from some therapy. And based on what you wrote, not just couple’s.

If he’s not willing to look at his family of origin, and do the work that it sounds like he needs to do, then you might consider going to individual therapy? All of this based on your first post, which showed signs of some unhealthy relationship coping behaviors (fear of leaving him so you stay, dating someone based on “potential” rather than reality/what “is”, a long-term/4.5 year acceptance of a partner’s admittedly hurtful behavior). In addition, your focus is on what HE needs to do to make your relationship work, rather than what YOU need to do to be a healthy participant in your relationship. Neither did you make mention of what he needs to do to meet your standards–you realize you have legitimate wants and needs, too? When you are co-dependent, you focus more on the other person than on your deteriorating [sense of] self.

Anyway, take my non-sugar-coated advice for what it is…it’s lovely when things turn around but the issues you mentioned are typically long-standing ones that rear their heads periodically in a committed relationship.

Best of luck!

~ Greeneyes


#10

Hello I am also in a relationship with an ENTJ, here is what I have discovered:

This problem comes from your weakness of accepting critcism, & his weakness on understanding emotion. In my relationship we try to deal with logic & emotions as seperate things.

He’s stubborn and thinks that his way is the only way in terms of solving problems or making plans (it’s very important to him that everything is efficient, time and money-wise), which makes me feel patrionized and pushed around.

Logic

-His advice is not directed towards your personal character, more so he’s giving you pointers on how to get the job done faster because he wants to help, he’s wired to see these things. Show him appreciation for it, it’s valuable insight that will make you understand things better. Ask how he arrived at the solution & use that to make decisions on your own the next time. You could surprise yourself even at your abilities with strong TE (thank god they speak the same language :dance: )

Emotions

-His weakness is emotions, he won’t understand why you feel patronized, so you must stand your ground, & explain why you felt that, & try to express it right at the time it’s happening. This is crucial because it will prevent resentment on your end, & give him a better understanding of what bothers you.

If your ENTJ disregards your emotions, explain that he disregards emotions because it’s his own weakness, you consider it a strength & the world consists of both emotions & logic, so understanding them is a benefit to the relationship & to understanding the world.

Communication is the key to the relationship.

Realizing that both personalities has different strengths & that these strengths aren’t better than one another they are just different, will provide growth for both individuals.

ENTJs love to enhance their relationships by giving their mate new information that they find useful, & they expect their mate to apply this to their lives.

What has help our relationship is that we have 4 out of 5 common interests so we both bring in new information to share, & we both get different angles on how things. work.

Hope you guys work it out. Nothing a bit of understanding, & conversation can’t fix! You can do it! Be courageous, be assertive.