While two individuals of any type combination can make a relationship work or fail, research conducted on committed couples shows there is a definite trend in the personality types that are drawn to each other, and in the type combinations that last longest in a romantic partnership. At PersonalityPage, we call these types "natural partners."
Outside of natural partner pairings, it's especially important for an INTJ to partner with someone who can respect their rich inner world of images and intuitions. The dominant Sensing types ESTP and ESFP might find it difficult to understand or respect the INTJ's "dreaminess," and the INTJ may find it hard to understand the Sensor's practical, unimaginative way of life. To a lesser degree, the dominant Introverted Sensing types (ISTJ and ISFJ) might also present a challenge to the INTJ, but the Introverted Sensing types often have rich inner worlds, and the partners can often respect each other, though they are so different. The shadow type for an INTJ is ESFP. This type pairing is typically challenging.
The Judging/Perceiving difference can cause conflict in any relationship, especially when one or both partners are dominant Extraverted Judgers, who are the most controlling of the types. The INTJ is not usually geared toward protecting the feelings of others, and may butt heads with an Extraverted Judger.
How did we arrive at the conclusion that INTJs are the natural partners of ENFPs and ENTPs? Through empirical evidence, research, and a thorough understanding of the sixteen personality types and the personality functions that drive them.
In Jungian terms, personality "functions" refer to the four core traits: Intuition (N), Sensing (S), Feeling (F), and Thinking (T). The term "attitude" refers to the direction of the function, i.e. Introverted (I) or Extraverted (E). The INTJ has a dominant function of Introverted Intuition, a secondary function of Extraverted Thinking, and a Judging orientation toward the external world.
Our natural attraction to people who share our dominant function, but who use it in a different direction works very well for us. We not only flip-flop the Introverted or Extraverted trait, but we also flip-flop the Judging or Perceiving trait. In this way, the partner that we choose for ourselves will have a very different approach to dealing with the world. If we are laid-back and indecisive, our partner will be structured and decisive. If we are reserved, our partner will be outgoing. Natural partners complement each other, and challenge each other in healthy ways. But for all of their apparent differences, natural partners share the same dominant function, which instills them with similar ideas about what's truly important in life. They will experience a feeling of being on the same level.
Of course there are many things that influence a relationship's success or failure, such as family background and intelligence. Recent research shows that the number one cause of long-term success for a couple is that they treat each other with respect and kindness.
Although we believe firmly that this model works well to help in finding and maintaining healthy relationships, it is important to remember that it's just a tool. We offer guidelines to help you understand the kinds of things that you value in a relationship, rather than guidelines that you need to follow strictly. It's important to remember that there's no such thing as an effortless romantic partnership. But undoubtedly, some are easier than others.