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INTPs live rich worlds inside their minds, which are full of imagination and excitement. Consequently, they sometimes find the external world pales in comparison. This may result in a lack of motivation to form and maintain relationships. INTPs are not likely to have a very large circle of significant relationships in their lives. They're much more likely to have a few very close relationships, which they hold in great esteem and with great affection. Since the INTP's primary focus and attention is turned inwards, aimed towards seeking clarity from abstract ideas, they are not naturally tuned into others' emotional feelings and needs. They tend to be difficult to get to know well, and hold back parts of themselves until the other person has proven themselves "worthy" of hearing the INTP's thoughts. Holding Knowledge and Brain Power above all else in importance, the INTP will choose to be around people who they consider to be intelligent. Once the INTP has committed themself to a relationship, they tend to be very faithful and loyal, and form affectionate attachments which are pure and straight-forward. The INTP has no interest or understanding of game-playing with regards to relationships. However, if something happens which the INTP considers irreconciliable, they will leave the relationship and not look back.
Each type has traits and behaviors that can strengthen their relationhips. Most INTPs will exhibit the following strengths with regards to relationship issues.
The first step in overcoming our weaknesses is identifying them and recognizing them in our own behavior. Once we've done that, we begin to naturally correct our weaker behaviors in real-time. INTPs may recognize some or all of the following behaviors that can negatively impact the health of their relationships.
"To love means to open ourselves to the negative as well as the positive - to grief, sorrow, and disappointment as well as to joy, fulfillment, and an intensity of consciousness we did not know was possible before." —Rollo May
INTPs approach their intimate relationships quite seriously - as they approach most things in life. They take their vows and commitments seriously, and are usually faithful and loyal. They are usually pretty easy to live with and be around, because they have simple daily needs and are not overly demanding of their partners in almost any respect. While the INTP's internal life is highly theoretical and complex, their external life in comparison is usually quite simple. They like to keep the complexities of their external world to a minimum, so that they can focus their brain power on working through their theories internally. This makes them very straight-forward, honest lovers, with a love that is quite pure in its simple, uncomplicated nature.
Although they choose to keep things straight-forward in their relationships, this does not mean that the INTP is lacking in depth of feeling or passion. The INTP is very creative person, who has vivid imaginations. They can be very excitable and passionate about their love relationships. Sometimes, they have a problem reconciling the exciting visions of their internal worlds with the actuality of their external circumstances.
Sexually, the INTP usually approaches intimacy with enthusiasm and excitement. Some INTPs play down entirely the need for sexual relations in their lives, but most use their rich imaginations and child-like enthusiasm to make the most of the moment. The INTP will usually be experiencing the moment with vivid intensity inside their own minds, although this may or may not be apparent to their partner.
The largest area of potential strife in an INTP's intimate relationship is their slowness in understanding and meeting their partner's emotional needs. The INTP may be extremely dedicated to the relationship, and deeply in love with their partner, but may have no understanding of their partner's emotional life, and may not express their own feelings often or well. When the INTP does express themselves, it's likely to be in their own way at their own time, rather than in response to their partner's needs. If this is an issue which has caused serious problems in a relationship, the INTP should work on becoming more aware of their partner's feelings, and their partner should work on not requiring explicit positive affirmation to feel loved by the INTP.
INTPs do not like to deal with messy complications, such as interpersonal conflict, and so they may fall into the habit of ignoring conflict when it occurs. If they feel they must face the conflict, they're likely to approach it from an analytical perspective. This may aggravate the conflict situation, if their partner simply wants to feel that they are supported and loved. Most people (and especially those with the Feeling preference) simply want to be encouraged, affirmed and supported when they are upset. The INTP should practice meeting these needs in conflict situations.
Although two well-developed individuals of any type can enjoy a healthy relationship, the INTP's natural partner is the ENTJ, or the ESTJ. The INTP's dominant function of Introverted Thinking is best matched with a partner whose personality is dominated by Extraverted Thinking. The INTP/ENTJ match is ideal, because these types shared Intuition as a common way of perceiving the world, but INTP/ESTJ is also a good match. More on INTP compatibility
"You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth...
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable." —Kahlil Gibran
INTPs love and respect Knowledge, and want to pass their jewels of thought down to their children. Their greatest goal and satisfaction as a parent is seeing their children grow into independent, rational adults.
INTP parents are likely to encourage their children to grow as individuals, rather than attempt to fit them into a preconceived mold. They will stress autonomy through the children's growth. They're likely to respect their children's opinions and wishes, and allow their children to have a voice and presence in the family.
The INTP parents are likely to be pretty laid-back and flexible with their children, sometimes to the point of being relatively "hands-off" with regards to the day-to-day issues. They're likely to count on their spouse for providing structure and schedules. Since the INTP themself does not live in an overly structured or organized manner, they're not likely to expect or create this environment for their children. If their spouse is not someone with the "J" preference, their children may suffer from a lack of boundaries. This is something the INTP should pay special attention to. Growing children don't know right from wrong, and so benefit from having their parents define these boundaries for them.
In spite of their relatively unstructured approach to parenting, INTPs take their role as parent very seriously, and are likely to put forth much effort into doing what they feel will be most effective in helping their children grow into independent, wise adults. INTPs enjoy parenting, and get a lot of fun out of their children. They're also likely to be very proud and loyal parents.
INTPs may have a problem meeting the emotional needs of their children. Although they generally are deeply caring and supportive individuals, the INTP does not always pick up on emotional clues. A troubled child of an unaware INTP parent may have to result to drastic "attention-getting" tactics to get their parent to understand their emotional difficulties. If you find yourself in this situation, you may find that expressing some of your own emotions will do wonders for your child, yourself, and your relationship. Although it may not be possible for you to suddenly be "tuned in" on what your children are feeling, at least you can let them know that you care.
Children of INTP parents generally remember them respectfully and affectionately as loyal, fair, and tolerant parents, who care for them a great deal, although they don't often show it.
INTPs are likely to have friends who share their interests and pursuits. Since the INTP loves theories, ideas, and concepts, they are not likely to form close friendships with Sensing types, who are not usually comfortable with abstract conceptualizing. But INTPs are laidback souls who like to be around all sorts of people.
Many INTPs have a great sense of humor and can be a lot of fun. These INTPs are quite popular and are appreciated for their quick laugh and fun way of looking at the world.