No matter how solid a partnership may be, there’s always room for improvement. Whether the union has been in tact six months, six years, or any other duration, there’s likely at least one relationship issue that’s present. Maybe it’s control issues, commitment issues, staying quiet just to keep the peace, or something else entirely.
So, where can you, specifically, aim to improve your relationship? Your Myers-Briggs personality type can distill for you what you should be focusing on in the weeks and months to come for the sake of overcoming your top relationship issue. (Don’t know what your MBTI is? Read this first!)
Here’s the top relationship issue for you to overcome, according to your Myers-Briggs personality.
ISFJ: Stating what you want
ISFJs typically want stability in their relationships, but they often get in their own way of cultivating this because they fail to adequately articulate their own needs. Once you’re in a healthy partnership, you have to start believing that asking for what you want—whether that’s support, care, communication, commitment, or something else—won’t be a burden to your partner. Burying your desires deep down in hopes that they’ll come up organically will lead you to feel unsafe in the embrace of your partner’s love and resentful that you’re not totally satisfied. So, be clear and speak up.
ESFJ: Not taking things personally
Whether it’s their partner staying late at the office several nights in a row or receiving an off-putting comment about what their wearing, ESFJs often read between the lines and take things personally. But keep in mind, ESFJs, your S.O. isn’t necessarily staying late to avoid you, and the comment about your shirt isn’t necessarily backhanded. If something truly bothers you, bring it up. But before you do, get to a place of believing your partner has your back, loves you, and may not mean what you fear.
ISTJ: Letting go of the pragmatism
It’s okay to embrace some romance, ISTJ! Don’t worry so much about paying for the expensive getaway. If you can afford it and you need some time alone with your partner, what’s the problem? Bring home flowers, even if you feel silly about how impractical they are. Say, “I love you” first. You’re a loyal, committed straight-shooter—but everyone enjoys a spark every now and again. So go a little over the top to show your partner you love them.
ESTJ: Acknowledging your feelings
ESTJs feel all the feelings, but they’re great at pretending those feelings don’t actually exist. Unfortunately, your partner isn’t a mind-reader and would much prefer to hear your needs from you directly rather than playing a guessing game where everyone loses. You won’t win relationship points for never expressing a need, or pretending everything is fine until you emotionally check out of the partnership. Have regular check-ins with yourself about feelings you’ve left unaddressed, and decide which are worth sharing with your partner.
ESFP: Focusing less on the self
ESFPs tend to navigate relationships by thinking about themselves: How do I feel? What do I want? Is this fulfilling for me? While it’s always excellent to check in with yourself and make sure you’re where you want to be, it’s also important to remember that relationships are a two-way street. Consider whether your partner is happy and how focusing on your partner’s needs may also bring happiness your way.
ISFP: Choosing intentional discomfort
ISFPs have a lot to give, but hold back to protect themselves. This often ends in self-sabotage, because you’re afraid to be so vulnerable. You’d rather reject than get rejected, pull away rather than see someone walk away from you. For you, trust is key. Once you’re invested, you have to choose to intentionally stay in the uncomfortable space of vulnerability and relax into the relationship. Remind yourself to show up every day, and don’t play tit for tat. Let your partner have bad days, and trust that the discomfort will pass.
ESTP: Getting over escapist tendencies
The top relationship issue for ESTPs is that they love being in them—but only when things are going well, that is. You just want to run away and avoid the emotions of hurt, guilt, and (sometimes) intense, uncomfortable intimacy. But as someone who is adaptable and resourceful, you are better at navigating the low points than you realize. To this point, focus on meeting one need at a time, and force yourself to stay when you would rather flee. That’s where depth in any relationship is fostered.
ISTP: Putting in more effort
ISTPs believe that good things come with patience, and relationships should walk the line between togetherness and independence. But frequently, this hands-off approach doesn’t convey the real-deal feelings you have for your partner. Do more planning and be more intentional in how you build your relationship. Tell your S.O. where you want to go for dinner. Plan a night out. Plan a big adventure. For you, space may be a virtue, but for your partner, more intention may help them feel more loved.
ENFP: Working on yourself first
ENFPs like to dive into new relationships head-first. You love love and intimacy. You’re also really giving, and you want your partner to feel wholly cared for. The problem? This often comes at the expense of your own self care. So, make sure you take time to only do what serves you so that you feel refreshed. You’ll be a better partner when you feel emotionally and physically healthy.
INFP: Forcing yourself to lean in instead of out
INFPs are gifted at understanding emotions, but they struggle to manage them. When you feel hurt, you often bury it. When you feel angry, you become passive-aggressive instead of honest and vulnerable. When you think your partner is pulling away, you may quietly wallow in anxiety, wondering what might be happening. To better handle this relationship issue, step toward your partner to resolve your feelings instead of away in self-protection. The intimacy and vulnerability that comes from addressing what’s going on may provide the sense of security you’re seeking.
ENFJ: Trying to be real, not perfect
ENFJs always want to be the best partner, and to feel the most loved in response. Whether it’s spending hours cooking your partner’s favorite meal or planning a lavish trip away, you relish doing what you can to please your partner, but you also feel frequently overwhelmed trying to maintain a certain standard of perfection. Try to relax—put on sweats, order food, and just breathe. If you’re tired, say so. If you need something, ask. If you’re insecure, speak the truth. All the effort in the world is no substitute for relaxed realness.
INFJ: Taking time to process your emotions, not just those of others
INFJs are incredibly in tune with their partner. You can tell when an “off” mood is simply a bad day or perhaps something more serious. You’re great at handling complicated emotions, but you are almost always analyzing your partner. To diminish this relationship issue, take more time to ask yourself why you’re feeling what you’re feeling. This introspection, which might benefit from a meditating or journaling habit, may in turn help you open up to your partner more readily and easily.
INTJ: Being okay with the unknown
INTJs struggle with ambiguity. You want to know your relationship will work out before you decide to commit. You want your partner to be entirely forthcoming at all times, even when they need a minute to process. So, try your best to cope with the unknown. Forcing your S.O. to make a decision or commitment they’re not ready for will likely only lead to problems down the road.
INTP: Finding ways to have fun
INTPs tend to intellectualize their relationships. This leads them to place the highest importance in having a mind mate as a partners over anything other quality. There’s nothing wrong with this, but it’s wise to make room for fun in your partnership so things don’t start to feel heavy. Turn watching the next presidential debate into a date night, play a board game you haven’t used in ages, or take a spontaneous road trip. You might be surprised how much spark will return to your relationship if you focus on playing.
ENTP: Choosing what challenges you, not what feels soft
ENTPs tend to fall into relationships of comfort and ease because they gravitate toward everyone. So try to be more intentional about the type of relationship you want to have; don’t hide your mind or your hobbies rom your partner. Focus on emotional conversations. Start going deeper with your partner emotionally, as this is the only type of relationship that won’t eventually lead you toward apathy.
ENTJ: Realizing your standards don’t need to mirror your partner’s
ENTJs tend to have ruthless standards in work, life, and relationships. But if you’re not careful, you may end up dominating your lifestyle with your partner between where you choose to eat, with whom you socialize, and how you spend free time. You may feel like you’re motivating your partner to make better choices, but those choices may or may not be ones they want to make. So, only offer suggestions and advice when it’s asked for. Allow your partner space to be their own person, and make sure you are honoring their wishes.
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