How to Know When It’s Time to Break up, Based on Your Myers-Briggs Personality Type

People don’t usually decide to break up with their partners suddenly. I mean, let's be real: It's rare for the state of a relationship to go from wonderful to terrible overnight. Usually, the decision sort of creeps up on you. And depending on your unique list of priorities, you might have your own unique reasons for needing to leave a partnership. Your Myers-Briggs personality type can both illuminate your needs in a relationship and also which qualities are absolutely not negotiable—whether that’s control or trust or something else entirely. So, what exactly is your breaking point for knowing when to call it quits? Read on. (Don’t know what your MBTI is? Read this first!)

Check out how to know when to break up, based on your Myers-Briggs personality type.

Myers-Briggs explainer
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ISFJ: When you feel the relationship is unstable

You thrive on stability and like knowing your partner is going to be there for you know matter what. When your relationship seems to be a roller-coaster, and you’re hitting more rough patches than bursts of good times, it’s time to end it. You’ll have near-constant anxiety with an absentee significant other.

ESFJ: When you’re working harder for it than they are

You’re incredibly giving, but that generosity is also your Achilles’ heel. You tend to work very hard to maintain relationships once committed, even if your partner isn't reciprocating in equal measure. By the time you actually feel that your partner is devoting some effort, it may well be time to leave. At that point, the problem has probably been going on a long time.

ISTJ: When the trust is gone

As the epitome of straightforward, your expectations are clear upon entering a relationship, and on the other side of things, you make sure to try and meet your partner's expectations. Loyalty is a given, and you work to maintain a strong sense of trust with your significant other. When you’re suddenly questioning your partner’s motives or whereabouts, and their actions leave more questions than answers, it’s time to leave. For you, once trust is gone, nothing else really matters.

ESTJ: When they’re holding you back

ESTJs are type-A, driven, superstar overachievers. You thrive on accomplishments, both in your work and your personal life, and you really want to stay with someone who helps you become better. When your partner is holding you back from reaching your goals—and it’s a theme here, not a one-off occurrence—it’s time to move on. You’ll start to resent a significant other who doesn't allow you to be your best self.

Myers-Briggs explainer
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ESFP: When you can’t generate the excitement anymore

As the master of novelty, you can make anything exciting. Your effervescent personality and sense of spontaneity can always spice up a relationship—because you value support and fun in a partner. When you can no longer laugh at, go on adventures with, or lust after your partner, the relationship is over. For you, finding the joys of life is a prime priority, so the absence of it indicates that it's time to move on.

ISTP: When you’d rather be alone than be with your partner

ISTPs are very content on their own. You don’t need anyone else in order to enjoy your time. When you’re in a happy relationship, you find yourself carving out less time for solitude in order to enjoy the camaraderie of your partner. You'll know it's time to end things when you find yourself making excuses to be on your own once again. Your actions will dictate your true feelings.

ESTP: When you feel stifled

Kind and loving partners, ESTPs want to give the world, the moon, and the stars to their partner. In exchange, you just want the freedom to enjoy your many hobbies and friends without undue interference. When your partner is overly demanding or wants to control your time, you start to get antsy. Express exactly how you feel to your partner about the overreaching, but know it’s time to leave if those behaviors stay constant. You stress very little in life, but the unhappiness you feel while upsetting your partner—just by being yourself—means you’re in an unhealthy situation.

ISFP: When you feel controlled

ISFPs thrive on freedom, self-expression, and choosing to love each and every day. When someone guilts you into staying, or tries to manipulate your feelings for a specific reaction, you will eventually find out and feel like you’re in a cage. Good news: You hold the keys to unlock it and leave—and you must, or you’ll feel trapped.

Myers-Briggs explainer
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ENFP: When your partner doesn’t support your dreams

ENFPs are the advocates and champions of nearly everyone in their lives. In a partner, they value similar unwavering support for the goals they’re most passionate about. If that's not present, it's time to call quits on the union.

INFP: When your desire for adventure is greater than the love

When you and your huge heart fall in love, there’s nothing that can distract you from the strong feelings you harbor for your partner; that person is number one. But over time, if the love isn’t truly deep and the relationship isn’t meant to last, your attention begins to wander. You’ll think of what playing the field would be like, what would happen if you took a year off and travel, or if you’d want to go back to grad school, to name a couple of examples—and you won’t factor your partner into any of your future plans. That’s when you know the relationship has probably run its course.

ENFJ: When you don’t feel appreciated

You'll naturally do a lot for your partner, ENFJ—grand gestures (like the perfect Valentine's Day dinner) and day-to-day niceties (like picking up groceries) alike. All you really want in return is to feel like your partner appreciates your efforts. You need words of affirmation and lots of gratitude. When your partner takes your kindness for granted, though, you have trouble recovering. If it’s a pattern, you’ll need to leave.

INFJ: When you don’t feel seen

It's tough for many to understand you because INFJs shield their feelings far beneath the surface. But what you need most in a partner is exactly what you struggle with so much: Feeling fully seen and loved for exactly who you are. You may intuitively understand that you'll learn your S.O.’s needs and idiosyncrasies much faster than vice versa, but if your partner doesn’t seem to put that effort into “getting” you? Find someone who does.

Myers-Briggs explainer
Graphic by Well+Good Creative

INTJ: When you know you’re more invested

INTJs are very capable partners. Although you don’t naturally grasp a partner’s feelings and needs, you make up for it in effort—all of which comes from a hidden soft center, full of love. You won’t enter a commitment you don’t feel strongly about, but you’ll also struggle to stay if your relationship isn’t built around equality. You expect respect and consistency, and a continual expression of loyalty. If you don’t have all three, you’ll eventually cut the cord.

INTP: When you’re pretending to be happy

The idea of ending a relationship is tough for you to fathom. It’s difficult for you to be interested in someone, let alone open up to them and allow them a consistent part in your life. That said, you're a pretty adaptable partner so long as you feel like the relationship is bettering you. This can lead you to put on a “fake it till make it” face during times of conflict, so be wary of how much you’re pretending that you’re happy versus actually feeling that way.

ENTP: When you’re dreaming of someone else

Although ENTPs have a reputation for being flirt, they also tend to fall into committed relationships often. You’re rarely without a plus-one, and you’re usually head-over-heels for that person. Over time though, intellectual stimulation becomes more necessary than the flurry of physical attraction that may have initially sparked the relationship. You'll know it's time to leave when you want to explore want to explore new connections with people who fulfill your mental needs.

ENTJ: When you’re always frustrated with your partner

ENTJs never have their feelings at the forefront of their minds: You like meeting someone you click with, and you're pumped whenever you find someone worthy of a commitment. You naturally create space for them in your crammed schedule, but it’s only because you believe they add a lot to your life. When you start getting frustrated with your partner’s bad habits and annoying behaviors, it usually means you’re checking out.
Want more Myers-Briggs intel? Here's what your MBTI means for your love language. And here's the top trait you look for in a relationship, according to your type.

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