The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a helpful way to illustrate opposite tendencies in human preferences that may excite, and then produce long term conflict. It consists of four dimensions thought to be inborn and hereditary. People behave in these ways unconsciously, as opposed to intentionally.
Extraversion (E) versus Introversion (I): My ex-wife was an extravert and I an introvert. She loved to book up all our time with social events – parties, gatherings, bridge at the bridge club. I found such events tiring and eventually I would refuse to attend. She would say, “It’s not so bad. Look, a week from tomorrow there is an evening still unscheduled and I will leave it open,” and I would say, “No, you don’t understand. I’ve had it, and I’m not doing any more events this week,” and then we would argue. And ultimately I would stay home and she would go alone, and we grew apart. Extraverts love others’ company. Introverts are happy on their own. I’m sure she found my attitude unhelpful and unreasonable.
Intuiting (N) versus Sensing (S): Sensors are more attuned to their senses, like eyes and ears, so they are probably more accurate about what was really said or done – annoying, if your partner is better able to recount what happened. But Intuitors are better reading between the lines and knowing what the Other really meant, even if she/he didn’t come out and say it. It must be annoying to a Sensor when her/his Intuitor reads right through his/her facades to the underlying intention.
Feeling (F) versus Thinking (T): Thinkers are logical and analytical, but also impersonal. They’d prefer justice over mercy and aren’t above hurting someone’s feelings just to be helpful. But Feelers are very personal and concerned about not hurting others or being hurt themselves. They have “thin skins” so often the comments “thick skinned” Thinkers. My ex-wife is a Thinker. She seemed to me (a Feeler) to be hard on others by demanding “proper” service – like from bank tellers and restaurant waiters. I felt embarrassed to be with her, believing her to be insensitive to others’ feelings. No doubt she saw me as a soft touch. willing to accept bad service and still tip.
Perceiving (P) versus Judging (J): Judgers just want to decide and get on with it. They like to plan ahead, and get organized, and then go do what they’ve planned. Perceivers want to be open in case some new and exciting opportunity presents itself. They are exceedingly annoying to Judgers because they can’t – won’t – make up their minds till the last minute, or even later. My ex and I were both Judgers – our best point in common, though she was more than me, which often made me look like a Perceiver compared to her. My daughter and her boyfriend, several back, used to travel together. She, a Judger, planned ahead, had her tickets months in advance, and listed exactly what she wanted to see from travel books. Her boyfriend was a Perceiver. He didn’t have his tickets yet; was he really going? Would they be on the same flight even? Really annoying to her, but he likely thought she was not at all spontaneous.
I always thought my ex was a mix of extrovert, sensing, thinking and judgemental (ESTJ). Whenever I do the Meyers-Briggs, I always score as being introverted, intuitive, thin-skinned (feeling) and judgemental (INFJ). This is pretty opposite, all but the J.
My ex insists she was always an intuitive person (an “N”), and maybe that was true, because I always thought she was wildly inaccurate about the details of what happened (and she thought the same of me).
Similarly, she claims she was always an introvert, which is just nonsense, in my view, though maybe I was just a lot more introverted than her. But if she is right, our relationship may have failed just because the difference in dominant traits of Thinking and Feeling. She was the Thinker; a T. I the Feeler, an F. Twenty years later I find she has changed. and is much nicer and concerned for others, which might indicate that traits can be managed…or change? Though the personality literature claims you don’t change dimensions after age 30 – who knows for sure, for any individual person.
Now my ex-wife and I are both much happier, as married people. My second wife is introverted, intuitive, thin-skinned and judgmental–an INFJ, just like me–and we get along very well. My ex-wife’s second husband is very nice and they seem to get along very well, as well.
I’m glad she got a better one (better for her), the second time around. Better for me, too.