ASK PH: Can an INTJ and INTP Succeed in a Relationship?

Hi Antonia,

Thank you so much for the work you and your husband do, first of all. I found your site a couple of weeks ago and have just immersed myself in the podcasts available on my type (INTP) and that of those I’m close to and have found it so incredibly helpful. I never fully understood the cognitive functions using just the Myers-Briggs typing system, so your car model has been very useful. I am starting some personal growth projects focusing on exploration and putting myself in new situations that I would never have done before, and I am so excited to go through this process and see what comes out on the other side.

I wanted to email you personally because I have a personal question that I would very much appreciate your advice on. All of the podcasts and articles on personality hacker are clear and helpful but for some reason the way you explain things just sticks in my mind and is more clear to me personally. Maybe because we’re NT chicks, I’m not sure. Anyway, I’ve just listened to your podcast Cognitive Functions in Relationships, and I found it so helpful. However, I’m still left with a question: is it possible for any two types to have a healthy, enjoyable relationship? More specifically, say two people in a relationship have completely opposite cognitive functions. Is it possible for them to understand each other fully and have a growing relationship, or would each be better off looking for someone with whom they “match” with more?

Of course, this isn’t entirely hypothetical; I’m an INTP and my closest male friend, an INTJ. We have alternately considered a relationship with each other. He is the one who introduced me to Myers-Briggs personality types, and I believe a big struggle for both of us is the ‘logicalness’ of our relationship. Our function stacks are completely opposite, we’re both introverted and struggle with the feeling aspects of our personalities, and I lead with a judging driver and him a perceiving. So with all that working against us, our logical minds say that it shouldn’t work. It is hard for me to separate that knowledge from how I actually feel. I guess my real question is, how do you know when to stop listening to the logical data and go with the gut feeling instead?

I understand this is a deeply personal question and has many possible answers, so if you feel it is too delicate a subject to speculate on I completely understand. That’s why I sent this in a personal email rather than submit a question on the site, but if you’d like to make this a subject of a podcast, I would be very interested in your thoughts. Thanks for listening to me babble on, and again THANK YOU so much for your insights!

******************************

Dear INTP,

Thank you for your question. Antonia doesn’t respond to personal emails anymore due to some pretty heavy time constraints. So, she forwarded your message to me.

We believe any pairing of any type can succeed together. Knowing one another’s cognitive functions will help to predict possible blind spots and struggles.

An excellent exercise is to write out your cognitive function stack side by side and compare where each function lands in the Car Model.

iNtuitive and Sensor functions are learning processes.

Thinking and Feeling functions are decision-making processes.

You will notice that INTPs lead with a thinking decision-making process called Introverted Thinking (Ti), which shows up as much more decisive. An INTP will be quicker to make a decision, usually, than an INTJ.

INTJs lead with a learning process, so they are going to be more interested in gathering information before they make a decision. Even though the INTJ is a Thinker, their decisions are going to have more of a feeling component than INTPs whose Feeling Function (Extraverted Feeling) is a blind spot.

So, an INTP will ask, “What makes logical sense?” Then make their decision based on whatever criteria makes the most subjective sense. Usually, the human element does not come into the equation.

An INTJ will ask,”What makes sense from a systemic perspective? What works?” Then they will follow that up with, “What feels right to me?” This conscious feeling part (Introverted Feeling – Fi) of the INTJ will seem a bit perplexing to an INTP at times.

Possible blind spots you both share:

  • You’re both introverted, so getting out and socializing may be a struggle.
  • You’re both Thinkers, so you will have to remember to take into consideration the human element. INTJs will have this on their radar more than INTPs because of their tertiary Feeling process.
  • You both struggle with motivation. Ti and Fi need inner world alignment. If something doesn’t align just right, the motivation won’t be there. 
  • Both INTPs and INTJs are accustomed to being smarter than most people, so you may find your arguments revolving around who is right. A long-term approach would involve both realizing that a healthy relationship is more important than who is right or wrong. Some ego transcendence work can also help. Losing an argument doesn’t equal death. Being wrong doesn’t make you less intelligent.
  • You are going to organize your lives differently. The INTP is a Perceiver, so they prefer a little chaos in their environment and often struggle with getting to places on time. The INTJ is a Judger, so they prefer more organization in their environment and may actually hate being late.  
  • INTJs and INTPs can get caught in a loop of believing the rest of the world is too stupid. Try not to get trapped in this loop. Have fun with it on occasion. My hubby and I watch paranormal shows and loudly point out how ridiculous most of the people are while we poke holes in their evidence. But if all you ever do is focus on how inept the rest of the world is it isn’t a positive place to be and may force you both into an introverted loop where neither one of you is showing up as your best self, which would be detrimental to the relationship.

Possible benefits you can bring each other:

  • If both are willing to compromise and make the relationship a priority, the INTJ can learn to embrace the spontaneity and openness of a Perceiver. And the INTP can learn the value of organization and planning.
  • In Hardwired for Wealth, Antonia calls INJs The Planners and INPs The Supporters, which is a good pairing. The Planner can create the strategy, and The Supporter finds a way to make it all happen with the best possible results.
  • I can see some great conversations in this pairing, where each will be able to see the holes in the other’s reasoning and help each other refine their data.
  • You will be the smartest couple around, and everyone will want you on their trivia team.
  • You may also be intimidating to others and find life a bit lonely unless you work hard to be open and personable with people. The INTP may find this easier than the INTJ, believe it or not. INTPs who have spent a lot of time exercising their co-pilot function will find people just as fascinating as any other source of data.

If this relationship becomes a thing, I see it as a huge learning opportunity for both parties — like most relationships. I believe we attract the people who have something to teach us.   

Will the relationship last? That cannot be predicted no matter the pairing of personality types. It depends too much on the individuals, circumstances, and personal growth of the people within the relationship.

Hopefully, I gave you some things to think about though.

 

*If you are an INTJ or INTP and some of the things I discussed above don’t resonate with your experience of your type, please remember we all fall on a spectrum. Due to a multiple of nodes in our system (environment, culture, enneagram, Zodiac, etc.), there may be some variation. I am discussing INTP vs INTJ from an MBTI perspective alone. 

 

 

If you have a question, you think will be good for the PH community, submit them to info@personalityhacker.com and put “Ask PH” in the subject line.

 

 

 

 

**The information contained on our website, blog, guest blogs, e-mails, videos, programs, services and/or products is for educational and informational purposes only and is made available to you as self-help tools for your own use. We are not trained mental health care providers or certified therapists. If you feel you need the help of a licensed counselor or physician, we encourage you to take whatever action you feel is in the best interest of you and your family.

Showing 11 comments
  • C
    Reply

    I’m an INTJ female with an INTP male for the last 20 years. When I met him, it was one of the rare times I’d felt understood and i knew it was an important relationship. We rarely have arguments. He is more of a perfectionist than i am and has trouble making decisions which can drive me crazy! OTOH he’s more outgoing than I am, so at parties i can let him talk which allows me to relax more. He takes care of finances and trip planning which usually I’m fine with, although if I want to plan something, it can be really difficult for him to step aside and let me do it without being critical. The hardest time in our relationship was when the kids were young. The added stress, noise, and constant kid demands were exhausting for both of us. Especially resolving the conflicts that arose when there were two kids. I tried to be the housewife for a while but i just couldn’t do it. I am happiest working outside the house, which allows me some alone time from family demands, and to ground myself so i can be more present around my kids and husband.

  • Connie
    Reply

    I’m an INTJ female married to an INTP male and it is wonderful. Some of the pros: 1) We both let the other pursue their interests, even if takes a ridiculous amount of time for seemingly little pay-off. 2) We don’t bog each other down with petty expectations. Don’t get me wrong; there are expectations, but they are clearly communicated and executed when we are both in healthy places. 3) We like *mostly* the same types of entertainment. 4) We value the same types of personal/professional growth. 5) We are both self-starters/self-learners and like to talk about this kind of thing with each other. 6) There is very little conflict, and when there is, it is generally worked out in rational discussion rather than emotional outbursts. Cons: 1) There is remarkably little effusive romanticism going on in our relationship. This isn’t really a problem for us, but I wonder sometimes if it could be unhealthy. We are a wonderful team, but if an outsider watched our life, they’d probably say we act more like roommates or business partners, though we love each other deeply. 2) His disorganization/forgetfulness sometimes makes me crazy. However, he balances this wonderfully by having a handful of predictable tasks he does regularly so that he doesn’t have to figure out what needs to be done to maintain regular life, and I don’t get mad at him for not doing it. His chores are usually the simple, daily tasks (dishes, trash, cat litter, grocery shopping), while mine tend to be the organizational/long-term (making dr. appts, car repair appts, keeping the grocery list up to date, paying the bills, yard work). Bottom line, if it requires any kind of continual attentiveness as opposed to being a straightforward obvious thing, the task is on me.

  • Katie
    Reply

    Hi, I’m an INTP female with an INTJ male partner. We’ve been together almost 10 years and I’ve loved every minute of it. Being and INTP plus ADD means lots of chaos, but my INTJ just makes wise cracks at me that I have to appreciate cause they’re true!
    When there’s a crisis, I definitely notice our differences. I go straight into logical solution mode, while he’s still struggling with the emotions of what just happened. This has caused him to feel hurt at times because he thinks I’m ignoring or discrediting his feelings. When we fight, I definitely see that we each want to be right, and sometimes we’ll be saying the same thing just in two different ways, neither one wanting to acknowledge that the other is also right. I know for me, as an INTP, being wrong naturally means being stupid. That’s definitely something I will work on now that you’ve pointed it out here!
    Whats great is that even if we fight, we can always come back with clear heads and logic it out after. And we hardly ever fight because we both would choose harmony over proving a point if we can.
    I am an INTP who definitely finds people fascinating, and when I first met my INTJ it was so interesting getting to know him! Before we even decided to try a relationship, we were talking all day every day. There is never a dull conversation with us, we’re both always learning new things and sharing it with eachother.
    As far as being social, my INTJ has had far more practice with that than me. If it weren’t for him I’d probably never leave the house! But my walls came down far easier than his. He still struggles with sharing his true sweet self. I love how logical and truthful he is, especially after being hurt by abusive friendships in the past. And his rationalism really keeps me grounded. I can get so lost in my own head contemplating possible futures. After spending hours contemplating I’l jokingly ask him what year it is.
    We’re both musicians primarily, but as the typical master mind he composes, while I’m an instrumentalist. We’re both perfectionists to a fault and definitely like music for completely different reasons! Its so fun to talk about it though and share eachother’s opinions on it, as long as it doesn’t devolve into who’s right!
    We’re both very anti tradition, so we’ll skip marriage, but we plan on being together a very long time. INTP and INTJ definitely makes for an interesting pair 🙂

  • Mike
    Reply

    The function stacks for the two types are very different, which, in my experience as an INTP, leads to constant friction. I’m thinking that there needs to be significant “give” in the Te-Fi/Ti-Fe areas in particular for such relationships to work. Best wishes to those giving it a go.

  • Jai
    Reply

    I’ve lately met an INTJ, who happens to be a friend of my brother’s (brother is also INTJ; birds of a feather…)
    We quickly became interested in communicating with one other because of our mutual interests in waveforms, coordinate geometry and harmonic series…
    We are both recluses, I am a chemistry student, he is a software developer.
    We can talk about scientific theory all day, and he doesn’t even get bored when I explain in detail the theory of multiple event horizons within a supermassive black hole and the dynamics between them
    (Yes, I’m a stereotypical INTP).
    We’ve already established that we are diffuse vs linear, deep vs succinct.
    He’s a master of efficiency.
    I’m a master of chaos 😉
    I hope we don’t end up driving one another insane since I don’t value colouring between the lines too much (but we both enjoy connecting the dots).
    I shouldn’t speculate about where this might lead, but it does appear to be gathering momentum…

  • Happy
    Reply

    I’m an INTJ woman very happily married to my INTP husband. I’m old as the hills now (okay, maybe molehills, but am definitely on the back nine now – that’s a golf reference, btw) and have worked on my “feels” side, so I’ll just share how deeply satisfying it is to be in a relationship with someone I trust completely. (All the logic and science has been covered above.) I love his intellectual process and its integrity, his complete lack of maliciousness, his sense of humor, his furrowed brow and cranky, suspicious expression which completely mask his deep feelings of genuine goodwill for the people he cares about. (I spend a lot of time telling people, “He’s not mad/upset/dyspeptic, that’s just his face.” LOL) Having said all that, I want to take the lion’s share of credit for getting our relationship off the ground! For the first time in my romantic life, with THIS guy, I finally let my exoskeleton down, gave him a glimpse of my vulnerabilities…and we were off like a rocket. He returned the favor once he saw he could trust me. My intuition told me this INTP was worth it, and the rewards were awesome. One of you is going to have to be brave and be the first to crack open that wall. But when you do, the other will (usually) recognize it for the incredible gift that it is, and treat it accordingly. To reiterate Steve’s earlier comment: what a pity we’re both so rare! We make a wonderful combination.

    • Elizabeth
      Reply

      This resonates with me! I am an INTJ female in love with an INTP male. We both see marriage in our future, and we saw it from day 1 (literally I think we talked about living together before we’d even realized we were romantically attracted to each other). From my experience, we’re a perfect match. I let him in, and I tell him often that he could do a lot of damage – but he’s let me in too. We trust each other, we love each other, and we’re of the mindframe that our relationship should be about growth – both individually and as a team. As an INTJ (who has a bit of an ego about being wrong) one of the things I really admire and appreciate about my partner is his ability to admit when he is wrong and change his viewpoint! I think because we’re a bit of opposites but also very similar, we both love music but we love it for entirely different reasons – there is so much to learn from each other. And we have learned so much already, and we’re both so excited to just keep learning and improving! I absolutely think INTJs and INTPs can be a fantastic match as long as you approach the relationship the right way!

  • Steve
    Reply

    I’m an INTP male in a relationship with an INTJ female. It’s been almost a year now and it’s working out great.
    What Teressa said resonates with how we work as well. I was reading along, going ‘yep, yep, yep’. Instead of electronic music are both interested in aquaponics, but otherwise a similar story. Great to share a common, but uncommon, interest. We both talk about typology and cognitive functions and give each other space to be ourselves.
    I think INTJ-INTP is similar enough, but not the same, so we can talk and think much alike and also have a variety of perspectives.
    A shame we are both such rare types; makes it harder to find each other.

  • Teressa
    Reply

    I’m an INTJ female that started dating an INTP male. I have always felt like a weirdo and finally found someone that I can share my unique interests and viewpoints with. I am very happy and our relationship is progressing, in view of the fact that we have never had a serious relationship, and were virtual shut ins for the past 10 years. A mutual friend told us we should be friends after I told him I love electronic music and we decided to attend a DJ set together. After the event, I was impressed by how how caring he was, making sure I arrived home safely. We are very honest with each other and try to relay our thoughts in a tactful way. We are tackling this as we would a project and constantly finding third alternates to potential areas of conflict, so we don’t get to the point of any resentment. Sometimes he gets caught in a loop when we are not in agreement and I tell him we need to step back and talk at a later time. He’s not mad but I get upset and want time to think about it. By the time we talk in person I have come to see all sides of the situation and it ends with both of us feeling honored and respected. We are planning on moving in together in the next couple of months and putting a plan together to be our guide when we have conflict. We both tell each other often that we feel lucky to find each other. It’s not perfect and it’s more amazing than I ever thought possible. When he gets out of his comfort zone I thank him and am finding he loves the new experiences I bring to his life. I’m helping him with his co-pilot. I plan things out way too much then worry about breaking my plans. He is helping me to relax a bit more and enjoy life. He thinks it’s great that I love to work with non-profits, supporting diversity/inclusion events (getting my ideas out to the world) and cook foods for him with the mindset of “Like Water for Chocolate.” I love to hear about his creative process, making electronic music, and listen to the end result. We are doing things together now that we wanted to do, but didn’t do them,because we were alone. He bought a kayak to support my interest and now loves it. He wants to go roller skating when our social engagements slow down. I definitely think speaking the same love languages helps. We talked recently about how falling in love is more of a mental process for us based on substance vs. style. The more beautiful a person is on the inside the more beautiful they become to us on the outside. We see life in terms of we can do anything together. I’m looking forward to sharing all that life has to offer with the best person I have ever met.

    • Charis Branson
      Reply

      Thanks for sharing this with us, Teressa! 🙂

    • Elizabeth
      Reply

      “The more beautiful a person is on the inside the more beautiful they become to us on the outside. We see life in terms of we can do anything together. I’m looking forward to sharing all that life has to offer with the best person I have ever met.”
      It’s like you took the words right out of my head. – INTJ female with INTP male partner

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