The INFP: Sex, Dating, and Love

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March 27, 2015 by philipbullitthughes

shyINFPs are congenial types. Soft-spoken, intelligent, and introspective, they make deeply loyal and caring mates. In fact, they have one of the highest capacities for love and devotion, making them extremely attractive to most every personality type. That said, there is a perpetual war going on inside of the INFP between the head and the heart. Physical beauty in both their environment and in their mate of choice can pull them like a magnet. They crave meaningful relationships with insatiable yearning, and hope, like anyone, to find that special someone. But then the rational side of minds creates is a sense of uneasiness within them—that the lofty notion of love, while sounding nice, is too good to be true; that they will have to pay the penalty at some point for their bliss.

Despite all of this, the INFP usually has little trouble once they commit. However, getting there is difficult. In fact, many of their problems with romance can be summed up in a single sentence:

The INFP struggles with initiating romantic relationships.

downloadBefore the INFP can act on their feelings, their minds swirl with every possible outcome—every situation, positive, negative neutral—being with that person could create. Their vivid imagination, something they so often rely on in their creative endeavors, is of little help when it comes to love. It often runs amok with scenarios that might never happen. Fortunately, this rarely bogs them down for too long, and given time, they ultimately make up their minds. However, when they finally do decide, the prospect of being emotionally vulnerable—of sharing their rich inner world and being rejected by someone they care about—can be so daunting it leads to inaction. So they often sit and wait, dropping hints to the person they might be interested in, hoping for a signal or some sign from heaven to move ahead.

On the flip side, it can be especially exasperating for those pursuing an INFP, for they sometimes seem oblivious to romantic advances. While the INFP may be oblivious (or simply disinterested), this usually this is not the case. INFPs tend to be excellent at reading the emotions of others. But when it comes to romantic relationships, they are not the most adept at expressing themselves verbally. Unfortunately, there is no real way to know if they are or are not interested unless you ask them. Be aware that if you do ask them, prepare to wait for an answer. It does not always mean no, it just means you might have to be patient while they sort things out.

4d554601453c60120f214d935349ae05Once in a relationship, the INFP might puzzle their mate. Coupled with their powerful emotional framework comes a curiosity, creativity, and adaptability that, believe it or not, causes dissonance inside of them. Their interests and passions ebb and flow like the tide. Thus, they are rarely certain with the trajectory of their lives, especially in terms of occupation. Inevitably, this restlessness spills onto their loved ones. If paired with a less than understanding mate, it can turn into an area of sore conflict. Fortunately, the INFP is typically very flexible and highly concerned about their partner’s wellbeing. As long as their ideals are not violated, they usually are able to collaborate with their loved one in such a way that pleases both parties.

The INFPs giving nature is especially evident in terms of the bedroom. Pleasing their loved one physically is often the reward in and of itself. However, true to their idealistic nature, they are often innocent concerning sexuality. They believe it should an act of love. Recreation is fine and good, but more often than not they want sex to be a time of bonding. When paired with a less soulful type, they can often be disappointed in the lack of intimacy, but usually are able to find connections elsewhere. It is in a deep relationship that INFPs find sex most satisfying.

Love-An-IntrovertFor the INFP, it may take some time for them to develop a bond with someone. But once that bond is forged, their loyalty for their mate knows no bounds. They give themselves, body and soul, to their partner. That said, breakups and divorce can be devastating for the INFP, especially when it is someone to whom they have given their whole heart. They do not give love haphazardly, but hold onto their hearts until they see someone as worthy of their affection. To them, to give love is to share some special secret, only between them and that other person. And when that person breaks the bond, they feel not just a sense of loss, but deep-seated betrayal, often taking years to fully heal.

In the end, if you are pursuing an INFP, remember to be patient. They often take awhile to make up their minds. Speak up; let them know how you feel. If they need to step away for a time to process what you have said, do not be offended. Be careful with their hearts. Do not jump into a relationship with them unless you are certain you will be committed.

download (1)For the INFP, it is good to avoid spending too much time considering possibilities and options instead of acting on them. Trust that your congenial personality, your willingness to work through conflict, and your self-sacrificing nature will win the day.

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29 thoughts on “The INFP: Sex, Dating, and Love

  1. Melanie says:

    I absolutely love reading your posts! I’d love it if you could do a Sex, Dating, and Love post on ENFPs!

  2. Cara Finch says:

    Reblogged this on Zoe's INFP Analysis.

  3. mariam says:

    wow. this is me. exactly as it is. I have a crush on an ENTJ. I like him a lot. A whole lot. he does too. We go way back. The trouble is, he went abroad to study and we reconnected afterwards after completing studies. He came back, he asked me out like twice I just got cold feet. Luckily he seemed to understand. I got a strong urge to call him the other day and I found out he was in the airport going back abroad. I thought I had more time to face my shyness and say okay gal, let’s do this. well, it seems it may never be. I’ve let him go. It’s just painful to fall for a friend and it’s like we are star crossed. good thing is, I told him I am working on facing my fears. I ‘fear’ him. it get a lot of butterflies and I can also hear him sounding nervous too. I don’t want to beat myself anymore and think all the things I could have done. I am an infp for crying out loud. it’s not in me to be that assertive when it comes to matters of the heart. I told him finally I’m an infp. He’ll figure what to do. We are family friends. A case of rich guy and a gal not goog enough maybe? There goes my infp side again. oh, and did I mention I’ve saving myself for none other than…but it may never be. maybe I’m just unlucky?

    • Hi Mariam,

      My fiance is actually an INFP, so the whole cold feet thing makes total sense. I have experienced it. I’m an ENFJ, and am very forward. Pretty sure I freaked her out when I was like, “I like you. Let’s date.” Basically she said she wasn’t ready. So I said that I would wait for her and for her to take as much time as she needed. But there was no distance to compound any strain on the relationship. Eventually, she came around. It was a leap of faith for her but it worked out. I suggest you basically give it a go next time! You may not ever be ‘sure’ it’s right, but that will be the case no matter who you are with. Also, it sounds like you really do like him based on what you wrote. 🙂

  4. Jess says:

    Crazy accurate. Thank you for posting.

  5. Kee says:

    Hi, This is so accurate! Every man I dated was a pretty determined type and had to be, my lovely husband included! I was and still am reticent about getting close to people being friendly but keeping them at arms length! Thanks for summing it up so well! 🙂

  6. Blugirl.1 says:

    Everything is so freakin’ accurate… Can’t wait for the next post ^.^

  7. tsumoon says:

    Thanks! I’m really just getting into the whole INFP thing, but this is me. At least, I think. I’ve never actually been in a real relationship. I’m way too shy, and sadly I have these standards a potential mate has to meet. I fantasize about situations all the time if I were in a relationship (recently pertaining to this one guy I’m a fan of on Youtube, who I like to think is my soulmate, lol). I just have this thing that, in the ever rare occasion that a guy likes me, if I don’t like him back (like THAT), I won’t try. I don’t wanna waste my time, but u don’t wanna waste his, in leading him on.

    • Wow. What great insight into the inner dealings of the INFP. In truth, you’re correct. The fantasy can sometimes be more alluring than reality, especially for the INFP. There is so much conflict and challenge in real relationships that they can turn many off. But the truth is, you don’t need to ‘lower’ your standards. I would suggest having realistic ones. People are so fallible. They will let you down and even seem a little dull compared to what your mind can conjure. But ultimately, relationships with people (romantic or otherwise) are what make life rich. I hope you find someone who appreciates your personality, and I hope you find someone who you can appreciate as well!

  8. stephanie says:

    This was one of the best articles describing INFPs. I want to use this article as one of those hints you talk about as you describe me better than I ever could.

  9. Patience says:

    So I’m an ENFJ. I’ve been dating an INFP for about 2 months. It was very intense in the beginning but he cooled off and wants to take things slow. I can be intense myself. I only have one problem. He’s just not putting in as much effort as me. I typically buy every meal. He will cook for me but it usually isn’t balanced. He is an artist and doesn’t make that much money and we really enjoy spending time together. Sex is amazing and we have amazing conversation and chemistry. We’ve worked through a couple of minor issues and it’s been great. We have amazing communication. I know he takes awhile to warm up. I just don’t know if I should let it ride and not say anything or bring it up. Everything is going so well I don’t necessarily want to put a weird dynamic in it. I feel if we do get into something more serious then I can broach the subject. Any thoughts would be great?

    • Hi Patience!

      Thanks so much for your comment. First I would like to say that you’re spot on: INFPs take awhile to warm up and ENFJs can come on pretty strong (I am an ENFJ and just married an INFP so I can speak to this, haha.) Definitely give him a wide berth. Give him time to figure things out in his head.

      I would also give a word of caution: giving yourself physically might cause a cloud in judgment resulting in confusion. If the sex is great, people tend to see that as an indication of love, where it may just be a ‘happy sensation.’ Both you and he may not be able to get to know each other as in depth if the focus remains on the physical. I would never tell anyone what they can and cannot do, but I would just be careful not to give your heart to someone before the commitment is there. We ENFJs tend to do that and it can cause an unhealthy imbalance and heartbreak.

      Lastly, the fact that you’ve got excellent communication is a great sign. That is one of the keys to a strong and healthy relationship!

      Hope this helps!

  10. Amaka says:

    This is so amazingly correct. I can count on my right fingers how many times I have fallen in love and devastated I am when things don’t work out. I also find it very difficult to say my feelings and when I feel my lofty imaginations are not manifesting, I tend to get discouraged with that relationship. I am having such issues in my current relationship now with a guy, am now suspecting to be same personality type with me (INFP) he even finds it more difficult to say his feelings.
    I love him but am almost giving up.
    What can I do?

    • Hi Amaka,

      Thanks for sharing! It can be tough to express your feelings, and when both sides have trouble doing so it can certainly put a strain on the relationship. I can’t really speak to whether or not you should break up, because I don’t entirely understand the nature of the relationship. What I can tell you is that communication is key to its success. If you and he don’t communicate well, then the relationship will likely fail. If you can learn to express yourselves (which for some takes some time to develop, but they definitely can learn,) then it may succeed. It’s up to you to decide if it’s worth it or not!

  11. Amaka says:

    This is so spot on! I am an INFP (T) to the core. I find it difficult to fall in love only with my imagination and expectations of what that person should be and if the person doesn’t meet that expectations I tend to fall out of it, but when I fall deeply in love and something happens or the person opts out, I tend to be greatly pained and feel betrayed. I am in love with someone I think is also INFP, he even finds it more difficult to speak out his feelings and it’s driving me crazy because I find it difficult but atleast I can say it via message to him.
    This is affecting our relationship as it’s a long distance relationship and I know we need words, communication to keep it alive. I love him because we share so many interests and he’s just the kind of person we want but right now things are not too good.
    What can I do?

    • I replied to your previous comment, but this gives me more insight. I would be honest with how you are feeling. Breaking things off before expressing your concerns might lead to regret and confusion. If things don’t change, then it might be best to move on. However, if given enough time and patience, things may work out!

  12. Carol says:

    So, if I (ENFJ female) doesn’t tell him I like him he’ll never take the first step?

  13. 余正文 says:

    I have to agree 100%. I’m a little sad that I’m a male INFP and it just takes a ridiculous amount of time to invest yourself in someone only to have your hard work crushed after waiting for either many months or even a year. Oh that one love, I try to find, which is too hard at some points but I keep trying. At least reading up on myself will hopefully help me in the long run, especially in terms of relationships… Since you’re an ENFJ, the ideal type for mine, do you have any tips? Like we both said, it either takes forever to initiate a relationship or even an expression of liking someone. Another thing is that, how do I find other ENFJs? I’m truly sorry for this long post, just trying to find the ideal girl.

    • Hi!

      So first and foremost, I totally understand the desire for the ideal mate. I ended up marrying an INFP, and it’s been wonderful in a lot of ways. Of course, there are challenges, but that’s true of any relationship.

      If you’re trying to find a ENFJ, we tend to be involved in the performing arts or spiritual activities like church. My suggestion is go to some things like that and just get to know people. But I also wouldn’t limit yourself to just ENFJs. There could be a lot of other types you might like, too!

  14. CT14 says:

    I am an INFP male, and I do relate to “scenario generator in my head” bit. As a constantly mentally active person, I observe and analyze my surrounding and the people in it and interpret my findings to a degree where it seems I am overclocking my brain.

    This is even worse when in a state of limerence. I do take the first step a lot of the time, mostly because this is still expected of men. However, when trying to be as straight-forward as possible, I am often met with passivity from women and I can be quite impatient and intense in my courting efforts. When I do not initiate, I run the risk of simply being overlooked, which is why I tend to be blunt and pro-active in my communication.

    If someone else initiates courting or flirting, I am very receptive. I react very quickly, however often mistake a woman’s flirtatiousness for genuine interest, which is even harder to decipher when she becomes physically affectionate with me, which I never initiate, only reciprocate. When I find out she treats most people in this fashion, my barriers go up immediately, as to me, typical for many INFPs, physical affections, especially sex, are reserved for certain people.

    My mercurial ways do intrigue some people but also perplex others, or both. I keep thinking perhaps someone may “get” me someday, because when I am in a relationship, I am often at my best as a person.

    • Excellent comment. Very insightful.

      I think as Idealists, we tend to get caught up in our limerences (great word, by the way.) The thing is, this can actually be very unhealthy, because most people are deeply flawed and love is more about choosing to be with them in spite of said flaws. But I appreciate your honesty. It can be tough to gauge are girl’s interest. The best way to find out is by simply asking them out on a date. Low pressure, no intimate talk for a little while, just figure out if you like each other before you keep moving. Otherwise, things can feel like their moving too quickly and it shuts down before you give each other a chance.

      Anyways, just a few thoughts. Hope this helps!

  15. Ana says:

    Hi! Thank you for your post, first of all! 🙂 I am a ENTPs type and actually been in love for a INFP for 17 years now… We had a long (5 years) relashionship ten year ago… now we’ve been talking and having sex for 4 years, ater he appear in my life again. I’m pretty sure that he his the “one and only” but I found it so difficult to get to him now we are adults. I feel like I can wait my entire life but it hurts a bit… Well, any tips?

    • Hi Ana,

      Thanks so much for reaching out. It is really hard to have someone struggle with commitment, especially when you care for them deeply. I think that can be a strain that runs through many INFPs (as someone who is married to an INFP, I can tell you that for sure.)
      I know you may feel like waiting your whole life for him to come around, but sometimes the only way to get someone to commit is to be honest with them (tell him you love him and want to be with him, but can’t keep going like this unless it’s a permanent commitment.) If he waffles, be firm. Remove yourself from his life and pull away completely. Find someone who loves you for who you are. Otherwise, he may continue to remain uncommitted. I know that may be tough to hear, but take it from someone who has tried the waiting game: it almost never works.
      But be optimistic. You sound like an awesome person, and I’m sure you’ll find someone who appreciates you. 🙂

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