The INFJ Personality and the Search for the Perfect Relationship

According to, INFJs are the Myers-Briggs type most likely to express marital dissatisfaction. When I first read this, it puzzled me. After all, INFJs are adept at solving problems involving people.

In fact, INFJs are so good at solving problems that they may unconsciously scan their environment looking for ways to improve relationships. This, I think, is what leads to the dissatisfaction.

According to Dr. Phil, 90% of relationship problems can’t be solved. Why? Because it would require one person or the other to compromise their values. So the best a couple can do is to agree to disagree.

INFJs don’t want people to compromise their values—yet that 90% statistic is bound to discourage INFJs like me. I suspect it isn’t the relationship problems themselves that lead to the INFJs’ dissatisfaction; it’s the fact that the problems can’t be solved. Perhaps the INFJs feel that if only they could be more creative, or their partner could be more flexible, the little annoyances that have existed since the first day of the relationship could be eliminated. Not so. No amount of skill or understanding will make naturally ingrained differences go away.

Perhaps this is what draws me to writing women’s fiction. I can create relationship problems, which I can then go about solving, without hurting anyone but my fictional characters in the process. Real life, unfortunately, doesn’t work that way. The INFJs’ search for perfection can damage otherwise good relationships. So I propose a revised Serenity Prayer for INFJs: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. Period.

Related posts:
The INFJ Writing Personality: Eloquent Vision
The Truth About the Myers-Briggs Personality Types

16 thoughts on “The INFJ Personality and the Search for the Perfect Relationship

  1. I absolutely agree with you 100%. I am an INFJ and I do feel like I’m able to solve all problems in a relationship. That is actually what I truly believe. I tell my boyfriend, if we can just communicate correctly and try to understand each other, this issue can be resolved. I constantly find myself exhausting efforts to try and get down to the core of the issues to try to solve the problem, and yet, I still find we misunderstand each other! I know it is never one person’s fault in an argument, but I hear myself telling my boyfriend that he “can’t communicate well”.

    Thank you for your post. It helped me realize that it is because I am an INFJ and not because my boyfriend is unable to communicate that we are constantly having problems! He says I always bring up some insignificant thing in our relationship, but I think it’s significant! Alas, it is once again my problem. Lol. By the way, I am in no way saying that what Dr. Phil says is the “end all, be all”, but I had no idea 90% of relationship problems can’t be solved. That’s an interesting little statistic.

  2. Thanks, Angela, it’s nice to hear that another INFJ is experiencing the same struggle (well, not nice that you’re struggling, but nice that someone else understands!). More and more lately, I’m realizing that using the Myers-Briggs theory can’t eliminate conflict, but it can help you understand it better and work through it faster.

  3. thank you for this article, im very creative when it comes to communicating, it doesnt have to be just talking. interacting with each other can create a connection.

  4. Very well put! After discovering my INFJ status, I’m finding a lot of insights which make me go “oh my god this is me”. This is one of the pages I will book mark for those low moments!

  5. I’m an INFJ and it took me until past midlife to stop feeling like I have ALL the responsibility in every relationship. My marriage ended because I finally said to my husband “hey, some of this partnership is on you, and I need to see you step up and stop putting it all on my shoulders.” He wouldn’t, so . . . bye-bye. Obviously (now) I see that we had an unspoken contract that I broke by refusing to take on 100% of the relationship responsibilities. I think that’s the problem for INFJs: realizing that in fact it is NOT all on us and that we do have the right to expect others to put out some effort too! And become a little more discerning about who we choose as friends, lovers, etc. – are they the kind of people who pull their own weight, or should we walk away because they aren’t and we’ll burn out trying to make it work?

    1. I can definitely relate to that. One of the hardest parts for me is understanding that others don’t necessarily have the same needs in a relationship that I do, so their idea of carrying their weight is different from mine.

  6. So, so true. I used to go about dealing with the pain of not being able to solve the problems with alcohol and drugs, from ages 13-22, but now at 22 I am finally sober. My writing, thoughts and soul have never been more clear or well intentioned. What a great comfort to me that you included the Serenity Prayer at the end. Something to be expected from a fellow INFJ, I suppose! Lovely article.

  7. Thank you for this breakdown of the INFJ type. In my test I scored 51% Feeling and 49% Thinking. What impact do you think that would have on my approach to and my challenges with writing.

    1. First, I suggest reading the following two posts to determine whether some aspects feel like a better fit to you than others:

      Beyond that, it might be beneficial to experiment a bit with your writing process. Both INTJs and INFJs find it important to go through a planning stage before they start putting words to the page. But during the writing process, INTJs tend to be more methodical, while INFJs prefer to feel their way through. INTJs might benefit from an outline, while INFJs might cringe at the very idea. One approach isn’t better than the other. It depends on the person. It may take some trial and error to determine what process is most natural and makes you most productive.

      1. Thank you Andrea, that explains a lot. At work, I was a software developer which required a great deal of planning (so my T attribute came in handy). As a writer, I prefer to create a situation and allow my characters to work their way through it while I observe and document what happens (my F attribute takes over). But being so finely balanced between the two I find that I am (a) never satisfied with what I have done, and (b) unable to let it go and move on.

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