Relationships

INFJ-INTJ: The Dark Horse of Ideal INFJ Relationships

Elizabeth Nichols

I am an INFJ who only discovered my type a year ago, but I haven’t been able to read enough about personality theory since. As soon as I was able to use it to explain my weirdness, I wanted the rest of my family to type themselves, including my husband. It turns out he’s an INTJ.

Based on what I’ve read about the best relationship matches, the commonly recommended mate for an INFJ seems to be either an ENFP or ENTP. I would certainly not argue against these pairings, especially since I haven’t been romantically involved with either type. But I do believe the INFJ-INTJ relationship is often overlooked due to fear of too much introversion or an emotional mismatch.

Of course these are generalizations, something personality theory as a whole is subject to. I’ve also read that the intuitive bond between an INFJ and INTJ is nearly instantaneous, something I can certainly attest to. I think it was this that got my attention when I met my husband: he was self-assured, intelligent, wonderfully sarcastic, and aloof. I had never met someone so much like me, but with more confidence.

He was in a previous relationship with someone who enjoyed socializing regularly, and he describes this as a source of constant struggle between them. He wanted to stay home most of the time, so she accused him of being boring. I haven’t had this experience in a relationship per se, but I’ve certainly been called anti-social more than once. I avoid talking on the phone (or, God forbid, FaceTime – the horror), shopping anywhere but online, and keeping more than a couple of friends, because all these require far more interaction than I’m interested in having. We’ve been married for 10 years, and he’s still the one encouraging me to get out and do something that includes leaving the house. From my perspective, this is a win-win. I get the encouragement I need to socialize, even if from another introvert, and he gets to feel less hermit-y and boring compared to me.

We complement each other well; my abstract thinking jives with his detail-orientation and logistical tendency. Anything I can think up, he can execute. But to say he is all implementation and no creative input would be inaccurate as well as an underestimation – he thinks about a project and studies it, then is able to recreate it in a drawing on paper. Then he will build it to look exactly like his drawings and comment calmly that he’s never built one of those before. I’m generally not a fan of details, so this ability continues to impress me. My grand ideas might be earth-shattering, but they may or may not be realistic; I’m not always the best judge. But my husband can think deeply about and evaluate a situation, quickly deciding whether or not something will work. He’s frighteningly accurate, even in areas he’s not totally familiar with.

At least in my experience, these two types are well-matched in strength of will, self-reliance, intellect, and intuition (though the INFJ probably has it there). These similarities must come at a price, I suppose, and it is this: the deep well of INFJ emotion versus overriding INTJ rationality. It has always been fairly uncommon for us to argue; our shared intuition leads us to respect and encourage each other. At our best, we can rationally discuss issues and come to a resolution that we can both live with. At our worst, I am pinging in the red zone of an emotional meltdown, and he is saying absolutely nothing (if there’s one type that can clam up on you, it’s an INTJ!). Since we’ve discovered our personality types and used them to better understand ourselves, I don’t take this as personally as I used to. He also understands that I need to emote and talk, and that shutting down is not often an option with me. However, I appreciate his efforts even more since I realize how different he is from me regarding emotional sensitivity.

Another situation unique to the INFJ-INTJ pair that is bound to come up, and soon: the INFJ’s ability to perceive things and read a room with scary accuracy. Both types are intuitive, and my husband can glean things from others and a room environment as well. The problem lies in the fact that the INFJ can ‘see’ past the things the INTJ can’t, most often with little proof. That will be an issue for the INTJ – if it can’t be seen or touched or proven, it may as well not exist. So many times I have pointed out to my husband that a certain individual is shady, only to have him roll his eyes and shrug me off. I have predicted many an outcome to a variety of situations, and still he wobbles when I tell him I can see and feel things. Trying to convince a Rational with zero evidence is no small task.

Even considering these inherent differences, we can learn from each other using what we know about ourselves. My emotional sensitivity wears me down at times, but my husband teaches me to separate myself from the emotions of others. He’s shown me that I’m not responsible for the well-being of those in my life and how to say “no” more often. Because my husband is less emotionally afflicted than me, he can be unaware of how someone might receive something he says. I’ve taught him to filter his thoughts a little better as to avoid hurting others whenever possible. And I hope I’ve shown him to have faith in the things that can’t be seen.

My husband told me shortly after we met that he found me intimidating. I thought this was completely ridiculous because:

a) I mean, really. I’m just trying not to trip in front of you, and

b) I was the one who was seriously intimidated.

INTJs can come across as cold, but he’s much sweeter than he likes to let on. The challenge of getting to know him was a refreshing one, as I had to work hard for it. But as soon as I spent a little time with him and heard his witty, sarcastic humor, I was hooked. I could see and feel things then just like I can now, and my intuition told me this was going to be way more than I ever expected.

About the author

Elizabeth Nichols

Elizabeth Nichols

INFJ married to an INTJ. Fan of personality theory since 2014. Currently in my third year of veterinary school and oldest in my class at 35. Have a B.S. degree with a double major in Public Relations and Professional Writing, minor in Journalism. Follow me on Twitter @elinich.

33 Comments

  • KnittyGritty says:

    If the INFJ female to INTJ male is a dark horse, then the unicorn is the INTJ female to INFJ male.

    • Steven Smith says:

      So What would that make INTJ male to INFJ male? ;P

      • A dark horse. That’s kinda the topic of the article…

      • Good question, let me know when you figure it out haha, I’m a INFJ male secretly in love with a INTJ male. Intimidating? Yeah, but, exciting challenging? heck yeah, he’s adorable :9

    • devyani singh says:

      my boyfriend is an immature INFJ and I happen to be a tired INTJ. Is it a unicorn or a malnourished rhinoceros? I dont know……… I dont know…..

      • Elizabeth Nichols Elizabeth Nichols says:

        All of these comments are cracking me up:) Glad y’all enjoyed it!! Immature INFJs cans DEFINITELY be difficult, because I was😏

        • The picture is perfect.
          Reminds me of the intoxicating grace of an INFJ…

  • I could have written this myself, almost word for word.
    I am an INFJ who loves her INTJ very, very much.

    • Elizabeth Nichols Elizabeth Nichols says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed it!

    • I felt the exact same! It felt very surreal reading when they met, he was with someone else at the time, she being sociable and whatnot, it felt like my own lige for a bit. So strange lol I feel like this opened a positive doorway to my own relationship with my intj man.

      • Elizabeth Nichols Elizabeth Nichols says:

        I’m so happy to hear that! 🙂

  • I am an INTJ female, albeit with a fairly weak T preference. My partner is strongly INFJ. For us, this is a very lovely pairing too. We get along almost effortlessly, and this became apparent almost as soon as we met. If you reverse the gender, much of what you describe applies in our case. He is teaching me a little more about myself, and I am finding a gentler side – embracing mercy over justice in my approach to life and other people a little more if you like, while I think I am teaching him to trust in himself more, and not care so much about the opinions of others. I really loved your line “I get the encouragement I need to socialize, even if from another introvert, and he gets to feel less hermit-y and boring compared to me.” I didn’t realise it, but after being the ‘quiet introverted one’ in my family, it is nice to feel like the social butterfly and responsible for drawing someone else out of their hermit’s tower into the big wide stimulation filled world once in a while! Most of my close friends happen to be INFJ’s too, and these are also deep and sustaining relationships. The world without INFJs would be a much diminished one in my opinion, and if anyone out there is wondering about this INTJ/INFJ pairing I would say go for it, assuming both have the capacity for a little personal growth. I guess though that goes in a pairing of any kind.

    • Elizabeth Nichols Elizabeth Nichols says:

      Thank you for the feedback???? I’m glad you could relate! I really enjoy female INTJs, as well (see my most recent post). They’re quite refreshing????

  • Christina J says:

    I, also, am an INFJ with a INTJ husband. Even after I finally got him to take the MBTI test & he was “labeled” INTJ, I was still trying to decipher if he was REALLY an INTJ or INTP (his T/P were very close, only leaning somewhat over to the J side). Now, after some more research and finally realizing he’s definitely INTJ, I feel like I can understand him better. The emotional aspect of his mind is what always intrigued me because he always appears so outwardly cold, but I can see the wheels of emotion turning inside his head. I really enjoy reading about his type because I feel like it helps me understand him better, since he’s an emotional clam and I have to catch him at the right time to talk about anything non-logical or rational. My main problem is that every time I try to bring up MBTI-related things I get an eye-roll & I can’t get him to open up enough to understand MY type and how HE can understand why I am the way that I am & do the weird things that I do. Any advice??

    • Elizabeth Nichols Elizabeth Nichols says:

      I understand the eye roll! I had to endure the initial pandering from my husband when I first became excited about MBTI. Not sure I have any useful advice, but I do know that behind the high-powered logic is an intuitive who is capable of understanding you. He may know you better than you think – they pay close attention????

  • I am dating an INTJ male and I am a INFJ female. I am 34 (divorced 2x) and I can honestly say I have never been happier. We just get each other – good and bad – and allow each other to be who we are independently and in the relationship. Wish I would have met him many years ago, but happy I have him now. 🙂

  • Yeah this is my 11 year relationship also except even as the infj, I am way less introverted than my intj husband. I always say married people should hate most of the same things rather than love most of the same things…this is a great example of why. Sure we have interests in common but as two I’s, you can be sure nobody is dragging the other to a damn festival or parade. Just as long as someone helps the other not be a total shut in (I make most of our friends) then I see nothing dark about it. In the past we might have been called “homebodies”.

    • I like this .. “Couples should hate most of the same things rather than love most of the same things” …

    • Elizabeth Nichols Elizabeth Nichols says:

      I 100% agree, especially about not being dragged to outings… 😉

  • Elizabeth, I wonder if I can get your advise- I’m an INFJ.. I’ve been with an INTJ guy for 6 months and am nervous to be falling fast and heavy emotionally…

    My fear at this point is that my INTJ and I dont have a lot in common even if there’s a deep intimacy and shared intuition building… I love the outdoors and getting dirty and sweaty but he would rather watch than join. Of course he comes out once in a while but it’s not easy. He rather read on the beach than go into the jungle. We don’t share the same taste in music or sports ( two things important to me) but we both do love theatre, dining ( of course) and arts.

    He’s quite clumsy with his affection but I see he craves mine.. And I don’t mind this.. I do think we could produce great projects and plans together although we haven’t quite had the chance. He’s a great listener and gives me confidence, it’s true. I haven’t shared this kind of intimacy with someone in a long time. But…. I’m afraid his introversion will make me even more introverted. I usually wish to be with someone who would pull me out once in a while. I would say he has a lot of people in his life- but he seems to have trouble differentiating who is worth giving attention to.

    I wonder if I will get used to not having a hiking or running partner or if he’ll consider getting out more. … Maybe I should just seek those activities with other friends and savor the intimacy we share?… I’m almost 28… I’ve been in enough relationships to know that there’s something good here but there’s something missing. Then again, we can’t have everything eh? I just wish I knew what I’ll miss or be most thankful for in some years…

    • Elizabeth Nichols Elizabeth Nichols says:

      I’m not sure I can give good advice, but I think that if you’ve bonded on a deep level, the more superficial things will work themselves out… We are definitely closer now than we were initially, but it took time. Your INTJ may be open to things that he hasn’t verbalized yet. The main mistake I made was not giving my husband enough credit emotionally – it’s there, they just don’t tap into it like we (INFJ) do. Also, my husband seemed more rigid and unwilling to change at first, but now I know that’s his default/safe place; he will not do something for just anyone, but he will for me:) I hope this helps. As a fellow INFJ, the best advice I can give you is to listen to your intuition!

  • I’m an INFJ female as well and I agree that INFJs and INTJs are amazing matches; to me, even greater than ENFP and ENTP.

    One of my great loves was an INTJ. Unfortunately things did not work out between him and I (for other reasons however), but I’ve evaluated my past relationships and future matches for a long time and I feel the most compatible with INTJs. Sometimes I even feel like an INTJ myself, but I think it’s just because we can be so similar. The whole rational vs. emotional issue did come up quite a lot, but he still loved like no other and so he couldn’t deny his emotional side as well, which I loved. We were both a bit to dark and unhealthy for each other, having experienced a lot of difficult things in our lives and so that also became an issue, but I think with two healthy people that wouldn’t be a problem.

    I loved reading all these stories of other INFJ-INTJ couples. Makes me miss him, but also smile and feel warm inside. Never have I fallen in love with someone so quickly. We’d had small interactions for months, but a week within starting to have deeper conversations, we fell in love hard. Instantly. Never have I fallen for someone so intensely and so quickly. We had the best conversations just laying on the bed talking about anything from odd theories on life, to political conservations, to just plain goofy moments with him doing his funny lisp or little dance. I haven’t found at with anyone else. It was definitely one for the books.
    Thanks for writing this piece! I loved reading it and realizing that I’m not alone in experiencing this deep connection with an INTJ. 🙂

    • Elizabeth Nichols Elizabeth Nichols says:

      Thank you for your feedback! I’m glad you enjoyed it:)

  • this made me giggle! Because it’s so true! Even that we are so different and the same. we complement each other so perfectly! We have also the same personalities as you two.

  • First of all, what a great article. So accurate. I’m an INTJ female, and my boyfriend is an INFJ. I just want to say, I’ve never been so happy before, in any other relationship, with this level of trust and connection. He completes me, and even though we have our differences (him being more emotional and gentle than I am; his heart/gut/intuition and feelings rule his actions, and now I understand that it can be a good thing as well as being logical), I think we are soulmates. He’s wise beyond his years, kind, soft and yet strong, and he reminds me of moral values as charity, mercy, to be understanding and caring. He helps me to keep in touch with my soft side, and I appreciate that. I think I’ve become more flexible with people since I’m with him.

    I love my INFJ, and I wouldn’t change him. And besides that, he’s the person I need in my life. This relationship is helping me to grow and improve, to be a better human being.

    • Elizabeth Nichols Elizabeth Nichols says:

      Thank you for the compliments! I love when my experience can help others☺

  • I’m an INTJ female, and my husband is an INFJ. It makes total sense to me why these two types make such good pairs. (I don’t understand the typical pairing with an extrovert, I could never be with an extrovert!) I think having the female be the INTJ makes for a even better partnership since that gives me a bit more intuition about feelings and him being INFJ tones down his emotional side. We have fantastic communication, agree on almost everything and like to do a lot of the same things. Our strengths and weaknesses really compliment each other as well. I have always thought we were lucky to find each other and even more so now that I know how rare our types are.

  • I am an INFJ and last year I began a friendship with an INTJ coworker. This article helped me understand her so much better!! I used to come home crying because I thought she didn’t care about me. I felt like it was useless to be her friend. This article has helped me realize that she DOES care – she just shows it in a different way than I do. Thank you so much! 🙂

    • Elizabeth Nichols Elizabeth Nichols says:

      I am so humbled AND pumped that this article helped you!!! That’s exactly why I wrote it🙂

  • THis is so accurate! I am an infj and my husband is intj. We have been married for 17 years and together for 22. He doesn’t question my insights and as a mother of 4 I am very in tuned to all of my children’s emotions as well.

  • Hi, I’m not sure if you will get a a chance to answer my question or not but I was doing research on personality types and came across this post. Wonderfully written by the way. I am also an infj and the person I am interested in is intj.
    We seem to struggle a lot with something in particular and that is the emotional element as you said. Our biggest issue is that I seem to blow up in emotional frustration and he shuts me out completely and I have to work at getting him to come back to me and be open again. How did you work through this in your relationship?

    • Elizabeth Nichols Elizabeth Nichols says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I felt that way with my INTJ early on, and I think we as INFJs try to make things our fault that aren’t. I think the INTJ personality comes across as cold and aloof, but my husband is a sweetheart in secret🙂 I think the key to communication between y’all is to realize he’s different from you emotionally, and he will respond differently as a result. Maybe it’s helpful to realize your emotional response (which is not wrong!) is likely to overwhelm this type, as feelings aren’t their go-to function. He will come back to you and communicate in his own way, which may seem cold or insensitive to us, but they are blunt! Don’t take it personally☺ They need our emotional connection, because it helps them be more in tune with their own feelings. Hope all this rambling helps!😉 Good luck.

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