by Andy Davis.
I’ve seen several negative stories shared by people who’ve dated a damaged INFJ male. The guy’s behaviour can be very confusing, and no little upsetting, to the person who happens to have feelings for them.
I felt that perhaps sharing my own experience will help give some insight into the INFJ male perspective:
Some years ago, I was in a position where I’d ended a very toxic co-habiting relationship and was under a lot of stress. I’d been lied to, manipulated and betrayed time and time again.
Eventually, I’d reached the point of “door-slamming” that partner: ending the relationship with a sudden, subconscious, eradication of emotional connection.
I needed a lot of time alone, and I felt incredibly drained – empty of emotions inside. A cold, hollow vessel, with no positive energy or affection to spare.
Simultaneously, I also felt very lonely and craved emotional stimulation and intimacy. I yearned for affection to fill the void inside me. To receive, when I had nothing to give.
In short, I knew I was a screwed-up mess. Incredibly conflicted. Confused. Absolutely blind to what I wanted or needed. I was emotionally closed down, but also longing to feel close to someone. I was tormented and, deep inside, there was an angry knot of bitterness that threatened to erupt at the slightest provocation.
I was consciously aware that I needed to heal. I had nothing to give. I rationalized that I had to fill the void inside myself with self-love. I knew also, from past experience, that any type of premature ‘rebound’ relationship was the absolute last thing I should do.
At the time, I had a long-standing, entirely platonic, female friend – who’d always been someone I could talk to for relationship advice, and vice-versa. I’d even set her up on dates with friends before.
Once a few months had passed, we started to date platonically; going out for drinks, meals, cinema etc. It got me out of my house and did make me feel better.
Eventually, she ended up staying the night with me. She was the one who initiated it, but I was very clear that I wasn’t ready for a romantic relationship in any sense. I told her that what I needed most was a true friend. I confirmed many times whether she was sure that we could sleep together without spoiling our friendship.
She’s a very attractive, intelligent, charming, responsible and respectable girl, and I did feel there was future potential; and told her that. At any other time in my life, she’d be someone I wouldn’t hesitate to start a relationship with. But at that time, there was simply no way that I could accept anyone into my life, or find any love inside myself to share.
I was honest to admit that I craved intimacy and affection – to feel comforted, but nothing more. I agreed to sleep with her on that understanding.
I’ll be very clear, I had no desire or compulsion for purely physical sex. I didn’t need to “get laid”. I wanted only to feel close to someone, to feel some measure of emotional connection, to experience intimacy and connection.
Nonetheless, it was a selfish compunction, as I knew I had nothing inside to give back.
Sleeping together was a mistake. Over the space of several weeks, we slept together four times. The intimacy I craved didn’t occur – she was perfectly affectionate, but I had nothing to give in return. I couldn’t enjoy the intimacy I craved, and the sex turned out to be purely physical, emotionally unsatisfying and only served to make me withdraw more.
Instead of filling my emotionless void, it only showed me how empty I was inside. It made me feel more lonely, more frustrated at myself and more sure that I had to be alone.
I could logically reason that this girl was a great match for me. But I just couldn’t make myself feel any romantic bond with her. My head wanted her in my life, but my heart was unresponsive.
Each time we slept together, I felt more compulsion to push her away. It overloaded me. My stress and anguish increased. I began to feel guilty and selfish.
As I withdrew, she tried even harder to get close to me. It only made me feel threatened and defensive. I pushed her away and went into isolation.
She became desperate, trying very hard to stay close to me. The more she tried, the more I closed down. I felt only that she was disrespecting my boundaries, invading my space, upsetting what little equilibrium I had left.
She visited my house unannounced and I turned her away angrily. I stopped replying quickly to her messages, and when I did I was guarded and impersonal.
Eventually, I am sure, she felt hurt and rejected enough that she broke all contact.
I knew I should have felt awful in the knowledge that I’d hurt her, but at that time I could only feel indignant that she’d pushed me too hard when I’d been so very clear that I wasn’t ready and needed my space. I didn’t feel any guilt until many months later, by which time it was far too late for an apology or resolution. We hadn’t communicated at all. Even then, I was selfishly angry and blamed her for ruining any future chance we might have had.
It actually took me nearly two years to recover myself to a point where I felt whole and emotional enough to consider a new relationship. I spent that time actively healing and developing. The bitterness faded, and as I began to love myself, I started to regain a capacity to accept and give love also.
Writing this now, I’m still single and there are still occasional times I self-doubt whether I’m ready for another relationship. I’ve learned to be contented alone, and I no longer crave affection to satisfy any deficit inside myself. I feel healthy emotionally and I believe I’m open and ready to let someone in. But the confusion ultimately still persists, and I won’t know for sure until it happens though…