INTJs in Love

Isabel Myers (INFP) married a man named Chief, an ISTJ and a good man.  They were happy together, but according to Isabel's own type theory they weren't predicted to be perfect for each other.  Later on, Myers said that if she had known about type theory, she probably wouldn't have married Chief.  Hm!  There is a lesson to be learned here: type is not everything, nor should it be the decisive factor in choosing your lifemate.  Take it from the founder of type herself. 

Another thing.  The connections between type, attraction, love and marriage haven't been well studied yet.  (The question is more complicated than you'd think.)  You can read about this question and the various attempts to answer it here

The Rational Temperament and Love

Do opposites attract?  Tieger and Barron-Tieger (2000) found that Rational-Rational pairings have an average satisfaction rate of 59%.  But in fact, Rational-Idealist pairings have an even higher satisfaction rate, namely 65%.  (Note that this was the Rational rating for the pairing; Idealists rated the pairing at 64%). 

What about the other temperaments?  Guardians with a Rational spouse tended to have a 62% satisfaction rate, whereas Rationals with a Guardian spouse reported a 52% satisfaction rate.  

As for the SPs, Artisans with Rational spouses tended to have a 73% satisfaction rate, while Rationals with Artisan spouses tended to have only a 54% satisfaction rate.  

So are you confused yet?  Let’s summarize.

  • Rationals were 65% satisfied with Idealists.
  • Rationals were 59% satisfied with Rationals.  
  • Rationals were 54% satisfied with Artisans.
  • Rationals were 52% satisfied with Guardians.

But satisfaction between the temperaments was not equal.  In fact, all the other temperaments rated the Rationals higher than the Rationals rated them (see below).  Tieger and Barron-Tieger suggested that NTs may rate their partners lower than average since they tend to be the most critical temperament and set particularly high standards.  This would tend to depress Rational scores more than would be reflected in reality.  

Seen from a reverse perspective, here is how Rationals are viewed by the other temperaments:

  • Artisans are most satisfied with Rationals (73%)
  • Idealists are second most satisfied with Rationals (64%)
  • Guardians are third most satisfied with Rationals (62%)
  • Rationals are fourth most satisfied with Rationals (59%)

Isn’t this a fascinating mess of information?  Let’s put it into context.  Green = Guardian, Blue = Idealist, Purple = Artisan, and Teal = Rational. 

  • SJ x SJ    79%
  • NF x NF    73%
  • SP x NT    73%
  • SJ x SP    71%
  • NT x NF    65%
  • NF x NT    64%
  • SP x SJ    63%
  • SJ x NT    62%
  • SP x SP    59%
  • NT x NT    59%
  • SJ x NF    58%
  • NT x SP    54%
  • SP x NF    54%
  • NT x SJ    52%
  • NF x SP    51%
  • NF x SJ    46%

Now, it is a mistake to generalize by temperament--it’s frequent that types will go counter-temperament, and temperament is not the definitive factor in explaining type-based behavior most of the time (CITE)--but since we don’t have anything better to go on...

Ever since Keirsey, a Rational himself, published Please Understand Me II in 1998, it has generally been accepted that the Idealists are the best partners for the Rationals.  This appears to be true--at least from the Rational point of view.  The Idealists, however, actually tend to be more satisfied with other Idealists, having a satisfaction rate of 73%.  

But Rationals are the second favorite choice for the Idealists.  Indeed, NF-NT and NT-NF satisfaction rates fell within 1 percentage point of each other--a very equal evaluation indeed.  And if we accept the fact that Rationals tend to be overcritical and depress their perceived satisfaction, it may be that Rationals actually like Idealists even more.  

This equality is in stark contrast to the SP-NT and NT-SP pairing.  It appears that Artisans are delighted with Rationals, but Rationals are ambivalent about Artisans and Sensors in general.  The Guardians for their part are simply not that satisfied with either Rationals or Idealists, but really go for other Sensors.  

It would seem that for Rationals, the Idealists generally make the most satisfying temperament pairing.  This is a generalization that may or may not apply to all Rational types. 

One further thing that should be noted here is that the Rationals reported a narrow range of satisfaction compared to other types.

  • Rationals: 52% - 65%  (13 percentage points of difference)
  • Idealists: 46% - 73%  (27 percentage points of difference)
  • Artisans: 52% - 73%  (21 percentage points of difference)
  • Guardians: 58% to 79%  (21 percentage points of difference)

Compared to other types, the Rationals don’t seem to have much to lose if they make a random choice.

What is the Best INTJ Pairing?

Wish I knew.  I haven't found any studies yet that determined any specific partner preferences for INTJ.  Maybe INTJs are one of the types that don't have specific preferences?

Well hey, theory is fun.  :)

Keirsey (1998) believed that the best partner for the INTJ is the ENFP Champion.  He arrived at this conclusion by reversing all preferences save for Intuition, which he came to believe was important in a relationship for communication and mutual interests.  The INTJ, he suggested, will be intrigued by the ENFP's bubbling overflow of life, warmth, and spirit.  The ENFP, for his or her part, appreciates the INTJ's inner core of strength, their gift for strategic planning, and their enigmatic reserve.

Keirsey further observed that INTJs are probably the most systematic of all types regarding their selection of a mate.  They sort through the "possibilites" logically and methodically until they find someone whom they feel may be a prospect.  Nor will they waste time on those who don't meet their carefully defined list of desirable characteristics.

A study found that INTJs expressed moderately low satisfaction with their marriage/intimate relationship compared to other types (Myers, McCaulley, Quenk & Hammer, 1998).  However, this is relative since most Sensors had higher satisfaction than most Intuitives.  When compared to other Intuitives, INTJs expressed an average level of satisfaction.