How to maintain a relationship with your polar opposite other half


I am a typical ISTJ (Introverted, Sensing, Thinking, Judging) based on the Myers Brigg personality test. This personality is typically termed as the inspector. Its most valued traits include being reliable, loyal, attention to detail, methodical, making logical decisions based on facts, extremely structured and ensure the allocated tasks are always completed.

However, the major flaws of the ISTJ are being too rigid and insensitive. I had a quick ponder about my strengths and flaws. True enough, it correlated quite accurately with the characteristics of the ISTJ.

On the other hand, my girlfriend was identified as a ENFP (Extroverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceptive). People with this personality are known as the Champions. They are generally observant, warm, enthusiastic, creative, possess fantastic interpersonal skills. Conversely their weaknesses include being unable to bring a task to fruition, overthink things, abhor being micromanaged and lastly the inability to conform to rules. I would say my girlfriend fits quite nicely to the description of a ENFP.

If you pay careful attention to the letters ISTJ and ENFP, you will notice that we share no common alphabets between us. This means that we are polar opposites on this personality spectrum; east vs west, the sun vs moon, Mike Tyson vs Bruce Lee, Trump vs Clinton (I am not inferring that I am Trump supporter nor do I idolise him).

When we first met, we were quickly smitten with each other. There was such a strong chemistry between us because we shared so many similar values and ironically at the same time, our personalities were poles apart.

The problem with such a huge contrast in personality quickly manifested, especially when we had to handle difficult situations in life. Due to our personalities being so contrastingly different, each of us had difficulty comprehending as to why the other person would use such an approach to tackle the issue. We simply could not fathom and understand the thought process of the other person.

As a result, we had numerous heated “discussions”. At the same time, we were both equally stubborn and had strong faith that our decision was the right one. Needless to say, we were on the verge of ending our relationship on a number of occasions.

Until one day, we were both introduced to the Myers Brigg personality test. After taking the test, did things start to make sense. I started to truly understand why she behaves in a certain way and vice versa.

Although we now have a deeper understanding of each others brain circuitry, but it can still be quite challenging at times to come to terms with it.

One day I had an epiphany, I realised that since we are so different in nature, we had to come to a mutual understanding if not this relationship was doomed to fail.

So with that in mind, I ceased being so fixated on my own thinking and began to be more receptive towards her views. These days we always exchange our views first before deciding on the best course of action. 8 out of 10 times, we were able to agree on the same thing amicably.

When we were able to brain storm our ideas and integrated them together, more often, we were able tend to formulate a more comprehensive solution.

One day, I revisited the strengths and weaknesses of both ISTJ and ENFP. Interestingly enough, our strengths seemed to complement each other. It sounded like a dialogue from the movie Jerry Macguire where Tom Cruise said this to Renee Zellweger

“You complete me.”

I also wished for this fairy tale ending, where we lived happily ever after – wishful thinking.

ENFP people are constantly pursuing novelty and challenges in life whereas ISTJ people much prefer to stay in a familiar environment and longs for stability.

Once again our characteristic traits were in conflict and obviously someone had to compromise.

I chose to give in because I treasured this relationship and did not want to lose her.

In saying that, we are currently apart, she is in Beijing whereas I am currently in Singapore awaiting for my work visa to be granted before I can commence work in Shanghai.

Our relationship is currently a work in progress, where we are constantly ironing out issues.

Trust me it isn’t easy having a ENFP girlfriend nor is it easy having a ISTJ boyfriend. We have worked our butts off to maintain this relationship, but thankfully we share similar core values so that has definitely helped.

So guys, if you have personalities who are polar opposites to your significant other halves, I strongly encourage you folks to develop effective communication and mutual understanding. It will definitely benefit you in the long run.

It will also help enormously if one party is willing to compromise when things are heated up.