The Personality Type That Struggles With Finding Healthy Relationships (And What To Do About It)

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Image by ZOA / Stocksy

When Alicia first met her now-husband of 13 years, she was not into him at all. They worked together at a restaurant after high school, and she decided quickly that he was a jerk because he wouldn’t look at her during their shift.

Maria hates looking at online profiles and finds herself swiping left more than right. There will be one picture in the series that will make her decide that guy is not for her.

Brenda keeps finding herself in a series of three-month relationships. Even though she really likes them in the beginning, there is always something that she discovers that doesn’t end up working for her.

Can you guess what these three women have in common that are making unconscious choices in their love story?

All these women have a “J” in their personality type.

Why J personalities struggle with relationships.

If you’re not familiar, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is a popular personality test that categorizes people into one of 16 different personality types, designated with a four-letter code that describes where they fall on four different psychological spectra: extroversion vs. introversion, sensing vs. intuition, thinking vs. feeling, and judging vs. perceiving.

A person’s position on that fourth dichotomy—judging (J) vs. perceiving (P)—can have a significant impact on a person’s love life in particular. A person with a judging personality (which isn’t to be confused with being judgmental) is someone who likes a structured and predictable life, whereas someone with a perceiving personality is more adaptable and finds themselves choosing a life that is more flexible.

People with a J in their personality usually go for:

  • Things that are decided
  • Lists and tasks
  • Order, structure, and systems
  • Things that are straightforward, black-and-white, clear

Meanwhile, P personality types:

  • Prefer things that are open-ended
  • Are able to adapt to what comes at them
  • Go on their gut
  • Like things in the gray area

“This preference may also be thought of as your orientation to the outer world,” the Myers & Briggs Foundation website explains. “Some people interact with the outside world when they are taking in information. … Other people do their interacting when they are making decisions.” They go on: “When it comes to dealing with the outer world, people who tend to focus on making decisions have a preference for Judging because they tend to like things decided. People who tend to focus on taking in information prefer Perceiving because they stay open to a final decision in order to get more information.”

If you’re a J having trouble finding a relationship that sticks, you need to consider how this structured side of you is creating limitations and not a lot of choices. J personality types find themselves making yes and no decisions in dating very quickly. On dating apps, that can look like finding a picture of the guy in bad jeans in the fourth photo and swiping left because “he is not your type.”

J types may also find themselves making it to the date, and after less than 10 minutes deciding there is no attraction and completely turning off their vibe and charm. Or this pattern of fast decisions can go the opposite way, where J types are 100 percent convinced they found The One, only to be ghosted a few weeks later or, worse, spend months with a guy that isn’t really a good fit.

How to overcome your J.

If you’re someone who identifies with the more judging personality type described above and you’re struggling to find a significant other despite wanting one, here are two solutions for you based on your natural tendency to prefer certainty that will help you have more choices, more fun, and more connection with your future partner.

Try saying “maybe.”

Js naturally tend to make yes or no decisions very quickly, but the good news is that they can learn from the Ps and resist the need to make a quick decision all the time, at least when it comes to getting to know a potential mate. For example, my friend Alicia mentioned above later realized she was wrong to make the assumption that her now-husband was a jerk. He’s actually the nicest guy in the world; he was just shy, and her snap decision could have been the end of a great love story.

Make a quick decision on your coffee order instead, and be more curious about the person in front of you. Humans are complex and layered, and you certainly can’t be seeing the whole of a person in photos nor on a first date. Take a teaspoon of keeping things open-ended and learn to let yourself be surprised.

Be direct with your potential partners.

As a dating and relationship coach, the No. 1 complaint I get from my clients is that they are tired of being the only one planning. This issue causes couples to break up and also potential relationships to not even get off the dating app. When I find out they’re a J personality type, it totally makes sense because Js like to have things decided and hate leaving things open. The Js are tired and become resentful being the one who always reaches out first, makes plans, and organizes the whole date night.

The reality is J personality types are usually attracted unconsciously to P personality types because nature is always seeking balance. When you find yourself in this position, you have a choice. Choice one is to make sure you are picking another J to be in a relationship with. You can ask them directly if they are the kind of person that likes to make plans or wing it (Js usually appreciate and love the question!). Choice two is to understand in advance that Ps do not like decisions, lists, and structured plans like you do. If you choose to enter a relationship with a P personality type, it will be in your best interest to address this potential issue with clear and direct communication between the two of you before it starts to chip away at the good parts that you have together.

Modern Relationships Scare Me

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Modern dating scares me because it’s impossible to distance yourself from someone you once loved. You struggle to move on, to tell yourself you can live without them, because they are always staring back at you from laptop, phone, and tablet screens. Even if you try to erase all traces of their existence, if you smash block and delete, there’s always a friend of a friend posting a picture with them or a Facebook memory that will make your heartache come rushing back. Closure is hard to achieve — and it seems like no one wants to achieve it. Exes will text you out of the blue when you feel like you are doing fine without them. They will ruin all the progress you made getting over them with a drunken miss you text. They will make sure you keep coming back to them, even when they have already made it clear they are the wrong one for you.

Modern dating scares me because there are a million different types of relationships. Serious relationships. Open relationships. Almost relationships. Casual relationships. Texting relationships. Situationships. Even though it seems like there are more relationships than ever before, no one actually wants to define the relationship. They want to see where things go. They want to avoid labels, even though without labels, it’s easier to get hurt. One conversation could solve everything, it could clear up all the mixed signals, but those conversations rarely happen.

Modern relationships scare me because cheating is easier than ever. You can download a dating app and swipe through options on your couch, at your desk, beside your own partner in your own bedroom. You can send snaps that will delete automatically, erasing any evidence of infidelity. You can harmlessly flirt with someone you would have never seen again, but with the help of social media, you can continue contact, you can build an inappropriate connection without realizing it’s happening. You can lose the person you love without ever seeing it coming, without catching onto any of the signs they are ready to stray.

Modern relationships scare me because everyone watches your love unfold. They see the pictures you post and either aww or roll their eyes. They make uneducated guesses on how long the relationship is going to last. And when you break up, it’s not private. Everyone notices when your profile picture changes to a headshot. They catch on quickly. It’s intimidating to know everyone on your friend list knows whether you are single or whether you are in a serious relationship or whether you have been jumping from person to person.  Everyone has an opinion on your love, even if they have never seen you two together in person. Your relationship is none of their business, but social media makes them feel like it is.

Modern relationships scare me because they are a breeding ground for abandonment issues. They can end without warning. They can end with a text — or with an unanswered text. Without a face-to-face conversation, most questions are left unanswered. Most wounds are left wide open. It’s hard to accept losing someone when you have no idea what you did to chase them away, when you aren’t sure whether it was your fault or bad timing or poor chemistry.

Modern relationships scare me, because no matter how much effort you put in, it’s useless unless the other person puts in effort too

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