Today I’m going to change terminology on you. I apologize. From here out I will refer to my girlfriend as Mistress (updated to Meredith 1/5/2017). I think it’s more appropriate all things considered. It also helps me to think about this more accurately; more the role she is in rather than how I wish it to be.
I am fascinated by personality types. They describe so much of what we see, and how we react within a relationship. Is a person wholly defined by their personality type? No. But it gives a framework for how a person perceives and processes information. They help to explain the differences we all see in the world even though we are looking at the same thing.
My Myers Briggs personality type is INTJ. The architect (Imaginative and strategic thinkers, with a plan for everything). I am an introverted intuitive. Of the Rational group. It is one of the reasons I love writing here on this blog. It helps me to process the information within my head in a medium well suited to introverts. To flesh out my thoughts. It also helps to explain some of the ways in which I perceive information. For example, even though I do have feelings, and I am very empathetic, I will never be as in tune with my emotional side as most F types.
Wife is ESFJ. The consul (Extraordinary caring, social and popular people, always eager to help). We could not be more opposite on the scale. Well, nearly. She has energy to spare and lives her life right out where the world can see it. There is no hidden inner world; no fantasies; and she barges through life loudly. She also holds dearly to societal manners and traditions. There are many ESFJs in the world. They are so plentiful that they help to define what is considered normal in society. Wife is part of the Guardian group. She is highly sensitive to social norms, and holds us to them regardless of value.
Merideth is an INFJ. The advocate (Quiet and mystical, yet very inspiring and tireless idealists). She is part of the Idealist group. We are very similar. We share many interests and can communicate with each other almost without words. It’s a little uncanny. She can, however, pick up on everyone’s mood around her and all subtle changes. Her sense of empathy is off the charts. Her idealist bent supports her high levels of empathy and puts her in a position to always want to support the greater good at her own expense.
In real terms I married my opposite. It follows the pattern of opposites attract. I’m sure you can imagine how attractive a beautiful young lady with the ability to be so open and enthusiastic all the time would be to an introverted Rational. She always seemed the center of the party. It is like a window into a world I could never fully see. We cover each others weaknesses, but we also annoy and get upset with each other’s weaknesses. There is true love and wonder for how well our spouse can manage within their world. It seems so foreign to the other. We aim to help each other as much as we can. Over time we never get bored of who they are because we never truly get used to someone who can think so differently.
Wife really needs trust. She needs a man who is there for her no matter what. Who will cuddle with her and just be there. Never stray. Stability. That is her #1 need. It is the one thing I have now failed her on. In fact the intimate sexual connection she desires is only required to support this trust. It is not for the sex itself.
Meredith is not like that at all. She is much more like me, and can understand me with ease. No one knows me so well and so specific as her. I do not understand anyone so well as Mistress either. It’s very easy with her. We mesh on many levels.
What Meredith needs is someone who can support her when she is giving of herself to support the world. Someone who is so far inside her head that he can pull her back to reality and remind her that she is someobody who is known and loved. That is her greatest need, and not an easy one to meet – for most. It happens to be the one thing I excel at doing. Sex for her is a much more involved game within her head and she needs someone there with her.
One of the big disconnects with Wife that has been there since the very beginning is how we treat rules and norms. Generally I use my rational mind to question every rule and norm to decide which make sense for me and my family. Any shortcuts or norms that can be thrown out without harm I do. Everytime I attempt to bend a rule or buck a norm it causes my wife undue stress. Even little ones. I always just thought she was uptight, and would eventually change as I showed her how silly it was. It’s been almost 20 years – she isn’t changing. Instead it was naivety on my part thinking I could fundamentally change someone’s core. Instead I have been causing her needless harm for years.
It filters into the bedroom too. Social norms dictate a type of sex that we should have and that is very limiting. Very formal. Remember the time when couples had separate twin beds? That tradition was because of guardians. Wife has zero sexual fantasies. None! I, on the other hand, have dozens of fantasies everyday; I want to have very non-normative sex everyday; multiple times a day! However, we do not. We follow rules. We don’t engage in fantasy – at least not together. Sex is used for bonding only.
For years I thought there was something wrong with me. Then I thought, well eventually she will come around. Women have more libido in their 30’s. But you see, some things are part of our core personalities. They will not change just because you are married to someone who wants something different. You cannot change a persons core, and it’s really not fair to expect them to change at that level.
It’s possible some of you will say things like “Well just tell her what you want and why you want it and maybe she’ll engage you in your fantasy or meet you half way.” But that isn’t it. What I want is for her to desire things that she cannot desire. Asking someone to do some of these fantasies if they do not desire it is worse than not doing them at all. It makes me feel so low afterward. In fact anytime we do have sex the way I want I feel like such a horrible low person afterward. And she doesn’t really want to talk to me afterward either. It damages both of us rather than drawing us together.
Well I did not mean for this to turn into a post on sex. I was hoping to discuss personalities. Anyway, I really enjoy studying personalities. It does help you understand people around you, why they act how they do, and what they are made of on the inside. And even what they might be like in the bedroom.
With Wife we were initially attracted based on our opposites. With Meredith we are attracted based on our similarities. I have been married for 14 years which shows that opposites are not without merit in a relationship. We have enough in common and work very well together as a team. Yet when I found how similar Meredith and I are the value seems much higher to me in terms of personal growth and happiness. Perhaps it is just a stage of life or perhaps I would have always felt this way. I’ll never know for sure.