No matter how much you try to calculate someone’s moves or ponder upon their ways of being, a sense of mystery remains. However, there are certain consistencies in human behavior and personalities. Myers–Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) has two classifications of how humans make decisions: being a thinker and being a feeler.
If your perspective on problems in life is rational and calculated, you’re considered a thinker. Meanwhile, if you pay more attention to people’s feelings and reactions, you’re a feeler.
Typically, the couple suffers from the main difference in how they express and experience emotions. It is when the harmony between them is disrupted, the feeler may feel like they have done something wrong or perhaps neglected. They would apologize to restore the harmony, or may get upset and question the validity of the relationship. None of these actions makes sense to the thinker; thus, they are invalid.
The thinker and the feeler have naturally different ways of perceiving the same reality. The feeler seeks validation for how they are feeling about the situation, whereas the thinker seeks validation for why they think their partner’s feelings aren’t logical. Neither can provide a response that meets the other’s criterion for being heard.
Unintentionally, each partner provides explanations that invalidate the natural responses of each other. This leads to emotionally charged exchanges triggered by small things of little importance, which leaves them psychologically battered, blaming each other for the damage done, while the issues themselves remain unresolved.
The couple has to accept and embrace the natural difference in responding to situations and acknowledge that their partner cannot experientially relate to how they are feeling when conflicts arise and, therefore, is not at fault for the feelings their comments can trigger.
Some feelers have great difficulty accepting this difference in experiencing emotion. But once thinkers have a logical explanation for their partner’s responses, they can soften their responses and become more considerate and accommodating when conflicts arise. This helps feelers contain the resentment they immediately experience during conflict.
Sometimes the exchanges in a thinker-feeler relationship can be so explosive that they need a time-out rule to replace their destructive conflict resolution process with a healthier one.
What to Do?
Thinkers should try to seek to understand and accommodate their partner’s areas of sensitivity rather than attempt to help them understand why they should not feel that way.
Feelers should try to use logic-based arguments when explaining why they are upset.
Once the couple realizes that neither of them is intentionally responding the way they to just to get their own way, they can accommodate and compromise in the areas that are causing trouble.
Here’s a beautiful insight on what a feeler-thinker relationship is like, presented by a thinker’s perspective.
I recently started a relationship with someone who is very much a ‘feeler’ rather than a ‘thinker’. It took me a few heated, drama-filled arguments with my new partner to figure out why we kept going around in circles, both seemingly unable to comprehend the other person’s point of view.
This opened up a new chapter of learning and introspection for me. I’ve known for the better part of my adulthood that while I have a fiery temper, a deep appreciation for sarcasm and unabashed directness in communication, I am quite stunted when it comes to conveying emotions that fall within the ‘vulnerable’ category. Anger, frustration, disappointment are feelings I have no problem in conveying in abundance because to me they fall within the ‘strength’ category of emotions. I’ve mastered the skill of unloading every ounce of unspoken disappointment or irritation with a sideway glance. However, when it comes to…
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