If you want to get married, make it your job to find a mate

In case you ever doubted how incredible the comments section of this blog is, Melissa found out her boyfriend was cheating on her from reading the comments section. Here.

And then she did what most people do when they discover their partner is cheating: Attempted to live in denial.

Then she stopped. And moved out.

The phone rings while my son is using it as a metronome and and I tell him, “Ignore it. We are practicing.”

He says, “But it’s Melissa. She needs you.”

I pick up. My son would usually use this moment to sneak away to the computer, hoping that I forget about practice. But instead he stays put, riveted to the drama.

My older son comes barreling down the stairs like there’s a fire. “Is it Melissa? Is she talking about J?”

I try to listen to Melissa but it’s hard.

My younger son says, “She is not talking about him. She broke up with him.”

Older son: “He cheated on her. That’s like breaking up with her.”

Younger son: “He brokecheated!”

Melissa wants the title of this post to be Good Endings Make For Good Beginnings.

WTF? This is why it’s so hard for me to find people besides Melissa to write about. Because people think they have good ideas for what I should write about and they sound like a Hallmark card.

So in the post with the title Good Endings Make Good Beginnings, Melissa broke up with J.

Since this is my post, I will tell you that J was interesting and fun to talk to but surely we all knew after my first (and last) post about J that it was not going to work out.

Melissa has a new apartment. She wants to know how to deal with the uneven nook. She wants to know how to treat the window sill that is too wide. She wants to know if she has good feng shui.

I write instructions for furniture placement on a napkin.

I used to think I had no idea what she liked and what she didn’t like, but then I realized, she has an Airbnb aesthetic — location-agnostic, low-cost mid-century, looks great in photos:

She asks, “Should I buy more rugs?” This question is not a small one. Melissa buys rugs on Etsy and she is so paranoid about her finds that she hides the favorites list of her account so that no one can buy rugs out from under her.

I say, “Yes! More rugs!” anticipating three days of no phone calls while she is indexing all the rugs for sale in the entire universe and cross referencing and price comparing to create the algorithm to produce the perfect rug purchase combination.

“Good, ” she says.


“No. Wait.”

I walk into the garden so I can listen to Melissa. If I’m going to pick up the phone every time she calls then I want credit for being a good friend, and you don’t get credit if you don’t listen.

We talk for so long about the new apartment and the breakup and pharmaceuticals (always related to a breakup) that I am able to fertilize the roses and cut some for the house. And take a picture.

I don’t hear from Melissa for three days. I assume she is buying rugs. After eight days, I am worried.

She started dating.

She’s been on 17 dates.


“You always tell people that getting married doesn’t just happen. You have have to make it your job. So I’m making it my job.”

Like most women who are pulled together, Melissa spent her twenties saying she didn’t want kids so she was in no rush. And now she is 30 and she is in a rush.

Melissa does not like San Francisco. Seriously, San Francisco is not a real town. It’s affordable only to people with no kids or people who have exited startups. And most jobs are at startups – all of which are incredibly shitty to work for. And the town is rife with people like this woman who moved to the Bay Area because she is mind blowingly ignorant about the rampant scumminess of the startup world.

Melissa would rather move back to NYC but she can’t now because NYC is terrible for single women — five female models for each financially viable single male. And San Francisco is the opposite — females are the minority.

Melissa is changing her dating strategy so she doesn’t get another guy like J. She switched dating apps from Hinge to Bumble, which only lets girls initiate.

She spent a full day left swiping everyone who is a client of hers so they wouldn’t see her on the app. Then she went to the chiropractor for carpel tunnel.

She tried looking for Fs to date. J was an INTP. And the guy before that was an ISTJ. And the psychos in her prior dating history were all Ts.

But the Fs were a no go. They kept talking about feelings. And Melissa kept talking about facts. And then she worried that after getting rid of everyone she has worked with that the whole dating pool would be Fs.

She persevered. She went on two dates a day, forcing herself to go out with people she wasn’t sure about so that she stopped dating men who were bad for her. She had to take naps in between dates. She wore the same thing for every first date because who would know.

After weeks of this she was down to ENTJs and INTJs. I told her the INTJs would be too boring. Melissa is an INTJ and they will offer each other nothing new and INTJs get bored fast. Melissa told her INTJ date that I said that about INTJ dates and after the first date he texted her: “I think your friend was right.”

So Melissa is dating ENTJs.

I told her, “That’s a bad idea.”

“Why?” she said. “You’re an ENTJ. We get along so well.”

“ENTJs aren’t emotional and you aren’t emotional.”

“I don’t need a lot of emotion. I need someone who will always be competent and gainfully employed and driven to succeed.”

“Yeah. But ENTJs give nothing. They are too goal oriented. They will just be interested in you for how you help them meet their goals. They will use you to be better in their work.”

She said, “What?? This is not news to me. You’ve been doing that with me forever.”

71 replies
  1. sj hackman
    sj hackman says:

    I could tell from the first post about J that he was an egotistical jackass, unfortunately i’m not totally shocked that he would pull some low shit like that. And then that asshat got ratted out in the comments section! cherry on top of the shit pie. boy, bye.

    Melissa’s ability to continue to pursue romance in spite of that douche bag shows a ton of maturity on her part, I’m so proud of her for to moving forward and not allowing one prick to change her course.

  2. Sarah M
    Sarah M says:

    Haha!! That ending was hilarious.

    “I don’t need a lot of emotion. I need someone who will always be competent and gainfully employed and driven to succeed.”
    —this is so my husband it’s not even funny; he’s a rock. I’d rather have steady than emotional any day.

    PS-I’m an INTJ and my husband is an ENTJ. Elevent years later we still like each other. Go for it, Melissa.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Yeah. I agree with this comment. At first I just couldn’t believe he cheated because really INTPs do not cheat. But the guy is a mess. Just an emotional mess and he is the poster child for why people do better going to work every day than sitting on top of a pile of money.


      • C.M.
        C.M. says:

        Huh. That’s interesting — I may need to retest myself. I’m supposedly an INTP and have cheated, more than once…

      • MBL
        MBL says:

        Are ENTPs more likely to? I thought J was initially pegged as an E. I’m curious as to what changed that assessment. My only ENTP experience is with my cousin and I can’t see him cheating either. But he would argue a skein of yarn into a coma, so there’s that.

        • Penelope Trunk
          Penelope Trunk says:

          ENTPs cheat. They will pretty much do anything. Only an ENTJ and ENTP are willing to break rules. Other people think about breaking rules, but it pains them. Fidelity is one of those rules.

          Another thing is that in discussions about what type is closest to being a sociopath, ENTP always wins. That seems relevant here as well.


          • Caitlin Timothy
            Caitlin Timothy says:

            Yes, ENTPs cheat. So hard.

            He must be an E….troubled INTPs would go in their closets and play board games while dreaming of greatness. Plus, how would an INTP lie about cheating? That’s way to complex in an F space for an INTP.

          • Anne W.
            Anne W. says:

            “ENTPs cheat. They will pretty much do anything. Only an ENTJ and ENTP are willing to break rules. Other people think about breaking rules, but it pains them. Fidelity is one of those rules.
            Another thing is that in discussions about what type is closest to being a sociopath, ENTP always wins.”

            It is ridiculous to say that only 2 out of 16 personality types cheat on their partners, when that is demonstrably, factually false.

            It is ridiculous to say that people from 1 particular personality type are the most likely to be sociopaths, based on random “discussions” amongst non-scientists.

            What is your proof for these assertions / stereotypes? Can you cite studies?

            Personality type does not determine moral/ethical positions and behaviors, such as cheating in a committed relationship. It does not cause personality disorders like sociopathy.

  3. Nancy L
    Nancy L says:

    P – Loved reading about your sons’ reaction to M’s call. As parents, I think we completely underestimate how much our children see, feel, hear and sense. And, oh how they listen; not when they’re supposed to, but rather when we don’t think they are. Quick personal example: when my son was 12, I was working from home as VP Marketing. A typical day consisted of conference calls blasting from the speakerphone that he would drown out with his headphones. One day a call came in from my home office and I answered with “Hi Bill”. My son was in the next room. I don’t think I had said more than one word (O.K.?) when my son came out of his room and asked “what’s wrong Mommy”?The truth is I had just been told that I was being let go. It was a short conversation; I hung up the phone stunned but with a smile for my son’s behalf. My son, however, would not give up until I shared with him what happened. Once doing so, he hugged me, give me some advice, reminded me I didn’t like that job anyhow, and went back to his room — but kept a very close eye on me.


    P – Amazing post, your talent to weave streams of chaos into a single narrative filled with love and compassion for your BFF is remarkable.

    M – Big hug.


    Hallmark Cards. If you want to read Hallmark cards, go to Facebook.

    Good Endings Make For Good Beginnings. This was not a Good Ending. It was painful and heartbreaking. Dreams were shattered with deception.

    Obsessing about apartment, rugs, etc. It’s good therapy. And provides an outlet for focusing on something that makes you feel good. Recreating your personal ‘space’ with obsessive detail is a healthy step toward making a fresh start. And most likely, M will re-organize and re-organize yet again before everything is absolutely perfect.

    Pharmaceuticals (always related to a breakup). Yup. And abuse of alcohol.

    17 dates in eight days. Crazy but classic rebound: revenge, self affirmation, reassurance, distraction. Probability of success is low because of emotional intent.

    Getting Married. I disagree about ‘getting married’ as an end goal. Why not make it your goal to find someone that you genuinely LIKE as a person and enjoy spending time with? Someone who is kind to the core, humble, selfless, gracious, generous; someone who adores you exactly as you are this very minute. Create your destiny. Define the characteristics you insist upon in your mate, write them down and hang it on the wall. If, however, you insist on finding someone who is ALWAYS competent, gainfully employed, and driven to succeed, oh Melissa, I don’t even know what to say except that you will find exactly what you just had.

    30 and time is running out. Life is not something anyone can control with 100% certainty. Why the rush? Please reprogramming this thinking. Love comes when it comes. Children come when they come. Force your picture-perfect idea of who, what, and when – and you’ll waste the best years of your life.

    NYC or SF. I’ve lived and worked in both twice. M, from reading about you for years; from the outside looking in, you seemed happiest when you were in NYC with your stack of New Yorker mags (and hanging on the farm with P).

    IMO, SF is the most difficult city to find a mate. It’s ALL about $, pedigree, education (Stanford), socio and eco-stratosphere: Mercedes, Porsche, Range Rover, Rolex, big-name employer, big-bucks salary/options, an awesome pad in SF or the Bay Area, a house-share in Tahoe. And yes, if you are a woman, you better be relatively young and in exceptional physical shape.

    IMO, NYC is home to all. It’s homogeneous, a melting pot. And it’s not so damn obvious who has what since most everyone lives in an apartment, and not everyone even owns a car. Sure there are models, but you aren’t trying to snag a Derek Jeter either. It’s a different league at that level. But then there’s everyone else. And, the economy is not only focused on tech. And it’s fun! It’s an intellectually-rich and stimulating culture.

    Melissa, you are beyond brilliant, gorgeous, multi-talented and world-traveled. Follow your heart. And everything else will fall into place.

    • jessica
      jessica says:

      I agree she should follow her heart to NYC, but maybe after she meets and marries. Almost every married couple I know here met other places, and I’d call the Hamptons another place (has M tried a Hamptons’ summer for dating?).

    • Melissa
      Melissa says:

      I grew up outside of SF and live there now. It’s where I met my husband and we had a baby last year. I also went to college in NYC. There are a lot of interesting things in your comment but I’m totally boggled by your descriptions of SF vs NYC.

      For me they are flipped! Just swap “Hamptons” for “Tahoe”. But I agree that Melissa seemed happier in New York.

      Maybe the first part of committing to marriage and kids is committing to the city where you will find your mate?

  4. Harriet May
    Harriet May says:

    When I got to London I started dating right away, and job hunting. They’re nearly the same– an opportunity to talk about yourself, prove yourself, see what someone else has to offer. And being loved and being paid are both part of the value you put on yourself and the value the world thrusts on you. Getting anywhere at all may have involved photoshopping a bank statement to get approved for an apartment, to have an address to put on job applications, to prove ambition and substance. And then later, after much trial and error I found my fiance on Happn, or he found me. Now we only have one rug but we have an acrylic stool with built-in magazine rack for our New Yorkers and a plant called Fernie Sanders and after a weekend with a running injury the whole place is nearly tidy enough to put on Airbnb, at least when we’re away on vacation.

    • Tracy
      Tracy says:

      This is awesome Harriet! Yes, Melissa come to London, check out the hipster scene and maybe one day you can have your very own Fernie Sanders ?

      P.S. nice dog

    • Emily ENTP
      Emily ENTP says:

      HARRIET YOU’RE ENGAGED! That’s delightful. Loved finding this update from you in P’s comments. We’ve overdue for an update. <3

  5. Sarah entp
    Sarah entp says:

    I have 3 INTJ’S in my life I can identify for sure. Two are married to ISTJ, and ESTJ, and the other (who says she is on the spectrum and I believe her) is married to an INTP. The number one thing I have noticed about INTJ’S is they like to organize people. The two E/ISTJ’S like to organize themselves but are very happy to let their wives run everything. The third couple, the woman works a high end job and the guy takes care of the house. I found that I always attract an INTJ because I am unorganized and I welcome them into my life to organize me. So maybe your criteria list is wrong.
    1. Do you want to stay home with the kids or have the guy stay home? Don’t date someone who will make more than you if you want to work. And don’t date a career guy if you want to have kids.

    2. Date opposite of who you normally date because you attract men who have some different form of abuse/control issue. They also seem to be self asorbed. Here’s a hint, if he offers to pay for dinner or holds the door open for you consider a second date. if he has a good relationship with his mom, go on a third. I know it seems goofy, but there is a ton of research out there that shows a guy who loves his mom loves his wife.

    3. make a list of your short comings and where you need someone to be better. For me, I wanted a guy who thought of me, loved kids, was energetic, and could easily make friends. Because, I am shy (seriously), I actually don’t like kids, and I didn’t want to fight to be noticed in the relationship.

    When I found my husband and he met all of those things I easily over looked the annoying things. :)

  6. Wendy
    Wendy says:

    I think it is so interesting that Melissa is so good at her career yet so bad at romantic relationships (sorry, Melissa), and then there’s Phuong, another INTJ with Asperger’s, who has nailed romance and marriage and doesn’t have a career. Although I guess that doesn’t matter, since she likes her job and magically manages her meager income into a comfortable lifestyle anyway.

    Maybe that’s the thing with people with Asperger’s; it’s so easy to excel in one particular area of your life, but so hard to do so in more than one. (I’m an INFJ and as a kid, I was terrible at friendships and great at academics, but I wanted to be good at friendships, so I worked on that instead but became terrible at academics in the process.)

    Also it’s funny what you’ve said about INTJs boring each other: I’ve never known a pair of INTJs who have liked each other. They seem to respect each other because they all like competence; they just…don’t like each other.

    Anyway. Maybe Melissa needs to stop and think hard about whether what she says she needs – “someone who will always be competent and gainfully employed and driven to succeed” – is really what she NEEDS, and not just what she wants or expects. Hasn’t every one of her boyfriends, at least the ones you’ve written about, been competent and gainfully employed and driven to succeed? You can be all of those things and still be a psychopath or narcissist or just an all-around terrible person. Not that J and the ISTJ were necessarily terrible people, but my point is that success, competence, etc. say absolutely nothing about a person’s character or relationship skills.

    Melissa herself will always be competent and gainfully employed and driven to succeed. How much does she really need her partner to fulfill all those qualities? Especially if “gainfully employed”, in her definition, means “makes more money than she does”. I’m not saying her partner SHOULDN’T be all of those things, but I do wonder if she shouldn’t stop reassess what competence, gainful employment, and success drive should all mean to her. At least if she wants to get married (and then stay married).

    • May
      May says:

      Melissa should try an INFP!
      She is scared they will be emotional, but usually they are emotional in their “SECRET” insides where they fantasize/daydream. They emotional needs are likely around needing stability/organization/tolerance/space/goodwill anyway, which Melissa can be good at.
      No, it’s not likely they will make a lot of money (Melissa, you make the money), but they will probably do chores you tell them to to keep you stable, and they will likely work at least a steady job if not a high paying one. Also probably good parents!

      And because they are INFP, will put up with a lot of asperger’s stuff as merely “quirks” probably and I don’t think are prone to cheat if they are “in love”.

      What a good advertisement!

    • Sarah INTP
      Sarah INTP says:

      Everything you said about aspies only being good at focusing on one thing represents my whole life. Ouch. Painfully true.

  7. harris497
    harris497 says:

    Mel needs time to grieve. Men will come, we always do, but is she really ready to move on? Any org that helps others is a good place to join to meet caring candidates…one that helps children or the homeless is a good place to start.

  8. Jennifa
    Jennifa says:

    In my gut I feel Melissa will not ever find a mate. The list of employed, driven to succeed and competent without giving equal merit to other characteristics, like respect for other people, seems like she is on the hunt for a sociopath. Which could work out briefly, but never for a long term relationship. Why not do the kid thing first and then find a mate? Then you can avoid the whole getting divorced stage, which would inevitably happen. Having kids would probably change M.’s priorities drastically too.

  9. LAP
    LAP says:

    I recommend an ENFJ or ESFJ for Melissa, they are good conversationalists so they can talk about whatever she wants to talk about. (as long as they are as smart as she is…or smarter) They will also be able to commit and they will appreciate your personality. (extroverted feelers are often attracted to introverts, and Js are more practical and less flaky than the Ps)

  10. Mark
    Mark says:

    Because Melissa has Asperger’s Syndrome she is going to be a total conundrum for any neurotypical male that falls into her lair. I assume she is good looking and has her choice of mates but she is going to be a handful for any of the logical types unless they are also on the spectrum. Sorry Melissa.

    On the other hand, she may be in the perfect location in San Francisco. Neurotypical guys can be slobs and Melissa is probably highly ordered. There must be a ton of gay guys in SF who appreciate a good looking young lady who takes care of herself and loves to shop for classy or interesting rugs.

    If Melissa is a “just the facts” kind of gal she might not be all that interested in sex past a certain point. If she just wants a baby because nearing 30 is pressing her biological instincts then you know she is logically eyeing a guy up for his biological markers too. Long term, her children are going to be the most important people in her life just as they are for you. If the real pressing issue is about children she can calculate a likely outcome logically and find the right mate and/or donor right where she lives now. Why trap some poor neurotypical guy into something he cannot handle?

    Is she even asking the right question? Does she want a best friend and someone to share life with or a donor?

  11. Denys
    Denys says:

    I love your writing. So refreshingly honest. What about an ESTJ for Melissa to manage the home life and eventual move out of the Bay area?

  12. Leslie
    Leslie says:

    Melissa should try going on a lot of Sierra Club Hikes in the Bay Area. They have a meet up group. There are many single men on them. If you enjoy camping and backpacking that is a big plus too. You will meet plenty of interesting people in the wilderness and in National Parks. They are often out of their comfort zone so you can tell a lot about them right away. Become a volunteer.

    • Steph
      Steph says:

      This is a great suggestion to focus on an activity that will push you out of your comfort zone and around new and interesting people. Don’t groan but crossfit is an awesome place to meet people and get some endorphins flowing.

  13. YesMyKidsAreSocialized
    YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

    ENFJ or ENFP. Both should be able to handle the INTJ mate, as well as AS. Intelligence should be the most important thing for the INTJ to look for in a partner.

    • Margaret Taylor
      Margaret Taylor says:

      I wouldn’t rule out an INFP. I always test close to the middle on 3 out of 4 categories so I think it’s important to remember most people fall somewhere along the spectrum between one extreme and the other.

      I agree about intelligence. Both my parents’ first spouses were significantly less smart. Mom told all of us kids, “Marry someone smarter than you.” My college roommate said, “Marry your good friend.”

      Twenty six years later, my smart best friend and I still thank God we had the good luck and good sense to marry each other. He is strong where I am weak and vice versa. Together we make two pretty well-balanced people.

  14. sarah Griffith
    sarah Griffith says:

    Shared this with a very single girlfriend. Her response: I don’t like to date. Oh well. Better luck this time around, Melissa. We are all rooting for you!

  15. Jennifa
    Jennifa says:

    I do not understand all this “F’s are too emotional” business. If one is Fi, this means the emotion is all going on on the inside, not the outside. Simply having an F in one’s MBTI does not mean you are openly emotional. And let’s face it, most men are not going to show much emotion anyways, even if they do have an F in their line-up. What I hear a woman say, “I don’t need a lot of emotion”, I see a woman who wants a man who strictly follows traditional gender stereo-types. And finding a young man like that, who also is respectful and hipster and all that and is willing to be with a woman who does not follow traditional gender stero-types is probably a rare find.

    • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
      YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

      That’s true, many millennials are in-tune with their feelings and that is not a bad thing.

      This may seem harsh, but I can’t see where a neurotypical ‘NT’ partner will be able to handle having a partner who is an INTJ with AS. That’s why I recommend an NF combo.

      • jessica
        jessica says:

        Oh, I get this. I think you’re right. My brother who is INTP just terminated his long standing best friendship with an INTJ AS, over that exact issue (it kept happening).

        • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
          YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

          Even though I get it, I’m still sorry to hear the long-term friendship ended.

          INTJ’s with AS are very difficult. Think Sheldon from big bang theory on an every day, all-day basis, and it’s not so comical. My opinion is that the ‘NF’ partner will always lead with their hearts and hope for the best from the INTJ with AS, while many other types won’t want to stick around and simply put, won’t deal with it for long.

  16. jessica
    jessica says:

    She went on two dates a day, forcing herself to go out with people she wasn’t sure about so that she stopped dating men who were bad for her.

    Love that.

    I, personally, couldn’t digest the rampant need to make everything about money and goals in every way, so that’s how I know an ENTJ and I would never work, that is, if I wasn’t already married to an ISFP :).

  17. ruo
    ruo says:

    melissa sounds like she’s lost in the dating pool. she can ask herself these questions to get ahead on her strategy:

    1. if she cares about her significant other being gainfully employed all the time, is she passing off her own insecurities onto her future hubby?

    Besides INTJs and ENTJs, no other types really describe their engine in life as ‘gainfully employed and driven to succeed’. most s-people will blank out at that statement. it means nothing.

    2. what do you offer to the dating table besides your successful career and money?

    3. when you have kids, do you want to work or do you want to stay at home?

    4. what is the biggest insecurity about yourself that you hope someone else tolerates?

    5. what do you look forward to with THE One?

  18. Bob
    Bob says:

    “I need someone who will always be competent and gainfully employed and driven to succeed.”

    Like J, for example. Except for the cheating part. Sounds very much like she needs someone who doesn’t need her.

    • Anna W.
      Anna W. says:

      Most people looking to get married are looking for people who are “competent” and “gainfully employed”.

      I do not understand all the comments in this thread that imply that these 3 characteristics are such demanding, unusual, self-sabotaging things to ask for in a potential mate.

      Seriously, asking for someone to be “competent” is a pretty low bar.

      I can’t see the logic in assuming that a man who is competent and employed wouldn’t want a serious romantic relationship/wife and that she wouldn’t provide anything that he “needed”.
      (Should this girl look for an incompetent, unemployed man?)

      Asking for someone who is “driven to succeed” is a little more picky than the first two, but not by much. Whether the person were an artist, a plumber, a schoolteacher, an athlete, an I.T. person, a business owner, a nurse, a car mechanic, whatever — it’s a good thing to be mated with someone who wants to succeed in his/her chosen field(s) of endeavor, who isn’t satisfied with mediocrity.

  19. Scotti M
    Scotti M says:

    Three years ago during one of Penelope’s classes, Melissa’s dating life came up. I suggested an ENTJ and she shot me down saying she “got sick of the constant bravado.” As a female INTJ myself, I was 34 before I found my ENTJ match. I think that other personality types have difficulty understanding the INTJ’s extreme need for competence. We can’t respect anyone we deem incompetent and lack of respect is death to a relationship. I think Melissa’s on the right track, just find one that wants a family in addition to career. Best of luck!

    • Wendy
      Wendy says:

      I think the problem is not so much the “letter” of Melissa’s standards, but how she defines those standards. For example, you bring up competence. Well, every type has endless instances of “competent” people. But, competent at what? You can be great at your job or at managing your finances or whatever but still be a total failure at interpersonal relationships, or managing the day-to-day minutiae of your own life.

      Melissa keeps failing relationships with jerks…jerks who all seem to have filled her standards perfectly so far. So she probably needs to redefine her standards.

      Anyway, I strongly suspect that all that “competence, gainfully employed,” etc. stuff was just code for “he has to make more money than me”. That’s a dumb criteria in her case. Yes, Melissa, it is. As great as you think your logic is on the matter, the actual results of your dating life – you know, those facts you love – are showing otherwise. And yes, I’ve read Penelope’s writings about how the husband should earn more than the wife. But I think that won’t work for you. Penelope has gone on about lowering your standards if you’re desperate for a spouse. Well, maybe consider lowering this particular standard to “makes enough to have his own place and his own car”. Start from there and see what turns up. You’re already going on a billion bad dates a month anyway that go nowhere; might as well change your approach.

      Of course, I am making a lot of assumptions here and I apologize if any of those are way off base.

  20. Mary H
    Mary H says:

    I’m so sad that, potentially, a kid or kids will be brought into the world by a woman whose criteria for the father of those kids is “competent, gainfully employed, and driven to succeed.” Because that is TOTALLY going to be the father who will sit and watch “Frozen” five times in a row with kiddo on his lap — the father who will prioritize parent-teacher meetings over client meetings — the father who can slow down enough to enter into his child’s world and enjoy her/his company.


    For that matter, I question whether Melissa herself should have kids in the near future. Call me crazy, but I think kids optimally should have parents that are secure in themselves, reasonably relaxed and optimistic about life. Melissa is none of those things. She’s a bundle of insecurity mixed with determination to wrench the universe into manifesting her a husband *right now* so she can cure the biological itch of wanting kids. However, I’ll bet dollars that if today’s Melissa found her current ideal of HusbandFather tomorrow, and got through the Big Wedding next year followed by Kiddo #1 the next — she’d be unhappy. She’d fine something to be unhappy about. And to fix it, she’d look to the exterior and try to control/manage/change it…a bigger house, nitpicking on her husband, obsessing over getting Kiddo into the best preschool, etc.

    I’m not trying to be mean to Melissa. I’ve just known a whole lot of Melissa’s in my 55 years. It makes me sad. I really wish Melissa would just get into some really good therapy that helps her find some degree of happiness, or at least contentment, within herself, no matter what the external circumstances are, and to understand her own drives and itches and how best to manage them. I think making these things a priority would also have the side effect of attracting a good mate, and would allow her to actually enjoy her future married life and motherhood.

    • Anna
      Anna says:

      My ex husband was competent, gainfully employed, and driven to succeed; by all measures he was very successful professionally before he retired. He was also a bundle of insecurities when the world wasn’t looking. AND he was an excellent father. Our marriage lasted 25 years and it was pretty darn good. I finally got out because I was tired of the insecurities, but that’s on me.

    • Melissa
      Melissa says:

      Melissa is a very caring, very sweet, lovely person who will be great with her own kids if she ever decides to have them. She’s already great with Penelope’s kids.

      Please try to read a between the lines just a little bit.

    • Jill
      Jill says:

      Well, INTJ is an optimizing personality so…you’re kind of right. We’re never exactly “happy” in the sense of “oh let’s keep this as-is forever”. But we can be happy AND be reaching for more and better things at the same time.

    • Other Melissa
      Other Melissa says:

      Mary H: Melissa’s experience is EXTREMELY familiar and relateable to MANY of us millennium/gen Y women. Especially those of us in big cities. More than anything, your comments come off as out of touch and clueless.

  21. Jennifa
    Jennifa says:

    What is competence? For M.’s measure I think everyone believes competence is achieving a skill that is prestigious and monetarily valuable, but competence can mean other things, obviously competence as a parent, a spouse, dealing with in-laws, natural disasters, insurance paperwork, having patience with a new mother, and on and on. My husband and I had to snake a drain together the other day and it occurred to me that at that moment, when we were both hot and dirty and disgusted and angry, it was kinda a seminal moment about relationships and whether they work or not.

    Is having the right kind of competence to be seen as respect-worthy in the eyes of an INTJ the same kind of competence that makes it through a long relationship? Yet to be determined. And shouldn’t the respect go both ways? Finding someone you respect and think is super socially prestigious may not respect you. Which is no fun.

    And while it might be like looking for a job, it really isn’t. Cause a job you know is not going to meet all your needs, but maybe the money is good, or the hours are good, and you are willing to settle for awhile and then move on. Usually finding a life partner is something you would like to have last for a really long time, and that is just different than a job.

    • MMJ
      MMJ says:

      Good drain snaking realization. I’m an INTP or INFP (I’ve tested as both) and my husband is the classic engineer type who prizes Spockian reason above all things – ISTJ? We can snake drains or wash diarrhea-covered elderly pets together and it’s cool. Teamwork is a beautiful thing.

  22. jessica
    jessica says:

    Melissa should date and find a spouse that is about 10 years + older than herself.
    I don’t think she will find a driven guy (to her high standard) that is around 30 and is willing to settle immediately and have kids. I think she needs someone more seasoned (maybe even retired) in their top-notch career, more settled as a person, and wants a younger ambitious wife. That person may have already been married once and may have a step-kids scenario in place. I could see that working for her, though.

        • Erin
          Erin says:

          I can’t even tell you how amused I am by this comment. and agree totally.

          FWIW, I’m an INTJ married to an ENTP who’s 14 years older than I am. it works very well for us. as I see my friends getting divorced I realize I’m very lucky to still be happy in my marriage. even if at first glance it doesn’t seem like it should work. for us, it does.

  23. me here
    me here says:

    I was in Melissa’s boat (in fact I called you about it, disguising it (even to myself) as “career counseling” and you told me that most of my work issues would go away if I had a stable relationship.

    That was 3 years ago. I’m with the love of my life now and getting married Saturday. I spent 5 years with a howling loneliness inside after my divorce and went on maybe 50 dates? I stopped counting.

    I made it my job though. I got really good at dating. But the book “Love Factually” was one of the best reads I ever got my hands on about dating for people who hate dating. It’s a science-based strategy for what works by Duana Welch who runs the blog http://www.lovesciencemedia.com.

    Tell Melissa she’s got the right idea — you can’t give up even when discouraged, but also pick up that book. It’s enlightening. Or you could alternatively read every article on her blog and get similar info but the book is easier.

    Much love to you both! And thank you for that awesome advice. You were right. :)

  24. Sarah K.
    Sarah K. says:

    I can’t help but laugh at that last part. It makes such perfect sense that in the end, Melissa’s started looking for someone just like you. It could even be argued, though, that the reason she can’t find a decent marriage partner is that, in the emotional sense, the person she’s really in a relationship with is you. It might honestly be worth trying to step back a little. Just sayin’.

  25. Mariana
    Mariana says:

    Melissa, I am an INTJ and my husband is a successful ESFP – he works in sales. I am always amazed by his ability to connect to people, because of course I am horrible at it. That was the thing that drawn me to date him, the competence we seek. And he does not overwhelm me with emotions because he had that upbringing where guys don’t cry or talk about feelings. And of course he is funny, take the kids out, cooks and repair stuff like a good ESFP. And I organize our life, establish long term goals and do the budget so he does not spend everything. Americans are usually more in tune with their feelings, so maybe you should try someone who is first or second generation of immigrants. Even when they are F’s, they tend to be less touchy feeling. I leave abstract discussions to work and friends. We have hired help. Sometimes I am amazed at how our marriage turn out to be so good…

    • jessica
      jessica says:

      I’d agree with all of this. I thought to myself, with the above mentions of London, that Melissa could easily date an F from pretty much any Euro/ UK country and would probably find the experience night and day. Depends on if she needs culture to be a big common factor (which I doubt, if he is as world traveled as she is).

  26. Darcy
    Darcy says:

    I wish my ex would meet someone, the problem is I don’t know if he has Aspergers or some other personality disorder or syndrome.

    I think if he knew he had Aspergers it would help him tremendously. He’d understand himself and other people better, but it’s just as likely he’s a narcissist, in which case he’d be better off alone.

    I don’t even know how to bring this up to him, but I think if he met an ENTJ he’d be happiest. He wouldn’t have to show empathy or compassion. He wouldn’t have to make time for them.

    He would have companionship. No kids.

    He’d have everything he needs without having to show love or affection.

    I’ve been studying your blog all these years and I think it’s been mostly so I can understand my ex. I think Aspergers may have been the answer all along.

  27. Ariane
    Ariane says:

    I’m an INTJ female married to an ENTP male. We’re nearly perfect together. I can’t fathom being with a non-NT. I can’t handle all the feeeeeeelings from the F types or lack of bullsh*t meter with the S types. The E with the P is just exciting enough to keep me stimulated, but not annoy me. We have 2 kids that I homeschool (ENFJ girl, and INTP boy).

    Good luck Melissa!

    • Erin
      Erin says:

      how do you like homeschooling? I “know” I should but really don’t want to have the kids home all the time with me. (I work from home, and have no interest in giving that up at the moment)

  28. HP
    HP says:

    I think INTJ’s married to INTJ’s are getting a bad rap here.

    I am an INTJ who has been happily married to another INTJ for thirty-two years and we both love each other’s company and never get tired of each other. I could see how two INTJ’s working in the same field could get on each other’s nerves but I think the key to our successful relationship is that we have some completely different interests.

    I’m an engineer and she’s a doctor and I never tire of listening to her talk about medicine and she likes me to explain computers to her. We both enjoy history, politics, reading fiction, and watching TCM classic movies and although we both give each other plenty of space to pursue our special interests , we come together when we are ready to interact.

  29. leticia
    leticia says:

    doesnt ur friend mind ur broadcasting her dirty laundry? maybe she should lower her demands. she is successful. marry a nice cute less successful man

    • Anne W.
      Anne W. says:

      Unfortunately, romantic relationships where the woman is more “successful” than the man usually don’t work out.

      Most men don’t even want to start dating a woman who is smarter or more financially successful or more well-travelled/cosmopolitan than they are.

      Well-educated, well-travelled, risk-taking women are always criticised for being too demanding and having such high standards in potential mates, but when they try to lower their standards — or to go for other types of great characteristics and gifts and positives — the guys won’t have any of it, they will run a mile from such women, even if “chemistry”, friendship, similarities in morals, sense of humor, religion, you name it, ARE in place.

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