Sensing and Intuitive Partners

Janice is a nurse. She is good at her job. At home she is organized and ‘on top of the schedule’ of her three kids. After school sports, classes and clubs. Janice takes care of the budget and is never late with her payments. At school she was good at science and math but hated English. She never knew what the right answer was and felt anxious wth long answer question.

Janice’s partner Jorge, is an artist and musician. Jorge is not organized, he leave the day to day of scheduling to Janice. Janice is often amazed by her partner’s talents, but sometimes has trouble tracking the meaning of his lyrics and art. Jorge often seems lost in his own world and has to be reminded about upcoming events or tasks that Janice has asked him to do regularly. He sometimes drive Janice crazy with his absentmindedness.

According to the Myer’s Briggs Type Indicator which is based on Carl Jung’s typologies. people are either introverted, extroverted; sensing or intuitive; thinking or feeling; and judging or perceiving. Each of these aspects of personality are said to be preferences. Meaning that we are capable of behaving in a variety of ways, depending on the circumstances and tend to fall somewhere on a spectrum between each aspect, often shifting in our placements at various times throughout our lives. These are not set in stone. In a previous post Introverts & Extroverts in Love I spoke about the differences between introversion and extroversion and how this might impact communication and the desire for interpersonal connection.

In the example of Janice and Jorge, I’m describing stereotypical “sensing” vs “intuition” personality types. A person who likes to explore the world in a sensory way, tends to be more concrete in their thinking. They like facts over theory and prefer to interact with what they can see and feel, as opposed to ideas and abstract concepts. As I said earlier,

…these preferences are on a spectrum,

and if one were to identify as a sensory type, they may also be interested in some abstract ideas, but would prefer to build up to it with sensory information.

In this scenario, Janice, of course, would be more of a sensory type and Jorge more intuitive. The practical implications are that Jorge may not notice the material world and it details, because he finds it much less interesting than his own thoughts and ideas. Joyce on the other hand would understand Jorge’s difficulty if she imagined having to think abstractly in order to accomplish her daily activities, like for example, if she had to interpret the meaning of a poem in order to know what the next step of a project was. Fortunately for Janice, this is not likely to be a problem she will face as a nurse or mother.

There are obviously pros and cons to each type, but ultimately, it is very difficult to get through life without paying attention to the sensory world, unless you have a job that caters to the intuitive way of thinking, i.e. art or some areas of academia, etc, AND you have a partner who looks after the things that you prefer not to think about. Those who do not have such a partner may find themselves a little behind on some aspects of life or missing some all together. This may or may not be of concern to the intuitive individual but has potential to affect those around them. Those who prefer sensory interaction with the world, can much more easily avoid the need to engage intuitively after high school English.

For the sensing type partner of an intuitive type person, frustration at having to always be the one ‘on top of things’ can eventually become wearing even when this is that person’s preferred mode of operation.

For some, it can feel a bit like parenting a partner who doesn’t automatically notice what needs to be done. In order to mitigate this it can help to discuss which areas of day to day life your intuitive partner can take responsibility for thinking about and keeping on top of. It may involve outlining all the tasks involved in that area and any timelines associated with it. Putting it in writing is even better than just having a conversation about it. The trick is to not micromanage once this area has been assigned. It might be necessary to be discerning about which areas to pass on to your partner that will not keep you up at night worrying about if it is outside of your control. It will be an exercise in letting go and discovering that the fallout of something being done in a different way or on a different timeline to the one you would choose. You may discover that it is not actually the end of the world. If you cannot let go of anything that you are currently in charge of, then you may need to resign yourself to your role of carrying it all and.

For the intuitive partner of a sensory type person, it can feel a little lonely if you are unable to share your ideas and thoughts with your partner who may not understand or be interested in the same things that interest you.

In order to bridge this gap, you may need to come to earth for a bit to engage in practical ways with your partner, to lighten their load in order for them to have the energy to show interest in what occupies your time. Looking for links between your thoughts, work or ideas to your partner’s world will be part of your task.

When both partners are intuitive, things can roll along nicely, until children arrive, then one partner often finds themselves having to engage in the day to day activities necessary for the survival of the children. If this is not that partner’s preferred activities, bitterness can arise if the other partner does not make an effort to share the load equally. Sometimes this time is life is pointed to, years later as a source issue, when the relationship is in big trouble.

If you are the sensory partner, check to see if you are using daily tasks to avoid interacting with your partner or, if daily tasks have taken over to the extent that there is no time left to interact.

Check to be sure that you are not allowing yourself to be drowned in the things that “have” to be done. Many things “have” to be done, in order  to survive but not everything has to be done perfectly, nor does it all have to be done today. Make sure you pay attention to the non-urgent but important things in life.

If you are an intuitive type, don’t assume that things “just happen” or that a major event “just plans itself.”

Get to know the details involved in something as seemingly simple as a night out together. Pay close attention and then describe the process to your partner to see if you’ve missed anything so you really understand what your partner is carrying. Offer to plan a future event or take on a task your partner usually does, such as dental check up/appointment for the kids or, if you don’t normally do the cooking, offer to cook a meal a week using the groceries already in the house, trying to make it both healthy and tasty, ensuring you don’t use items planned for other meals.

Finding ways to share parts of each of your interests will be key to maintaining connection. This means being curious about each other’s world. It might mean reading an article related to your partner’s areas of interest or planning activities together that you know your partner will enjoy.

You don’t have to have the same interests to connect but being interested in your partner and who they are will keep the two of you connected.

Spending time together, learning about and appreciating each others’ interests and daily life will grow your world in ways that you wouldn’t otherwise experience.


For more reading see Introverts & Extroverts in Love

See Also Staying Together, after KidsAndStaying Together, after Kids

And 10 Habits of Highly Successful Couples

Also check out 8 Steps to Communicating with your Partner about Big Life Issues


3 thoughts on “Sensing and Intuitive Partners

  1. Pingback: Thoughts and Feelings Get Together | It's Not Just You

  2. Pingback: When Love is New – 10 Ways to Improve Chances of Longevity (part 2) | It's Not Just You

  3. This article seems to be combining the differences between Sensing and Intuition with the differences between Perceiving and Judging. For example, an NJ would be better at household tasks than an SP. And even an NP would be better at future planning than an SP who prefers to live in the moment (although granted an SP would be better at putting those plans into practice due to their action orientation). But I don’t think this article is clear on the differences purely between the Sensing and Intuition information gathering & styles of thinking.


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