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ISTPs are very helpful around the household and are observant to the practical needs of the household. When a light bulb is burnt out, or the washing machine is malfunctioning, ISTPs will attempt to fix the problem by getting their hands dirty. When their partner needs practical help like the running of errands, ISTPs are glad to help too.
However, ISTPs will refrain from dealing with the emotions of their partners. They are logical and objective, preferring to keep things as simple as possible. They find the world of emotions to be irrational, confusing and hard to understand. As such, although they are comfortable with debate and reasoned discussion, they often shy away when their partner wants to pour out their hearts or emotions. ISTPs would rather walk away from the conflict than feel helpless and inept in dealing with the situation. Here, ISTPs need to note that they may be making their partners feel abandoned; they should learn to stay with their partners even in times of conflict, even when they feel helpless.
ISTPs are often loners as well; they love their private space so much and find dealing with people’s affairs to be tiring and mentally taxing. If given a choice, they’ll be working on a project with their hands or enjoying some physical activity. Their partners need to understand this in order not to misinterpret the ISTP’s need for alone time to be abandonment or disengagement. The ISTPs do appreciate it greatly if their partners allow them time to do so in a way that they don’t feel guilty.
ISTPs also don’t like long-term commitments. They want live life as an adventure, and they resent anything that pulls them away from being able to respond to life’s adventures fully and freely. Sometimes this may mean they want to back out from even their marriage commitments. Of course, most ISTPs don’t tell their partners of this love of adventure and wanting to get away from it all. In fact, most ISTPs do simply learn how to renew their commitments to their partners daily.
In fact, ISTPs can feel overpowering and intense feelings for their partner one day, and then be disinterested on another day. ISTPs move from one feeling to another on a daily basis, and just ‘live in the moment’. This behaviour can be extremely perplexing to their mates and who for one day feel extremely loved and another day feel neglected. Most people deem this behaviour to be irresponsible and fickle-mindedness and frown upon the ISTPs lack of ability to be consistent. In truth, this is simply the nature of the ISTP in a relationship.
ISTPs feel most loved when their partners compliment them on their ability to solve problems quickly, practically and creatively with the limited available resources in hand. They also enjoy having their crafts or handiworks importantly complimented and appreciate by their partners. Most of all, partners must remember to give ISTPs some space to be spontaneous in reacting to life’s adventures.
According to Keirsey’s Temperament Theory, the ideal partner for the ISTP is the ESFJ, whose energetic, compassionate and stable nature complement the ISTP well in a relationship.