How to Deal With Unrequited Love as an INFP

IntrovertDear.com INFP unrequited love

For an INFP personality type, nothing is more thrilling than the prospect of falling in love. However, INFPs often find themselves in the unfortunate situation of a love that is unreciprocated. This situation can occur not just once but a number of times. INFPs may find themselves in the ugly paradox of wanting more than ever to experience the ultimate romance but feeling unable to make the necessary move for their dream to become reality. Or when they finally summon the courage to unveil their true feelings, they experience rejection.

For the INFPs of the world who have suffered from this curse, I dedicate this article to you, offering some tricks of the trade on how to deal, and providing a cheeky spell to make it all seem worthwhile. If you’re not an INFP, fear not! This may also apply to any true romantic whose heart has been savagely broken.


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Usually the tale begins like this: you’re somewhere doing something required of you, and a special someone magically catches your attention. This is a big deal because it does not occur every day. You may eagerly return to this fated place again and again on the promise of finding yourself in contact with this person. When the two of you do talk again, you experience butterflies from their subtle glances. Then you spend hours secretly analyzing your conversation, and you replay your favorite interactions—each time gaining a new delicate piece of information in the hope of unlocking their true intentions.

So you do what any person does when they’ve got a crush. Except for you, the INFP, this can easily verge on a sweet, innocent obsession. This obsession is dangerous territory. When we INFPs have crushes, we unconsciously assign so much meaning to this person, because of our dominant function, Introverted Feeling (Fi). We become too involved in all the possibilities, due to our Extroverted Intuition (Ne). We let our imaginations fill in the blanks. We can fall in love with someone we barely even know.

And how do we decide to deal with our undying l’amour for this person? Maybe we spill all the contents of our heart to them, only to receive a shaky, “No thank you.” Maybe we pine silently from afar, deciding to let destiny do all the work, only to find that your love was just not meant to be. The tale then concludes with the vicious struggle to actually get over this person. Instead of a peaceful melancholy ending, we are left at war with ourselves and what’s left of our self-confidence. We may obsess until we find a new object of infatuation.

We have the power to alleviate this cycle if we can figure out what really happened here. The “I” in INFP might as well stand for introspective, as this is the inevitable aftermath of an unrequited love. It’s so tempting to wallow on why you have been struck with such misfortune. Which is why this is where it can go horribly wrong, because this is when we can get stuck. Yes, we idealized, and yes, only afterwards did we realize this fact. Yes, maybe some self-repair is in order, but how much? While introspecting, it’s easy to become enraptured in the confusion of our idealism—how much of this was real and how much of this was made up? We relentlessly question everything about ourselves, and these questions can often be negative and purposeless. Am I destined to be alone forever? Am I too shy? Was I boring? Am I too awkward?

Without any clear reason for an actual or perceived rejection, our self-esteem plummets to the deepest lengths. Usually we try to justify the situation as a way to get over the person once and for all, which never works. Our support group of select friends and family plays a huge role in this stage, with clichéd sayings of comfort involving “more fish in the sea” and the like. These unlucky few will hear you retell and reanalyze the ordeal over and over until they can’t take it anymore. Inevitably, our negative questions reach a new low. Oh man…what is wrong with me? Why am I so obsessed with this? Is there anything I can do to prevent this from happening again?!

How to Prevent This From Happening Again

1. Understand the difference between a crush, limerence, and love. To put it simply: a crush is a short infatuation, while limerence is a longer, stronger state of infatuation that’s usually characterized by obsession. Love can have many interpretations, but reciprocated feelings of appreciation are an established requirement. It’s necessary to recognize the difference between these states because we often become so caught up in the excitement of romance that we quickly rush to hibernate into every fantasy our mind can create. Understandable, since it can be tough for us introverts to find someone worthy of our appreciation. But awareness is important, and a start.

2. Try to control your ability to obsess: this is a hard one, folks. Now that you’re aware that you might be crush-ing or limerence-ing someone, you can call upon the strength of self-discipline to not get super crazy obsessed. There’s no easy way to do this. Distractions help, so engage in hobbies, school, your job—anything that prevents you from daydreaming about this person all day. The easiest way to accomplish this is distance. Stay away from this person if you can, at least for a little while, preferably before you start planning your imaginary proposal.


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3. Be brave. And flirtFlirting might not be an obvious strength of ours, but we can be uniquely charming. Not communicating that you are interested is a sure fire way to end up crushed. Try to muster up the courage to do your version of flirting. Maybe smile and hold eye contact for more than a millisecond. Even better, ask them on a date. Life is short, and this will prevent you from wasting mental effort pining away for them. If you’ve flirted in the past only to end up with unrequited love, applaud yourself and never give up.

4. Believe you are worthy of being loved. Yes, it is sappy and a challenge, but self-love is critical for reciprocal love and happiness. Self-loathing is where we often end up after the dream doesn’t come true. It’s one of our biggest struggles. Everyone has flaws and imperfections, so choose not to lose faith in yourself. For every fault, find something you truly appreciate about yourself. Seek a journal, a trusted friend, or a therapist to help you with this if you find yourself continuously struggling with self-esteem.

What to Do If It Happens Again

1. Take time to heal. Sometimes we can be so disappointed that it’s almost like your whole world was obliterated. Sometimes people we confide in can make our situation out to be nothing, because to them, it resulted in nothing. Make sure that you unload to the right people, and make sure you make time for yourself to cope. Nature walks and meditation can be extremely helpful when navigating sad emotions. Sweet treats do their part too.

2. Hope is still your best friend. It’s safe to say that endless optimism is a trait of the INFP. But sometimes our hidden cynicism can win. Don’t lose faith in love. No matter how many times unrequited love may occur in your life, you will eventually find someone you love who loves you back. Be patient, and accomplish amazing things in the mean time.

3. Logic is your even better best friend. This is a prime time to learn from your situation. Though it’s not second nature, we can develop the skill of rational thinking, even when our feelings have flooded our brain. Maybe you’ll learn to not read into potential signs as much. Or how to not overanalyze. Logic can help deter you from wallowing and obsessing even more, and may also help you in getting over the person. It can be pivotal for self-improvement without blaming yourself too severely.

4. Seek to understand your relationship with vulnerability. Shame goes hand in hand when experiencing unrequited love. We can feel foolish for falling for someone who doesn’t feel the same way. Fear of rejection and of being vulnerable can often be held responsible for our struggles in communication at times. The more we aim for self-growth in this area, the more we can develop skills to properly express how we feel in order to get into a relationship and to maintain a relationship.

Lastly, I leave you with the cheeky spell I mentioned earlier:

Though we might be prone to unrequited love, take heart in knowing that you have the ability to fall so deeply in this delicious feeling. That you delight in it. It can have some unfortunate circumstances, it might not provoke the healthiest of behaviors at times, and it can lead to utter heartbreak. But there is a privilege in feeling all those addicting emotions of love. This tendency often fuels our desires and passions in life when we love other things that aren’t love itself. And even when we fall into the trap of unrequited love, it inevitably teaches us so much about ourselves—things we need to learn for success in later triumphs of romance.

“Reciprocal love, such as I envisage it, is a system of mirrors which reflects for me, under the thousand angles that the unknown can take for me, the faithful image of the one I love, always more surprising in her divining of my own desire and more gilded with life.” —André Breton, Mad Love

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  • Lovely article! 🙂

  • Kat

    “No matter how many times unrequited love may occur in your life, you will eventually find someone you love who loves you back. Be patient, and accomplish amazing things in the mean time.”

    Really? It has been 6 years for me, since I was in a relationship. There were some “attempts” since then but all turned wrong and I got rejected quickly. In the past two years, I did not meet anyone who would at least made me a bit interested. So.. what kind of patience do I exactly need to still believe that I will find that someone?

    Nevertheless, I must say that in time, I got used to my status. All friends/classmates are married so I do not have to attend the weddings anymore. They all have 2-3 kids so they do not have much time to meet. I suck at making new contacts so I sunk in my solitude perfectly. It is still painful at times but well, it is still better than to be in a bad relationship.

  • “It is still painful at times but well, it is still better than to be in a bad relationship.”

    YES. Very true. I have similar challenges, and often choose solitude over socializing. It sucks to feel like you’re waiting for love so to speak, especially when comparing yourself to friends. Comparison leads to feeling insecure, so while it’s inevitable, just know that they are not you and you probably have totally different standards/ wants/ needs. I try to remember that as unique people (INFPs are unique people), it will probably take a while to find someone that we like…who can also truly appreciate us. Sometimes it does seem rather impossible, but if you want it, you have to remain hopeful it can happen, right?

    As for the type of patience to have in the meantime…it sounds to me like you’ve already mastered that patience! You’ve likely learned from those attempts, and are smart enough not to go into a bad relationship just because it’s a relationship. That’s a huge part of being patient.

    Maybe it’s just time to try things you haven’t? I don’t have all the answers as I am struggling with this patience phase as well, but I do know that if I stay in my comfort zone, love certainly isn’t going to find me there. Although how great would it be if it could?

    Good luck in your future attempts Kat and please do not give up hope <3

  • Temp Temple

    I needed this so much. SO much. Bookmarked. <3

  • Kat

    Hi,
    thank you very much for your comment and support. I did not mean to sound so negative or harsh, I am just having the difficulties to appreciate who I am at the moment because it seems that my uniqueness is all but useful so to speak.
    I am not sure what else I could try, I challenge myself regularly to go out of my comfort zone (this was my resolution for this year: do something new at least once per month), I even lived abroad for couple of years and I feel like I understand it less and less. Perhaps I do not have the mysterious “something” that attracts other people. Perhaps I am too old/odd/socially impaired.. I really do not know.
    I wish I could stop comparing but I kind of feel lost in my life. It is like the others always know where they are going and how to live. Sometimes I really wonder why I have to have the things so complicated.

    Yes, I want it to happen. But I also wonder.. there is no guarantee and life owes me nothing..

  • Unbelievable! I thought I’m the only one who used to experience so much unrequited love in my life. Now, I’m so sure that I’m an INFP. The article totally resembles me so much. Thank you for the magical spelling and thanks for great article. Really inspiring. Nice to meet you, Aute ^^ I’m a struggle INFP too.

  • Jane

    I have some hesitancy about the “Believe you are worthy of being loved” one. Once upon a time, I did like & love myself, and thought I was worth it. But still didn’t have friends or love in any capacity. Now I am too cognizant of my unlikable & unlovable traits to do much of anything.

    (Sorry to be a downer. Every once in a while, I need to vent.)

  • thank you 🙂

  • Sara Caldwell

    Thanks for this. Very enlightening. I thought I was the only one. Now I know I’m not. INFPs and HSPs unite! At least I don’t feel alone anymore and that in itself is comforting.

  • kat,
    I don’t think you sounded negative or harsh, just honest, and that’s never a bad thing. I hope you don’t stop challenging yourself, and persevere anyway. It’s true, life guarantee’s nothing, that’s the mindset I’ve adopted as well and it’s honestly relieved a lot of pressure for me. I’m not as focused on finding someone, and just focusing on many other things that are fulfilling. Removing that pressure can really help INFPs thrive I think. Of course, every person is different, and it’s certainly hard to do if you are romantic minded. But I truly hope that you can quell that feeling of being lost soon…just know there are many INFPs (like me!) that know exactly what you are going through. We can all struggle together!
    Oh and I changed my blog name so windowadventureblog = aute in case you’re wondering who this person responding to you is haha.

  • haru,
    Nice to meet you too, and thank you so much for your comments! Glad to hear the article is relatable…I hope it helps in healing whatever unrequited situations you’ve experienced, past or present 🙂

  • jane,
    Venting is welcome, especially for this topic! I personally feel that one can believe they are worthy of being loved while also being aware of their perceived shortcomings. It’s just a matter of not letting those shortcomings get in the way of that belief. In other words, not letting one’s insecurities interfere with one’s confidence. I felt it was worth mentioning because many INFPs struggle with self-esteem, and I think this struggle can lead to unrequited love situations. Of course, every person’s experience will differ. Thank you so much for your comment!

  • sara caldwell,
    Oh you are definitely not alone, far far from it! I’m so happy a fellow INFP and HSP found it enlightening 🙂

  • Lerato Kgatle

    Yeah, this is a sad reality of INFPs we hardly, if ever, get the girl but i think its for a lack of trying we get too comfortable in our worlds and forget to use of inferior process to help us explore. Its action that brings thought to life, and that is what we simply need to change our circumstances, but of course, acting is not our strongest suit is it perhaps that is why we are all assembled here as sorry singletons.

  • Kat

    Mm, dunno. I promised myself that if I ever meet an interesting man, I will take the risk of rejection. Alas, all guys I’ve met in last years, were immature, shallow or self-absorbed. I think I am probably very picky..

  • Lerato Kgatle

    Yep, being picky is also i feel one of our ailments in this issue we search truly and deeply for the someone who’s worth it and won’t waste our time but i still stand by my point about exploration love will never find one from their comfort zone you have to get uncomfortable to be productive sometimes.

  • lerato kgatle,

    Preach! Everything you said is so, so true, especially about using our inferior Te to explore and get out of our comfort zone.

  • Lerato Kgatle

    Totally ecstatic that you resonate Aute

  • sam

    INFPS are best people. I honestly have no clue about what I’m going to post here. I’ve been in love with someone who doesn’t love me for last 4 years. I’m 22, this isn’t the first time, I have been in unrequited love. But all those previous time I was a small boy who didn’t know anything, so everytime I felt rejection, I invested my time to read new books, watch movies and my imagination also helped me to get over them. Actually, every rejection had thrust me to a new level. When I look back now, I realize had they not rejected me, I wouldn’t be who I’m today.
    Our healing is within us. One INFP’s solution may not work for him/herself, but it sure does work for another INFP.
    I just want to say, you all INFPs are amazing, valuable, you people are soul to the world. And you all know that yourselves, but romantic rejection clouds our mind and tricks ourselves into thinking that we are not special. And the reason we find it so difficult to get over is because we make our loved one center of our lives, we project our own qualities into them. So, when they reject us, it’s hard to even imagine a happy life, let alone living one. But just as when we are happy, we dream about living a perfect life that we know won’t be real but still dream because it feels so good, in the same way when we are hurt we dream about nightmares (that we won’t find someone who will love us, the way we are made to be loved) that won’t happen either. It’s just that someone we love breaks our hurt and wake us from our dream but there is no one else except other INFPs (and God, for believers) to heal our heart and wake us from our nightmares.

    Thanks, for great article, it would surely heal broken hearts (or at least, it would give them a way to heal their own broken heart) and hopefully wake them all up from nightmares.
    All INFPS, you are awesome, you are most valuable and alive. Keep dreaming, keep healing, keep helping.

  • sam,

    That was truly beautiful, and I love the motto at the end, it’s incredibly fitting for all INFPs. Thank you so much for sharing <3 <3 <3

  • sam

    Thank you so much, Aute.