s the pseudo-therapist of my social circle, I’ve been in the trenches with countless friends as they mourned and healed from breakups. And over the years, I’ve noticed just how different that process looks for different people. The trope of women crying over a pint of Ben & Jerry’s is categorically untrue.
I’ve watched some go wild post-split (freedommm!), while others have disappeared to reflect. Some have hit me with the water works, while others could have gotten an Oscar for their acting, revealing way later how significantly the break affected them. Looking back now, I can attribute a lot of these behaviors to their personalities.
Healing a broken heart will always be painful, but I’ve found it can be useful to know yourself better through the process: how you respond, how you falter, when you should dive in versus disentangle and how, ultimately, you can move forward. Below, some insight into how you tend to cope with a breakup according to your personality type — and one tip for ending it or healing a bit better.
INTJ: You ruminate.
INTJs have trouble moving on until they figure out exactly what went wrong. It comes from a good place: You want to learn from your mistakes and own your piece of the fallout. You want firm conclusions. If you feel some massive misunderstanding occurred — or worse — it was your fault, you might even reach out to your ex. Since you always approach relationships with an eye for the future, you don’t throw history (or really, potential) with someone away easily. Just be careful not to idealize your partner just because you’ve already invested. Sometimes, it doesn’t work for a reason — even if you can’t name exactly what that is — and it is more effective to simply move on.
ENTP: You turn on the charm.
In the immediate aftermath of a breakup, ENTPs are more likely to go out and celebrate their newfound freedom instead of hide away. You often forget what the single life was like, and become recharged and excited to charm new prospects and go on dates. Just beware of emotional whiplash. Eventually, you will find something of your ex’s at your place, or stumble into an old haunt and get deeply nostalgic. If you don’t give yourself time to mourn and process, this can send you running back, for better or worse.
INTP: You search for the lesson.
INTPs typically make a decision about a partner based on compatible traits, fully expecting things to work out and both partners to be happy. So when you find yourself in a breakup situation, you might analyze the crap out of what led to the mistake. In an effort not to repeat the result, you try to figure out exactly how and why you chose incorrectly. Just remember that people aren’t puzzles. While you may believe that complete commitment and best-fit compatibility lead to the perfect relationship… sometimes, all the brainpower in the world can’t predict a big love or a gut-wrenching breakup.
ENTJ: Feelings? What feelings?
ENTJs typically have very deep feelings. You select significant others with future potential only, so breakups don’t just include the loss of a present partner. They also include the loss of a future together. That reality is the deepest cut for you — but this is often invisible to other people. You act like it’s FINE; everything is FINE. (Hint: It’s not fine.) Remember, you’re an extrovert and need support, so don’t tuck yourself away and suffer in silence. Choose your closest friend or two and try to let out some of that built-up pain. You’ll move on more effectively.
INFJ: Longing. Lots of longing.
INFJs struggle to move on from breakups. Even if you come to the “it can’t work” state of mind, you still worry about how your ex is feeling, and wonder if maaaaaybe somewhere down the line things might be different. When you fall in love, it’s hard for you to fall out of it. Longing, however, can extend the pain of your breakup well past that final expiration date. It’s okay to still miss your ex sometimes, but make sure you’re honoring your new post-relationship life too! Meeting your next great love — whether in the form of a person or something else — will be the best way for you to snap that final emotional tie.
ENFP: You blow off steam.
Right after a breakup, ENFPs typically tuck their emotions away in a tiny box and store them somewhere safe. Then, you run far away from the one who hurt you. You might leave the country, party a little too much, hang out with entirely different friends that don’t link you to your ex, etc. Remember, however, that escaping isn’t dealing; eventually, you’ll need to return to reality and confront the loss. It’s a great time to take care of yourself by surrounding yourself with the most trusted friends and advisors, or even returning to therapy.
ENFJ: You work through emotions.
ENFJs feel things deeply and openly. When you’re in love, you shout it from the rooftops; when you break up, you express disappointment just the same way. You emote to your best friends, co-workers, and parents — maybe even a few strangers — until you resolve what happened in your own mind. Your achilles heel is over-analyzing, which provokes your anxiety and ultimately leaves an emotional door to the past open. At some point, you need to choose to close the door. Remove them from Facebook, block a number, unfollow on Instagram, and the like. It’ll hurt to grieve that final loss, but you are at your best and most productive when you’re decisive.
INFP: You take all the blame.
INFPs have a tendency to put their partners on a pedestal and adopt most of the blame for failed relationships. You immediately sink into your emotions. Even if you both mutually owned your part in the breakup, you’ll end up feeling like you could have done more. Over time, you have a tendency to get nostalgic for lost love and can easily find ways you might have tended to their emotions better. Stop this. You are far more empathetic and emotionally aware than the average person, which means you hold yourself to impossible standards. Instead of dwelling, lean into new possibilities (where you’re at your best!). You’ll move on faster.
ISTJ: You decide to move on.
ISTJs are very pragmatic about their failed relationships. Once the door is closed, you see no point in wasting time; you move on. Over and onward! That said, your intense desire to move on serves as cover for the sheer amount of effort you put into a long-term relationship’s health and survival. It’s a bitter pill for you to swallow when you feel this effort was wasted. Make sure you’re dealing with these repressed emotions before you meet someone new; otherwise, they will crop up at some point, perhaps at the most inconvenient time.
ESTP: You instantly detach.
On the surface, it seems like ESTPs should hold a seminar about how to effectively break things off. When you split with someone, you basically act like it never happened. You go out with friends, indulge in travel or fine-dining, and do w-h-a-t-e-v-e-r you want to do in your single life. But if the breakup was not your choice or you were wronged in some painful way, like cheating, you can carry those scars around forever. The demise dents your ego, you feel insecure entering new relationships, and then you build walls around your independence. Make sure you come to terms with what happened, either with a friend, mentor or therapist. You don’t want to stunt future relationships because you bandaged the wound instead of properly tended to it.
ISTPs do not dwell on their breakups. You don’t dwell on any emotions, really; you’d much rather just move on and look for another partner (or more likely stumble into one). While it’s great that you don’t take failures too personally, it is important to take some personal responsibility for each of your breakups if you want to improve upon each relationship (as most do). Dwelling is silly, but reflection? Useful.
ESTJ: You internalize the rejection.
ESTJs are far, far too busy to stop their lives for a breakup… or so you will tell ~absolutely everyone~ who asks you if you’re okay after your relationship ends. You are the queen of keeping a chill, stoic demeanor, even if you’re crying on the inside. It’s okay if you don’t want to have a breakdown in front of others, but do find effective strategies to analyze why you feel the way you do, whether that’s journaling, meditation, or time with friends. Oftentimes, your feelings about a rejection hold meaning that can help you move forward.
ISFJ: You live in the past.
ISFJs are romantics at heart. When you fall for someone, you dive all the way into their world. So when you lose someone, you have a hard time coming back out into your own, private one. You still love them, worry about them and often idealize the past; it’s like you’ve lost a limb. This is one of those times you need to drag yourself out of the house, and away from your reflective, introverted tendencies. You process emotions best with others, and hearing yourself think through the hows and whys of a breakup can get you one step closer to moving forward.
ESFP: You feel sad. For a minute.
Of all the types, ESFPs are probably the best-equipped for handling breakups. You’re sad when things end, but you do not spend a lot of time idealizing something that wasn’t working. You would rather move onto someone new (and exciting!). All that said, after coupling up in a long-term relationship, you typically have a deep-seated need to flirt and embrace your singleness before making a new commitment. Make sure you don’t break hearts without articulating your current independent state of mind.
ESFJ: You never see it coming.
ESFJs are typically “all in” when it comes to their relationships. You are usually not the one to pull the plug. When you make a commitment to someone, that means you will work to make the partnership better instead of walking away. This leaves you vulnerable to a blindsiding, which is always inherently more painful. If that is seemingly a pattern for you, resolve to have a conversation with your next partner about what commitment means to you — and eventually, the hurt you’ve felt when things ended suddenly. Communication is everything.
ISFP: You act out.
ISFPs ache deeply as they approach a breakup and start to sense it’s not working out. Sometimes, you know it needs to end, but don’t have the power to deliver a final blow — so you might passively end a relationship instead. (Ghosting? Pulling a slow fade?) While it might seem easier to do in the moment, this will lead to a ton of regret down the road as you mourn the loss of the relationship and realize you potentially lengthened the painful ending. Make sure your endings are clear and firm, so both parties can move on quicker.
Collage by Louisiana Mei Gelpi.