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A Good Relationship Requires Head and Heart

By Elizabeth and Katherine Hirsh,
authors of Building Your Career Transition Strategy


Miko has preferences for ISTP (Introversion, Sensing, Thinking, and Perceiving). She has recently returned from a deployment with the Air National Guard and is experiencing a somewhat confusing transition in her romantic relationship.

Deployment, due to its very nature and structure, put boundaries on her relationship which being home has removed. This change is causing Miko and her partner to renegotiate what they want from their relationhsip and where they think it should go. She is unsure about what to do - break up, stay together, or change the nature of the relationship.

Miko looks to her Building Your Career Transition Strategy report (ISTP) to gain some insight into what to do about her relationship. Miko carefully reads through her report. The statement "Do remember that communication and appreciation enrich relationships" stands out for her in particular.

Miko realizes she could be more forthcoming with her feelings - and has probably failed to verbalize fully her appreciation for her partner. Because of this, Miko wonders if her partner has misjudged how much she cares, and due to this may be responding in a less than committed fashion.

Miko decides she wants to be more direct and demonstrative about her feelings towards her partner to see if this positively affects the relationship before deciding to change things or break up. Miko also realizes she needs to be more proactive and definite about the nature and future of the relationship, choosing to make things happen rather than just react to what happens (e.g., waiting for her partner or circumstances to define things for the pair).

Miko decides she will begin a dialogue with her partner about her confusion, her needs, and her goals for the relationship and ask her partner to detail these same things for her. To help her get started, Miko takes advantage of some of the other information under the heading, ISTPs' Do's and Don'ts to Regain Perspective in her report:

  • Don't attempt to fit everything and everyone into neat groupings-a certain degree of ambiguity is part of reality, and some things defy categorization
  • Don't focus solely on the logical basis for conflict; make an effort to look at the social and emotional aspects as well
Miko has rarely set out to talk with her partner like this. Because this way of communicating is so new, Miko decides to use some of the suggestions from ISTPs' Do's and Don'ts section to create a script. Her plan is to use this script to help her navigate the conversation with her partner. Miko decides she will start by making these statements to her partner:
  • I feel confused about whether our relationship is working well, just as it is, or whether we should make a more serious commitment
  • I think if we break up, we will regret not having taken time to talk through our feelings, what we value about being together and our ideas about what makes a good relationship

After reading one more statement from the ISTPs' Do's and Don'ts section, "Don't assume that it's always best to go it alone; others might have useful insights that could improve your thinking," Miko realizes that in addition to to sharing more of her own feelings and concerns, she also needs to get more information from her partner. Miko decides she will ask her partner the following questions:

  • Could you share what you like about our relationship and where you'd like to see things be better?
  • How do you think breaking up, staying together, or getting married will affect us as well as our families?
  • What is your feeling about what we should do?

Miko is hopeful that this conversation will open a new chapter in her relationship with her partner and give her renewed energy to pursue other aspects of her post-deployment reintegtration.

You can learn more about the topic of personality type and reintegration from Building Your Career Transition Strategy: A Framework for Managing the Reintegration Process. This guidebook is intended for anyone facing the career and life transitions required by reintegration.

Elizabeth and Katherine Hirsh are experts with more than twenty-five year's experience in the application of personality type. You can contact them at


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