Introverts, Love and Relationships
I am not a fan of Valentine’s Day.
I don’t feel that there should be one out of 365 days reserved to celebrate your relationship. It seems kind of silly. If you have a partner, you should want to touch them, give gifts and be good to each other all the time, right? But, since we are half-way into February, I figured that today’s episode would be the perfect time to discuss introverts and romantic relationships.
Introverts crave love and connection, just like anyone else. However, it can be tough for us to navigate romance. On one hand, being in a relationship is great because you have a good amount of intimate one-on-one time together. But then there are those times that are hard for the introverted partner (going out, serious conversations, trying new things) and it is important to have those discussions early in the relationship in order to avoid conflict.
So here are 5 tips for those who are in a relationship with an introvert:
We will need space (it’s not you, it’s us)
It doesn’t mean we don’t love you. But personal time is important to us. It’s not because we are depressed or angry, it is actually for our own health and happiness. Please respect our needs, and we will in turn respect yours.
Nothing needs to be fixed
Don’t take anything that an introvert says or does personally. If we are silent, it isn’t because we are mad. If we want to read instead of go dancing, it’s not because we don’t want to be seen with you. But if it really is bothering you, bring it up to us sooner than later. Which brings us to my next point…
We hate confrontation
If something is bothering you, don’t bottle it up. Tell us immediately. But be aware that we will need time to process it. Taking a day or two to think it over doesn’t mean we are avoiding the situation, it means we want to give you thoughtful answers. And keep in mind: if you push us, it will not end up in your favor. We may say something we don’t mean, do something we regret or withdraw from you and the partnership.
Don’t interrupt, please!
It takes time for an introvert to open up. It’s more than us just being “shy”, it is a trust factor. Which means that when we do talk, our words are special to us and we want them to be special to you, too. Interruptions show us that you don’t really care what we have to say. Even if that is not be the case, that is how we see it. So let us talk freely, so we will continue to open up to you.
Try the things we enjoy
OK, so you don’t have to love playing a board game or going to the library. You don’t even have to like it. However, if those are the things your partner likes to do, you need to show them that you care about what they find fun. Think of it this way: if we can sit through a game of football (go, Sports!), you can spend an evening looking through old books or saying “Check Mate” (even if you don’t know what it means).
Introverts – don’t think you are off the hook. Here are 4 relationship tips for you to remember, too:
Try the things THEY enjoy
The things I said above? They go for you too: you need to try need things to show your partner you care about their passions. Yes, even if it makes you uncomfortable! And who knows. You may learn a thing or two about yourself in the process.
Don’t think too long
Admit it. Introverts LOVE to over-analyze a conversation. Don’t get me wrong, you have the right to think things over, but don’t take forever. Waiting a long time to respond to a question or talk about an issue doesn’t make it go away, and to be honest, it will make you look rude.
Take time for yourself
Especially at the beginning. We have limited bandwidth when it comes to “people time”, so protecting your solitude will recharge you for the next big date or event. I have even put together a downloadable “Introvert Survival Kit” that you can use to prepare for those precious moments of alone-time (the link will be included at the end of the show notes).
Communication is key
No one is a mind-reader. Your partner doesn’t know if you want to spend the night reading, or you change your mind about going to the movies, or if you want to talk about something that is bothering you. Being “in our head” may seem comfortable to us, but it can put a wedge in your relationship if it happens too often.
Another thing that may help you in your relationship is learning about your love languages (as individuals and together) by visiting the 5 Love Languages website (get the book here). You can take a quiz and the results will tell you whether you respond to Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time or Physical Touch. It has helped me with my marriage, especially with identifying nonverbal cues of emotion and how to respond.
Being in a romantic relationship as an introvert can have its ups and downs. But if you respect our wants and needs, we will do the same, and the relationship will be healthy, happy and exciting all the time – not just on February 14th.