Stay connected

Enter your email address to receive notifications of new posts.


I think I want to print out your articles and hand them out as a sort of relationship waiver form. “You want to be my friend?….You are interesting in going out? Here read this first. Sign here to acknowledge that you have read and understand the enclosed material. Thank you.” Seriously. I think it would work. — Guerin Moorman
Guerin Moorman
You’re so honest in your writing. It’s bold. It’s frank. It’s wonderful. I could definitely see the work you are doing here as a useful book. It could save/make a lot of relationships! — Jimmi Langemo
Jimmi Langemo
Your words are my lifeline.  I sit down to your posts and as I read I can feel my acceptance of myself and my needs grow.  Your words validate my feelings about my life, motherhood, relationships and it is something I hold onto.  And during the times when I feel like I am not able to be a mother or a wife or a sister or a friend or whatever someone needs me to be, I go back to your words and find some peace…I send your posts to my husband when I need him to understand that I love him but I need …
Brenda has truly opened up a space for introverted types on the ‘net, and her self-revelations are always inspiring. Her voice is one I always look forward to. She is one of the writers that actually played a part in my return to writing.  — S.E. of Sunflower Solace Farms
S.E. of Sunflower Solace Farms
Your site has saved my sanity and my life. Maybe even my marriage. I work part time and have two young boys at home, my husband is supportive of me but until recently I thought I was going crazy. … Reading your writing not only inspires me to pick up the pen again, but gives me nourishment in the deepest places. I will fight for balance. Everything you write is spot on… And wellness is so incredibly multifaceted.  I was ready to give up hope, but understanding myself through your words is bring…
I have been dating an introverted man who I am very in love with for almost 2 years.  Reading your posts have helped me to be more supportive and understanding to him especially during the times when he needs space.  I just wanted to thank you for your weekly posts and let you know how helpful they are for someone who is in a relationship with an introvert. C.M. on space2live
This is me. This is me from the day I was born. For so long I felt misunderstood and rejected, even by the people closest to me, because they could never understand my need for solitude, and I had no idea how to explain it to them. Even now that I know more about Introversion and have a more informed understanding of my hard-wired need for solitude, it’s still very difficult sometimes to help my loved ones understand this profound craving for time and space all to myself. This is one of the best…
That courage and dedication you so generously share with the world, has inspired me to push myself a little harder, persevere at each task a little longer, dig a little bit deeper to where the answers just “feel” right to both my humanity AND my spirit. Your insights have reinforced my direction and given me additional tools that help me clear my path. I’m wired into my creativity as never before and the new music is pouring out of me faster than I can record and produce it; this is the Un…
Because of your blog, I know that it is possible for me to have the love that I want one day and that I don’t have to be alone.  — Indepthwoman  on space2live
THANK YOU….. you just summed up my swirling thoughts into something i can read with out everything else in my head meshing with it. I finally feel like i can explain what happens within without getting distracted. I’m an Introvert with ADD and it makes it so hard to explain quite what im feeling sometimes. — M.G. on space2live

Join us on Facebook

Beyond Fun, Sex and Coffee : Moving Past Dating and Mastering Mature Relationships

couple sunset nature

Doing fun things together isn’t enough for me to feel connected. Being good-looking doesn’t mean we’ll have a meaningful relationship. Having a lot of money doesn’t mean I’ll want to grow with you. In the dating world, there’s emphasis on who your partner is and what you’ll do together. There’s a smaller, almost non-existent, emphasis on what kind of relationship you’ll create together.

I don’t date for the activities, food or coffee

The other morning at church (Unitarian Universalist, highly recommend it for all intuitive types), the minister said, “We don’t attend fellowship for the minister, the music or the coffee. We go for the meaningful connections.”

I thought, it’s the same with dating. I don’t go to be in the presence of a man, for the bike rides, dinners or the coffee. I go in the hope of striking a connection during the conversation. I go to see if this man is someone I could build a relationship with. To me, it’s not all about how much fun we have together. It’s about how well we work together. How we could grow together.

I love fun, sex, dining, cooking, traveling, talking, dancing, etc. I want to share those things with another, but if there is no intimate connection and foundational relationship, then those activities are hollow. Energy will not fill me. I will be depleted. I won’t have love and light to offer my partner. Uh oh. Not good.

I’ve dated men who are easy to converse with and share vulnerabilities, but have no idea how to maintain a consistent relationship. I’ve dated men who want a solid stable relationship but have no idea how to be emotionally intimate.

The questions arise, “Could I teach them how to maintain a consistent relationship? Could I show them a safe haven and therefore encourage their emotional intimacy?” It depends if other positive signs are there.

Three fundamentals of healthy intimate relationships

In his webinar,The 7 Fundamentals of an Intimate Relationship, couples therapist, Jayson Gaddis, states that three of the fundamentals for a healthy relationship are: 1. Self-care 2. Other-care and 3. Relationship-care.

I’ve worked a lot on self-care over the years. By learning about the gifts and pitfalls of introversion and high sensitivity, I’ve discovered how to manage my energy and promote my highest self. I know how vital boundaries are and how to implement them within a relationship.

I realize my partner is in my care. I believe their concerns are my concerns. Their well-being is important to our relationship. This is a work in progress for me. As an intuitive introvert, I am protective of my time and energy. I know the consequences of too much outgoing energy and people pleasing. I know how sensitive I am to other’s emotions. But I wholeheartedly want to be there for a loved one. I want to help them with their kids, work, home, health, joy. I realize how important responsiveness is within a relationship.

To paraphrase, couples therapy doctor and researcher, Stan Tatkin, when dating we should think about what kind of relationship we will have with someone as much as what personal traits they have. The relationship becomes a separate entity to honor and respect.

Qualities of a masterful relationships via John Gottman

Drs. John and Julie Gottman

Drs. Julie and John Gottman

The music director at church read a quote from relationship expert, John Gottman, last week during services. In the quote from The Atlantic article, Masters of Love, Gottman mentioned two requirements for a master (vs. disaster) relationship: 1. Responsiveness. Master partners scan the environment and their partner for things to appreciate and say thank you for versus things to criticize. They ‘turn toward’ their partner when the partner sends out a request (bid) for a response. Ex. If a husband says, “Look there’s a beautiful goldfinch in the yard”, a responsive wife would turn and make a positive, supportive comment about the goldfinch. The finch is not all that important but the response to the husband’s request for connection is. 2. Assumption your partner has good intentions. Disaster couples take everything personally, feeling their partner is intentionally trying to hurt or anger them. Master couples assume the best of their partners. Ex. Husband leaves the toilet seat up. A disaster wife assumes her husband doesn’t respect her and isn’t considerate. Master wife assumes her husband is a little absent-minded and must have just forgotten to put the seat down.

So no, I don’t date for the muscles, the facial hair, the flirting, the dancing, the kissing, the free meal, the music, the bowling, the cocktails or the coffee. I go to see what kind of meaningful connection we have. To see if we could consistently be there for each other and create a master relationship.

sunset-couple in mist

Are activities and external gifts enough for you? Do you want more than just dating? Do you have a master or disaster relationship? Do you know many couples with master relationships? 



About the Author:


  1. Michael July 24, 2016 at 6:44 am - Reply

    I like this: “Master partners scan the environment and their partner for things to appreciate and say thank you for versus things to criticize. They ‘turn toward’ their partner when the partner sends out a request (bid) for a response.”

    I think that, in all relationships — friends, lovers, spouses, customers, neighbors — when we look for things to appreciate and praise, things to compliment people on (always sincerely, of course) … it very much changes a relationship.

    90 or so years ago, there was a book written called ‘Mainsprings of Men.’ I don’t remember much of it, and I do remember this: the single most important craving of people, is to feel appreciated, recognized, special. When we appreciate someone, compliment someone, say kind things to them … we give those feelings to someone. It is so easy to do … and it can be very rare, too. In our culture, it seems we are more likely to see / hear flippant comments, a touch of sarcasm, words that jokingly put someone down, rather than lift him or her up. All a few words, one way or the other … the result can be profound.

    The second part: “Assumption your partner has good intentions.” That, far better than assuming negative intentions. Most of us are trying to do our best. To assume that in someone, whatever he or she is doing, is powerful. We respond way differently.

    I fail at that, I realize. I try to make no assumptions at all sometimes (in line with Ruiz’s four agreements) … and far better to assume good and wonderful intentions. Then I respond differently, and the other person responds differently, and an entirely different set of reactions, behaviors, follows.

    We control so much by choosing words of love and kindness. And by assuming wonderful and good things about everyone.

    None of this applies only to a love relationship, of course. It is with every relationship. it is all a daily, hourly practice. Minute by minute, really.

    Wonderful words, Brenda. Thank you. You remind me, again, of things I need to continue to work on, things that are so important in all of our relationships, and certainly of huge importance in our love relationships.

    You rock!


    • Brenda Knowles July 24, 2016 at 8:59 am - Reply

      Always learning, aren’t we? I like how Gottman keeps it simple. The ‘responding to bids’ piece really hits home with me, as a receiver and a giver. Yes, this can all be applied to many types of relationships. I also agree with your comment about our culture being prone to more flippant or negative remarks. My kids, I’ve noticed, are much more prone to critical remarks. They think that’s normal and funny, despite my many words to the contrary. Critical remarks leave us feeling depleted. Compliments and appreciation are free. They don’t cost us anything to give, yet it takes intention to offer them. I’ve worked over the years to get better at expressing appreciation. My Myers Briggs training has helped me see what different personality types each bring to the table and I try to show appreciation for different gifts. It’s a work in progress.:) Have an awesome week Michael. Thanks for your insight.:)

  2. Gold Rhino July 22, 2016 at 3:23 pm - Reply

    What person with a good job has time to date?

    • Brenda Knowles July 24, 2016 at 8:45 am - Reply

      Someone who makes relationships a priority.:)

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: