Building Beautiful Introvert / Extrovert Relationships

27744a91c1f677791e6e3965b79f9eac

I want there to be a place in the world where people can engage in one another’s differences in a way that is redemptive, full of hope and possibility. Not this ‘In order to love you, I must make you something else’. That’s what domination is all about, that in order to be close to you, I must possess you, remake and recast you.
― Bell HooksReel to Real: Race, Sex, and Class at the Movies

My ex-husband and I differed on everything. He loved facts, specifics and numbers. I loved stories, big picture, and words. He always used logic and strategy to make decisions. I looked to personal values and other’s feelings to guide me. Scheduling and closure pleased him. Empty schedules and experiencing buoyed me.

He was the director. I was the helper.

He was an extrovert. I was an introvert.

I valued his gifts but didn’t tell him enough. He eventually understood mine but didn’t tell me enough.

Different, not better

I wanted so bad for the phrase, Different, not better, to fit our mismatched traits but I never felt I was on equal footing. I’ll take responsibility for part of this.

It was exhausting trying to communicate in the foreign tongues that were each other’s personality types. Constantly going against my nature to align and engage with him left me empty and drained.

In the end it was quite sad. The tension I felt when he walked in the room was palpable. My body did an internal flinch. I couldn’t bear any more forced effort or extrovert stimulation. My mind was numb and my spirit was dragging. That didn’t stop him from trying to connect by talking, dancing or cooking in the kitchen with me, which could have been beautiful if I ever got to lead or if I didn’t feel skinless and wired. It all felt like more to give to him.

What I most wanted was respect, support and space to renew.

When I finally grew brave and articulate enough to express what I valued as an introvert (solitude, suit321reflection, thoughtful speaking, meaningful listening, low stimulation), my points were misunderstood and considered secondary to productive doing and deciding. I never felt they were valued as much in our home.

If I wanted respect, I should be more like him.

How to make an introvert/extrovert relationship work

1. Support your partner’s self-esteem. It is not a zero-sum game. If you win, I do not lose. Both the introvert and the extrovert bring valuable contributions.

2. The introvert needs to learn how to protect themselves from the extrovert’s intensity, language and presentation style. Understand it is not a personal affront. It is just their way. Walk out of the room (after excusing yourself) or lighten the scene with humor. Speak calmly but firmly when engaging an extrovert.

3. The introvert should appreciate how their extrovert gets them moving and more involved in the world. The extrovert should appreciate the insightful contributions of ideas and possibilities the introvert uncovers during reflection time.

4. If introverts are willing to talk then extroverts need to listen attentively. If an introvert is not heard they may stop talking altogether and leave the relationship.

5. Times for solitude and times for socializing need to be defined. There should be a balance between the two. For example, an introvert who works all day with many people may require an hour to themselves when they get home. Extroverts should feel free to schedule dinner parties every other weekend or whatever is acceptable to them and their partners.

6. Divide household and life responsibilities based on preferences. For example, the introvert may prefer to do more computer work like managing the household finances. The extrovert may be more suited for negotiating pricing with salespeople or talking to other parents at school functions.

7.  The extrovert can help the introvert translate his ideas into action. The introvert can help the extrovert find her center and act from it.

8. Accept and appreciate the differences between your temperaments. Always acknowledge the equality of your gifts. Your personal styles are merely different, not better.

How have you made an introvert/extrovert relationship bloom? What were some of the challenges? Do opposites make the best couples?

If you enjoyed Building Beautiful Introvert/Extrovert Relationships then you may also enjoy:

Introvert Relationships: Love Me or Leave Me But Please Don’t Need Me (Too Much)

Introverts Explained: Why We Love You But Need to Get Away From You

How Does Introversion Affect Your Sexuality?

Introvert Relationships: Are Our Expectations for Love Unobtainable?

I Belong Deeply to Myself But I’ll Let You In: The Ebb and Flow of Introvert Intimacy

 

Leave a Reply

38 Comments

  1. Joe
    April 14, 2015

    Hello,

    I’m a 29 year old guy in a 2-year relationship with a 28 year old girl. I’m more of an introvert, while she’s a pretty extreme extrovert, and it’s lead to some difficulties when it comes to our coping strategies. She needs a chance to blow off steam by complaining and talking to others, and then she’s quickly over it. I need a chance to recover on my own, often by journaling, meditating, or going for a walk, and I recover slowly.

    What will happen is she’ll get upset by something, and I’ll try to help her – either by fixing the problem or just giving emotional support, depending on the situation. Between 1 and 3 hours later, I wear out from the negativity she’s expressing, or I find I disagree with an accusation she’s made. I want to physically distance myself or disagree with her, but then I’m worried that will upset her even more or turn her anger on me. I end up repressing my feelings, and I try to go through the motions of supporting her, but usually she picks up on how I’m feeling and wants to know what’s wrong. It then blows up much bigger than it should be.

    Furthermore, when I’m upset about something, the first thing I want to do is fix the problem. When she’s upset about something, the first thing she wants to do is feel better. As I’m running around doing things to help her feel better, it looks to me like she isn’t doing anything to help herself. I then feel really resentful.

    To me, it feels like I don’t have any control over the situation. Because talking and complaining is her way of dealing with it, it feels like I have to provide all the emotional support, and that she’s acting helpless when she could be doing something. For her, it’s scary because it feels like I’m being really supportive, but then she finds out I’m actually angry about something she said an hour ago that she’s already forgotten about.

    We’re good at talking about it after the fact and figuring it where things went wrong, but I just feel so miserable in the moment. Many of our fights were progressive, but the recent trend has been about miscommunications where I’m reading into the meta message of what she’s saying where she isn’t intending.

    She feels like I don’t understand her and that my interpretation is a bit ridiculous, and I feel that she doesn’t know how forcefully she’s actually expressing it and that it can feel so bitter, angry, and mean. Even if we identify the miscommunication later, it’s difficult to come up with things to do differently next time. I want to be able to support her from a calm and centered place, rather than feeling like I’m locked into this pattern.

    When things between us are good, it’s a very happy and supportive relationship, and she’s very good at supporting me when I’m down. I want to move our relationship forward, but I’m scared to, as I just can’t figure out what to do about this piece of it.

    Reply
  2. Michael Brikov
    March 1, 2015

    Your website has been a Godsend. My girlfriend of almost 2 years with whom I share an amazing long distance relationship with has recently told me she feels split about her emotions, irritated with everything I do and feels like she “wants to be alone”. Initially I took the irritation at face value and began to worry incessantly. After stumbling upon your website and reading many of the articles within (the Introvert Cycle being the one that really brought it home for me) I have learned to understand, and appreciate her way of doing things, and especially her need for silence and solitude.
    I identify as an extrovert and many a-time I have become offended or hurt by her want of space. This time was especially hard because we were both confused and I had not began to research and understand her way of thinking. Your articles have shown me that there is a totally different way of thinking and living out there that is neither better or worse than my own. Everything (its crazy how I mean EVERYthing) makes sense now. She often says she hates small talk/texting yet I basically force that way of conversation upon her. She loves spending alone-alone time together yet I used to take it as an insult of our time (I would want to do THINGS because I assumed she was like me and wanted the same thing). Her want to be alone I always took as a form of depression. Not anymore. I love and appreciate her on a completely different level. So thank you for that and for this website. The burden was on me to understand and seek but I don’t think I would understand things so clearly if it wasn’t for you. So thank you.

    I am visiting her next weekend. What is a good way to convey my new-found understanding to her? I have, and continue to, give her space by not texting and staying off of social media – as an extrovert its perplexing to me how we as a couple can not converse and then when we’re together, due to the space and time and solidarity she had, everything can be great again (perhaps even better), so its been difficult to trust in the process.

    Reply
    • Brenda Knowles
      March 2, 2015

      Everything you said in this comment shows me you are highly self-aware and very conscious of your girlfriend’s feelings. It may have taken you time and effort to understand her because you think/act differently but you sought understanding, you were willing to learn about her temperament. Kudos to you. Introverts and extroverts can make beautiful couples if they both are willing to learn and appreciate their differences.
      I would suggest spending quality time with your girlfriend and then suggesting some time apart (a few hours, anything less than that isn’t all that rejuvenating). She will love that you suggested time apart, rather than making her have to ask for it. She may be OK with being alone together — where you are in the same house/room but do things separately, like read or work on the computer.
      The biggest thing is that you both appreciate each other’s ways, see the differences but do not judge them as better or worse, simply different.
      You are on your way to a healthy relationship. Enjoy it to the hilt.:)
      Thank you for sharing your experience.

      Reply
    • Ed
      March 2, 2015

      Michael, You are doing awesome! I have found that extraverts are good at talking and not always so good at listening. By being proactive you have come a long way in learning about your girlfriend and also learning about yourself.
      I posted on this site last year. I was having trouble getting my extravert to understand me. Finally I gave her an ultimatum that she needed to read Susan Cain’s “Quiet”. She found the book on CD at our local library and listened to it as she drove. This has totally changed our relationship for the better.
      Since you are committed to learning how your girlfriend functions, go the extra step and read “Quiet”. It will open your eyes to a whole new world.
      Great job! Keep learning and keep growing.

      Reply
  3. Best of Space2live 2014: Most Popular New Posts and a Return toThose With Staying Power | space2live
    January 2, 2015

    […] Building Beautiful Introvert/Extrovert Relationships […]

    Reply
  4. Letting Love Breathe: The Space That Makes an Introvert Relationship Erotic and Playful Again | space2live
    December 19, 2014

    […] Building Beautiful Introvert/Extrovert Relationships […]

    Reply
  5. Ten Ways to Ignite a Relationship With a Sensitive Introvert | space2live
    November 14, 2014

    […] Building Beautiful Introvert/Extrovert Relationships […]

    Reply
  6. Hurting
    October 29, 2014

    The wifey and I just had a huge fight. “I just wish that every once in a while you would ENJOY going to one of these social events.” she said to me.

    Enjoy? I tolerate. I told her that I would rather walk naked down the street than to go to these social events. However, I do them with her because I know that makes her happy. But I do not have the ability to enjoy them. The idea of sitting around with a bunch of strangers to make small-talk is… is… wow I really don’t have the vocabulary to describe the feelings. It’s not quite terror but it’s certainly not something that I enjoy.

    I felt as if she was simply saying that she just really wished that I was like her and not like me. That hurt. I felt it was just another example of what Susan Cain calls the “Extrovert Ideal”. I felt as if she was saying that she would rather be married to an extrovert and not to me.

    One post I read said that a big issue is that we introverts need to educate our extroverted spouses on what it’s like to be an introvert. I’m not sure how to do this because I can never get her to read anything, but I’m going to try. Any tips you have on educating a non-reader would be helpful.

    I have also made an agreement with her that I will do ONE social event a month with her. That will give us both defined boundaries and expectations. I think I can tolerate one a month. That will give her something to look forward to and will give me the time I need to prepare.

    Right now I am just hurting. I know that I have crawled deep within myself in order to find the space I need to regroup after the big fight and the rejection that I felt.

    After we talked it out, she reassured me that she loves me deeply and accepts me as I am. I’m sure I will be better in a few days.

    As a side note – I find it interesting that you referred to the male/female dominance issue. In our marriage, she is the dominant talker and is a verbal processor. On average I would say that she speaks 3 or 4 times what I speak. I pay very close attention to every word that she speaks. However, frequently I have to repeat something 2 or 3 times before she pays attention to what I have said. So stereotypes do not always hold.

    Reply
    • Brenda Knowles
      October 29, 2014

      The feelings you are having are so real. I bet every introvert on this site has experienced a scenario like the one you described. We often wish we could be more outgoing, have more energy, be more like the extrovert in the group. The key is to move beyond tolerating each other’s differences and appreciate them. Toleration takes will power. Will power is finite. Take note of each other’s strengths. The appreciation has to go both ways. She has to see your positive traits too. Check out There’s Nothing Wrong with You. You’re an Introvert (another post) for a list of our gifts.:) Also make sure once you appreciate each other’s gifts it’s important to be able to laugh about each other’s pitfalls. Laugh at yourself for needing to leave a party after 15 minutes. Tease her in a loving way about having the gift of gab.
      As for working with non-readers, I have highlighted small meaningful portions of a book (a paragraph or two) and read them out loud to my significant other. I make my point and it feels like a discussion. I use the paragraphs as springboards for conversations that connect us on a deeper level.
      There is my post – Slumber Parties and Kryptonite…. It was written to give children an idea what introversion is but the analogies are simple and work for adults too.
      I don’t really consider dominance a purely male characteristic. The gentleman in the post you referenced was definitely the more dominant of the two of us. I know many dominant women. Sometimes people listen closer to introverts simply because we DON’T talk all the time. It sounds like you and your wife communicate well when it comes to the important stuff. Keep enlightening her about introversion. Perhaps she would watch Susan Cain’s TedTalk?
      Best of luck! Good for you for setting boundaries regarding social gatherings. Try to appreciate them somehow. Maybe think of them as time to admire your wife in her element.
      Thank you for sharing your story. I’m sure it will resonate with many of us.

      Reply
  7. When Introverts Get Loud: Where Are You Using Your Voice? | space2live
    September 26, 2014

    […]  Building Beautiful Introvert/Extrovert Relationships […]

    Reply
  8. MissT
    September 8, 2014

    Brenda,
    Thank you for creating this blog. You may have saved my sanity. I am devastatingly an extrovert: ENFJ and my husband introvert: INTJ.
    Its funny to me that you think of extroverts as strong and dominate. I feel very fragile and under control by my emotions that I cant hold back. While he is off finding himself my lonely mind thinks the worst. He has been away from me all day at work why does he need more time. He is bored with me. He would rather be alone than with me. It breaks my heart. My insecurities just push him farther away but I feel if I don’t voice my pain my concerns they will go unnoticed.
    I’m understanding him more now through this blog. Its still a tough pill to swallow, but I’m working on it. We are aware now of our differences and working on making it work. He is already opening up more with me sharing that I found this blog. I love him and it is going to be an amazing relationship and life together.

    Reply
    • Brenda Knowles
      September 9, 2014

      People with an NF preference, be it an introvert or an extrovert, are very sensitive and in tune with relationships. I’ve learned over the last few years that extroverts with the N or F (or both) preference are not as dominant as those with sensing (S) and thinking (T) as their perception and decision making functions.
      You two are doing the best thing for your relationship – becoming aware of your differences and accepting them. You’re talking about the differences in a neutral language. It’s just the way both of you are wired. Try to inject some humor into the situation. Tease each other lightly about your preferences. While he is away in solitude-land do something fun or meaningful for yourself. Are you creative? Do you have lots of close friends? Do you love movies/plays/books/sports/traveling? Explore whatever lights you up (besides your husband). Nothing will make him more attracted to you than if you show independence and a sense of being whole all on your own. His need to be on his own ebbs and flows. He should honor your needs by giving you some kind of timeframe for when he will return to you but you should give him swaths of time to himself without interruptions. Keep communicating. It’s hard being a grown up sometimes but honesty and vulnerability create deep connections and growth. Peace and strength to you.:)

      Reply
  9. Introvert Relationships and Sensation Seeking: Being Your Own Amazing Soulmate Update | space2live
    September 5, 2014

    […] Building Beautiful Introvert/Extrovert Relationships […]

    Reply
  10. Jeff
    September 3, 2014

    I am clearly an extrovert. I prefer to communicate with my boyfriend regularly. Like many people in relationships, I see how much he cares when we are together in person. We recently had a discussion about how disappointed I was with him. When we first started dating, he clearly expressed he is an introvert and that he will “fall off the grid” from time to time. He only elaborated that meant he would play video games and not communicate with anyone on social media or over the phone/text. I understand the need for an introvert to take time to themselves. I asked him directly, could you please communicate to me that you are going to disappear? He responded with, I will do my best, most times it just comes on and I turn everything and everyone off.
    Over the holiday weekend I saw him for a night and then he left to visit a close friend out of town. He texted he had arrived and then I did not hear from him for over 80 hours. I expressed how depressed I had gotten from not hearing from him and seeing that he was posting on social media. I was taking it personally that he didn’t want to see/talk to me. I had again reminded him it helps me to know he is taking “me” time so I can prepare myself mentally to not feel abandon. His response was, “why should I have to report to you? This is who I am and what I always do, I told you that right from the beginning.”
    Basically, I am at a cross roads, I don’t think he is willing to adjust to my needs. I believe that if he was willing to adjust to accommodate my need to not feel abandon when he has his alone time, our relationship would flourish and grow. How do you help an introvert understand that while in a relationship with an extrovert, the feeling of abandonment needs to be curbed when the introvert takes their along time? And do you have any other suggestions in general?

    Reply
    • Brenda Knowles
      September 4, 2014

      I agree with you that it would be respectful for your boyfriend to let you know he needs space and then give you an estimated time when he will return to you. It sounds like he really appreciates freedom to manage his own time. The fact that you knew he was absent for 80 hours made me chuckle.;) That’s very specific. I think many introverts bristle at the thought of someone else filling/accounting for their time. We like wide open swaths of time.

      In order to be in a solid and healthy relationship both of your temperaments need to be honored. It would be respectful and mature of him to admit when he needs a break and then let you know when he will be available next. I will say that sometimes it is difficult to know in advance how long we’ll need to recover. It depends on how many other interruptions occur while we’re re-charging. I suggest leaving him alone when he ‘disappears’. The more you pepper him with requests for his attention the longer he’ll need to get back to himself. Your texts, calls, emails will just drive him further down the hole. Give him time to miss you.
      If he needs too much time away from you for your personal comfort perhaps he is not the man for you. I will tell you that his basic needs will not change. He may learn to talk with you more openly about when and for how long he needs space but he will always need space.
      I hope that helps a little. Best of luck. I appreciate your desire to understand your mate. It’s very cool that you were looking into introversion in order to understand him and improve your relationship. I hope he gives you as much respect and interest.

      Reply
  11. GraceKyu Hager
    July 20, 2014

    may i ask a question? I’m the extrovert in this relationship, and my boyfriend is the introvert. and he appears to rather high energy and a people person until suddenly he says “i need an evening to myself.” about every two or three weeks. would you say this is can be normal too?

    Reply
    • Brenda Knowles
      July 21, 2014

      Absolutely! That is how I am. I can be social, expressive and engaged with people for quite a while and then I need a night or a couple of days to myself. It’s great that he tells you when he needs a break. Sometimes we feel bad for needing space. He must trust you and know you’ll understand. Thanks for commenting.:)

      Reply
  12. Dani
    May 30, 2014

    Great article!

    I am either both incredibly introverted, or extremely extroverted, it seems I go between the 2 every five years or so. As of today, I am extroverted.

    My biggest issue right now is not understanding when I’m stepping on introverts toes. Most of my introverted friends I am very close with, and so I always assumed we were at the comfort level where I figured they were able to speak up about their boundaries. In fact, because many of my introverted friends are such good conversationalists, I often thought that they were extroverted as well!

    I find it incredibly frustrating when I am hurting my friends by not being a good listener to them when I have absolutely no idea I’m doing it. I have a minor social processing delay, so without my friends spelling out to me their conversation boundaries, it will take me days, if not weeks, or even years, to realize that I am doing something wrong. This hurts me because I really care about my friends and it makes me feel so incredibly guilty when I’m hurting them. With the exception of selfish psychos, who doesn’t want to be a good friend?

    I disagree from the above comments that society takes more pride in extroversion. In some ways yes – the media is always showing beer commercials with cool parties, celebrities have banquets, and all the “cool” people are portrayed as bar hopping socialites and pick up artists…. But society honors introversion too, in its own way. Introverts are always looked at as these really deep cultured intellectuals (found at libraries and coffee shops, or portrayed as artists/writers), where extroverts are often seen as really self centered and shallow.
    That may be very true on many fronts, but I think extroverts as much as they are celebrated also get a bad wrap. Extroverts get criticism all the time for being emotionally needy, attention-seeking drama queens (and kings). At least speaking for myself.

    I spent the majority of my young life being left out and abandoned by “friends” who were actually bullies, as well as not having a stable father and being emotionally neglected by both of my parents. My main bully stole the spotlight. If I finally had a chance to have center stage, she would turn all my friends against me, and I would be friendless for maybe 2 weeks or until she decided it was okay to talk to me again.

    I am naturally actually quite introverted, but as soon as I became an adult and worked up the courage to be social and make friends who werent bullies, I immediately became extroverted. Naturally I would attract introverts because for THE FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE I felt that someone was listening to me, and I could finally get the attention I so very lacked from childhood to grade 12. So of course I go overboard sometimes. I really don’t mean to either.

    I think the reason why it hurts me when introverts let me step all over them is because I spent so much of my life feeling alone and unimportant, I would never want to make my introverted friends feel the same way! Not consciously at least!
    So then when they start to ignore me, I immediately feel like they are abandoning me (like my bullies did), which makes it worse because then I have to ask them if I did something wrong or if they want to be my friend anymore. I try not to overstimulate by asking such things, but I need that reassurance.

    As an extrovert, I feel that I’m doing a disservice to the world by getting out of bed. I feel like everything I do in life is rubbing someone the wrong way. Its even to the point where sometimes I imagine sewing my lips together. And its not like I don’t have extroverted friends — they are just so busy socializing that they might not have time for me in their socialite schedules.

    Being extroverted *seems* like I’m popular, but in actuality I feel very lonely because that majority of the world cant handle my energy.

    I am learning to embrace both sides of me though, but I am finding it so much harder to embrace my extroversion.

    Reply
    • Brenda Knowles
      May 31, 2014

      You present a very interesting perspective. You are afraid of turning off your introverted friends with your extroverted energy. I would say that you are on the right path just by being so aware of your effect on people. I can understand your plight in a way. For many years I was the more quiet friend, the more quiet sister, the more quiet spouse, but then I found a circle of non-judmental, deep listening friends and suddenly I am the talkative one. I feel free to openly express myself and it’s glorious.:) I sometimes have to rein myself in when it comes to sharing my ideas/stories/comments.
      I do not like that extroverts are portrayed as shallow chatty Cathys. I know a lot of extroverts with great depth and compassion. I think more recently there has been a backlash against extroverts specifically because introverts are finally grabbing the spotlight. Susan Cain’s book, Quiet, sort of changed the playing field.
      I say seek out those you can be absolutely yourself with and give them the safety to be honest with you. If they think you are talking over them, they should say so, delicately.:) Although, keep in mind that introverts often don’t like conflict (too stimulating) so it may be hard for them to tell you. Ask them in private if they feel too overpowered by you. One of my best friends and I have a deal that we both get to talk when we have a conversation. For a long time we each felt we were getting the short end of the stick. Now we take turns.:) Keep working on listening as opposed to waiting to talk. It’s hard. I know.
      It’s OK if you have the spotlight sometimes. All temperaments should be honored for what they bring to the table. Be gentle with yourself. Thanks for sharing your story.

      Reply
  13. Sabrina
    May 26, 2014

    I really love this post. I like how you compared introverts and extroverts without being bias to either side. I think that an introvert-extrovert relationship would work well because they can help balance each other out. They can help each other to work on their weaknesses and share their strengths. This is a perfect example of opposites attract. I understand why some people do and I think that it’s because some people tend to find what they don’t have in someone else. For me that is a good attitude because it means you know you have things about yourself you have to work on and you are willing to work on it so you can be a better person.

    Reply
    • Brenda Knowles
      May 26, 2014

      I agree. I am usually attracted to extroverts when it comes to dating. I love their energy. I think if differences can be appreciated, valued and used for positive growth then different temperaments can successfully pair up. There has to be a mutual respect and enjoyment of each other. Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

      Reply
  14. Sheero
    May 6, 2014

    Hi there,

    First of all, I’m sorry if my English is bad, that’s not my native language. =X

    So, at the moment I have some difficulties with my boyfriend. The thing is he’s definitely an introvert when I am a severe extrovert. When we are together, there’s actually no problem at all. We have passed all our time together for nearly 2 years now. I mean, we are students, we do not live together, but we are in the same residence and we spend all our time in the same room. We do not talk all the time but still we are together and that’s okay.

    The problem occurs (for me, I don’t really know about him) when we are far from each other. Here I had to go in a work placement in Paris when he stayed in Belgium to study.
    The thing is : when we are together, I don’t need him to tell me he loves me etc, because I see it, in his eyes and in his behaviour. But with the distance, what do I got ? Well, there is no eyes nor behaviour to see, so… I don’t see anything, since he does not say anything. That’s the point : he doesn’t like to talk about his feelings when I need to hear it regularly.

    I tried to make him understand that his “non-behaviour” makes me feel unloved, as if we’re not a couple anymore but just 2 old friends, that I feel I’m the only one suffering because of the distance. So, the fact he does not give me any “proof” that he likes me leads me to drown him out with my love. You know, as if I try to give twice as much to compensate the fact I got nothing.

    Anyway, after 3 months of internship, I am going back to Belgium on Sunday. But I need to know what to do for the next time. The fact is he says I’m supposed to know he loves me, and I’m supposed to know it’s hard for him too, but he won’t say it. I know he’s sincere, I know he loves me etc etc, but I need “proof”, regularly… I cannot just hold my feelings to an old memory when he used to love me. I don’t know if I’m clear…
    Anyway, it’s not a matter of love, it’s a matter of communication : I think he does not communicate enough on his feelings, but he does not like to talk about it, so I just don’t ask anymore, but it does not help me to feel comfortable with a distance relationship.

    What advice would you have for me ?

    Thanks a lot, your blog is pretty interesting and helps me a lot to understand things. =)
    (I also hope you didn’t cry reading my story with such a school English…)

    Reply
    • Brenda Knowles
      May 8, 2014

      Your English is wonderful! I had no problem understanding your message. I’m going to make a general statement (and hope not to offend men) and say that a lot of men are not all that interested in communicating in writing or over the phone. It’s hard for them. They much prefer face to face contact so they can show you their love/interest with actions. Nevertheless, I understand your feelings of being unloved. It’s nice to have that reassurance when you are away from each other for a long time.
      Do you talk on the phone or text while you’re gone? Or is there very little contact? If you do talk is it strictly platonic or friendly and that’s what bothers you? It may feel tedious to him to have to feed your needs. That takes a lot of energy.
      As an introvert, I’ll be honest and say I like some time away from my partner. During that time I daydream about them and remember all the fun sweet times we have together. I also do my own thing and fill myself up so when we see each other I have lots to share with him. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is what your boyfriend is doing. If I were you I’d make sure to have lots of fun stories to tell about your time away. I’d let him see the you he fell for in the first place – someone who was complete on her own and confident.
      It sounds like you have a solid relationship. Distance does make things difficult. For next time, set some ground rules before you leave. Work out how often and when you should connect. It can be flexible and you both should want to connect. Make it reasonable for BOTH of you. Your desires should be honored as well as his. In the end you both should be investing in the relationship. Thank you for writing in and sharing your story.

      Reply
  15. November
    March 15, 2014

    I keep thinking that if I had discovered my introversion at the beginning of dating my husband instead of at the beginning of our marriage’s end, perhaps……..my life would be completely different. I don’t even know if my husband is an extrovert or introvert, but it’s too late now.
    At least now I know I’m an introvert, I understand better what it means, and I have every right to be one. And no one has any right to tell me I’m “bad” or “wrong”.

    Sometimes your posts lift me up, and sometimes they really discourage me because I don’t even understand half of the words you use. I guess they haven’t “clicked” yet.

    Reply
    • Brenda Knowles
      March 15, 2014

      I’m aiming to lift you up with me words, or at least give you something to ponder.;) My words can get a little flowery, I know. I can’t help it. If I really allow myself to be me, the hippie, love language stuff comes out.

      I became aware of my introversion towards the end of my marriage as well. I worked hard to help him understand what that meant. I also tried to understand his extroversion. My ex-husband and I were so different in so many facets. It was like speaking a foreign language to each other every day. Which was a huge outlay of energy and a deterrent to truly connecting emotionally. The main things missing for us were respect and appreciation for each other’s differences. I always felt like my way of being was presented as the inferior one. It’s water under the bridge now. I know how miserable I was then. It was unfixable. I hope you find peace regarding your marriage. You are starting anew with healthy awareness about yourself. Yay you! Go forward.:)

      Reply
  16. Jennifer Reed
    March 12, 2014

    I am married to an extrovert and it’s wonderful! He takes our kids on a outing almost every Sat. & Sun. He also takes them to most of the school functions. When he gets home from work we talk for awhile, eat, and then I usually head upstairs for alone time until the kid’s bedtime. He gets his extroverted needs met at work and I get my introverted needs met at home while the kids are at school. Win/Win!

    Reply
    • Brenda Knowles
      March 13, 2014

      Perfect! You guys have a great respectful system. Did it take a while to get the system in place? It’s awesome that he honors your need for alone time. Thanks for sharing!

      Reply
      • Jennifer Reed
        March 13, 2014

        Our lifestyle evolved into what it is now. Our relationship has always been great, but raising kids is difficult for this HSP introvert. I don’t know how I would survive without my wonderful extrovert. Thanks for listening!

        Reply
  17. Juston Saunders
    March 12, 2014

    i’m struggling with my introverted girlfriend. it’s somewhat confusing because when she was courting me she seemed to be full of energy. now shes going to school and she has nothing. i just wish she could tell me when she needs space instead of ignoring me. shes type A mute too so its not liek i can force her to talk. my best guess is that shes somewhat submissive and telling me she needs space to her may be like her saying no you cant be with me right now. and she starting to do this thing sometimes where she wants to talk to me but doesnt want to see me. how do intro/extroverts sleep in the same bed every night? or are we gonna need seperate rooms for her bad days?

    Reply
    • Brenda Knowles
      March 12, 2014

      I think you’re right when you say that telling you she needs space feels like a big hard lump of rejection to deliver. There is a tiny element of shame to not being able handle being with your loved ones as much as they can be with you. Also, saying no to someone feels like conflict. Conflict is stimulating and therefore draining.
      The courtship phase is novel and energizing for everyone. Studies show that people in long term relationships have different chemical levels in their brains than those first dating. Real life creeps in and brain chemistry is changed, usually dulling desire to be together.
      My suggestion is to tell her you have been looking into introversion because you truly want to understand her and make the relationship work. Kudos to you btw for caring enough to learn more. Respect and appreciate her different needs. Your needs are important too. You both should honor each other. Respect, appreciation, awareness and a sense of humor about it all will go a long way.
      I can tell you that she will not miraculously overnight change her ways and become highly energetic and stop needing space. This is her nature. It’s up to you to decide if you can live with that. I was married for 15 years to an extrovert. We slept together every night.:) I suggest the biggest bed you can find and time during the day for her to renew. Does she get time to herself after school? If you are not living together, is it possible to spend a night or day apart. Sometimes being in separate rooms in the same house isn’t enough space. There’s always the potential for interruption. Texting and emailing may be enough for her. Is that enough for you?
      I wanted to be honest with you. I hope I helped in some way. Thank you for sharing your story. I hope you and your girlfriend find a way to communicate openly and vulnerably about this. It can work.

      Reply
  18. Lexxie
    March 11, 2014

    I totally understand the dominant personality reference. There are so many days I try to get a thought out, but end up frustrated because I am not heard. Or times when I just need to be alone to recharge, but am questioned as to why I don’t want to have him near me.

    Reply
    • Brenda Knowles
      March 11, 2014

      Honor yourself Lexxie. Establish boundaries and stick to them. You matter. 🙂

      Reply
  19. John
    March 10, 2014

    As introverts not only are we trying to get our extroverted partners to value our traits but the culture we are enmeshed in also values extroverted trailts more than introverted ones.

    Reply
    • John
      March 10, 2014

      ….which has the effect of giving the extrovert more leverage in the relationship because they believe their way is validated by the greater culture.

      Reply
      • Brenda Knowles
        March 10, 2014

        I felt like what you are saying was true in my marriage. It was me against the more dominant person in the house (an extrovert) and I often lost because prevailing culture validated his temperament more than mine. I even felt like my kids were learning that my way of being was wrong and didn’t deserve as much respect. Ouch. I really had to learn and teach the gifts of introversion. Also, I have to say that it wasn’t all an introversion/extroversion thing. Some of it was the masculine/feminine, dominant/accommodating thing.
        Thanks for your comment.

        Reply
  20. Theabea Palmette
    March 7, 2014

    Response when I clicked your link…Hi there. You seem to be lost.

    It looks like nothing was found at this location. Perhaps it *was* there but now it’s gone. Maybe try one of the links below or a search?

    Reply
    • Brenda Knowles
      March 7, 2014

      WordPress is wonky lately. I re-published the post. Hopefully it shows up now. Sorry.

      Reply
%d bloggers like this: