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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…
Sharon
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…
J.K.
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
C.M.
your depth of understanding, and talent at sharing it amaze me. Speechless… and for your sharing of it.. Thank you… deeply. *sigh, its like coming back into my body through acceptance….. Sherrie on space2live
Sherrie
I met Brenda and took the MBTI… I had a fairly good understanding of these types before the meeting but was impressed by the depth of knowledge that Brenda shared with me. She clearly has a passion for this work and a gift in imparting the information. There have been doors opened for me because of our talks… — Alan Hintermeister
Alan Hintermeister
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
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
Indepthwoman
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
M.G.
During one of the harder times in my life I found Brenda’s website
and reached out to her. To say the least it has been one of the best
decisions I have made. Being an extrovert I never quite understood
what it meant to romantically involved with an introvert. Brenda does
an incredible job listening, giving in the moment feedback, and helped
me understand the how an introvert functions. She helped explain to me
that I am introspective extrovert, and this gave something to identify
with and allowed me t…
Evan H.
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

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Letting Love Breathe: The Space That Makes an Introvert Relationship Erotic and Playful Again

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… the key to reviving romance in a long-term relationship isn’t necessarily to bring one’s partner closer but to let love breathe. Desire, Perel says, needs air. Romance is more exciting when we let our partners become a little unfamiliar to us again. — Terri Trespicio of Experience Life quoting couples therapist and author of Mating In Captivity, Esther Perel

Along with reveling in a cherished high when a man expresses his  desire to hold me every night, I get a little nervous. I fear the overly familiar, particularly in a partner. Repetition and constant presence tease out my couple claustrophobia. I start to worry about my calendar getting packed. I see all of my personal space filled with other’s agendas. I see our curiosity derailed by predictability and expectations. Our meaningful and romantic connection eventually deferring to security. The element of surprise lost to routines.

Most relationships move toward a more stable and consistent existence. According to the article, The Chemistry of Love, our body’s chemicals lead us to this steady attachment. But what to do when steadiness turns into smothering or staleness?

When couples feel love growing stale, Perel suggests exploring ways of being in partnership that allow more space for people to flourish as individuals. — Terri Trespicio

Relationship therapist and author, Esther Perel’s, advice runs counter to the typical couples counseling recommendations to set up regular date nights and spend more time together. Perel’s advice seems like the kind that would appeal to the independent, introspective and introverted.

Perhaps introverts would even have an advantage in the flourish as individuals arena?

Please don’t take too much of me

I know within a relationship I crave a certain level of autonomy. I like to keep myself whole, not relying on a man to give me an identity. I admit to a fear of engulfment. I want to continue meaningful work, nurture outside friendships and foster my own growth. The truth is I need and I enjoy time to myself but within that time I also have the chance to miss my lover, the space to wonder and think about him. And I do. Despite my penchant for autonomy, I have a deep desire for intimacy as well. If I truly care for someone, I will easily and joyfully seek him out. The introvert ebb and flow of solitude and intimacy.

Do extroverts expect romantic partnerships to fulfill more needs than introverts do? Introverts know how to get satisfaction from going within. We can be happy alone. Extroverts get their energy from external stimulation — people, places, things. It would make sense for extroverts to rely more heavily on their partners for their own well-being but I have known introverts who consider their partner their person. They don’t have a herd of other companions so their mate is their lifeline.

If a partner is counting on me to be their happiness, I feel stressed. I worry that he will need me too much and I will use all of my energy satisfying his requests for time and attention. Not that I don’t believe in giving to those I love but giving so much that I become drained and less than myself, eventually resenting my partner, is not going to foster a satisfying relationship.

Get out there and glow

Eroticism thrives in the space between the self and the other.

— Esther Perel

As Perel suggests, a healthy solution to relationship staleness is implementing more independent exploring and growth. This could be joining or maintaining a separate social tribe, starting a creative project, focusing on a career objective or diving into a personal passion, among many other things. Experienced within that separate growth and development time is surprise, mystery, courage, curiosity and a spark of personal thriving. The stuff that makes us attractive and glowing.

When extroverted readers write to me concerned about their introverted partner’s need to be alone, I tell the extrovert to take that time to work on themselves, find what makes them feel alive outside of their relationship. The introvert’s energy supply is replenished in the solitude created by their significant other’s absence. The extrovert discovers they can survive separate from their partner. The independence and time away begets unknowns about their mates, making their partner seem new again.cute couple laughing together

When two people return to each other they bring with them novelty, playfulness, anticipation and curiosity. Perel calls these the erotic ingredients that make desire sustainable.

How could you create space in your relationship? What makes your relationship exciting? 

If you loved this post, you may also enjoy:

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

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

Is It Love or Are You Just Filling a Void?: Mastering Aloneness and Creating a Real Relationship

Building Beautiful Introvert/Extrovert Relationships

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6 Comments

  1. […] ← Letting Love Breathe: The Space That Makes an Introvert Relationship Erotic and Playful Again […]

  2. mihrank December 20, 2014 at 12:53 am - Reply

    AMAZING! Golden post!

    • Brenda Knowles December 21, 2014 at 11:40 am - Reply

      Thank you! I hope it resonated.:)

      • mihrank December 21, 2014 at 5:17 pm - Reply

        I love your blogs – They are amazing and respectful!

  3. LB December 19, 2014 at 4:41 pm - Reply

    It’s an interesting paradox. I know the more people cling to me, the harder I pull away. That’s any people, not just romantic partners.

    Your post reminds me a little of all those female (and some male) acquaintances who say they are incomplete without a man, lost without some type of partnership, and then cling to that partnership until they smother the life out of it. It’s why I always say you need to be your own best friend. Nobody can give you happiness except yourself.

    Actually, while I have a visceral reaction to being clung to as an introvert, I think this is true of extroverts too. Nobody likes the pressure of having to be someone else’s source of happiness.

    • Brenda Knowles December 21, 2014 at 11:53 am - Reply

      I am always cautious with partners who are effusive with long term promises and the desire to spend every minute with me. It’s wonderful to have consistency and someone who wants to stand by your side but if I feel like I am their everything, it’s scary. I agree with your statement about being your own best friend.It’s good to be able to always return to yourself and feel whole.
      You raise an interesting point about extroverts wanting their partners to be self-sufficient when it comes to happiness as well. I agree extroverts don’t like that pressure but I feel like introverts are more likely to see the space in their relationship as a necessity, rather than a bonus.
      Thank you for sharing your insight LB. Nice to hear from you.:)

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