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. What Happens When You Take an Introvert to an Exquisite Party? The Before, During and After Effects of Socializing Gallantly | space2live
    December 26, 2014

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

    Reply
  2. mihrank
    December 20, 2014

    AMAZING! Golden post!

    Reply
    • Brenda Knowles
      December 21, 2014

      Thank you! I hope it resonated.:)

      Reply
      • mihrank
        December 21, 2014

        I love your blogs – They are amazing and respectful!

        Reply
  3. LB
    December 19, 2014

    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.

    Reply
    • Brenda Knowles
      December 21, 2014

      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.:)

      Reply
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