I’ve learned I need cooperative over competitive and kind over cool in a relationship. Interesting intrigues me more than fun. Soul mate over sex god. I’d rather be with someone than do with someone. My spirit needs relaxation, comfort and joy. If my mate needs a challenge or a mission to undertake, let it be to protect my calm and light up my insides. If given a soft place to land, I open up and spill warmth easily. If I feel at ease and at home, I’m my best self and my best self loves freely.
The outside world provides enough stimulation and cutting edges to keep my senses on alert. The world inside my lover’s arms should be a safe space where my nervous system rests. I’m not so naive to believe such a haven exists without challenges and discord, but I am optimistic and experienced enough to believe some couplings are easier on the spirit than others.
What makes a sensitive introvert relax?
OK to be more inward than outward
According to Marti Olsen Laney, author of The Introvert Advantage, introverts rely more on their parasympathetic nervous system than their sympathetic nervous system, which means we tend to conserve energy or “put on the brakes” more than spend energy or “give it gas”. We are sensitive to dopamine and adrenaline so we limit outside stimulation to keep our systems from overloading. Concentrating on feelings, ideas, impressions and our inner world gives us a calm presence and satisfying energy level.
I prefer to glow more than go.
If a partner understands and encourages this inward focus, I feel comfortable being myself. If instead, I am constantly cajoled into being active, vocal and focused on the external world, I get frazzled quicker, which will eventually cause me to withdraw to re-center.
Introverts love to engage with the world, but we have to cycle that big outer living with slowing things down so we can reflect, recharge and avoid overstimulation. It’s a necessary ebb and flow. Overstimulation leads to erratic behavior and eventual personal retreat which is not conducive to an open and loving relationship.
I put a high value on cooperation. It’s important that my love works with me and individuals in my inner circle. Someone who is more interested in getting work done their way than collaborating is tough to be around. Their non-interest in harmony, although perfectly legitimate and acceptable (many personality types choose logic or efficiency over harmony), can present as confrontation and confrontation, , although a catalyst to growth, is draining.
Disagreements are natural. Cooperation helps resolve disagreements. A partner who fosters brainstorming, mutual problem solving and collaborative decision-making is easier to work with. If a lover constantly disrupts the flow of things or makes others uncomfortable, I am going to feel vibrations of dis-ease. Uneasiness tends to shut down an open heart.
Blaming and bashing will turn off an introvert with high sensitivity. We are more into praising and appreciation. Complainers put poison in the world. Openly criticizing or judging others feels insecure and negative. Being with those who do that is unnerving. When will they criticize or judge me?
I’ve been accused of living in an illusory sunshiny world where the majority of people are good. I don’t think I could live in a world where all I see is evil. I am trusting. I am grateful. I’ve had enough positive relationships to have faith in love. I’ll choose love over fear every time. Fear is not relaxing.
We’ve all been to friend’s homes that make us feel comfy and cozy. The temperature is just right, there is ample but muted light, it smells good, there is space to move and space to lounge. They may have soft music playing or a fire in the fireplace. Comfortable atmospheres include elements of beauty, pleasing sounds, appealing textures and the perfect level of social interaction.
Relief from overwhelm
Highly sensitive persons are more susceptible to overwhelm. Our nervous systems are generally in high gear. It doesn’t take a lot to overload our minds. Multi-tasking and multi-caring (the need to look after several people’s feelings at once) can cause us to zone out or burn out. A partner who knows when to help with mundane tasks like house or paperwork, can be a god send. Anything that lightens the load, helps us relax.
Humility is refreshing. We can rest with someone who owns her flaws and admits when they don’t know something. Genuine admittance of mistakes or downfalls gives us permission to be fallible and vulnerable. Phew! Shoulders down, breathing slowed, heart rate normal.
Bragging, boasting and arrogance are quickly detected by our BS radar. Huge egos wreak of inauthenticity and immaturity. They challenge us to point out their falseness.
I’d rather be with someone real. It’s easier and more enjoyable.
Sensual loving touch
Fast and painful touch don’t breed calm. While they may breed excitement and that is awesome sometimes, too much of them and I am wired instead of pleasured. Massages, long embraces and sweet slow kisses soften my posture and melt my resolve. I suddenly feel warm and open to more in-depth physical affection.
A relaxed partner
Many sensitive introverts are empathic, meaning they find it easy to put themselves in other’s shoes. They also feel the energy emanating from the people around them. I am working on learning how to separate my energy from those around me, but it’s difficult. I still pick up on Type A wiredness, agitation and discomfort. I absorb it and take it on as my own. The good news is I do the same when my partner is laid back and easygoing.
To feel understood. This is the key element to relaxation. It is such a relief when achieved. According to, Emotional Intelligence: The Social Skills You Weren’t Taught in School, understanding is the difference between knowing something and truly empathizing with it. Explaining or defending yourself all the time is exhausting. While I can’t expect my love to read my mind, I can hope for a decent amount of personal relating or resonance. It is so much easier when your man/woman ‘gets’ you.
Individuals with different natures are certainly compatible provided they are willing to learn each other’s languages and they are not so different that the languages rarely intersect. A lack of intersecting, requires the introvert to constantly push himself outward to help his mate understand him. This habitual extroverting drains the introvert’s battery, leaving him low on energy to share.
Calm is cool and normal
The most important message I want you to take away from this post is that it is OK to need calm. You are not weak, boring, uncool or flawed. Our culture says that lively, fun and energetic people are the most loved. The truth is, we are quite lovable as quiet reserved beings and when we are relaxed we can be lively, fun and energetic.
What do you need to love freely? What helps you relax within a relationship?