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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
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…
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
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
Thank you for all the words. You’ve created the magic drug I’ve been looking for all my life. Your blog has transformed my life, and I feel like I am on the brink of a most satisfying fulfilling journey…You’ve made me see everything in a new light. I now feel calmer, able to care better for my toddler, less hateful of people around, and hopeful for my future. I am not so afraid for our marriage anymore. — Shilpa CB
Shilpa CB
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…
BRENDA: thank you SO much! Your advice is exactly what I need to do. I am amazed how much you “get” me after only exchanging a few messages!… Again, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You’ve helped me more than a year of therapy sessions! – Megan on space2live
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
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…
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.

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Can Different Personality Types Work in Love? Will Differences Enrich or Challenge Your Relationship?

hearts on black and white

Understanding, appreciation and respect make a lifelong marriage possible and good. Similarity of type is not important, except as it leads to these three. Without them, people fall in love and out of love again, with them, a man and a woman will become increasingly valuable to each other and know that they are  contributing to each other’s lives. They consciously value each other more and know they are valued in return. Each walks taller in the world than would be thinkable alone.  — Isabel Briggs Myers

When my marriage was ending and divorce loomed, I told myself the next person I love will be more like me. I wanted that deep intimate connection my marriage lacked. I wanted someone as dreamy, empathetic, intuitive, passionate, curious and introverted as me. I had a long list of soul mate requirements, most of them character traits quite similar to mine.

In Introvert Relationships: Are Our Expectations for Love Unobtainable? I mentioned, I’m partial to non-judgmental idealists. The ease of being with someone like me, who was not critical and wanted to make the world a better place, was so appealing. I really wanted that.

once you stop lookingBut… Once you stop looking for what you want, you’ll find what you need.  In order to grow into my full, most joyful potential, I needed to find someone who challenges and supports me; someone who subconsciously and consciously teaches me, while I do the same for him.

I did not know this until I found him.

Wow, that’s different

My man came into my life over burgers, Tom Yum soup and some sushi. Our personalities are as varied as our menu choices.

He’s a doer. I’m more into being. He is task focused. I am people focused. He cares about how things function. I care about how they look. He’s efficient. I’m particular. He likes adrenaline rushes. I like calm moments. He is not grossed out by anything. I am. He doesn’t use a recipe. I do. He doesn’t care what other people think/feel. I care a great deal.

And yet, we enjoy each other tremendously.

Not easy, but enriching

Even with only a single preference in common, a marriage can be wonderfully good (as I can testify) if the man and woman take the necessary pains to understand, appreciate, and respect each other. They will not regard differences between them as signs of inferiority, but as interesting variations in human nature, which enrich their lives. — Isabel Briggs Myers, Gifts Differing

Isabel Briggs married Clarence “Chief” Myers in 1918. Her Myers Briggs type preferences were INFP, his ISTJ. They only had one function preference (I for introversion) in common. They were happily married for 61 years.

The introvert/extrovert difference

My man is somewhere close to the middle on the introvert/extrovert continuum, with a slight leaning toward extroversion, if you ask me. He talks to strangers wherever we go. He gets a lot of alone time but I believe he prefers being with others. He’s more comfortable in small groups versus large crowds. He doesn’t seem to mind interruptions.

120316-A-UG106-069 U.S. Army Sgt. Paul Jordan, a medic assigned to the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, provides security as an UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter arrives to extract his team and members of 2nd Afghan National Civil Order Patrol Special Weapons and Tactics Team in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, on March 16, 2012. DoD photo by Sgt. Daniel Schroeder, U.S. Army. (Released)

blackhawk helicopter and army soldier

At times, he runs toward stimulation. He never naps. He loves political jousting on Facebook. He loves coffee, being cold, foul language and rap metal music like Rage Against the Machine. He was in the military for 22 years flying helicopters for special forces.

I, of course, am an introvert. I also talk to strangers but only if I need information or I sense it could lead to a meaningful conversation. I love time alone but also love small group or one-on-one interactions. I deplore interruptions. I run away from most stimulation. I love cat naps. I can’t do caffeine. I love warmth. I use foul language selectively and like music by artists like Jason Mraz and Keith Urban. I read, write and counsel for a living.white flower on water

Truthful and Tactful make a nice couple

I wrote about our logical/feeling decision-making dichotomy in Ms. Deeply Feeling Love Mr. Intensely Logical: How to Make a Thinker/Feeler Relationship Work. No non-judgmental idealist for me. My guy is more truthful and I am more tactful. Both valuable traits, but my feelings got hurt a lot in the beginning. His direct delivery of what I perceived as judgmental or critical messages, triggered emotions and reminded me of negative experiences from my childhood and marriage. He never meant to hurt me. I had to learn that. He wanted to be helpful and honest. Because of his nature, I am learning how to separate past hurts from current situations. I have learned to be more direct when I speak. He is learning to temper his words and throw in more positive statements.

Details and big picture

He likes to keep a small inventory of goods in his cupboards. I overstock mine. I have at least six jars of strawberry jelly, just as many jars of peanut butter and countless bottles of expired vitamins lurking in mine. He digs creating by-laws and instruction manuals for organizations. I almost fell asleep typing that sentence.

We both love to explore, look to the future and nurture the potential in others. We love food, travel and family. We talk for hours about anything from politics to child rearing to Jello-cake. We go to bed early to enjoy each other physically and mentally.

You’re going to disconnect in stage 3

In The 5 Stages of Love: Why Too Many Stop at Stage 3, Dr. Jed Diamond calls stage 3 of love, Disillusionment (the first two are Falling in Love and Becoming a Couple). It’s when dissatisfaction displaces love. It may be a time of child rearing or career building. Your mate may get on your nerves. The love you once had is gone and you are irritated more than intimate. You may get angry or hurt and withdraw. Jed’s advice for dealing with this stage? Don’t give up, keep going. Sort of the, Only way out, is through, adage

My man and I tap into stage 3 when we get too busy or stressed. We also feel that lack of connection when our differences butt heads. We handle this disconnection two ways. One: We speak up and express our frustration, disappointment or hurt in a feedback versus blaming way. I vowed to never remain silent with a partner again. He vowed to never walk on eggshells. Tension and resentment get too great if we don’t stay current with our feelings. Two: We keep on going. We work through it like there is no other option. We knew to do this even before reading Dr. Diamond’s post. I will give my guy credit. He has been the steadfast one from the beginning. I have learned tenacity from him.

Stage 4: Being seen and loved for who you are

Because we have worked through some of the hurt our contrasting personalities create,  we have become allies in our efforts to heal past wounds, which Dr. Diamond states is a sign of Stage 4 love.

We are different but that’s OK, good even. I think our contrasts help us become more whole individuals. We learn from each other and figure out how to handle conflict. Conflict that perhaps in our past we couldn’t heal because we felt inferior or superior to our opposite.

Once my man and I stopped seeing our differences as problems, personal threats or just plain wrong, we began to thrive. Once I knew he was in it for the long haul, I relaxed and started to appreciate and understand rather than burn with frustration and hurt.

The stuff that’s easy to love

I admire and appreciate his sense of humor, energy and intelligence. He has integrity and strength of character. He gets me out of my head and into my body. He’s playful. He’s thoughtful. He’s supportive in all of my endeavors. He makes me laugh and lightens my heart. He’s seen me at my most emotional and stressed, yet he stays and continues to believe in me.

I believe he appreciates my calm and caring nature. He values my realness and honesty. He enjoys my intellect. He enjoys our sex, which again is another area of contrast that has grown into something awesome because of our willingness to stay open-minded and work at it. I believe I make him feel known and loved.couple walking in woods

We unite in our curiosity for life. We have the desire to learn and grow, which leads to understanding, appreciation and respect. I definitely walk taller in the world with him by my side.

Are you in a relationship with someone quite different from you? If so, how do you handle your differences? Is love easier with a similar type but more rich with a contrasting type? 


If you would like help reconciling differences within your relationship, contact me here for personal coaching. 



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  1. kaitlin March 6, 2017 at 10:48 pm - Reply

    i completely agree with this article, me and my boyfriend are two completely different people! we have a couple similarities but
    -I love dancing, he hates it,
    -hes very expressive with his feelings, I’m not lol
    – I’m a little all over the place, hes more conservative
    – he talks A LOT, I’m quite sometimes
    the list could go on and on lol we have our little arguments about things like that but it took us awhile to really just completely and openly accept each other for who we were we clashed but the way he loves me and cares for me outweighs our diffrences and vice versa we have been together for two years now and soon to be engaged……despite our differences we have the best times when we are together i wouldn’t change a thing about him

    • Brenda Knowles March 10, 2017 at 7:42 am - Reply

      I loved your point about the way he loves and cares for you outweighing all the differences. I do think it is a lot about respect, a mutual dedication and love. The differences add to the enrichment of the relationship. Thanks for sharing Kaitlin.

  2. Morena February 14, 2017 at 2:42 am - Reply

    Brenda, the men I meet are extroverted and they don’t express themselves or want to see me shine in anyway. The last guy I told I was talking to. Just because certain things weren’t in order with me. He said he didn’t want to see me, we were just friends but since he couldn’t have me the way he wanted (sexually), he stayed away. He kept picking at everything I said and he was a narcissist. He didn’t want to acknowledge his behavior. The last straw was when he cursed at me and came around my house looking for me. I told him to leave me alone. And after 6 months you want to come and see me and see if I’m with someone.

    I couldn’t figure this guy out for nothing (to much work) for no apparent reason, not even to have a nice dinner. Just silent and private but having outburst and he was possessive and jealous. Men look at me and they don’t care how compatible we are, or they don’t stick around to see if we are. It’s impossible to know after only a few minutes of talking or a couple of hours of talking. They ask me a few questions like, do you cook or what do you like to do for fun and based off my answer. They think that it’s a win win. I’m very nurturing and quiet and its like right away have my baby, cook for me.

    They don’t want to take the time to get to know me. They keep rushing. They are rushing for a reason because they are taken. And if they are single, they have something they are hiding. I’m not relating to men. They keep trying to trap me and mold me and the sex part is null and void in my life. They want me to give and I don’t want to unless its reciprocated. I’m not looking for the one, I’m sure at some point he’ll show up. I’ve given up for now. I expressed my sentiments on this article I wrote Every time I’m open, I feel like I’m in prison. I like to take time to get to know someone. Just because two people like the same thing, doesn’t mean they are compatible and they should rush to the altar. So for now, I’m unattainable. I like it that way because love shouldn’t be forced.

    • Brenda Knowles February 14, 2017 at 10:24 am - Reply

      I think we sensitive introspective people truly want something deep with our partners. Many people are content with keeping it on the surface by doing activities together, texting each other, having casual sex. We want a two-way emotionally rich relationship where each partner gives to and cares for the other. I don’t know that being introverted or extroverted matters. I think it’s how self-aware and emotionally intelligent each person is. Maturity takes time and we are never done learning about ourselves and relationships. Finding a partner willing to learn and love with you is a true gift. I’ve learned I am a big part of why my relationships falter. I have to work on myself and honor my partner and the relationship. It helps if my partner is working with me. There are solid men out there willing to work. There are no perfect men or women. We all have our wounds and triggers. Sending you warm wishes and strength Morena.

  3. virginiacyclist February 12, 2016 at 7:47 pm - Reply

    So any introvert should know, if it is too much work, it won’t work, especially if you gotta sell out your essence. For me, this is sad as I sense innies don’t fit. But, better alone than badly coupled. That’s my 2 cents.

    • Brenda Knowles February 13, 2016 at 9:13 am - Reply

      I agree. You have to be able to be true to yourself within a relationship but you can be in a relationship with an extrovert and remain authentic.

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