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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.
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.
For the first time in my life I could truly explain, through your words the way in which I experience life and myself. Brenda… It all fell into place. I had found myself and had such a moment of clarity. It felt like such a big weight was lifted off of my shoulders. Finally I felt like it was ok to be me. I was not the only one. I had found people and a little space where I fit in. … I was at work and crying on the inside. Emotions ran wild inside me. I was ecstatic, sad, confused, motivated, i…
Niko
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
Megan
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
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 was struggling with my daughter (16 at the time) and our constant fighting. You said something to me that changed my life! You were speaking about your own situation and you said to me “my child could not handle my emotions”. This was a HUGE “lightbulb moment” for me and it forever changed the way I dealt with my emotions when I was around my daughter!

I am happy to say that things have never been better between my soon to be 18 year old daughter and myself! I honestly never thought we would…

Mom M
Your words are my lifeline.  I sit down to your posts and as I read I can feel my acceptance of myself and my needs grow.  Your words validate my feelings about my life, motherhood, relationships and it is something I hold onto.  And during the times when I feel like I am not able to be a mother or a wife or a sister or a friend or whatever someone needs me to be, I go back to your words and find some peace…I send your posts to my husband when I need him to understand that I love him but I need …
D.R.
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…
Gary

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Does Your Mate or Your Community Fulfill Your Emotional Needs?

black and white women dancing

What is different is that modern life has depleted us of our traditional resources, and has created a situation where we turn to one person for the protection and emotional connections that a multitude of social networks used to provide. Adult intimacies have become overburdened with expectations.  —Esther Perel, Future of Couples: Is the Institution of Marriage Sound?

I had an interesting conversation with an acquaintance the other day. We were talking about relationships and what we expect from them. She said she and her husband raise kids and take care of a house together. She gets her emotional support and mental stimulation from other sources, like her girlfriends. I said I didn’t know if that would work for me. I’ve had relationships fall apart under those conditions. She said she didn’t think that would work for me (Brenda) either. She knows I’ve done a lot of soul-searching and personal development work.

I wonder if it would be easier to not be so introspective and self-aware. I’m not trying to sound pretentious. It’s a bona fide wonder of mine. What if I only had simple thoughts and expectations?

I think it would be a lot easier to settle into couplehood.

As it stands now, I am looking for a man who offers emotional support, engaging conversation, steadfast stability and physically ‘turns my crank’ (one of my favorite sayings). Statistically speaking, these men are a small percentage of the population. Even if I found one, they’d have to like me too, and that’s a total crapshoot.;)person-801903_1920

What if I could have half of those needs met with a partner and the other half met by friends or people in our community?  Perhaps my acquaintance friend and her husband have it figured out.

Would that arrangement satisfy me? For the first time since my marriage, I’m considering it.

Community the other piece to the puzzle

The above quote and article in its entirety resonated with me. My friend, Eleanor, reminded me of the high expectations modern romance espouses. Our relationships are supposed to be fully complete microcosms of connection and security. I wrote of the beauty of not being everything to your partner in, It Takes a Village, Even for Introverts : Diffusing the Pressure of Being Everything to Your Mate.  What if the village could satisfy your unmet needs as well? Not only could the community, offer companionship, emotional support, financial help, etc. to your mate but to you too?

Belonging to two beautiful realms

circle of womenIn the last few months, I’ve joined three new communities (church, women’s group, working in the school system). My well of belongingness is a little fuller. I already had an incredible circle of supportive angel friends. I particularly love being surrounded by wise and kind women. My emotional and intuitive language is soundly understood and welcomed by them. Hurray!

I’ve also been dating and getting my security needs met and well, my crank turned (just a little). Blush**.

Overall, I feel pretty good. I even blur the lines a little by letting the different realms overlap, i.e. bringing a date to a social event with my friends. I then have all bases covered in one place.

Is this balance sustainable? Maybe.

Would I be happier with an emotionally focused and intuitive mate? Maybe. Would that man be able to provide stability and security? Would he accept my children? I don’t know. Personal experience says no.

Are you satisfied or settling?

Is it up to me to fill emotional and intuitive needs outside of the relationship? This article by Personality Hacker says no. The article says (and I agree) my biggest unmet need is regular, high quality, abstract, conceptual conversation and not to settle for less. Although, it does say that your partner does not have to be intuitive, just open to listening to you talk about ideas and extrapolations — a lovely and realistic option, in my opinion.

Of course, I know all of this goes two-ways. I supply my partner with caring, listening and crank turning too.

Perhaps romantic relationships allow us to practice understanding and platonic relationships allow us to feel understood.

Perhaps the ideal setup is a secure, sexy man who believes in family and likes listening to my ideas paired with nurturing communities that meet both of our unmet needs?

 

In your relationship, what percentage of your needs does your mate meet? Do outside communities make up for any deficits? If so, how’s that working for you? 

 

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6 Comments

  1. Vernon October 3, 2016 at 4:34 pm - Reply

    Brenda very interesting topic I am self-sufficient my community is the universe I also believe in synchronicity , everything has meaning . What has happened in my life is that I am always supplied with everything I need I try to keep my spirit open to give and receive although I am fulfilled more by giving then receiving. I do not search for anything or anyone but God and truth. I always seek to give love in any situation. I have found that if you plant the seeds of love that’s what you will reap. When it comes to cranking or being cranked I wonder why you are being cranked just a little? When we surrender our total being into the crank into loving we will be fulfilled totally. If we can’t surrender something is wrong. I personally could not be in a relationship that I couldn’t completely surrender without fear. It would be a waste of life. The goal should always be to surrender to the moment to the flower , the smile,the touch to the silence. So my self sufficiency comes from surrendering to the moment the good and what is called the bad

    • Brenda Knowles October 5, 2016 at 8:02 am - Reply

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment Vernon. I love your words about keeping your spirit open and always offering love.
      Since I wrote this post, I decided to surrender totally to the ‘cranking’.:) It’s been beautiful. I feel loved and loving.

  2. PeggySu October 3, 2016 at 11:04 am - Reply

    This is a terrific post — thank you. Based on my two longterm marriages I agree with the Personality Hacker article 110%. You can always find other people to share a particular interest: gourmet cooking, Little Theater, church choir, sports, etc., etc. But if you live as a couple with one other grown-up person with whom you don’t have an emotional connection and with whom you can’t have high-quality abstract conversation, it deadens your soul. Yes if you are lucky you can partially meet these needs at work or in organizations or even via email but it’s not the same. It is true that if you have a demanding job or are busy with something else that takes a lot of your time, it may help you avoid thinking about with what’s missing in your primary relationship but it’s not a solution.

    • Vernon October 3, 2016 at 4:49 pm - Reply

      I think what deadens our soul is not the person that lacks a depth of emotional connection it’s our response. Life is too huge for one person or a group of people to determine the life of our soul we give that right to no one . The greatest power we have is the ability to choose the way we respond to any situation. If we give up that power to anyone or anything we are doomed.

      • Brenda Knowles October 5, 2016 at 8:07 am - Reply

        We are only in charge of our response. I know this.Relationships are a huge part of our well-being. They have to be chosen and cultivated thoughtfully. But, yes, in the end it is up to us how to respond. Although, biologically our responses are often involuntary. Lots to think about here…

      • PeggySu October 5, 2016 at 11:51 am - Reply

        Vernon thanks for commenting on my post. I’ve been thinking a lot about it for the past several days and I only partly agree. Yes we can respond in ways that make the best of what happens to us — Christopher Reeves is a good example.

        More close to home, I learned only yesterday that a dear relative had been in a motorcycle accident the day before and has broken so many bones he’ll have to lie on his back in a rehab facility for probably at least 3 months to heal. I can’t think of any way to respond to this situation that doesn’t make me sad and wish that it hadn’t happened. Moreover, I’m not in a position to provide any direct help. I’m of course glad that nothing worse happened — no brain damage, no paralysis, etc.

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