You’re driving me crazy. When are you coming home? ~ Laid, by James
I always loved the above lyric. It tickled me how the singer was so tired of his girlfriend’s constant presence but in the end wanted to make sure he’d see her later. Something about that spoke to me.
I often find myself needing space from the people in my life, even the magnificent ones, but then later, maybe the next day, wishing I could hold them and whisper sweet nurturing thoughts in their ear.
I am an emotional or spiritual intimacy junkie. I am on a constant hunt to be transformed or transcended. I adore meaningful conversation that oozes vulnerability, sensitivity, authenticity and creativity. Nothing gets me more excited than eyes sparkling at each other and that euphoric feeling of, they get me. If I feel that, the gates swing open, energy floods my body and neurotransmitters flood my brain. And I want more.
But then… reality
Transcendent conversation is not an everyday, all day occurrence. There are kids to raise, taxes to pay, emails to return and irritating people stating the obvious. All of these are draining. Interactions drain introverts. Constant doing drains everyone.
Your partner becomes either another tug at your energy skirt or a blessing there to share the shitload of work and spark your passion. Most days they’re both. The problem arises when there is an imbalance, with the energy drain dominating.
What makes an introvert crave your presence?
Time away from you makes us want you. Introverts need time alone to quiet their buzzing, ever-active minds. Stillness allows the energizing space within to expand making room for new stimulation, ideas and relationships.
A session of stillness makes me remember what I love about people. It allows the connection craving to surface. Alone time connects me with myself on a very specific yet universal level. I see my values and strengths and how they serve a purpose in the world — big picture time. In the end I feel a desire to share all of this goodness with someone else.
Oh great, another cycle to endure
It’s a never-ending circle, kind of like the menstrual cycle, with PMS edginess when we don’t get our alone time and the blissful estrogen spike when we are full of stillness and ready to connect intimately.
Extroverts want to engage with us continuously but they don’t get the stillness — energy from the ether— part. I’m not saying their minds don’t benefit from quiet time. Much innovation and clarity comes from silencing the noise of the outside world, but those more towards the extrovert end of the spectrum gain pizzaz from being with others. It’s their stillness.
Space –> Sex, Intimacy, Security–> Space
Durex Condom’s study confirmed that the best sex happens when three elements are present: 1. Physical attraction 2. Emotional intimacy and 3. A feeling of being loved or security. I would venture to say that these are key elements of healthy relationships in general. As an introvert, providing #3 can be daunting. It takes constant assurance and that takes energy.
Having someone wonder where you are when you don’t come home at night is a very old human need.
— Margaret Mead
I am always grateful for my time alone during the day. My kids are in school and my friends and significant other are at work. I need that time. I gather my thoughts and restock my willingness to give to others. If I don’t get that space I am cloudy headed and irritable; I hoard my energy.
If I am full from nourishing quiet time, I want to give. Genuine love and affection rise from inside and spill onto others.
There is a rise and fall of energy and giving as an introvert’s space is filled or depleted. More unplanned space in her day means more full spiritually. More packed schedules and interactions means depleted energy stores.
I want someone to share with at the end of the day. Share decision-making, household tasks, private jokes, faceted ideas, a warm smile and a warm bed. The spiritual intimacy and feelings of security are what pull me out of the solitude realm. The desire to love is as innate as the introvert’s need for solitude. I deeply want intimacy but not at the expense of my own sanity.
Do others feel you are crazy because you flip back and forth between wanting company and wanting time to yourself? Is it hard to maintain a relationship because of your space/intimacy dichotomy?
Are you an introvert trying to explain to your partner what you need? Or are you more of an extrovert trying to understand your introverted partner? Either way, I can help guide you to greater understanding in your relationship. Please contact me to set up a coaching session. I’d love to help enhance your loving relationship.
If you prefer to learn on your own, check out my online courses on introversion, insecure attachment and building connection in relationships at brendaknowles.teachable.com or click the image below.