Love and the introvert

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Introverts may need plenty of alone time, but we also need love, and we love our special person fiercely. I was asked a few days ago to get into how introverts handle love and possibly rejection, so this post is a start. There are so many in-depth things about introverts and love that will also need to be talked about in the coming days and weeks, so I’ll start with some general observations about how love may be different for us.

1. We think a lot. We ruminate and dwell on things, while extroverts are chit-chatting about what happened in traffic or talking over each other about the game they saw on TV. Of course we’re busy thinking of all sorts of things, but our brains are working so hard it’s a wonder we don’t smell smoke sometimes.

2. We have only so much energy to spend with other people each day, so when we have someone to love we have to choose how much time to spend with them. If we just go on and spend all of our people time with our loved one, then we end up not nurturing other relationships – friends and family. We may even find ourselves drained spending as much time with our new loved one as we want to. We want to be with them, but after an extended time we also may find we are so exhausted we can hardly talk.

3. If we are dating or married to an extrovert, they may find life boring when we don’t want to go to parties every night (or even many nights). They may decide to make it a project to “draw us out of our shell.” They may be hurt when we don’t accompany them everywhere or tell them all of our thoughts. In fact, they may report to us that their other friends and family ask them, “Is there a problem?” if we are not at every single event that is held, no matter how many of those exhausting events there are. It is so important to try to talk to our extrovert and come up with a compromise so that he/she is not bored or lonely and we are not exhausted or filled with dread of social events all the time.

4. If we are dating or married to an introvert, we may find a wonderful time of doing things together, sharing undemanding, comfortable time together. The main problem I have seen here (don’t ask me how I know this) is that since we may both avoid conflict at all costs, little things that annoy the other person will never be heard until it is a big thing. We may go on for years with another introvert and each think the other knows how they feel about things, because neither of us is going to talktalktalk about our *feelings* all the time. Once again it’s important to talk to the other introvert and try not to hurt his/her feelings, but try to make sure there are no long-term misunderstandings or resentments.

5. When we start dating someone and have to start doing things around their family and large group of friends, we may find ourselves feeling really awkward at gatherings. What can we do except sit with a self-conscious smile as they all make their inside jokes and talk about things we know nothing about? What I’ve done in the past is to start talking first to whichever person seems the most approachable, listening to them and responding appropriately. I don’t want to be an anchor around their neck though, so I move on naturally after a reasonable time and talk to another person who looks friendly. In that way there won’t be a big group consensus of, “Dave’s new girlfriend is stuck up and aloof,” since gradually I will have talked to everyone in a friendly manner. Just not all at once. ;)

What about rejection?

Rejection is awful for anyone, but for us we might think about it night and day, replaying the fatal argument or what-ifs.

Sadly, if we have neglected friendships and other relationships during the happy time with our loved one, we may now not have one intimate friend to sympathize with us.  Of course we vary in the amount we’d want to tell someone else, but as a woman I’ve always enjoyed to my sister and one other close friend.  The rest of the world may keep asking, “What’s wrong?” or telling you “Smile!” but we really don’t want those people talking about us or our lives anyway.

Since we are introverts and don’t have boundless energy for people, we are not as likely to go to activities in the evenings after work where we might find someone new.  Instead, we may go home from work each day totally spent as far as people-energy, spending the evening alone in our homes.   My suggestion here is to go out when a friend does invite you out.   Go out for a drink or dinner with friends, but take your own car so you know you will not have to stay late.   Also I have had one girlfriend try a dating service that was a really nice one, It’s Just Lunch. She met a couple of great boyfriends through them, and eventually married one. The point is to keep your mind open to meeting someone new when you are ready.

The worst thing of all is the huge hole the rejection will leave in your life. We introverts don’t have 30 close friends; we have fewer relationships and they are very deep. The loss of this person feels like a death to us, and we need to grieve. There’s no getting around that part, but time does help. So will finding someone new.

There are 16 personality types (8 of them introverts) according to the MBTI, and there are two genders. So all of the above considerations are going to be a bit different for each introvert. I would truly appreciate if anyone has anything to add to this that might help another introvert. Please leave your comment below, or you can just click “Reply” to reply to each others’ comments. I will write more related posts in the coming days.

Photo credit: CAVE CANEM

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117 Comments

  1. Hello – I am an extrovert that needs help. I didn’t know where to post so I am doing it here, if it is wrong, please direct me to the correct part.

    My BF is an introvert. (he told me that ages ago but he didn’t »act« any different than me, we talked for most of the day, spent time together and so on without any request for alone time or anything like it, and due to his behavior I never put much attention to the I). We are in a long distance relationship (we see each other about every two months or so).

    Ok so now to the part where the »story« begins- 5 months ago he moved to a new country he doesn’t know language of to a new work position (he has coworkers there that he has known for years – they communicated through online mostly – as do we).
    I figured it must be really really hard for someone of his »kind« but I haven’t realized it until very recently how hard it really is for him… a job to attend to a gf to talk to and all the stress of new life.

    He changed very much in the way he talks and acts, which is very hurtful but as said till very recently I had no idea it is a product of Introvertism.
    He suddenly got all irritable about the way I talk, how I talk (it is not much different from past but suddenly it is a problem) and so on. The striking point was where I asked him to spend Christmas with me and it was like a drop over the glass and in the flow of talking he finally told me how hard it is for him that he drags himself everyday to work, that he is about to go crazy, how needy I suddenly am (apparently I am needy because I tell him my problems and such) and that he barely manages the 1 week together we see each other (not because he would not love me but because he can’t recharge)…
    -> All this made me go research on introverts, I found a lot of information and suddenly everything makes more sense. I ordered 4 books on it, most were mentioned on this site. But until they arrive I can’t stand here all helpless wondering what on earth is going on so I am here..

    I want to find all the info I can to give him to make his life easier. How do I help him? (apart from what I already researched – give him space, let him come to me, not harass him with constant talks about us and whatever crosses my mind, dragging him out and all the stuff us extroverts do).
    I think he needs help coping with his problems right now, so any info would be really helpful and appreciated.
    (I want to give him the right book, or link, or something so he can work it through).

    I think our relationship – although right now it is rocky, can be fixed, now that I know he needs extra special care and I want to understand him and provide the best care and space he needs.
    But I don’t know how to help him or where to direct him about his problems about getting adapted to new life, new work space and so on. Suddenly he goes to work to an office where people are (before moving he worked alone from his room). Everything is new and stressful and so on. I want to offer him support without choking him.
    He said he is not happy anymore, I think he meant with everything his current life situation and me on top.. I felt like someone pierced their bare hand in my stomach and ripped it out.

    • Hi “Sunny”, I just saw this post today, and I know it’s a while since you posted this (hoping you’ll get an email notification about this reply), but I’d love to help out if you feel like you still need it. If you ever see this, please leave some contact info!

      • Hey Sunny. I am also in a long distance relationship. I’ve found that when an introvert is having a hard time, tired, stressed or just a bad day at work, they need to decompress. It has nothing to do with you at all. My guy does the same thing. It used to hurt me a bit, but I did a lot of internet research about introverts and now I get it.

        Being in a relationship with an I can be a little rocky, but hang in there. It’s all give and take. We Es think we do all the giving sometimes. It’s not really true. The I needs to decompress even after little things that seem trivial to us. A half hour trip to Walmart, for example, requires the I decompress for an hour when he gets home. The general rule is twice the time he was out.

        Be patient, it’s a requirement with an I. And they have to be patient with us. It will all work out.

        • Karen:
          I am glad to find people who share the same “issues”:) I am always interested in learning more about other people’s long distance relationships. After reading all the books I have found myself understanding him and myself way better. Everything got so much clearer.

          You are right, patience is a virtue. It sure is hard to be patient sometimes:) but it pays off in the end.
          Thank you for lovely thoughts, they are appreciated.

          I wish you all the best with your long distance partner.

  2. Hey Sunny. :-)

    I’m hlad things are getting easier. Loving an I is a constant struggle to reprogram your own behavior. It’s learning not to read into things and being less needy, for lack of a better term. I’s don’t feel things need to be talked to death. They are direct and honest. If an I says he loves you, he means it and has thought it over long and hard. It doesn’t come easily and it is true and real when it happens.

    I’ve had to learn not to feel like I’m being pushed away. I’s need their space and alone time. If you got in the door, you’ve already gotten farther than most ever will.

    Keep us informed, I’d love to see how things work out. I’m pulling for you!

    • Yes, I have a lot of problems with reprogramming my behavior. I am working on it though.
      Now that I know my half needs a special care I am doing my best to provide it. It is quite hard, but worth.
      If you would be interested and would like to get in touch for exchange of experience of this weird long distance I-E relations, feel free to email me, posted my addy one comment up:)

      Thank you, I am doing the same for you! I read your previous comments and I am glad things are going so smooth for you after all the work you put in.

      • Hei Sunny,
        I’m also an I, don’t like phone calls at all, it seems disturbing & invasive (wen the phone rings it scares me) to but messaging will be ok, I can read it anytime. Love is essential, gregariousness is optional. We don’t need alone time because we don’t like you. We need alone time because we need alone to recharge/gain energy. Don’t take it personally, socializing takes a lot out of us.

        • This part is quite hard to learn and get used to. I think E’s and especially female ones take everything quite personally so we have troubles with understanding and handling our opposites.
          When I go see my man we spend together about a week and in this week he is soooo exhausted and tired that he can’t wait to be left alone. I am trying to give him space but so far we have not found the perfect balance for us both to be happy, me to get enough interaction and him to get enough recharge time.
          Any ideas how to find that balance?
          I was thinking maybe when he comes back from work to leave him alone for I don’t know 2,5 hours.. would that be ok?
          Of course each to their own, but I am really worried what to do.
          At the end of the visit, when he is so tired I feel like I have failed him:(

          • You can, If convenient for you watch a movie with him (that’s if u both like watching movies) and see if see if creates a balance, skip the small talk. I’s tend to love deep conversations on subjects that interest them.

  3. Pingback: About love | The Introverted Creative

  4. i have been dating this guy for three years now.i am an extrovert myself and i was always annoyed by his ability not to express any emotions and never say he missed. that was killing me. the problem would arise and i want to talk sbout it but he would hide. i just recently told him everything i think and what was bothering me for ladt three years. and now he tries to avaod me. sats he dosnt want to talk or see me and says that he doesnt believe that i will be different and wont start a fight. he said he likes me so much and was hoping sincerely that the feelings will grow into something bigger. now i am trying to restore our relationship but he pushes me away like he doesnt trust me anymore. i am still crazily in love with him and i keep twlking him but he says he doesnt care becauuse he feels empty now. what can i do introvert people

    • Hey Anya,

      I hope I understand the situation coz I am an introvert guy myself. I would ask you to give ur guy some space, coz for introverts space is so much important. Let him go over the relationship stuff in his head over and over again, give him some days to mull over the good things you both shared. You know? Introverts fall in love only in this way, when they are given the time and space to think alone. :) I understand that being an extrovert, it might be a little difficult for you to wait, but have patience. Most probably than not, he might want to talk to you. in the meantime, u can read a bit on introverts and what do they like / want. Introverts like people, but too much social interaction for too long drains them out. They recharge their batteries by being alone, even away from their special one. as an extrovert, u will know how different it is from you.
      Anyway, when he wants to speak to you, let him speak, do most of the listening. When he is done, assure him that you completely understand his need for alone time and would do your best to give him that. But also tell him that you love him and want to make this work.

      Hope this works.
      Love.

  5. Beautifully said, we want more…I would like to know more on how to get “the girl” we, as males always have on our minds, without replacing our position.

  6. My girlfriend is introvert.
    I’m totally ok with that, but there are things, i dont’t know how to handle.
    When it comes to showing that we live eachother, it is allways me who are saying it, are giving hugs, are giving kisses, take initiative to sex…….. How do i talk to her about that??
    It makes me wonder, does she even need a biyfriend, and i know that i need more than that, i need initiative from her.
    Please help me, i love her really much, but i need more from life than this.

    Kind regard
    The confused dane

    • Hi! Have you made any progress? I am a female with the introvert boyfriend. Like you everything must come from me! He does not like kisses, he does not like hugs, he hardly touches me! He has a house, but in this year I was not allowed inside! He visits me!! He has a farm I have not seen and his parents came for a visit and I was not introduced! Have not heard a word from him the whole 5 days the visit lasted! Must I try again or is it time to move on?

  7. Hello! Thanks for your posting! it helps me to solve my friend introverts thing :)
    Okay, can I ask something?
    I have friend, he’s my ex boyfriend, and he’s to expert in introverts. So, if I can call myself, I’m an extroverts and he’s introverts. Like seriously, I have tried to fix him. From introvert, to extrovert. Then, when I tell him this thing, he’s mad at me and he said

    “If you think change from extroverts to an introverts easy. I can tried by myself. so please, don’t do this”

    Than, i couldn’t say a word after that.

    Thanks if you’ll help me to fix him :) thank you :)

  8. Introvert_Lover on

    I am an introvert and my girlfriend is an extrovert who loves to go out and party a lot. We have been in a relationship for past 7 years which includes last two years in a long distance when I went out for my higher studies. During that time, she made a lot of friends, who are like her, who like to go out and party. I do not have any problem with that, but I feel because of this, she is going away from me. We have discussed this thing and now she says that she loves me but there is not that spark between us. I am willing to change for her and trying to get back on the track by going out with her. But, still the problem is not getting solved. I love her very much and she is the only one, with whom, I share all my feelings and I spend a major part of my day, thinking about her or trying to talk to her/talking to her. It feels like death, when she says it is not working between us.
    I don’t know, what is going to happen next. Please suggest something

  9. My boyfriend and I broke up 3 weeks ago. he started acting strange, he was ignoring all of my calls and won’t speak to me at all, i wanted us to be back together forever and work through things as a couple. I just could not picture my life without him. i felt so rejected when i discovered that he was cheating on me. it made me go crazy because i took him as the love of my life, my best friend, my soul mate, after making some research i found Mr Robinson on the net that he can restore broken relationship and i gave it a try, after using his love spell, my boyfriend came back and since then I definitely believe robinsonbuckler is real, I must admit, the result was perfect, wonderful, this caster Mr Robinson is real. you can call Mr Robinson + 19715126745 for urgent help
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  10. If a loss of a friend means death to me, I already an an introvert since I was small and that I dont realize it.

    I knew my exboyfriend last summer. Everything was fine until May, where I have many exams and lots of pressure. I have been avoiding dates since I am not confident enough. I guess he thinks that I hated him but I don’t. In my exam period, he asked me out a lot of times. I was totally annoyed. When he knew that I’m annoyed by him, he did not find a solution but felt bad and breakup. I wasn’t ready and kept the cold war continue for a few weeks and I realize that I was too dependent on him. Now that I’m alone again, Memories flows into my mind whenever I have nothing to keep me busy. Is the breakup because of me being afraid or him not being understanding or both?

  11. Hello, I am Norly. I got to know an introvert man at my workplace. I just knew that he is an introvert after he ended our relationship. Before that, I thought that he is just like other men. I approached him by using middleman because I was too shy to talk to him directly. He accepted me to be his friend, and we were okay until I asked him to hang out. At first he was okay with it, but after a while, he kept giving reasons, and I got the sense that he was pulling away. After one month of being friends, suddenly he told me to stop contact him, he wanted us to be back to square one. He said that he doesn’t like people to keep bugging him about me; invading his privacy. Then after that he blocked me in Whatsapp messenger until now (5 months already). We bumped into each other at our workplace, but I never smiled at him. He did look at me several times, but I ignored him, because during the breakup, he asked me to ignore him.

    So, I would like to know if there is any possibility for me to be friend with him again? I haven’t contact him since the breakup. Please give me some advice.

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