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Introverted - and happy in love
Besides their profession, for most people a partnership is the most important component of their life. Research proves that a lasting, happy loving relationship is actually one of the most important, if not the most important key to individual happiness. Most of us appear to know this instinctively and therefore – except for a very few solitarily folks among us – at some point most of the singles sooner or later are again looking for a (new) partner. Introverts admittedly often hesitate longer than extroverts. For one that is because they can deal better with being alone and therefore value the advantages of being single more than extroverts. Apart from that, for them it is difficult to approach other people – and that is naturally the basic prerequisite when one is looking for a new partner!
Partner Search for IntrovertsAfter having been alone for a while, many introverts have real problems deliberately embarking on looking for a partner. Sometimes that is truly not even necessary. If they are lucky they have a nice friend or colleague in their life, who drags them along to some event and introduces them to some eligible person. Naturally this only works, if the (generally rather few) friends and acquaintances are even aware that he/she is searching for a partner or at least is nor adverse to a new relationship! And that again is everything but self-evident with introverts.
While extroverts carry their heart on the tip of their tongue and the entire world is well informed about their current emotionally state, most of the time introverts hide their innermost thoughts and feelings to the point that even good friends often don’t even suspect that they could possibly be ready for a (new) relationship. Therefore the first and most important advice in matters of partner search to you, the introvert is: when you are ready and you can at least imagine being (again) ready for a new relationship, talk about it! In that way you provide the people around you with an opportunity to help you. (Don’t worry they are not going to spend their days inundating you with droves of potential candidates and drag you from one bar to the next! However, those who don’t give happiness a chance should not be surprised if it fails to materialize.)
The second, usually for the introverts ideal approach is probably the more indirect means to look for a partner by way of common interests and activities. Making contact is naturally much easier, if one regularly meets with people with whom one is already connected by a common interest in a certain subject. There is automatically a common conversational topic and along with that comes the same wavelength. Beyond that the situation in itself is totally innocuous and by way of a regular relaxed being-together getting better acquainted is particularly easy. Perfect conditions! In case you are looking for a new partner, at least once a week prescribe yourself (or, if you like, a bit more often, but I don’t want to over extend you) an activity that meets these qualifications. Sign up for a course that interests you; attend a function dealing with a subject that is close to your heart, volunteer for a project that suits you. The possibilities are truly endless. And the chances to establish at least a few nice new contacts or even meet your true love are excellent!
If the indirect way doesn’t work or if you have reached a point in your life where you don’t want to leave things to chance, for you as an introvert online dating may just be the perfect ticket to a new a partnership. Contrary to many, still circulating pre-conceptions today’s online dating platforms are neither the gathering place for frustrated wallflowers who can’t catch someone any other way nor the playground of psychopaths with dark intentions. Sure, both types also show up there, but not any more frequently than in real life. And where could you find a larger collection of people also looking for long-term commitments, than here?
It is quite possible that you as an introvert have an easier time approaching people on the net than in real life. The social networks on the Internet are teeming of introverts who, with the safety of the screen between themselves and their counterpart, turn out to be a lot more outgoing in virtual space than in normal interpersonal every-day life. If that is the case with you, you may also prefer to use personal contact ads on the Internet (e.g. Match.com or Plentyoffish.com). After registering you create your own profile with information about yourself and a (or more than one) picture and proceed to flirt to your heart desire. You can browse among, and contact the other users whenever you feel like it and the other way around, also be contacted by them. That is the financially most reasonable alternative.
In case you already know from experience (or even decide during the search process) that even virtually pro-actively approaching others is not really your thing, you might be better off with one of the major dating sites with personality matching technology (e.g.eHarmony.com or Chemistry.com) Admittedly they require larger membership fees but in return you are also much more looked after and mentored. After you have completed a questionnaire they’ll create a psychological profile that is then matched with the information provided by other people looking for partners. On this basis you’ll receive a number of partner recommendations and you have the option to contact these members (and they you). Here you are less left on your own and the provider takes on a portion part of the effort.
Reputable providers of both formats offer the option of trial memberships. Here you can test at your leisure whether you would be comfortable with this way of looking for a partner.
Introvert loves Extrovert – is that going to work?“At every party one meets two kinds of people – those who want to go home and those who want to stay. The problem is that those two are generally married to each other.” (Ann Landers)
This quote by Ann Landers describes a typical situation proving the truth of the much quoted folk wisdom: ”Opposites attract!” One very frequently meets couples where one of the partners is extro-, however the other one is introverted. Motor mouth and the “still water”, the party lion/lioness and by his/her side the lone wolf. If nothing else, it is their difference that initially caused the mutual fascination: “How exciting, you are so totally different! You embody the traits where I am lacking, I would love to have more of them to add a new element to my life! I am enchanted!”
And indeed, a lot of good can come of such a dichotomy if the partners know how to deal with it. They can open new worlds for each other, complement and expand the other’s perspective and maybe even discover and cultivate totally new facets about themselves. By the side of the lone wolf the party lion/lioness may well suddenly discover the wonderful experience of a cozy evening in front of the fireplace together and how much he/she appreciates a meaningful conversation instead of all that small talk. On the other hand by his/her side, the still water may just have the nerve to join other people, occasionally be at the center of activities and be surprised that he/she even finds it to be enjoyable in small doses. As long as it works, great!
However, due to their different behavior and needs unfortunately after a while the differences between extro- and introverts in every-day life are often the cause of friction. After a while the extrovert becomes frustrated because he/she has to laboriously convince his/her introverted partner to join him/her in every social activity. While for the introvert it is exhausting having to participate longer and more frequently for his/her partner’s sake in stressful situations and ending up with stimulus overload in return. The extrovert begins to wonder if he/she should not get him/herself an oyster knife to crack the introverted partner and get him/her her to open up a little more frequently and a little less frequently retreat within him-/herself. On the other hand, with the extrovert’s never ending efforts to continuously maintain contact by chatting in every waking minute about everything and nothing, the introvert sometimes feels like a hounded deer.
For couples like that it is extremely important to appreciate their differences in this dimension of their personalities and – importantly – not to see them as reluctance or a slight by the other. Incipient stages of extra- and introversion can already be detected in the newborn and therefore it can rightfully be assumed that this involves an innate character trait that can’t be helped just like the color of the eyes or hair. Since we are rational human beings, however, capable of learning and not mere puppets of our genetic predisposition, up to a certain point those traits can also be changed. If necessary, even an introvert is capable of learning to speak before a large group without fainting, just as an extrovert is certainly capable to practice in occasionally keeping his/her mouth shut and paying attention.
It is often not a bad idea to pay a little attention and cultivate particularly those traits, which may not be as strongly pronounced by nature than those that come naturally. Nevertheless, it is important to understand and admit that these attempts at changing face certain limits. Under certain circumstances and when it makes sense to him/her an introvert may be able to learn being the center of attention but he/she will never savor it as much as the extrovert, while an extrovert can also learn practicing to occasionally enjoy being alone or even be the listener for an entire evening – but to a certain degree these things are always going to be stressful because they go against his/her nature.
How the Introvert can make Things easier for his Extroverted PartnerDon’t feel pressured by your extrovert’s constant need for communication. Extroverts just like to talk a lot and it is also their way to think aloud. Probably difficult to understand for you who likes to think about your words for a while. In many instances it is sufficient if you just let your extrovert talk and occasionally send a message indicating your interest: Keeping eye contact, nodding, smiling, “mhm” or “aha”. If you are actually expected to respond but you would like to ponder that a bit, it is best not just to be silent, but rather say something like: “Good question – can I think about that for a moment?” Then your partner knows that he/she is supposed to give you time and feels less irritated by the pause in the conversation. If you don’t say anything, your extroverted partner may get the idea that you don’t feel like responding, that you are disinterested, angry or elsewhere with your thoughts. This is a typical misinterpretation due to the fact that he/she infers something based on his/her own behavior patterns. When extroverts like he/she are silent one can actually be justified in assuming that there is a problem somewhere!
In a quiet minute, go ahead and talk to your extroverted partner and explain the importance of withdrawal and times of being alone for you. Emphasize that this is nothing against him/her – after all, for an extrovert it would be the other way around! When an extrovert retreats from someone it is because he/she is angry with that person, he does not care for him/her or he/she wants to punish him/her with attention withdrawal. In these situations people are frequently the victims of erroneous transference – the extrovert assumes that you react in the same way and therefore feels threatened or hurt by your withdrawal. In extreme cases he/she may even fear for the relationship. It is important that you relieve him/her of this fear because then he/she will have an easier time to let you have your alone time.
Negotiate a contingent of social contacts that you can live with and you both can pursue together. Beyond that, encourage your extroverted partner to pursue additional contacts or activities without you while you utilize that time to recharge your batteries without feeling guilty. When he/she returns, be interested in that which he/she did and let him/her talk as much as he/she wants. Be happy with and for him/her if he/she experienced something nice! Don’t mistakenly interpret his/her initiative and his/her fascination with the outside world for a lack of interest in intimacy with you. Both things are important to him/her - the bottom line is simply that he/she needs more people in his/her life to be happy, than you.
Neither of you should forget that which initially fascinated you and attracted you to each other and why! If you let them, your different dispositions can be a source of mutual enrichment and inspiration. Cultivate and value your differences rather than at some point fighting and resenting them. Your relationship will involve more tension than that between two similarly endowed partners, but then that is exactly that, which also provides vitality and growth. You just have to manage to deal with each other respectfully and with tolerance and continuously communicate regarding this point of your relationship. Then your love is going to function splendidly and in perpetuity!
Introvert loves Introvert – the best of all Alternatives?After having read the part above about the classic communication problems between extro- and introverted partners, one could come to the conclusion that the best solution for introverts is simply to look for an introverted partner. Then all issues regarding leisure activities and circle of friends would be off the table. Sounds great, doesn’t it?
Well, yes and no. In one respect at ipersonic we certainly recommend looking for a partner who is at least in the most important areas as alike as possible, and that for a good reason. Not only popular wisdom knows that “birds of a feather flock together”, but couple research suggests that partners who are alike in the long term usually maintain happier and consistent relationships than couples where partners are the opposite of each other. And indeed, among introverts one finds many who live very happily with another introvert. But then one can’t always choose with whom to fall in love - and the attraction among opposites cannot be denied. Beyond that introvert/introvert couples also have to deal with their typical problems, which are sometimes not at all benign.
The advantages of an introvert/introvert relationship are obvious: A partner instinctively knows when the other partner needs peace and time alone and respects that without questioning it or acting hurt. The preferences of both partners regarding leisure time activities and social contacts are largely similar; longwinded discussions about which party one should attend and how long, are unnecessary. Beyond superficial small talk, particularly the silent understanding linking both partners as well as calm, content-intensive conversations about God and the world create an intimate bond often unsurpassed in its quality and depth.
On the other hand, the important disadvantage of an introvert/introvert relationship is less obvious but not to be underestimated: As opposed to couples of other configurations, two introverts in a partnership have a stronger tendency to isolate themselves in a “the two of us against the world” attitude and be too involved with each other and their relationship. They go flat out relishing their intimacy and like to see their relationship as the secure harbor where they seek refuge and retreat during each available minute. In the long run this means that they often miss valuable impulses from the outside world, something that everybody and every relationship needs to evolve and grow. As the saying so pointedly states: “A ship in port is safe. But that is not what ships are built for.” The result of this, exaggerated cocooning by two introverts can sometimes lead to their personal and mutual stagnation and sometimes even boredom and aversion. Who behaves like Velcro and never does anything without the other, at some point becomes unappealing to his/her partner. The tension necessary for a lively relationship gets lost and eroticism withers. Too much intimacy can ruin a relationship just as reliably as not enough.
This process happens insidiously – in the beginning everything is just too wonderful, retreating from everything together and disappearing into the shared little world together (physically and emotionally) – but later rituals and habits solidify closing any access to the outside. Consequently many introvert/introvert couples miss the moment when it would have been beneficial and important to pursue increased outside activities and contacts. Or, although one partner recognizes it but is afraid to mention it to the other one, because he/she is concerned his/her partner may see this as lack of loyalty. Because introverts highly value intimacy and togetherness, it is only natural that one partner’s wish for more openness towards the outside can easily be misunderstood by the other as an assault on this precious property. If you are in an introvert/introvert relationship, you should therefore keep a keen eye on the balance between intimacy and openness and seek an honest timely conversation with your partner. Don’t worry, there will always be more than enough time and space for closeness and intimacy for the two of you!
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This article was written by psychologist and book author Felicitas Heyne. She is the developer of the iPersonic personality test. Take the free personality test now and get in-depth career advice and life coaching from our unique iPersonic personality profiles!Similar articles in this blog:
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