How to Help an Introverted Partner Thrive in Your Relationship
After a long, stressful day at work, you’re ready for some quality time with your significant other. What you do doesn’t matter; you just want to be around someone who loves and understands you. And then, your partner walks in the door, visibly exasperated from an equally high-stress day at the office — and desperate for some time alone. What just happened?
It’s natural for emotional wires to get crossed in an extrovert-introvert relationship. Both parties have important, albeit different needs: One of you feels most comfortable around people, and the other craves time alone. When these needs aren’t consistently being met, both of you might begin to feel resentful, frustrated, or straight-up misunderstood. And as the one who longs for time together, you may not know what to do.
A successful extrovert-introvert relationship starts with understanding. When you know and accept what your significant other needs, you can make adjustments to your expectations and create space for them to feel like themselves — which you’ll both benefit from. Curious about what steps to take? Here are a few thoughtful ways to ensure your introverted partner flourishes in a relationship with you.
1. Give your partner designated, planned time away. When life gets busy, a lack of free time can feel like an emotional pile-on for an introvert. Understandably, it can be hard to watch your introverted partner shut themselves in the bedroom alone when you’re hungry for QT and conversation. But the truth is, giving your significant other a chance to invest in things they’re passionate about — or simply room to breathe — will help them recharge, resulting in a deeper long-term connection between the two of you. To make your introverted S.O. feel extra loved, pencil in routine solo time for them on the calendar.
2. Give them space during conflicts. While you might be more prone to hash things out in the heat of the moment, introverts typically need more time to identify their feelings and process what’s happening beneath the surface before they can communicate effectively. Next time a conflict arises, take a deep breath and offer your partner a chance to step away if they aren’t ready to communicate about the issue at hand. Not only will your significant other have a much-needed chance to think through their feelings, but this space will also give you the opportunity to cool off, which means that a smoother, more productive conversation is much more likely.
3. Do things by yourself when you don’t need a plus one. As an extrovert, it’s easy to unleash unspoken expectations on an introverted partner, who may not always speak up about their own wants or needs. To maximize your connection — and show that you’re paying attention — think through parts of your routine that might be exhausting for your significant other. Do you mindlessly expect your partner to tag along to your after-work happy hours or group fitness classes when you’d be perfectly fine alone? Or do you always plan tons of errands at busy stores on the weekend? Next time you plot an adventure or schedule an event, think about the emotional and social demand on your partner, and plan accordingly.
4. Alternate date night planning. It may seem obvious, but to make sure your introverted partner has an equal stake in the relationship, give them plenty of opportunities to plan your dates or other activities you do together. Of course, the primary benefit is to give your partner a break from the social-focused dates you might choose. But putting your partner at the helm of date-night planning has other perks. You might be surprised what your introverted S.O. will come up with — and you’ll probably learn or experience something new about them (and yourself) along the way.
5. Ask what they need. Personality isn’t always black and white; it’s a spectrum. That means not all introverts have the same needs. The best way — the only way — to figure out how to adapt to your S.O.’s needs is to ask questions. How much space would they benefit from, and when? What kinds of social situations are stressful for them, and which ones are fun? Once you’re on the same page about expectations, you can mold your relationship appropriately.
6. Don’t take things personally. The biggest favor you can do for your introverted loved one is to assume the best about their intentions. If your S.O. doesn’t always jump at the chance for some one-on-one time with you, remember that it might have nothing to do with how much they love or value you. As long as you’re both communicating openly, you’ll continue to grow together so your relationship can thrive.
How do you ensure a healthy extrovert-introvert relationship? Tell us @BritandCo!
(Photo via Getty)