For years now I’ve been in a relationship with an introverted man.
Being an extrovert myself we have had a certain period of adjustment to make it work for us. While we’re in a good place now, both of us had to learn about how our characters mean that we handle things differently.
Before we start, what’s important to know is that being introverted doesn’t necessarily mean you’re shy and always want to avoid others, the same as being extroverted doesn’t mean that you’re outgoing to the point of annoyance.
Although introverts tend to be more quiet than extroverts as a general rule, there are extroverts that aren’t that outgoing, and introverts who can be more outgoing than others.
If you’re already dating someone who’s introverted and you’re having misunderstandings or communication issues, or you’re thinking of starting a relationship with an introvert, here are the main things you’ll want to know to make the process smoother, and that I wish I had known from the start.
Find the Middle Ground
Maybe you’ve realized by now that the guy you’re dating doesn’t want to go out that often and his preference is to stay in and play a video game, read a book, or watch a TV show.
That makes sense, and you shouldn’t push him to go out all the time; at the same time, it doesn’t mean you also need to stay in all the time. Find the middle ground and plan some evenings or weekends where you can do both.
In my relationship, this was a common problem where we either went out all the time, or never at all. Now we have more open communication about it and if I want a night out with him, he’ll understand, but if he needs a night in, we’ll plan something more laid-back.
If you’re feeling bored because you’re not going out enough, discuss this with your partner and try to reach a compromise that works for the two of us.
Consider Making the First Move
You should be prepared that when you’re dating an introvert, you might need to be the one to make the first move. It’s quite possible that the other person, although interested, is too nervous or unsure about sharing their feelings.
They might flirt differently than you’ve experienced with extroverts and if you’re not familiar with that, it might come across the wrong way. This means that they might feel more comfortable doing nothing until they’re sure their feelings are reciprocated.
In this situation, be very aware of every non-verbal indication and how they treat you. At this point, you may need to be the one to make the first move, or drop enough hints so that they will.
This isn’t only applicable to the beginning of the relationship, but throughout it as well. For example, you might find that you’re always the one reaching out to your partner for affection, much more often than they do. That’s absolutely normal and you shouldn’t get upset about it.
Accept His Alone Time Needs
The first thing you should realize when you’re dating an introvert is that they’re going to need alone time, and a lot more of it than you do.
This shouldn’t be taken personally and you definitely shouldn’t feel hurt at that, because it has nothing to do with you. The same way that you need to be around people to feel recharged, he needs to be alone; they are two different ways of handling something.
At the same time, there is a fine line between being an introvert and neglecting someone, so make sure you’re dating a person who truly cares about you and your best interests, and will give you the emotional attention you need if you tell him that you need it.
Find a Way to Handle Conflict
Introverts tend to avoid all conflict and drama and would prefer to handle an issue by avoiding it or not speaking for days instead of having a fight.
This can be a big problem if one person wants to fight it out and move on and the other one shuts down; I know that’s been a big one for me.
This is another area where you’ll need to compromise with your partner and build a conflict resolution plan. Instead of hashing it out, agree to each have a little space so your partner can process what’s happening, and agree to discuss it a little later (though not days later!)
Be open with your partner about the way you need to handle conflict and ask him to share his needs, and create a solution together – before you encounter any problems.
Accept Each Other
This might be an obvious one, but the way our society is set up benefits an extroverted lifestyle. It’s much more accepted to be an extrovert and introverts find it harder to relate to others and feel accepted. They can feel constant pressure to go to work events, meet with friends after work, or join a group or activity.
When you’re dating an introvert, the most important thing is accepting them as they are. Accept that he needs alone time, and accept that he’ll feel exhausted after too much social time. This will go a long way to building trust and a strong relationship by making him feel comfortable with you.
Appreciate the Contrast
Relationships are all about compromise and it can be hard to change your lifestyle a bit when you start a new relationship, regardless of who you’re seeing.
However, after some time you’ll learn to appreciate the balance between the two lifestyles. As an extrovert, staying in more might make you learn more about yourself and be more comfortable with your own company, as it has for me.
This is important for personal growth, and you can see it working in a relationship too. They say that opposites attract, and it’s true – dating an introvert as an extrovert can be a nice balance of personalities if you are both open and respectful.
About The Author
Ashley Halsey, a professional writer with Gum Essays, writes lifestyle articles and relationship advice. She enjoys sharing her insight on dating in a modern world and how to navigate relationship issues. In her spare time, she travels with her long-term partner and two children.
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