I am in what is by far the best relationship of my entire life.
My partner is kind, supportive and loving in every way that I have always dreamed about—which is just one of the many, many reasons that I am going to be walking down the aisle with him soon. Whenever I am freaking out, he is there to help me calm down. When I am having a crisis at work, he coaches me to step away from whatever it is that is causing me stress and look at the situation in a new light (which always works, by the way). And, most of all, he believes, as I do, in creating a healthy and happy home as a team.
Our relationship is built on good communication and a solid belief in being equal team members and partners, which makes me grateful to have found him every single day. But there is one thing about my relationship that may seem like it is less-than-ideal from the outside: I am an extrovert and my husband-to-be is an introvert. Although our relationship sometimes proves to need more work in order to figure this part out, my life has definitely changed for the better ever since I fell in love with an introvert. Here’s how.
Being with an introvert has calmed down my impulsive side.
I can be really, really impulsive sometimes. Not only do I have to keep a close watch on my wallet or else my paycheck will be spent faster than I can blink, but I can also have some SERIOUS fear of missing out issues. This FOMO typically keeps me going at my top speed, pretty much all the time. I have a hard time saying “no” to plans and an even harder time canceling plans when I am feeling overwhelmed. Thanks to my partner, though, I now know that “no” isn’t an evil word and that it’s okay to not constantly be out. Plus, he helps me to recognize that my impulsive need to always be out, even to my own exhausted detriment, simply isn’t healthy all of the time.
At the same time, I help him to be outgoing sometimes.
Of course, my partner being an introvert means that he wants to stay in pretty much all of the time. Sometimes, though, I think it’s crucial that he gets out into the world and does something besides just go to work or the gym—and that’s where I come in. Since meeting me, my fiancé has definitely become more social. Thanks to me, he has an all new friend group and has even enjoyed our regular get-togethers. Although he’s not always up for it, I enjoy pushing him to be social sometimes because, honestly, humans are societal creatures and we all need a little interaction sometimes (even the introverts).
My introverted partner is my #1 fan, always.
One of the best parts of being with an introvert is that they are the solid rock that anyone can depend on. My introverted partner is a great listener, which is a fantastic trait since I am more than happy to chatter away. And, best of all, he is my self-described number one fan. He absolutely loves hearing about my latest career decisions and what I am up to in my writing life, constantly encouraging me to pursue the big projects that kind of scare me and even reads pretty much everything I write. If that’s not a great system of support, I don’t know what is!
He has helped me to recognize that our differences are our strengths.
Every person has their strengths and weaknesses and every relationship does, too. Before I met my introverted partner, I thought that any little difference in a relationship meant that that relationship was doomed. Well, thanks to my love, I now know how powerful it is to be part of a great partnership. One of the things that makes us great partners is that we recognize that we have differences and our differences make us stronger as a couple. Sometimes, those differences are simple (like that I prefer to do all of the cooking and he does all of the vacuuming and dishes) and sometimes they’re more complicated (like that he’s an introvert and I’m an extrovert), but these days I always make sure to approach us by recognizing that what makes us different makes us stronger.
I have learned that there are many different ways to compromise.
One of the things that you quickly learn as an introvert/extrovert couple is that you both can’t always get your way. That’s simply impossible when one person’s needs are all about recharging on their own and the other person’s needs are all about recharging with others. The math simply doesn’t add up! However, since entering into my relationship, I have learned that there are many different ways of compromising. Sometimes it means that we meet each other halfway, other times it means that he gets what he wants, sometimes it means that I get what I want and ultimately it may be mean that we may come up with a whole new plan that satisfies us both.
I know that it’s okay to make plans with my friends, and he won’t mind.
Couples often go through phases where they want to spend 100% of their time together—and we certainly were no different. Although this usually happens earlier in the relationship, there comes a time when you start to go back to your regular routines and want to see the friends that you had before becoming a couple. With my introverted partner, the good thing about wanting to see my other friends is that I don’t have to feel guilty. I know that he won’t mind if I am out on a girl’s night out. The best part? Even though he enjoys his time solo, it’s always a really special treat when I come home after he’s been missing me all night.
Sometimes what’s best for me is to step into his shoes.
Often, when couples fight, the hardest thing for them to do is to see each other’s side of the argument. That’s not often a huge problem for me and my partner, and I know why: It’s because we are naturally predisposed to stepping into each other’s shoes, since we have to do it all of the time when figuring out an issue that has come up in our introvert/extrovert relationship. In order to figure something out, I often have to try to figure out how my partner is seeing things from his perspective. I know that he’s not out to hurt me or damage our relationship, but that his introversion needs simply mean something different—and that’s okay.
Being different forces us to communicate more about each other’s needs.
Because we have this major difference in our personalities, you would think that our communication would be horrible but it’s actually quite different. The truth is that having these personality differences actually forces us to be better at communicating with each other about our own needs. One of the important parts of being an introvert and an extrovert in love is that you have to be very careful that neither of you is giving up too much. As an introvert, I know that he needs time alone and I try to honor that—but I also know that, because I am an extrovert, I need time to reconnect and recharge alongside him, so all of this makes us communicate about what each of us needs in our lives and in our relationship.
Spending quality time together is all that much more special.
As I mentioned before, it’s really sweet whenever I come home after a long day of hanging out with friends and my partner makes it very clear that he has been missing me—even though I know that he has also been enjoying his time alone. Still, there’s nothing quite like spending some real quality time together and here’s where our introvert/extrovert needs meet up really nicely. Because I have a need to reconnect with him after time apart and he has a need to have meaningful time with those he loves, our quality time dates are fantastic. Although we definitely still do the typical dinner-and-a-movie dates or our almost nightly Netflix-and-chill dates, we also make it a point to plan something special every few weeks.
I’ve learned not to take it personally if my partner needs time alone.
This is probably the hardest lesson for me, a huge extrovert, to learn and it’s definitely one that still comes up every now and again—but it’s also been a valuable lesson, too. When an introvert tells their extroverted partner that they need some time alone, it’s not because they do not love their partner and not even that they don’t love spending time together, but just that what makes an introvert an introvert is precisely the need to be alone in order to fully relax and recharge. In the beginning, that was honestly a little difficult for me to understand. “Did I do something wrong or something that would make him mad at me?” I’d wonder. But that wasn’t it at all. My partner simply needs some time away so that he can do his own thinking and feeling. It doesn’t mean that he loves me any less because it’s just a thing that makes us different. And, as I said before, ultimately what makes us different is also what makes us stronger.