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How To Stay Married To An Extrovert When You’re An Introvert?

How To Stay Married To An Extrovert When You're An Introvert
How To Stay Married To An Extrovert When You're An Introvert
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I was thinking of calling this article, so I married an extrovert and the other horror stories. I changed my mind because I didn’t want to hurt the feelings of my husband. Sometimes, as an introvert, what’s funny to me is very unfunny to my husband. Many of the times, revenge feels good for all the crap he’s put me through.

I Had No Idea I Could Ask For What I Wanted 

It’s tough in relationships no matter what. Opposite people attract work in movies, but in real life, it can be a minefield. Throw in two radically different personalities without some self-awareness, and relationships can go off a loud explosion.

We are together since we were 16 years old. He had a crush on me during most of class 12th. I was not aware of it since I spent most of my years getting to the fact that I was noticeably different from almost everyone else. It means being excluded, ignored and outed for being weird. I tried to keep my head downward to stay invisible, which means that, I missed him looking at me. He asked me to go on prom with him and the rest is history. A complex, occasionally rocky, yet worthwhile so far, history. Looking back, I would say that for the first part of our relationship I behaved badly. Feeling misunderstood was a part of that and part of it was real lack of self-awareness on my part. I was used to changing my colour like a chameleon to fit in, to become what other people wanted me to be.

And then I had this person who was really into me, and the trip of that went on my head. I had no idea who I was and asked for what I needed. In fact I didn’t really know how to be me. Instead I needed a mind reader who knew what I wanted and what I needed. And that is not the formula for long term relationship success.

Discovering My Introversion Changed Everything 

Our togetherness is more than 30 years now, and I’ve learned a lot in this time. Main part of that was maturity and experience, and another part was doing a deep dive into my introverted personality. I also did a Myers Briggs workshop as a part of a team building exercise at work, and it was mind-blowing. 

I acknowledge that, depending on your personality, you perceive the world and process events completely differently from most other people. It not only opened a world of discovery into myself and in my very particular nature, but also into other people. That was great.

Like, instead of getting irritated when people talked about a situation to death, I started to understand that they needed to do that to feel okay. I felt more sympathetic pity for other people, and became aware that it’s up to me to choose how to receive things.

 We are more complex and deep than a page-long summary of features. Instead they should serve a guide to know why we act like we do in certain situations. 

I had spent many years listening from family, friends, and coworkers that I was secretive and antisocial. If there was something wrong with me for hating small talk in the lunchroom at work and avoiding social events if I don’t know other people going. It was a great relief to know there was an explanation for some of my “peculiar behavioral habits” – I am an introvert.

Our Misunderstandings Degraded Our Relationship

 We are more complex and deep than a page-long summary of features. Instead they should serve a guide to know why we act like we do in certain situations. 

I had spent many years listening from family, friends and coworkers that I was secretive and antisocial. If there was something wrong with me for hating small talk in the lunchroom at work, and avoiding social events if I don’t know other people going. It was a great relief to know there was an explanation for some of my “peculiar behavioral habits” – I am an introvert.

When it came to my husband (extrovert), I suddenly understood why I felt so uneasy and mad when he invited people over without talking to me first. This is a guy known for making friends while in the bathroom at a movie. 

I remember the horror, once when we were camping and a group of strangers came onto our site. And my husband invited them over for drinks. Without consulting with me first. That was a blow-out fight for us. I was sad that he didn’t ask me if I was okay with it or not. He assumed that if it is good for him, it is also good for me, too. He did not get why it was such a big deal, and I was extremely poor at explaining it to him. 

This was one of many common instances that began to lose our relationship. 

What I Learned

I was not ready to quit on him, and I knew our issues had a lot to do with my issues. So in my logical analytical way, I started thinking about how we could move forward together, instead of endless hurt feelings and cold shoulders.

What I figured out in no particular order:

1. Open, honest communication is a must for relationship success.

I did not marry a denoting faculty. My partner can’t read my mind. And because he loves me he wants to understand me better. Some examples of what I asked him for:

  1. I need him to ask me if it is okay before signing me up for social stuff
  2. No inviting people over without asking me first.

2. Setting clear boundaries is my right and responsibility

I acknowledged it’s not fair to surprise people, especially the ones you love  with reactions that seem to come out of left field. I set up a boundary years ago tha if you can’t see the bottom of my coffee cup, I am not available for any type of interaction. No surprises, this is my rule.

I hate being made discontinuous, whether I am writing an email or a list for the market.

3. Understand yourself

Self-awareness has played a huge part in making our relationship better. And this is an ongoing lifelong process. Learning about introversion was great for understanding how I relate to people and what I need. 

You might also like: How To Be More Confident As An Introvert?

It’s Not Perfect, But I’m Happy

Written by yuvraj

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