“They” say introverts understand extroverts, and extroverts DO NOT understand introverts. So, what the heck happens when an introvert marries an extrovert?!?!?!
It’s a life-long social experiment!
“They” also say that opposites attract. I’m not sure I completely buy into that whole rhetoric because I believe being “equally yoked” is important. But, what does that even really mean?
The hubby and I always joked that if we wrote down our ideal mate, we would have NEVER picked each other. He wanted more girly. I wanted taller. He wanted more traditional. I wanted younger. He wanted more in your face. I wanted calmer.
We addressed it all. Well…all that we realized. But what we never saw coming was just how difficult it would be managing my introversion versus his extroversion. As two separate people living our separate lives, we never really witnessed the other person deprived of their energy source.
Many people think introverts are shy or socially awkward people. Many people think that extroverts are loud and attention seekers. But introversion and extroversion has a lot to do with energy.
Introverts energy levels deplete when they are out in the world interacting with people. In order to recharge, they need time alone. Extroverts, on the other hand, gain energy by being around people. If an extrovert spends too much time alone, they feel depleted.
Many people believe that introverts don’t like adventure. I love adventure. I love meeting people. In fact, I had a job that very much required me to be “on” and be “the face.” If you only interact with an introvert in relatively short time frames, this misconception is understood. And because me-time is a solo activity, he never saw how much me-time I really took or needed.
During the dating phase, I would spend all week saving up my energy for our weekend adventures. There was also a mental countdown to the end of the weekend. I knew that I was inching closer and closer to returning home to all the me-time I could stand. On the flip side, the occasional night in was nothing to my mate.
It wasn’t until we began to settle into day-to-day life under the same roof that we realized we had a big hurdle to overcome. He always wanted to go, go, go. I always wanted to curl up under a blanket. We both were frustrated. We both felt depleted, but it took awhile to actually articulate that in a comprehensive or effective manner.
This is a crucial point of communication in any relationship. I have found there are several people who do not know how or what recharges them. And when you are not recharged, it is impossible to give the best version of yourself in any relationship.
Lots of people talk about The Five Love Languages and how crucial they are for understanding self and those around you. I would argue knowing whether you are an introvert, extrovert or ambivert (yes there is a third option!) is just as vital!
So, how do you deal when you find yourself partnered up with someone on a different side of the spectrum? You show consideration despite not always understanding.
I have to be intentional about saying “yes” sometimes. Especially, if he takes the time to make sufficient, well-thought out plans. If there is advance warning, I know I need to be all-in. And every once in awhile, I jump into the spontaneity of last minute plans with the expectation that I will get twice as much me-time when we return home!
I also have to be comfortable letting him go off on his own even if I may not always want too. And while he has found a new love for the couch and my favorite reality TV shows, a nice compromise to a quiet night-in is me watching a movie he wants to see every now and again.
It is never perfect. It is never convenient. It is NOT insurmountable.