Hannah Brooks Marriage Coaching
31 Ways Being Sensitive Can Affect Your Love Life
If any of the following sound familiar, it may be that you are one of the 20% who have the trait of High Sensitivity (which can be a total gift, I promise!).
1. You are naturally compassionate and aware of your partners feelings, so you are great at being supportive or loving when they need it. You care very much about their well-being and want the best for them.
2. But you tend to take their feelings on as your own, so when they are down, so are you. This can be especially hard if your partner is often moody, anxious, or depressed.
3. Your observant nature sees the subtle beauty and goodness in others, and because of this you can draw out your partner’s gifts and be a great source of confidence building and affirmation for them.
4. You can take things in your relationship extremely seriously, though. This can lead to obsessive thoughts and behaviors, worry, and heartache when thing aren’t going very well.
5. You are blessed with the ability to have perspective – to see all sides of the coin. This gives you strength and perseverance to work through things when relationship challenges arise.
6.You may be prone to anxiety or depression. This can weigh heavily on your relationship.
7. You experience love intensely, as well as other positive emotions.
8. But, when when love seems locked up or absent you notice and experience its lack acutely.
9. A sense of insufficiency or not being good enough can be a trademark wound you walk around with, leading to neediness, or an unwillingness to open up to intimacy in partnership, which creates distance.
10. Being vulnerable can be scary (for everyone), and since every emotion is heightened for you it can be especially hard to voice your needs or desires to your partner. It makes you feel exposed and at risk.
11. Therefore, you can fall prey to complaining as a method of getting your needs met because that feels safer, not as vulnerable. Then, for hours or days afterward, you feel bad about complaining as you prefer to behave with more integrity.
12. You need a lot of quiet alone time to be at your best. But you may not give it to yourself, as you are so concerned with being a “good” partner, parent, or friend.
13. As a very conscientious person, you tend to think everyone is as caring, considerate, and aware of others as you are. This can lead to high expectations and standards of your partner’s ability to be attentive and aware of your needs and desires. When they don’t live up to them, disappointment or even a sense of them not loving you enough ensues.
14. Because you easily pick up on subtle cues from your partner and are very caring, it’s all too easy for you to get caught up in meeting their smallest needs, so that you often forget to meet your own. This exhausts and depletes you over time.
15. You are easily over-aroused by stimulation. When anyone (HSP or not) is overstimulated we act unskillfully and rashly. Because it happens quicker for an HSP, this can lead to a higher level of reactivity and drama in relationships. We sensitives can become "insensitive" when not emotionally centered.
16. But you are a calming, grounding and loving presence when you are healthy and centered. You emanate this to your loved ones and it nourishes them.
17. If your partner tends to talk a lot, is very active or frenetic, listens to music or news a lot, watches TV frequently, or brings up intense or upsetting world news events, it can quickly overstimulate you. Then you may find yourself with a short fuse, irritable or angry with him. It’s a wayward self-protection mechanism.
18. Too much idle chit chat with your significant other without digging in to a subject of substance for too many hours or days can leave you feeling disconnected and like the relationship is stale, especially if you don't know how to stay feeling connected (you can learn this!)
19. Your deeply observant nature allows you to see faults in your partner that might loom large and lead to you being maybe a bit nit-picky, critical, or judgmental ... which can set off your spouse's defenses.
20. It can feel simply too stimulating to deal with the discomfort of confrontation. This can hold you back from being honest and transparent, leaving the relationship at risk for lack of intimacy.
21. But, you also are likely to try to work things out inside yourself at length. This can lead to great self-awareness, which can enhance your ability to grow and flourish in your relationship, especially as you learn to be honest and open with you partner.
22. It may upset you when he is distracted by life for too long and doesn’t pause to be present with you (through eye contact, a hug, or a patient listening ear). This may lead to feeling resentment, or even feeling unloved.
23. You might have trouble understanding his seeming obliviousness, due to your own high awareness of everything around you. This can lead to you secretly thinking you are somehow smarter or more enlightened than him ( not a great setup for respect and loving connection)--even though you would never outright admit it!
24. You are subtly attuned to what he is experiencing ( almost as if you can read his mind). This can be a benefit, or lead to discord or misunderstanding if he isn’t aware himself of what he is experiencing—but you seem to be!
25. You may be indecisive or take a long time to decide a course of action. This can sap a lot of energy and time as you discuss it and mull it over, and delay you from making changes you'd love to have happen.
26. But because you are so thorough and intuitive, when you finally do reach a decision it is usually a very good one that benefits both of you.
27. You are content with life’s simple pleasures and may tend to pass on the more exciting (or overstimulating for you) events that your partner may enjoy (especially if he is less sensitive or more extroverted than you ). Though this can feel like taking care of yourself, if you always avoid such events it can lead to the relationship losing its sense of expansion and excitement.
28. Being attuned to beauty in all forms, you enrich your partner's life by pointing out and exposing him to beauty he may have missed otherwise. For example, the sound of crickets in the early morning, a sunset, a painting exhibition he wouldn’t have gone to otherwise – even inspiring him to try yoga or meditation, which can give him a taste of his own inner beauty.
29. Not feeling “heard” or “understood” is common for us HSPs, as we tend to take longer to speak up in conversations (due to processing deeply and finding the most meaningful response—which can come too late in a fast paced conversation).
30. But you are deeply insightful, and can often support your partner to better understand himself, you, and your relationship.
31. You are meaning-driven. In a love relationship this means you will be dedicated and willing to work hard at creating deeply meaningful connection – making it more likely to have a rich and healthy committed relationship!
This is not a comprehensive list. What might you add?