As humans, we all have a deep longing to love and be loved. For introverts, this innate desire might sometimes feel at odds with our independent, and self-protective nature.
We want the closeness, sense of acceptance, and mutual understanding of a loving relationship. But, at the same time, something holds us back from truly letting love in.
The love dilemma
While speaking to one of my introvert students recently, an all-too-familiar dilemma came up. She was struggling to reconcile her desire for a meaningful relationship with her desire to continue living life on her own terms. She liked her life just the way it was, and didn’t know where a partner would fit in.
I have heard from many introverts who face the exact same predicament as this woman. I have struggled with it myself.
If you know anything about my story, you’ll have an inkling that I lead a unique lifestyle and freedom is important to me. In case you face the same dilemma, I will ask you the question I posed to my student:
What if it were possible to have both?
What if you could have the love and intimacy you crave in a relationship, while also maintaining your independence? What would that look like?
Perhaps, you would be in a committed relationship, but live in separate houses. Or maybe you would find someone who is just as quirky and independent as you are, and is more than happy to give you your space.
There are really infinite possibilities. The problem is that many introverts simply don’t believe it is possible to find someone who fits the bill. But it is possible, my dear!
If and when we do find someone we would like to get close to, we introverts face another obstacle to loving and being loved.
We are afraid to be vulnerable
Vulnerability is the key to love and intimacy. It is also just plain scary. Being vulnerable by, say, reaching out, saying “I love you” , or sharing our true emotions is always a risk. Of course, we risk rejection, but it’s more than that.
We also risk disappointment. There is no worse feeling for an introvert than to have someone shatter our vast expanse of fantasies and dreams for the relationship. Thankfully, there are ways to make being vulnerable and letting love in easier.
How to let love in:
The more we love ourselves, the easier it is to allow others to love us. Not only that, we also show others HOW we need to be loved. A lot of introverts spend years with partners who love them in all the wrong ways. These partners smother, demand, and fail to understand.
But when we truly love ourselves, we stop apologizing for our needs and start giving ourselves the kindness, understanding, and care that we desire. It’s not long before our partner follows suit.
If you need help with self-love, I’ll share my top resource a bit later, but first, let’s talk about the next important step to love and be loved.
Because we introverts tend to overthink, we often sabotage relationships by looking too far into the future. It’s like we are playing out the whole movie before the cameras start rolling.
When your mind starts getting ahead of you, slow down, and remember that you don’t need to see the whole staircase to take the first step. And you certainly don’t have to decide whether you want to marry a person on the second date.
Take your time, and have patience with yourself and the other person. Breathe.
The right partner
If you are not used to being vulnerable, it helps to have the right partner to lead the way. Surround yourself with people, who are comfortable sharing their feelings.
Another key thing to look for in friends and lovers is a considerate and constructive communication style. It will feel safer for you to open up to those who how to listen on a deep level and speak with kindness.
If you’re wondering how to love yourself, you’re not alone. Many introverts know that self-love is important, but they find it hard to overcome self-critical thoughts and insecurities.
How do you love yourself when …
- you feel totally unloveable
- you have persistent self-critical thoughts
- you often feel overwhelmed and full of self-doubt
- you can barely take care of yourself, let alone love yourself
It is possible to develop self-love, even if you struggle with all of the above. I show you a step-by-step framework to stop self-hating thoughts and fall in love with you in my Unshakeable Self-Love for Introverts workshop.
Right now, as part of my Blogmas holiday specials, you can get Unshakeable Self-Love for less. Go here to discover my self-love framework for introverts.
You are not alone
What I hope you take away most from this article is that you are not alone. There are countless introverts out there who feel exactly the same way you do. Keep this in mind when you wonder if it’s possible to find the right person to love.
Lots of love,
“Because we introverts tend to overthink, we often sabotage relationships by looking too far into the future. It’s like we are playing out the whole movie before the cameras start rolling.”
This line perfectly describes how I approached dating for most of my life. I believe I’ve definitely sabotaged myself by doing so. I’ve worked hard to change my mindset but after coming to this realization, I began to analyze past interactions with women. While I’ve had my fair share of enjoyable dates, there have also been several great women in my life that I didn’t even bother to ask out and I now regret not taking those chances. I would instantly write them off as I thought they’d be too extroverted for me or because our interests were few and far between. These days, if I like a person and sense we may have some chemistry, I try hard not to think too far ahead.
When I do go on dates, the only result I hope for is a delightful conversation. Anything else is gravy.
However, I still can’t help but remain cautious. Like most introverts who are sensitive, I’ve been hurt in the past and those scars often remain tender to the touch. I’ve opened up to both friends (or so I thought they were) and potential lovers in the past only to be rejected because they “didn’t want an introvert in their life” or had the information I shared used against me if we had a falling out. However, this occurrence isn’t something only introverts experience. Everyone (introvert ans extrovert alike) will receive multiple burns throughout life. Still, it can make one hesitant to be vulnerable.
I loved that line too “playing out the whole movie before the cameras have started rolling”. It made me laugh.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences. One thought came to mind, and I wanted to share it with you. With regard to our scars, you are a man of courage and increasing resilience. This is a great thing. One day you’ll meet a woman who will be utterly delightful and sexy, and you will be her champion, her man of depth and character and resilience who has fought and won many battles, and not backed down when things were daunting. This will totally melt her heart. She’s already looking for you. You’ll have even more things to talk about with her, and she will look at you adoringly with great admiration and respect.
Those people who said they ‘didn’t want an introvert in their life” were too unintelligent to be your friends, so don’t give them another thought.
Keep being brave and strong, don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. Have battle scars. It’ll only make you sexier to the right woman.
I would challenge the notion that all humans have a deep desire to love or be loved. I feel that really invalidates those of us who identify as asexual or aromantic – because we’re not broken for not having an interest or need for a romantic partnership.
Mind you, I stress “romantic” partnership, because many of us have deep connections and bonds with those we call family and friends.