Your romantic relationship is one of the most important ones in your life, so it’s crucial that it feels good to you as an introvert.
In my work as a psychotherapist, I’ve found one of the main reasons someone starts therapy has to do with relationships. For some, it may be a current romantic relationship. For others, it may be the working relationship they have with their boss. And for others, it may be wounds from a childhood relationship with their parents while growing up. There are many different types of relationships we have — and all affect us differently. The important thing is acknowledging that relationships do have an impact on us.
As adults, the relationship with our romantic partner is often the relationship that we spend the most time with, and may even be considered the most important one in our lives. So it’s crucial to make sure this relationship feels good. If you feel you are settling for a relationship that is only “good enough,” to me, this says it’s feeling all right — but that’s it. Or if you find you’re in a relationship that really does not feel good, it’s important to pay attention to this message that your emotions are sending you.
For introverts, dating may be a struggle: You may see someone you want to approach, but your overthinking talks you out of it. Or you may be an introvert with social anxiety, so you find that dating apps are an easier way to meet romantic prospects. Once introverts have entered a relationship, however, they are usually in it for the long haul. So, let’s look at several ways introverts can know if they are in a good and healthy relationship.
7 Signs You’re in a Good Relationship as an Introvert
1. You feel like you can be yourself.
As a fellow introvert, I know how important it is to feel like you can be yourself in a relationship. You can let your guard down, you feel “at home” with this person, and it feels safe to open up — whether it’s being goofy and silly, sharing your hopes and dreams, or being vulnerable.
Considering there are many work and social situations where introverts are told they are “too quiet” — or even called “weird” or “loners”; heck, maybe even prior romantic partners have said that, too — it is utterly relieving to feel a sense of ease in a relationship with someone who really sees you and understands you. When introverts find someone who “gets them,” this is one of the best feelings ever.
2. Your partner understands your need for alone time.
If your partner criticizes or complains about your need for alone time, this is certainly not a good situation for an introvert. Since we introverts know this is not only essential, but really something we look forward to, it’s important to have a partner who understands this and does not take it personally.
If you feel you are being judged because of this — or if you’ve explained why this is important and your partner still doesn’t seem to understand — this is something to pay attention to, as this can be a sign you are not in a relationship that is good for you.
If you feel other things in the relationship are going well, and this may truly just be a misunderstanding, you can try another approach, such as sharing more about why your alone time is so valuable for you and what your alone time typically looks like. It’s like giving a story or a visual to your experience and letting your partner have a sneak peek into your sacred alone time. This also helps your partner to understand it’s nothing personal and is helping you to show up as your best self, with your inner battery charged. So that when you do spend time together, it will feel really good!
You can also ask your partner what upsets them about your need for alone time to try to understand where they are coming from, too. For example, if your partner mentions they feel you’d rather be alone than spend time with them, they may be trying to say they want to see you more (but this may come across as a criticism instead). In this case, you may want to let them know your time together really is so important to you, and you want to make sure you’re able to fully enjoy the time together rather than spending time together while feeling emotionally and energetically depleted. And your alone time to recharge is the key ingredient here to make that happen! It’s truly helping your partner understand that your alone time, as an introvert, is assisting in, not taking from, the health of the relationship.
3. Your partner is curious about your inner world and listens.
I know not everyone is an expert listener in the way a therapist may be. But, I do believe when something is important to someone, they will make an effort to pay attention and listen — whether it’s a podcast, a sporting event, a favorite TV show, or, yes, their partner.
So, do you feel your partner is taking time to not just listen, but making an effort to really listen and understand you? I think my fellow introverts get exactly what I’m saying here. It’s as though they are so curious and interested to understand you and your inner world. Now, this is one of the best feelings for an introvert and a sign of a good relationship.
Having a partner who is listening, rather than interrupting; who is listening, rather than assuming; who is listening to understand you, your hopes, and your dreams, rather than criticizing, judging, or brushing things under the rug; and/or who is listening to understand rather than listening to respond. All of these aspects are incredibly important to an introvert and signs of a good, healthy relationship.
4. You feel energized in your relationship.
Many introverts are quite intuitive. This makes sense since inner reflection and connecting with our own inner worlds is a huge part of who we are! In knowing this, it’s important to pay attention to what your intuition is telling you, which also includes how you are feeling. There’s a meme I’ve seen several times which says, “Trust the vibes you get — energy doesn’t lie.”
As introverts know when their battery is running low and it’s time to recharge, it’s equally important to pay attention to your energy level in your relationship. Do you find yourself feeling peaceful, at ease, and even more energized when you are with your partner? Or, do you find yourself anxious, sad, or depleted?
Really get honest with yourself here. Of course, relationships aren’t energizing 100% of the time (especially for introverts). But if you find you are feeling depleted and not enjoying time with your partner more often than not, this tells me this is not a good relationship for my fellow introverts.
5. They encourage you to become the best version of yourself.
I know hopes, dreams, and passions are in the hearts of introverts. If your partner is encouraging you to pursue your dreams and to become the best version of yourself, this is a good relationship. Maybe it’s starting an online business, taking voice lessons, or volunteering with an organization you feel passionate about. The partner who appears threatened by you wanting to become the best version of yourself is a red flag. Pay attention here. Going back to the introductory paragraph, this is an example of where you don’t want to settle for “good enough.” Ever.
As a couples therapist, I can tell you that if you give up on your dreams to appease your partner’s insecurities, you will end up feeling resentful. Having a partner who walks the self-discovery path alongside you is a much healthier experience than the one who puts a barricade there. This reminds me of a quote from the early days of Grey’s Anatomy, where Cristina Yang says to Meredith Grey: “You are a gifted surgeon with an extraordinary mind. Don’t let what he wants eclipse what you need. He’s very dreamy, but he’s not the sun, you are.” Remember that!
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6. Your partner’s happiness is not dependent on you.
There’s a powerful quote by Will Smith: “Her happiness is not my responsibility. She should be happy and I should be happy individually. Then we come together and share our happiness. Giving someone a responsibility to make you happy when you can’t do it for yourself is selfish. Let that sink in.” I know some people feel differently about this concept, but I’ll share why I find this to be important.
The healthiest relationships are when both people have their own interests and passions that they can engage in and then share with each other. This is fun, this is healthy, this is good self-care, and it also gives you interesting experiences to talk to each other about!
There is a societal belief that couples should do everything together. Couples should not have completely separate or parallel lives by any means, as that would be another concern unless both people want that dynamic, but needing to do everything together is codependency. You don’t want to lose yourself in the relationship. This is one of the most common things I hear from those who experienced a breakup — they felt they lost who they were, as though their relationship became their identity, and this felt awful for them.
Additionally, it’s a lot of pressure to feel like you need to make your partner happy or your partner needs to make you happy. That’s a lot of responsibility for someone else’s happiness. And, the truth of the matter is, no one but you can truly make you deeply happy. If your partner seems to have an ongoing pattern of being angry, depressed, or anxious, and wants you to fix this for them or sees you as responsible for their mood, this is when you should seek professional help. Supporting your partner is one thing, but feeling responsible for their happiness is a whole other ball game. As introverts are often very empathic beings, if you find yourself in a situation where you feel responsibility for your partner’s happiness, this is going to drain you, going back to point #4.
When both people in a relationship are able to cultivate their own happiness within — and bring that happiness into the relationship — this is healthy, and the relationship is going to feel so much better, too. You’ll be able to relax and enjoy your time together. Ahh, doesn’t that sound nice?
7. Your partner talks through difficult things with you.
I know we introverts just want to feel understood and loved, as we live in a world where we often feel misunderstood. Many times, conflict is a result of a misunderstanding, and when that happens, we want to talk through and resolve things. However, it can feel emotionally unsafe if we have a partner who shuts down our emotions during conflict (inconsistency in a partner’s behavior feels downright frightening), just wants to “move on” from a conflict rather than talking through it, or doesn’t have an interest in even trying to understand our perspective.
However, a partner who finds the importance of talking through, and resolving, conflict or miscommunication — and takes steps to work with you to understand what happened so you both can do things differently the next time a conflict arises — is an important sign of a good relationship. It is going to feel like your partner truly cares, which allows that emotional safety to return and for both of you to feel secure in your relationship.
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You might like:
- 7 Reasons Introverts Struggle to Find Romantic Love
- How to Stay Married to an Extrovert When You’re an Introvert
- 9 Signs You Need Some Alone Time as an Introvert