The very things that drain me are the things that are exciting to him.
The old saying “opposites attract” cannot be any truer when applied to my husband and me. If you were to Google what’s the opposite of me, you would find my husband’s face with the biggest smile you could ever imagine.
He’s extroverted and I’m introverted. He likes to be around people, and I prefer solitude. I’m small details, and he’s the bigger picture. He likes being the center of attention, and I like to go unseen. He’s spontaneous, and I like to plan things out. He takes things with a grain of salt, and I dive deep. He likes adventure, and, well, I’d rather go to the bookstore.
You get the point. We’re different. It was our differences that attracted us to one another. I admired his confidence and ability to sway the room, while he admired my attention to detail and ability to read people.
But despite our attraction, being in a relationship with your opposite can be a battlefield. Trying to find a center field to balance our different personalities was (and sometimes still is) a challenge.
When we first began dating, I tried being more in tune with his personality because I spent so much of my early 20s believing something was wrong with being an introvert. When you’re called boring, lame, and stiff for so long by your peers, you begin to think in order to keep a husband around, you have to give in to their more extroverted ways.
But in my attempt to match his high, it often left me drained and frustrated.
‘Can You Slow Down?’
I remember once asking him, “When do you slow down? What does turning down look like for you?”
His response, “I don’t really slow down.”
Hearing this made me cringe.
As an introvert, it is absolutely a requirement for me to unplug and slow down to recharge. I don’t want to do anything, but that’s not at all who my husband is. Going out to wash his car, staying occupied, or inviting friends over is his idea of relaxation.
Our personality differences often got in the way of building our relationship, because the very things that drain me are the things that are exciting to him. There were moments when he felt I was holding him up for needing to move at a slower pace, and moments when I felt he was moving too fast and being reckless.
I couldn’t keep up with his outgoing personality, and eventually, I stopped trying.
I Had To Embrace My Introversion
Obviously, trying to be on the same wavelength as my husband wasn’t working for us. In fact, it was causing more strife. I would become angry and resentful that he was naturally a “people person,” and hated how he often placed me in positions where I had to become this person too. Whether it was making friends with a random stranger or inviting a ton of people over when I had hoped to spend time alone with him, I felt forced to push myself above my capabilities, and it showed in my interactions with others.
I would be standoffish, silent, and short, intentionally hoping his friends would get the hint to leave. However, the moment I embraced being an introvert, I found others could be quite accepting of who I am if I owned it proudly.
I learned to kindly say, “It’s great seeing you guys, but I’m going to retreat upstairs,” or “I’m going to sit this one out, but see you guys another day.”
They would nod, give me a hug, and continue on with their conversations unbothered. The ease in simply stating I needed to rest helped him and his extroverted friends understand what I needed in order to be a pleasure around them.
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Giving Each Other Space
Because it is my husband’s nature to move from one thing to the next, I worried he would grow bored with my overly relaxed, calculated, and laidback ways. I worried he would grow tired of feeling as though he couldn’t be himself with me.
When I began embracing my introversion, I knew I had to allow space for my husband to continue to be himself. At first, it was hard watching my husband have fun without me or forgetting to check in because he was having such a great time without my participation.
Typically, when I need to recharge, he wants to keep going. I would attempt to hang out for far longer, and grew annoyed he wouldn’t want to head out with me. But we had to learn to give each other space to be the people we naturally are.
I understand because he’s a social butterfly, he will want to mix and mingle. I will stand by him and allow him to socialize, but once my social meter gets full, I need to recharge and take a seat. I will observe from my seat as my husband controls the room. I grew to love when people would come up to me, complimenting me on how amazing he is. And in return, they would tell me how highly he spoke of me during their interactions. I would see him turn and point to me as I was seated.
At first, I feared people would view it as a sign of division within our marriage. But for us, we were giving each other space to be ourselves.
We Fell in Love Because of Our Differences
We had to embrace the fact that it wasn’t our similarities that brought us together — it was our differences.
I admire that my husband is fearless. When he wants something, he goes right after it. He doesn’t need to wait on anyone to move forward. He just does it. I love that he sees the greater outcome, and doesn’t get too hung up on the obstacles in his way.
I love that his spontaneous nature gets me out of my comfort zone and pushes me to give things a try. It’s because of him that I’ve experienced things I wouldn’t have thought to try, had I not been with him.
He teaches me new things constantly. Being an introvert, it’s easy for me to get in my routine and stick to it. Because of him, he’s helped me to get out of the lonesome dark hole I sometimes put myself in.
As for him, he needs me to slow him down. He needs me to see the obstacles that may be coming, so we can get ahead of them. He needs me to keep him organized and think about things from a different perspective.
We now have a saying that we use. I say to him, “You keep me floating,” and he’ll say, “You keep me grounded.” Although we’re different, we allow one another to continue being who we are in order to balance each other out. And we both flourish when we do.
If you’re an introvert married to an extrovert, how do you handle your differences? Let me know in the comments below.