After living in what felt like a perpetual state of singleness following my last break-up, I recently found someone who made the long wait seem totally worth it. He’s my boyfriend now, and I still feel a rush of giddiness using the term. Perhaps I’m biased because I’m an introvert, but I like to think there’s something particularly special that happens when two introverts fall in love.
We “quiet ones” don’t get into relationships lightly, and for long stretches of time, it may seem like we’re not clicking in that way with anyone. We’d rather be alone than have someone around just to have someone around. In order for us to grant priority access into our self-contained bubble, it needs to feel just right.
When we experience a (let’s face it — rare) mutual connection with someone that makes us feel simultaneously understood and intrigued, we know the chances are high it could lead somewhere big, but only if we can step out of our comfort zones.
So, say all goes well, and we skip ahead to find ourselves part of a couple. As introverts, regardless of how amazing it feels, we still need a moment to adjust to this big change. We’re not alone anymore (!), and this is exactly what we need to come to terms with.
Here are three thoughts an introvert might have in the beginning stages of love.
Thoughts Introverts Have in a New Relationship
1. Am I dreaming?
Pinch me? No matter your personality type, getting into a new relationship can be a dreamy affair. For introverts, however, it can feel like waking up in a lucid dream — over and over again.
By nature, introverts seek out time away from others to recharge. When we’re single, we often get so used to the state of being physically alone in our environment that it becomes a part of our identity. Even though we spend (some) time interacting with others outside our bubble, mentally we become pretty attached to the idea that we’re independently taking on the world.
In some ways, it feels good and might even make us feel strong where we’d otherwise feel lonely. I wish I had a partner, but hey, look how good I can do on my own.
Then, voila, here we are in a relationship with someone who makes us feel less alone — and we’d gladly trade in some alone time for that. We experience the typical giddiness and excitement of a blossoming connection but with an added layer of, well, something like shock.
We’re used to feeling a sense of drain after spending time with others — even close friends we enjoy. But when we find someone who both energizes and calms us, time with them can feel just as nourishing as time alone.
And this, for introverts, is a very big deal.
After we establish this kind of connection, it’s surprising how quickly it becomes the new normal. It feels like we’ve found something we didn’t realize was missing. And while it doesn’t change our personality or eliminate our need to recharge, it might blur the lines of independence we’d gotten so used to drawing around ourselves.
This is not a drill.
2. I guess I can’t bottle everything up anymore.
It’s not that introverts are bad communicators. When we want to communicate about something, we put a lot of thought into how to express ourselves. We generally try to see a situation from all angles, and we’re usually good at observing behind-the-scenes details and approaching topics from an in-depth perspective.
However, the issue is we don’t always want to communicate. We can even become particularly stubborn about keeping our thoughts to ourselves. That’s because it can take a lot of mental energy for us to share what we’re really thinking.
Sometimes, it’s a form of protecting ourselves from misunderstanding or conflict. Other times, we just want to be polite and don’t see the need to blurt out our opinions just because others do.
But relationships are built on communication. As introverts, we may hold back from our partners simply out of habit. For me, trust and openness are key factors in maintaining a strong connection. Yet I still default to bottle-up mode sometimes.
I’m lucky that my partner — also an introvert — encourages me to be open. Even so, it’s been an adjustment to learn how to speak up more, about both the big and the small things.
Join the introvert revolution. One email, every Friday. The best introvert articles. Subscribe here.
3. Someone is finally seeing the real me — and it’s scary.
My secret is out. Many introverts develop personas to fit in and function in a world that’s geared toward extroverts. There’s a version of us that shows up at work, and a different version around our friends.
Around close friends, we may open up and feel comfortable, but even then, there’s a degree of distance — a layer of protection we never fully shed. It’s as if our most authentic selves are free to breathe most deeply only when we’re alone.
In a healthy relationship, however, the hope is for these borders to dissolve. Not immediately, of course, but over time. The deeper the connection, the quicker the process begins. With the right person, it happens naturally. Even so, for an introvert who’s gotten used to projecting one thing and feeling something else, it takes time to come to terms with being openly seen.
For me, one of the surest signs of a solid connection is the ease with which the invisible barriers come down. Without any conscious shift or deliberate change of behavior, our true selves shine through — and that’s what feels the most like love.
So, when someone effortlessly evades those default boundaries, don’t fight it too hard — let them in.