9 mistakes introverts often make in relationships

Introverts make wonderful partners.

They notice the little things, they’re good listeners, and they tend to think before they speak.

Because they prize their own space, they also respect privacy and autonomy in a relationship.

But there’s no doubt that an introvert’s inward nature can occasionally cause some problems in the love department too.  

Here are some of the most common mistakes.

1)  Seeming disinterested at first

It’s a plus point that introverts aren’t particularly the needy or clingy type.

But you have to put the effort in for someone to know that you’re interested. And that’s where introverts can sometimes fall down.

In their mind, the casual smile they offered or the single text they sent is enough to cement their feelings.

But to the other person, this only seems like the slightest bit of attention.

As an introvert myself, when I find someone attractive, here’s what I do:

Ignore them.

It’s an insane strategy, right?!

It’s partly because I am awkward and embarrassed to do anything else.

But I’m also worried about being too obvious about how I feel, so I go too far the other way.

So particularly in the early days, people may struggle to read the intentions of an introvert.

Are they being friendly, or do they want more?

If you like someone you have to make it clear.

2) Overthinking things

One of the reasons I start acting weird around people I’m into is this habit that introverts have for overthinking things.

Our thoughtful nature makes us interesting and observant.  But we can quickly spiral and start reading into things too much.

That can overcomplicate romance. It doesn’t need to be a big deal, but we might make it into one.

We may second-guess ourselves in the process or try to over-analyze every little thing they say or do.

As an introvert, our minds are our playgrounds, but they can become our prisons as well.

It’s best to put a stop to overthinking when it arises. Never assume anything. Instead, ask the other person.

It’s going to save us so much unnecessary worry and mix-ups.

3) Not opening-up

It can take longer for introverts to become comfortable enough to show vulnerability.

Let’s face it, vulnerability is tricky for all of us, whether you’re extrovert or introvert!

But as you build trust, it’s important to push yourself and share with your partner.

My boyfriend is a fellow introvert, and he struggles with this more than I do.

Sometimes he won’t tell me that something significant has happened until days later.

Or I’ll sense that something is wrong but it takes several attempts at asking before he opens up.

We need to share our thoughts and feelings in a relationship. That’s how we bond and work together as a team.

When you find it hard to do so it can impact on your intimacy levels.

4) Keeping their needs and wants to themselves

We all have deal breakers in a relationship, along with preferences.

Our needs are non-negotiables. They are the essentials that we have to get from a partner in order for the relationship to work long-term.

Our wants on the other hand are the things we would like, but we can compromise on.

Some couples’ needs and wants may overlap. For example, loyalty and respect may be equally important to both of you.

But others may not.

An introvert may well value freedom and personal space far more than their extrovert partner.

As open communication is an area that introverts can occasionally fall short on, they may not always be so forthcoming about these needs and wants.

But it’s really important to do so to make sure you understand one another, build trust, and avoid misunderstandings.

5) Avoiding arguments

Confrontation brings me out in a hot sweat. I know I’m not alone in that.

And when you feel incredibly uncomfortable at the prospect of disagreeing, you can try to avoid it at all costs.

Whilst no one wants to fall out with their partner, conflict is an unavoidable part of any genuine relationship.

If you’re prepared to constantly bite your tongue or keep things to yourself in order to dodge an argument, it’s not healthy.

You might try to convince yourself that it’s a good thing to never fall out. But it isn’t when it comes at the expense of honesty and sincerity.

You’re not being fully truthful if you can’t tell your partner when you’re pissed off or feel wronged.

And as we’ll see next, it can surface in other destructive ways.

6) Refusing to say when things are bothering them

Communication styles are different for all of us. But introverts in particular are more likely to be the “suffer in silence type”.

But this can spill over into passive-aggressive habits for venting frustration.

For example, an extrovert may have little difficulty saying whatever is on their mind. But an introvert may give you the silent treatment or even sulk.

Introverts often retreat and withdraw into themselves when faced with uncomfortable situations.

This can be problematic when so much of a healthy relationship rests on effective communication.

Studies have shown that introverts take a longer time to process information than extroverts.

It’s not wrong to need some time before talking about things. But as much as it may pain you, you do need to talk about it eventually.

If you don’t you’re only sweeping relationship issues under the rug, but they’re not going anywhere.

7) Not explaining a need for alone time

It’s still an extroverted world out there.

So certain needs of introverts aren’t always understood.

Even amongst introverts, there are big differences in how we act. So don’t take it for granted that your partner understands your craving for space.

I need more personal space than my introverted partner for example. His introversion shows up slightly differently from mine.

If you don’t let someone know how much time you need alone, and the ways you prefer to recharge, they can take it personally.

They may feel your withdrawal is about them or your relationship rather than about you.

Everybody enjoys different levels of independence and autonomy. So don’t assume what that means to your partner.

To them, independence might mean one night alone per week, whereas in your mind it looks like a minimum of three.

8) Doing a disappearing act

This may be literally, or it could be more emotionally checking out.

When my battery is running low, I go into hibernation mode.

That means I often:

  • Ignore texts
  • Ignore calls
  • Leave social media messages on read

It’s a tricky one. I think there’s too much pressure in modern tech societies to be always switched on.

It’s important to fill your own cup. But we also have to show other people consideration.

Similarly, at the end of a draining day, I need to go crawl into bed without talking.

I don’t even want to be sat in silence in the same room as my boyfriend because I still find it energetically exhausting.

Now, to some people that sounds weird. But it’s just what I need.

It’s important to discuss these sorts of things with a partner so that you can navigate each other’s boundaries in a respectful way.

But just becoming distant or doing a disappearing act will cause relationship rifts.

9) Using introversion as a get-out-of-jail-free card

Introversion may give us certain needs in a relationship. But we shouldn’t use it as a pass to get out of things that scare us.

Because fear can look a lot like introversion from time to time.

You don’t ask that person you like out because you’re introverted, right?

Or is it actually because you’re afraid to?

Introversion isn’t our excuse to stay in our relationship comfort zone. So it’s important to push ourselves.

That means talking about our feelings and thoughts, even when it’s difficult. Or going to places where we may feel out of our depth.

It might make you cringe to make small talk with your partner’s friends, but that doesn’t mean you get to stay home and avoid it.

Whether you’re an introvert or not, it’s important to lean into growth — for your own sake as well as your relationships.

And growth isn’t always comfortable!

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Tina Fey

I'm Tina Fey, the founder of the blog Love Connection. I've extremely passionate about sharing relationship advice. I've studied psychology and have my Masters in marital, family, and relationship counseling. I hope with all my heart to help you improve your relationships, and I hope that even if one thing I write helps you, it means more to me than just about anything else in the world. Check out my blog Love Connection, and if you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter

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