7 Relationship Challenges Faced By Emotionally Intense And Sensitive People

relationship challenges faced by emotionally intense and sensitive people

3. You need a lot of space to yourself, and your partner may not understand this.

You are multi-passionate, creative, and have a rich inner life. As you absorb inspiration from art, music, and all sources in your environment, you are constantly imbued with ideas and insights. You function at your best when you are following your muse, and take action to bring inspiration to fruition. You might undertake multiple projects at the same time— either actual physical projects or imaginary ones.

Deep down, you know you have it in you to create something great. You live with existential anxiety over never having enough time, letting ideas flip, or not being able to reach your full potential. Elizabeth Gilbert describes this well in her book, The Big Magic. She proposes that creative ideas are swirling around us, always looking for human partners. When an idea knocks on our door, we must respond to bring it into the world. If we are consumed with our own dramas, distractions, and duties, our inspirations will go away to find another collaborator.

The time demand to form a conventional relationship is huge— there are social expectations about how much time you spend and the kind of activities you do together. While you might enjoy these demands, in the beginning, you eventually find that they conflict with your desire to be alone.

When you are inspired, you work on overdrive, and turning the lights out at night might not be what you want or need. You may get into eating or sleeping patterns that seem unhealthy in your partner’s eyes. You can focus and concentrate on your inspired project for long periods and enjoy the challenge. In contrast, you find time spent with your partner increasingly unappealing.

You feel trapped in a movie theatre, resent having to go to a dinner party, and would rather be at home and work. Without understanding what is happening, you feel guilty and ashamed or assume there is something wrong or unhealthy about the way you are.

Creative and entrepreneurial endeavors call for solitude, space, and dedication. These are things that can come into short supply when you are in a committed partnership. You may try to negotiate with your partner but they may not be able to understand your needs. Instead, they feel left out, sidelined or ignored. You may both get resentful or passive-aggressive, resulting in an unhealthy relationship dynamic.

Emotionally intense and sensitive people
Emotionally intense and sensitive people

4. They may not be able to understand your sensitivities and needs.

Being intense and sensitive, you have myriad physical sensitivities and a unique need for a balance between stimulation and restoration. Intense people share the same relationship struggles with those who identify as being highly sensitive (HSPs). You have a heightened response to stimuli such as noise, visual images, strong colors, caffeine, smells, and rough surfaces.

You may get overwhelmed by things that excite your partner, and as a result, are not able to do things or attend certain events together. You may find their music too loud, their taste in humor too abrasive, their perfume overpowering. Your sensitivity doesn’t equate with weakness. It is merely a reflection of your innate drive to optimize your environment so you can spend your energy on better things.

If your partner does not understand your needs, they may criticize or shame you. If you then internalise the blame, you start to edit and restrict yourself. You may feel like a burden and would rather hide your true preference. This leads to an unsatisfactory life and burn out, and resentment inevitably bottles up.

5. You search for deep meaning in the modern world.

As worded in psychology literature, intimacy in relationships is developed “through a dynamic process whereby an individual discloses personal information, thoughts, and feelings to a partner; receives a response from the partner; and interprets that response as understanding, validating, and caring”(Laurenceau, Barrett, & Pietromonaco, 1998, p. 1238). This process requires time, patience, and the willingness to go beyond shallow exchanges.

Our modern dating culture, however, moves rapidly. With a million options ‘a swipe’ away, people are always looking for the next best thing. Physical intimacy becomes something that could be likened to eating fast food.

Research has found that social pressure dictates that people represent their ‘ideal self’ more than their authentic self online. In fact, research has found that people tend to lie on dating sites. (Ellison, Heino, & Gibbs, 2006; Toma & Ellison, 2008). Your need to be understood and accepted as who you are and the desire to know the other person truthfully means internet dating may not be rewarding for you.

As an intense and sensitive soul, you look for purpose and meaning behind everything you do.  You seek authentic relationships and attribute different meanings and weight to sex or dating. All your life, you crave connections with people with whom you can relate deeply. Relationships that remain on a superficial level are unlikely to last very long.

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