The topic of today’s post is highly sensitive person relationships. Or more specifically, an HSP being married to a non-HSP. I’ve written before about introvert-extravert marriages and about intuitive-sensor marriages, but while there is some overlap, HSPs often face some unique struggles.
Like how to make it work when you and your partner have TOTALLY different ideas about what constitutes an ideal level of activity and stimulation?!?
And how the heck are you supposed to deal when your partner’s frantic-to-you lifestyle leaves you feeling utterly exhausted?!?
Plus what about the guilt you feel for being the “weak” one?!?
If any of this sounds familiar, I got you covered. Been there, figured it out.
But before we get to my secrets to success, let me be upfront about the biases in this article.
First of all, this article is written from the HSP’s point of view to a mostly HSP readership. One of these days, I’d like to get my husband to write an article from his point of view, but he’s so busy getting stimulated it’s kinda hard to pin him down.
Second, this article is written from a FEMALE HSP’s point of view. Because of cultural pressure for men to appear tough, I think male HSPs sometimes have it extra hard. Gender stereotypes are definitely not favorable to sensitive guys. And as a woman, I can’t claim to fully understand what that’s like. But I hope my article will still be at least somewhat helpful to male HSPs as well.
Okay, with those caveats out of the way, here are my 10 secrets to a successful HSP marriage with a non-HSP.
10 Secrets To A Successful Highly Sensitive Person Marriage With A Non-HSP
1. Make sure your partner understands what being an HSP means.
If you only take one piece of advice from this article, make it this. Simply having my husband learn what high sensitivity is all about has made ALL the difference in our marriage.
I’m not rejecting him. I’m not rejecting his friends and family. I’m not lazy. I’m not crazy.
I JUST have a nervous system that gets fired up more easily than his. And that means I burn out quicker, so I have to be more diligent about my self-care routines, which leaves a little less time and energy for all the hustle and bustle that he lives for.
When your partner fully understands this, s/he is in a position to support you rather than put pressure on you to live a life that will, sooner or later, make you sick.
So how exactly do you make sure your partner understands? Well, here are a few potential ideas:
- Tell him/her about it.
- Ask him/her to take the highly sensitive person test and share your own results, so s/he can get an understanding of the different ways in which you are sensitive.
- Watch Sensitive – The Untold Story together. If you don’t want to buy the DVD, you can also rent it on Amazon.
2. Learn to value yourself.
You know how I mentioned feeling guilty in the intro? Well, the only way to get rid of that guilt is by learning to value yourself. Exactly as you are. As a highly sensitive person.
Lots of HSPs have VERY low self esteem.
This stems from:
- Being sensitive to other people’s judgments – both real and imagined.
- Being in the minority. Being different.
- Trying to lead a lifestyle that is designed for non-sensitives and failing at it.
And with this low self-esteem as the foundation, it’s really easy to slip into a mindset where non-HSPs are perfect and we are all wrong. At the marriage level, it becomes your partner being perfect and you being all wrong.
Not exactly the basis for a healthy and balanced relationship, right?
So how do you learn to value yourself? Well, it takes repeating certain ideas over and over again until they get stuck in your brain for good.