Here are a few things to try:
- Read the 10 Benefits of Being A Highly Sensitive Person. Frequently.
- Ask your partner to let you know what s/he values about you. Frequently.
- Start implementing some of the 7 Ways To Learn Self Love.
- Connect with other HSPs either online or in the real world.
3. Have together-lives and separate-lives.
When you value yourself exactly as you are, you have the confidence to form an equal partnership – one where both parties get their needs met to the highest degree possible.
This is the opposite of a lopsided relationship where one person’s needs always take precedence. And that relationship model just isn’t going to work long-term. If an HSP and a non-HSP try to completely adapt to each other’s preferences, one of two things will happen:
1. The HSP will end up chronically overstimulated (i.e.. severely stressed out with physical and mental health consequences) OR
2. The non-HSP will end up chronically under stimulated (i.e.. bored and maybe even depressed).
Instead of these sad outcomes, what you want to aim for is the optimal amount of activity and stimulation for each of you. So you do some stuff together – up to the point the HSP enjoys and can tolerate without burning out. And then the non-HSP does extra stimulating stuff on his or her own, while the HSP takes some time for low-key living.
Let me tell you what this might look like in practice using my own marriage as an example.
First of all, my husband and I have very different work lives, designed to suit each of our personalities. I work by myself at home at my own pace (ie. low stimulation). My husband works for a huge organization, shares an office, has deadlines, travels some, and interacts with a ton of different people most days (i.e. high stimulation).
Then in our free time, we spend time together every single day, and we also go out as a family fairly regularly. However, I don’t go out nearly as much as he does. So we do some stuff together, but he also does extra stuff either on his own or with the kids.
And that’s my time to practice being a hermit.
4. Realize that children are a stressor.
Although the topic of this article is marriage and not parenting, I want to say a couple of things about having kids because many married couples do and because having kids majorly affects your marriage.
The key factor to keep in mind for any highly sensitive parent is that raising kids is a stressor. Kids themselves are stimulants! And all the physical caretaking kids require is hard work. I’m almost embarrassed to emphasize this because it seems so obvious to me now. But there was a time when I was pretty oblivious to this fact.
I was completely unprepared and caught off guard by the extent to which interrupted sleep, endless rounds of cooking-feeding-cleaning-laundry-bathing, and sharing a house with three extraverts plus one introvert who only wanted her mother was going to test me. And it’s a test I was very close to flunking!
To make it through this trial in one piece, both my husband and I had to understand that when you add stressors like that to an HSP’s plate, then other stressors have to be removed. Or otherwise, the load is too heavy and the plate will crack. And eventually, it will crash into a gazillion tiny little pieces.
So in order for an HSP to withstand the stress of having a family, it may be necessary to let go of other stressors. For me personally, surviving parenthood ultimately meant letting go of my stressful job. It also meant letting go of trying to be everything to everyone outside my immediate family.
Want to know more about the a highly sensitive person marriage? Check this video out below!