There’s an old adage in the Houston relationship therapist community (and just about everywhere else) that opposites attract. To that end, there are plenty of healthy relationships between introverts and extroverts. Different personality types certainly don’t have to spell marriage problems.
If you’re in a relationship with a partner who has a different personality type than you, it’s important to try to understand their perspective and why they act the way they do. The best way to do this, of course, is to have a healthy, ongoing dialogue with your partner. But if your partner is an introvert and you’re an extrovert, you also need to understand certain things about how to dialogue.
Tips for a Healthy Dialogue from the Houston Relationship Therapist
Choose the right time for important conversations. The primary difference between introverts and extroverts is that introverts need time to themselves to recharge while extroverts get their energy from being around people. If you and your introverted partner have been out at a social gathering with a large group of friends all night, the minute you get home that night may not be the best time to delve into a serious conversation. Give your partner a chance to get their energy level up.
Don’t ambush your partner. This should apply for all partners, and it’s something I often touch on in my Houston relationship therapist sessions, but it’s an especially important tip when you’re in a relationship with an introvert. While extroverts might be comfortable saying things as soon as they come to mind, introverts tend to prefer spending more time internally working through ideas before putting them into words. Suddenly confronting your introverted partner about marriage problems may make them feel attacked and put them on the defensive. If you need to have a serious conversation with your partner, broach the subject by saying something like, “I think we should set aside time to talk about something that’s been on my mind. Can we do that now?”
Keep in mind that there’s no “right” personality type. Neither introversion nor extroversion is inherently better than the other. Keep that in mind when you’re dialoguing with your partner, and don’t resort to blaming marriage problems on the other person’s personality. If your partner has acted in a way that upset you, you should talk to them to get them to open up about why they felt they needed to behave that way.
Embrace your differences. It would probably be pretty boring to be in a relationship with someone who is exactly like you. Know that your partner isn’t always going to do or say the things that you would have done or said yourself, and accept that this is okay. Open communication can help you better understand and celebrate each other’s differences. Saying this is a lot easier than doing it, though, and sometimes you might find that you need the help of an experienced Houston relationship therapist.