How to Get Along with an Introverted Spouse

One of the hardest lessons we learn in marriage (and in our other relationships, too) is this: it’s impossible to meld and become one. We are two separate humans with two separate personalities.

This realization is often scary. My spouse isn’t just like me? What’s wrong with him?! Because if something isn’t wrong with him, then something must be wrong with me!

That’s why it’s so tempting to try to mold our spouses into versions of ourselves.

But doing so is not only unhealthy, it’s a recipe for marital discontent. As soon as you go about trying to change an ingrained aspect of your spouse’s personality – say by trying to make a loner more outgoing or a quiet person more talkative—you are basically telling your spouse, “There’s something wrong with you. You are not good enough.” And no one likes to hear that.

For instance, I’m an introvert. I also probably have some sort of sensory issue that you all can have a lot of fun diagnosing in the comments. This sensory issue was never diagnosed, thank God, so I managed to get through childhood without being labeled as someone with the D-word (disorder). Basically, I am sensitive to light, sound and scent. Too many conflicting sounds are difficult for me to understand. Like in restaurants, when a lot of people are talking at once, I can’t separate the voices so everyone sounds just like the teacher in Peanuts.

I get exceptionally sensitive to light, sound and scent when I’m tired, when I’m hormonal or whenever I get the bright idea that someone like me can do that thing called multitasking. Like, tonight, I tried to bake chicken thighs while also microwaving a few things and simultaneously washing the dishes. During all of this, my daughter kept asking me questions like, “What is a gridiron?” and “Do you know that Neptune is blue?”

Oh, and the stupid dog kept barking.

I dang near almost checked myself into a mental asylum, let me tell you. At one point I started shouting, “Where is the stupid oven mitt? Who took my oven mitt? Where did someone put my oven mitt?” Keep in mind that the only other beings in the kitchen were my 5 year old and my dog, and my 5 year old had not moved from her position at the table the entire time. Now, my dog is capable of a lot of sneaky things, but he doesn’t generally hide oven mitts just to see if he can irritate me.

You want to know where the oven mitt was? It was right in front of me, where I’d just left it.

My husband came home some time later. The poor man. You will understand why I call him that soon. Promise.

I greeted him with a, “Heh.” That was about all I could manage. My daughter rarely greets my husband. It’s a stage she’s going through. She clings on me and tells me she loves me and that she will never let me go. If Daddy asks for a kiss, she runs and hides in her bedroom.

But the dog wagged his tail. “At least someone is happy to see me,” my husband said brightly.

Later, after getting our daughter to sleep, I said, “You don’t want to be around me right now.” He waved his hand in front of his nose. He assumed I was broadcasting that I’d eaten beans for lunch.

“No, not because of that,” I said. “I’m grumpy. You might want to stay away from me.”

“Why are you grumpy? How was your day?” he asked.

Sweet, right? It was. He’s sweet. But I wanted to amputate his vocal cords. The only thing I wanted in that moment was an empty house.

“You’re leaving, right? You’re going out tonight, right?’ I asked.

“Yeah,” he said.

I said, “Good, I think that’s for the best. I really need to be alone.”

He understood about as much as someone who doesn’t have a sensitivity to sound, scent, and light and who doesn’t get into grumpy snits can. That’s to say that he understood that whatever was wrong with me was not his fault. It’s not to say that he didn’t think that I was in dire need of a little pill that might work some magic among the neurotransmitters in my brain.

As soon as he left, I felt better, much better. My daughter was asleep. My dog was curled up in a tight ball. The house was quiet. I was alone. Nothing smelled funny. I ate a chocolate covered banana. Cold and hot things always soothe me. I don’t know why. I’m sure it’s part of the disorder I have that does not have a name.

So then I wrote this post that rambles on and on and doesn’t offer much in the way of helpful information.

I don’t want to disappoint. I’m much too sensitive and grumpy to add feeling like a failure to my list of troubles, so here are a few tips for getting along with an introverted spouse.

  1. When your spouse says, “It’s not you, it’s me,” believe it. We get grumpy. We require solitude. It’s nothing personal.
  2. Help your spouse find moments of solitude, especially if you have children. If your spouse seems grumpy, offer to take over as a parent and suggest your spouse do whatever he or she needs to do to re-energize.
  3. If your spouse grunts one-word answers to your questions, it probably means that your spouse does not have the emotional ability to carry on a conversation in that moment. Again, this is nothing personal. Every time you ask a question, your spouse’s nervous system reacts as if it were just plunked down in the middle of a loud rock concert where two completely different types of bands – say Moby and Rush—are playing in the same room, at the same time, and at 1000 decibels each–along with millions of cheering fans who are crowded so close together that they are sharing each other’s air. And while that might turn you on, it’s torture for an introvert. If you really need to get an answer to your question, write it down and ask your spouse to give you an answer at his or her earliest convenience.
  4. If you are an extrovert and in need of companionship, allow your introverted spouse to offer companionship in spurts. Introverts can be social. We can be conversationalists. We can even be engaging. But we can only do it sometimes. We have an on, but our on only works if you allow us to have a lot of off, too.
  5. Create a quiet haven for your introverted spouse. It might be a spare bedroom or somewhere in the basement or even a closet. It could be the garage. Wherever it is, it’s a Do Not Disturb Zone. That way your spouse can put him or herself in timeout as needed, so you don’t have to.

Are you an introvert or an extrovert? How do you deal with your spouse’s personality differences? Care to diagnose my little syndrome? Leave a comment.

48 comments… add one

  • Newlywed & Unemployed April 15, 2010, 10:00 pm

    I’m an introvert and my husband is an extrovert. In fact, I call him Gregarious Gary. He’s just that chatty. Most of my quirks are socially, outside the house, but here are the two solutions we’ve come up with so far.

    1. He plays concierge in social gatherings. Funnels interesting people to me, lets me quietly people watch, checks in on me and makes sure he introduces me to people or I’d probably never meet anyone.

    2. Set time limits for get togethers. I can be ‘on’, but only for a couple hours before I feel exhausted by people and conversation and being ‘on’. So we’ve learned that if we’re headed out with friends or to someone’s house, there’s got to be a start time and an end time. As often as possible, these things are not allowed to drag indefinitely.
    .-= Newlywed & Unemployed´s last blog ..Do Things You’ve Never Done =-.

    Reply
  • Frugal Kiwi April 15, 2010, 10:50 pm

    Alisa, I’m a massive introvert. Seriously. I have the same issues that you do with being overwhelmed by people, sound and lights. This is probably all to do with a part of your brain called the Reticular Activating System (RAS) which responds to stimuli like food or social contact. I learned about this whilst watching Robert Winston’s programme on personality in the BBC series The Human Mind. You can read a tiny bit about it and the lemon juice personality experiment at http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/humanbody/mind/articles/personalityandindividuality/lemons.shtml I know that the idea that lemon juice and social contact affect the same part of the brain is odd, but there you go.

    Essentially the theory is that introverts have a high level of internal stimulation so additional stimulation whether from lemon juice or social contact produces a large response whilst extroverts take a vastly larger amount of stimulation to get a similar response. The packing tape experiment they have on the show is amusing and enlightening. I’m betting you could get a hold of a copy to watch on Netflix if not your local video shop. The Personality show is the second in the series.
    .-= Frugal Kiwi´s last blog ..Svelte Felt Sphinx Minx =-.

    Reply
  • Kathleen Quiring April 16, 2010, 7:00 am

    In psychology we learned the same thing that Frugal Kiwi is talking about: introverts are more sensitive to sensory stimulation. The two are connected. It’s not a disorder, it’s just a “symptom” of your introversion. My husband and I are both the same way.

    Sometimes my husband and I worry that there is something wrong with us because we eat our dinners in silence, drive places together in silence, and both like to go home and get to bed early. But it’s nice that as a pair of introverts we understand each other. He doesn’t have to explain to me why he doesn’t want to talk sometimes. I get it.
    .-= Kathleen Quiring´s last blog ..Divorcing the Church and Doubting Marriage =-.

    Reply
    • Hamza Siddiqui October 13, 2012, 2:06 pm

      hi Kathleen Quiring, I got inspired by reading ” My husband and I are both the same way” and ” But it’s nice that as a pair of introverts we understand each other. “…I am an introvert, and so do my to be spouse. She is also an introvert. But i am a kind of introvert who wants to talk and discuss, ( Only with certain people ), I love book reading and self development, but my to be spouse is not so talkative and do not do discussions with me… but I want her to do this …It makes me feel LOVED and Cared…Can we be together…happy?..

      Ia m asking from you because you both are introverts ( you and your husband(

      Reply
      • Hamza Siddiqui November 26, 2012, 12:33 am

        I haven’t got a reply yet :)

  • Joanne April 16, 2010, 10:00 am

    Dear Alisa;

    I am an extrovert who married an introverted man. He married me with three children, you can imagine the adapting that took. After my oldest moved out I got my husband out of town for the weekend with his buddies and my friends and I in 1 weekend converted my daughters room into a haven for him. I pergoed the floor, Put up shelves for his collectibles, put in a computer and even an electric fireplace. I did put pictures of all of us on the wall and a sign that says, Always remember to kiss your wife, and surprised him with it when he came home. He cried because he said he had never felt totally understood and accepted until he met me.

    How could I not be understanding. He knows I don’t like touching food and I don’t like my food touching on my plate. He has always served me chicken that he took off the bone and baked potato that he took out of the skin. When he makes my lunch he cuts my apple into slices and peels my orange for me. And yes I feel loved for who I am.

    We can relax together in the evening and even though he isn’t talking he always has a hand touching me to meet my needs.

    We still have issues but I have always loved him just as he is and he has made sure I have no doubt that he loves me.

    Reply
    • Rebecca August 10, 2012, 1:58 pm

      Thank you so much for this post. I am not usually one to comment but I have been really struggling with how to act around my introvert husband. I too am an extrovert and am currently out of work while I obtain my masters, needless to say I’m home more than I used to be. He has a fairly stressful job and when he is home he likes to unwind and relax in his own way. I need to learn to take it personally that it’s not about me since he repeatedly tells me that it’s not. I love your idea of the room and am going to do just that. Thanks so much for sharing your story.

      Reply
  • Joanne April 16, 2010, 10:08 am

    Being a social creature I can go anywhere and meet anyone and multi-task like it is no one else’s business. Ray isn’t as explained earlier. He will go out with us to social engagements but we have what we laughing call a code phrase that he uses when it is time to leave. Something like “The yankees are playing at home tonight.” Laughingly all our children and friends of course know this system and will crack up when he says something. Early on I would say that that was Ray’s way of saying he wanted some alone time with me so now they all think he’s getting me home to “get lucky”. We just let them believe it, it adds to the merriment and most of the time we both feel very lucky with each other.

    Reply
  • MarthaandMe April 16, 2010, 1:02 pm

    I’m introverted too so I understand where you’re coming from. I’m also an only child who grew up in the country w/ no kids nearby, so I’m simply used to being along. I work at home though so I am alone all day and by the time the husband gets home, I’m ready for companionship. After 20 yrs of marriage I think he gets it pretty well. And I too become angry when an unknown someone moves things on me. Maybe I’m going blind.

    Reply
  • Stephanie April 16, 2010, 1:22 pm

    What an excellent post–I really identify with this, though I never really connected the fact that I am an introvert with the whole sensory stimulation overload thing, I definitely think there is a correlation. I also get extremely confused and grumpy when there is too much sensory input. My husband is the opposite–he loves to listen to loud music IN THE MORNING and I am like HELLO, SOMEONE PLEASE GET THIS SLEDGEHAMMER OFF OF MY BRAIN. When he cleans it’s like a HUGE, load tornado sweeps through and it makes my nervous system feel like it’s going to explode. I have never understood why he can’t just do things slowly and quietly, one thing at a time. We are just figuring out how to work with these differences and your post will be very helpful–will be sharing it with him! And p.s. I am also sensitive to light. Very interesting.

    Reply
  • Lauren April 16, 2010, 1:42 pm

    Hmm, this sounds familiar! Understanding the less-obvious parts of my spouse’s personality has made our married life a much more pleasant experience. It was actually when I started reading the parenting book, “Raising Your Spirited Child,” that I realized that one of us is an extrovert (me!) and one of us is not. Now I know that he doesn’t need the same kind of stimulation as I do and that at times, all he wants is to avoid it. Understanding that made it much easier for me to give myself permission to find other ways to meet my personal needs, which were getting ignored in the monotony of my quiet little SAHM world. Giving myself time to make phone calls or hang out with other friends means I’m refueled and ready to be a better partner without forcing my needs on him.

    Reply
  • Scott April 16, 2010, 4:28 pm

    I’m the introvert and my wife is the extravert. We do our best to accomodate each other’s differences. I’ll sometimes go along to a social gathering just becuase I know how much it means to her. And sometimes she’ll say no to something, just because she knows my natures and tries to honor that. It works for us. I think our differences are good for each other in that we both get stretched a bit toward things we might not otherwise do.
    .-= Scott´s last blog ..Are We Becoming A Post-Marriage Society? =-.

    Reply
  • Roxanne @ Champion of My Heart April 16, 2010, 5:47 pm

    Well, now that’s odd. I’m a major extrovert, but I also have some sensory sensitivities. One of my longtime friends/mentors swears it’s from being born premature, like my nerves weren’t cooked yet … when the world first made it’s noisy assault.

    I spent last weekend at a blogger conference, and I could NOT sleep. Being with that many people for 3 days wore me out.

    Maybe I’m just out of practice after 10 years freelancing. Seriously, that’s more human contact than I get in a year (or more).

    My sympathies. I hope your world got quiet, dark, and mellow again real soon.

    Reply
    • Kayle August 9, 2011, 2:38 pm

      you may be an extroverted HSP. While there are are some overlaps with innies in the profile, it’s not impossible. Check it out and good luck!

      Reply
  • Alisa Bowman April 16, 2010, 5:57 pm

    Thanks to all you introverts (and special thanks to Frugal Kiwi for that link because I can’t wait to watch it). It never occurred to me that the two were linked. But suddenly I’m wondering this: for those of you with the sensory issues, were you told that you were a colicy baby? Supposedly babies with colic are sensitive to stimulation. I’m wondering if this is a carry over. I had colic. But it’s just a lay theory of mine. As you know, I have plenty where that came from….
    .-= Alisa Bowman´s last blog ..Should you role play? =-.

    Reply
  • Julie Roads April 16, 2010, 7:48 pm

    Where did your twitter thing go?

    I’m with you – when I need to be alone…I just do. But I’m usually the one that doesn’t…so this is all great to hear.

    And I adore you – even if you have a D-word.
    .-= Julie Roads´s last blog ..Rapid hearts =-.

    Reply
  • Kathy April 16, 2010, 8:10 pm

    I’m an extrovert. But totally get being an introvert. I think I’m a closet introvert.

    You have the same disorder as I do. I blame mine on my lack of hearing. I only hear 75% in my left ear and 50% in my right ear. But if it’s a loud high pitched sound, I hear 150% in both ears. And my nose works so well, I put some blood hounds to shame. I think my nose works extra for my lack of hearing. That’s just my guess.

    Even tho I’m don’t hear as I should, noise really gets to me. It’s almost as if I’m straining to hear what I might be missing and end up hearing more than I want to.

    My husband and I are both extroverts. But he’s the most introverted extrovert I’ve ever met. Basically, he’s a bigger closet introvert than I am.

    Our big personality difference are that I’m a Feeling and Perceptive type while he’s a Thinking and Judging type – we’re talking oil and water or a lit match to a can of gasoline. We’ve gotten over our differences in two ways: I got counseling for my childhood issues and we both read numerous books on Myers-Briggs personality types and how to get along with the opposite type. The two in combination has made a world of difference in our relationship.

    We use the word “fussy” around here when I’m in a “don’t want to interact” mood. I think we’re going to have to come up with a new word – I just started having heat waves (my word for hot flashes, since they last up to 15 minutes) and I’m not pleasant while I’m in the middle of one. I take any thing my husband says completely in the wrong manner. And the condescending tone my husband can use, really doesn’t go over well in the middle of a “heat wave”. (I’m having a heat wave right now. I just asked my husband to blow on me. He’s afraid it will fan the fire.)

    (Lost my train of thought and went and read what Frugal Kiwi wrote.)

    Reply
  • Robert Keteyian April 16, 2010, 8:12 pm

    It seems to me that you are highly kinesthetic–processing a lot of information through your senses. Our strengths also cause us trouble in certain situations. I am highly auditory (I sing), which is clearly a strength. But like you I can’t filter out sounds in public places, so often get a little nuts in noisy restaurants, etc. It functions as both strength and weakness.

    Also, I am very interpersonally driven (which I don’t think of as extroversion). My wife is very intrapersoanally driven. I think out loud, she tends to think more internally. Very different styles. She needs more space, I need more engagement. There can be friction around these differences. In the early years we were confused by this, wanting the other to be more like us. Of course that goes nowhere. But we learned how to give enough of what the other needs to create balance without trying to be like the other person. I think a lot of conflict is driven by these inherent differences. It is tempting to think that things would be better if we had the same style. But that’s not true either. Too much engagement can become overwhelming and too much space can breed confusion.

    Actually we’re all quirky and difficult in our own way. Accepting that goes a long way toward creating relational harmony.

    Reply
  • Kim April 16, 2010, 8:21 pm

    Okay, I’ve always considered myself an extrovert but I SO relate to your noise sensitivity. And with 3 talkative young kids I find myself yelling crazy things whenever I’m overwhelmed. I have ADD so I’ve assumed my inability to multi-task (thinking through the act of washing dishes, for example, while fielding triple-threat questions and really trying not to forget about the boiling water on the stove) was to blame. I was also a premie but I don’t know if I had colic — I’ll have to ask. Thank you for making me feel normal, once again. Have a great (quiet, low-key) weekend!

    Reply
  • Andi April 16, 2010, 10:14 pm

    I am an introvert married to an extrovert and best friends with an extrovert. My best friend knows that no matter how much I love her, I can only take her in small spurts, which works out great we have a very long lunch once a month and we are good. As for my husband, I listen to him when he needs to talk out his emotions even when it has been two hours and all I want to do is go to sleep! And sometimes we go out for a social evening for dinner with another couple – about every 3 months. In turn, my hubby knows I am a home body who needs quiet so we try to balance the best we can.
    .-= Andi´s last blog ..French Friday – Le Business of La Bise =-.

    Reply
  • India April 17, 2010, 2:13 am

    Weird. About the colic thing – apparently I screamed every night between 6pm and 10pm. I think I was probably saying “Mum, put me the f*** DOWN, stop talking, turn out the lights, stop cooing, stop trying to make me smile and give me some freskin’ S-P-A-C-E”

    You’ll have gathered I too am ‘the introvert’, the ‘highly sensitive’, ‘kinesthetic’ or whatever other label we might choose (‘nuts’ on most occasions), but it’s good to hear that it’s not just me who gets livid when I’ve left something infront of my eyes but can no longer see it, leaves stuff to boil over on the hob and then gets irate at the hob for not being cool enough, yells when I step on a stray piece of lego. Do you go ape when someone accidentally knocks into you? Man, I could maim someone …

    My husband really wants to be with me – ALL the time (I put it down to his libra rising (and other things that rise of their own accord)), I want to be on my own, in a cave with candles, a cat and a campfire. He wants to go to a nightclub; he might as well chain me up in hell.

    My daughter wants to be with me ALL the time, engaging me in 101 questions about life. I love that, of course I do, but only about 3 at a time, before I reach for the ‘off switch’. (and I wish she had one too)

    Even the rabbit runs up to me every time I walk near her and she nibbles my feet in that ‘love me’ way.

    What is it about introverts – do we attract people to us or something?

    So how do I cope? Well I take an hour our every afternoon; no one is allowed to disturb me unless the house has blown up – and even then, only if it’s an ABSOLUTE emergency.
    I get up earlier than everyone else and just stare into space gormlessly enjoying the silence.
    Sometimes when DD has gone to bed I take an hour out upstairs and THEN I’ll join my husband. He’s been missing me all that time, but like you said, he’s better off without me if I haven’t had my ‘me time’ (after 12 years together I still can’t convince him of that, but there we are – I’m totally blessed that he adores the ground I fart on).

    My DD has gotten it already; she really gets that if I don’t have daily ‘mum time’, I turn into Beelzebub’s pubes, the night before his period is due.

    So yeah, gentle, quite and tender (((HUGS))) from a mad kinesthetic woman who misplaces things (mostly her sanity) in this loud, brash world. No advice, but lots of sympathy…

    Reply
    • Kayle August 9, 2011, 2:44 pm

      I think we do attract people, when they’re not offended at us not being attracted to them. nature abhors a vacuum??

      I’m a morning silence person too. I never talk to anyone until I get to work, with the exception of longstanding phone dates with family during morning walks, otherwise, it’s BUZZ OFF! or whyareyoutalkingrightnowwhydontyoujustgobequiet???

      Reply
  • janet April 17, 2010, 6:23 am

    My children each have sensory issues. You could consult with an occupational therapist to learn how to de-sensitize yourself to some of the sensory inputs – the goal is to keep yourself on a more even keel and, if that’s not possible, to have strategies to cope (which you do but kicking your husband out of the house might not be possible each time!). As for sound, an audiologist can help with filtering – when all those sounds are overwhelming, there may be an auditory filtering issue (this can present with a kid who is distracted by each and every sound and is unable to pay attention, e.g. in class or to get homework done). I’ve learned so much about my own sensory processing by learning about how my children work!

    Reply
  • Debra April 17, 2010, 7:31 am

    Great post Alisa. I totally recognize myself in this; although my husband is way more introverted than me, when we were first together one of our biggest issues was that when I got home from work I didn’t want to see or talk to him and he felt he’d done something wrong. I’ve learned over the years that I can be extroverted and around people for a while, but then I will be exhausted and need to recharge.

    And the light and sound thing is so true; i hate harsh, bright lighting and loud noises/sounds. I was a colicky baby; and I think both my younger sons are the same — they weren’t colicky, but when my youngest was in day care he would complain about how “loud” the other kids were.
    .-= Debra´s last blog ..I’m Scared =-.

    Reply
  • Alexandra April 18, 2010, 9:11 am

    After 20 + years with an introverted spouse, I have learned to respect periods of introspection and interact gingerly. Actually, my husband has both, introvert and extrovert, ie. manic depressive personality. With age, these tendencies have smoothed out, so there’s hope for anyone in a similar situation.
    .-= Alexandra´s last blog ..When Are Herbicides Part of a “Green Commitment?” =-.

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  • Jennifer Margulis April 20, 2010, 11:54 pm

    That’s interesting Frugal Kiwi. I would never have pegged you for an introvert! Though I guess a lot of writers are.

    I am pretty extroverted BUT I really really need some time and space alone. James is an introvert (or mostly introverted) BUT he often needs time with other people, or help connecting and communicating.

    Harriet Lerner’s book, “The Dance of Intimacy,” deals with these relationship issues really effectively. I think your tips are excellent. And your readers might also enjoy her book.

    Reply
  • Roxanne May 3, 2010, 11:02 am

    I am an extrovert wife an an introvert husband. An autistic introvert at that, which is why I’m posting. He seemed relatively normal when we were dating and through our engagement. By normal, I mean not so extremely introverted that I can’t have a relationship with him. Over time, he told me about extreme sensitivities to light, sound, tastes/smells, and sometimes textures. He also has bouts of depression and extreme anxiety (the one thing in common that keeps our happy marriage together =) j/k). About two years ago he was diagnosed with autism, more specifically in the Aspergers realm. From what you described, your D-word sounds like the A-word. You should look up Aspergers and see if you think it’s a fit. (Being autistic sounds crazy for a mostly-functioning adult, or so I thought. Turns out there are multiple explanations for seemingly normal people who secretly live in the hell of extreme sensitivities and desire frequent isolation from everyone, even from their spouses – who happen to have social needs, too.) Knowing more about the condition has made things a lot easier for our marriage. Good luck.

    Reply
  • George May 25, 2010, 11:37 am

    Just getting caught up on my e-mails. I loved this one, I am an Introverted Extrovert. I have to be an extrovert because of my job, but left to my own, I am naturally an introvert. I really liked your advice, I need to find a way to share this with my wife without threatening her.

    Reply
  • OneHotTamale25 June 28, 2010, 11:15 pm

    An introvert? You? ;)

    My husband and I discussed a “fortress of solitude” just a few weeks ago. In the discussion he said some of the very things you mentioned in this post:

    When I need to get away, just let me.

    If I seem off the handle, I just need to cool off from whatever made me upset. That probably wasn’t you, but if you stick around you’ll still be a target… so go away.

    Hmm? What? Oh. Yeah. I’m just tired.

    It’s a hard knock life being an extrovert with an introverted partner. Blessedly your tips and his newfound “vocal-ness” really help both of us manage the social differences.

    Reply
  • dhimpz April 11, 2011, 10:29 pm

    im an extrovert person and my husband is introvert. here’s the story, we almost lived in for about 8 months and we juat got married last 12th of march, ’11. im just saying in our house for about 3 weeks, because i quit at my work because of my pregnancy condition. im a happy person love chatting to other person but my husband is really introvert wen he arrives at home we will eat dinner and after dinner he just went to our room and play online games until wee hours i need him to talk to me giggling and laughing out together for atleast just in a while.. while he is playing id tried to talk to him but he shows no interest at all, he do that everyday… what should i do with our situation i just dont want to pass our days together without growint, how can we know each other much more?? please i need some advice

    Reply
  • Bob July 4, 2011, 9:32 am

    Ms. Bowman,
    Please see this website http://www.hsperson.com/
    The author’s books are very informative and can help people like ourselves understand our personalities and how we fit into an extroverted world. I highly recommend her work.
    Regards.

    Reply
  • K September 30, 2011, 4:01 pm

    Alisa,
    Thank you for writing such a clear, precise matter of fact article. I am an extrovert married to a total introvert (i will say on the out set the love of my life) however, he is hard work at the best of times to say the least. He is the kind of guy who needs 20 hrs a day on his own just to handle 4 hrs of human contact.
    I knew what i was getting into before i married him but for the last 16 mths he’s been unemployed and minding our 15mth old girl. over the last 8/9 mths he has totally gone in on himself and is struggling so much. My hours are long and i have to stay working to keep money coming in, which is important as i have a good job and a big mortgage. The problem is he has retreated so much into himself nothing gets done, at all. I’m working , cleaning, cooking, shopping, organizing, you name it and i do it, it’s like he’s just check out of life. I’ve gotten to the stage where I’m just tried, I’m loosing my personality and myself and work is stressful at the best of times.He is a great father and when he has the energy a great husband.
    I know he needs more time to himself but i give him as much as i can at the weekend. We can’t afford childcare with bills and mortgage so i need him minding our girl during the week. What can i do to help him, he is sinking.

    Reply
  • Aisha June 15, 2012, 9:58 pm

    Thank you for suggesting Asperger’s Syndrome. I’m more extroverted than my husband and he’s been trying to educate me on what things are like for him. He doesn’t like being around/interacting with lots of people; doesn’t take social verbal or nonverbal cues well; small talk is extremely difficult for him; he has always been hypersensitive with clothing and noises; as a child he was more comfortable around adults (as a teenager he only hung out with the teachers or family); he has a great memory and a good head for math; and his use of facial expressions and body language, very awkward and often inappropriate to what he’s trying to convey.

    Perhaps he does have Asperger’s, which would make understanding him so much easier! We are looking into it. I never knew much about the disorder and didn’t even think about it until I read Roxanne’s post. The symptoms seem to fit. And thank you for this blog post in general! I refer to it often and it’s really helping our relationship.

    Reply
  • Ms. J August 21, 2012, 7:33 am

    It sounds easy but honestly it’s very difficult. I have an introvert husband. Since we we’re boyfriend’s and girlfriends. I’am very tormented about his character. there is no moment that when I asked him something it’s either he will answer me with a long pause like (10min) or he will look at me like he wanted to strangle me or he will reply with so much irritation. I think it’s not an excuse whether a person is introvert or extrovert. The point is we need to compromise. As adults and as a married couple we can’t give justifications of our negative sides. Because I think whatever it is we have to put a lot of effort to try and compromise to work the relationship!

    Reply
  • Angel November 25, 2012, 2:59 pm

    Google: “Highly Sensitive Person” You will be relieved :)

    Reply
  • Marie December 28, 2012, 9:42 am

    I am an extrovert and my unemployed husband is an introvert. We separated approximately one month ago, at my request. I love my husband but we are so very different and I find it more than irritating. I ask a question and he looks at me like he wants to chop my head off. Routine is his lover! He must eat at a certain time, he must eat in a certain manner, he must get ready in a certain order, he must shave, shower and do laundry on schedule. He does not like to be around people very much and stays in his “man cave” a lot. All of this is WAY beyond me. I do things at a moments notice, I like to be around others and have friends at my home. He doesn’t like my joking and finds my silliness to be an irritant…most of the time. We have fought many fights and finally (after ONE YEAR of marriage) I said that I couldn’t handle it anymore. I have always maintaned my love for him but my “wife’s heart” for him had died.

    Now that we’ve had some space, I am doing research on introverted behavior to see if there is something that can be done to save our marriage. I want a fulfilling, satisfying marriage and I want the same for him. He doesn’t know how to nuture me. He knows how to play games, watch youtube.com and read about why diet coke is bad for you but he can’t seem to invest in me.

    I’m writing all of this to ask if there is hope for an extrovert and introvert to make it? I don’t want to “change” him but I do need compromise and someone who can truly invest in me….to some degree. He is willing to work on things. The question is: Is it too much work and not enough true enjoyment. ???? Any thoughts?

    Reply
    • Hamza Khurshid December 30, 2012, 10:22 am

      Peace be upon you Marie, I just want to say that there are more things to personality than being an introvert or extrovert.

      The way you described the situations, it seems to me that he is also very ” Judgemental ” ( not judging, but orderly and thorough ) and I think that you should not try and INDIRECT approach, sit in silence with him and then bring up the topic in a way which you believe he will listen, and then DISCUSS what you want from him and from relationship.

      One of the ways is to sign an imaginary LOVE CONTRACT – to agree on doing our best to fulfill the needs and values of our partner. And include your values like Growing Together, Learning Together, Playing together having a fun time with each other. and let him/her know how to do that if he/her is getting confused.

      Just try a direct and loving approach.

      Reply
  • April Byrd January 7, 2013, 10:26 am

    I stumbled upon this post after I literally googled “how to deal with an introvert”. I am the extreme extrovert, my husband is the extreme introvert, and after 4 years for being married I am just now finding out how wrong I have been in dealing with my husbands personality. This post helped me so much because it helped me realize that #1, I need to stop taking things so personally and #2, my husband and I are just different people and there is noting wrong with me or him. My husband just likes to be alone, he is very quiet and stays to himself the majority of the time. I mean literally, we can be in the same room for hours and he will not say two words to me. In the past I have taken this personally but today I am working on realizing that this is just HIS personality and it has nothing to do with me. When he is ready and has energy to give out, we do spend time together and cuddle and do everything that he knows I love to do, but as an extrovert I have to realize that these things just cannot happen all the time due to our different personalities. I can’t make my husband feel like something is wrong with him any longer. He does love to have me around, we just can’t be jumping off the walls all day and laughing hysterically at everything all the time and being sociable whenever I am ready to; I have to be more understanding, and I am. Thank you for this. I will also be reading the ebook. This is a wonderful blog and website.

    Reply
    • Amy January 1, 2014, 1:42 pm

      April, this is so helpful to read, because I feel the EXACT same way with my boyfriend. I take things personally and feel rejected when he isn’t talking, but it’s great to read about other people in the same situation. I cherish those moments when my boyfriend is cuddly and sweet and talkative and we laugh, but you are so right, we just can’t expect that to happen nonstop or whenever WE want it to . Best of luck!

      Reply
  • Lynette March 15, 2013, 1:25 pm

    Diagnosis? You’re just an introvert. So am I, and a lot of really talented people out there – in all professions and walks of life.

    We often have highly sensitive nervous systems, as well as a strong need to withdraw in order to allow our energy tanks to fill up again. It’s not weird’ it’s just different. Extroverts need to go seek stimulation to stay energized, or even engage in daring, activities.
    My former roommate loved to talk while the TV was on, and at the same time doing a detailed task. It drove me crazy, but we managed to negotiate these differences in time.

    I just wrote a book about how introverts struggle to survive in a culture that idealizes extroversion (yes, we do in the US). It’s called The Confident Introvert.

    Reply
  • Ann Washburn March 30, 2013, 8:25 am

    I am not necessarily an extrovert, I know that. But for 15 years of marriage, he has always kept to his computer in his room, playing his online video games, checking out all the websites on StumbleUpon.com. He is more interested in video games than interacting with his family. I have felt for YEARS that I have a roommate who calls me sweetie and rarely interacts with me. We have two children that he doesn’t do much interacting with either. The oldest has become an introvert like dad. The youngest is an extrovert who is still young enough that he doesn’t really realize that daddy doesn’t spend much time interacting with him.

    My husband is the breadwinner, and does work long hours, but even during the 10 years that he was a stay at home dad, I still felt like I was just a roommate. I get very depressed, feeling like just a roommate. As I mentioned at start of post, I am hardly an extrovert myself, so I don’t have any friends at all, have always been basically a loner. The only interaction I have these days is with my young son. I have been searching on the internet for an appropriate forum/support group but have been unsuccessful in finding anything.

    Reply
  • Andrew April 13, 2013, 3:20 pm

    Hey, I don’t know how to class myself as an introvert or extrovert, but maybe I’m a mix of both in a sense. Anyways, I want to learn how to deal with an introvert and get them to really like you. My now ex gf is an introvert, and pretty strong. I thought she didn’t like me and was anti social, but now I see she is an introvert. I get worried when she doesn’t talk to me, so I was wondering how do I deal with her? Ive read other articles on introversion, but I still need help. I gotta figure out a way to get her to like me again because ive made mistakes and want them to fix them. Overall, how do I get an introvert to like me?

    Reply
    • zack January 10, 2014, 11:28 am

      Try finding out what she’s really passionate about, but try to not get caught she probably doesn’t want to fell like you are just trying to interact for the sake of interacting. I’m extremely introverted and if I find something that I can talk about that I find passionate I become more open to that person overall. but you have to truly want to listen and engage on a deeper level. I find people discuses something with me but when I want to find out more about why it happens, why one person thinks that way people just want to move on to a different topic. it makes me feel like they feel its to hard to view stuff from other perspectives and consider that the other view might be right even if its not socially acceptable.

      Reply
  • brooke June 10, 2013, 8:33 pm

    I’ve stumbled upon this blog while searching “extrovert married to introvert”. I am considered the extrovert while my husband is the introvert. We have been married for 6 years & have a 1 yr old daughter. I’ve always said I informally diagnosed my husband with Aspergers. The symptoms just seem to fit. However, we recently, as in just started up again this evening, began counseling. The transition to my husband’s career & new baby has really taken a toll on our relationship. The therapist mentioned the differnce between our personalities as part of the issue. After reading your blog, & all the comments, I see I have some areas to improve myself & the way I deal with my husband’s charateristics to truly make our marriage work. Luckily, he’s always had his own “space”, but it’s all making so much sense now. Thank you.

    Reply
  • Aquaria September 20, 2013, 3:25 am

    All of your symptoms about light, sound and so on indicate that you have sensory processing disorder. A lot of autism spectrum disorder people have it, but so do normal people. Whether or not you’re Asperger’s is something only a professional can determine.

    Now for the Introverted side of the coin, from a female loner:

    Being a female loner has been a living hell, because people are so cruel about it. Even my own mother treated me like I was a freak.

    You get really angry when you go through life being made to feel like there’s something wrong with you. You really start to hate people.

    I hate them so much that I have no friends, and I DO NOT MISS HAVING THEM. Good grief, you extroverts are so selfish and demanding. You have ZERO concept of boundaries or personal space.

    Now I just tell all of you to go away, they’re interrupting something I prefer to do than listening to your moronic blathering.

    If I’m a misanthrope, blame yourselves. Extroverts and their selfishness, thoughtlessness, and despicable bigotry and hatefulness terrorized me until I stopped buying their lies and disrespect.

    Here’s some reality for extroverts from the last person you want to deal with, a brutally honest extrovert:

    You’re NOT entitled to my space, my time or my attention. If you can’t respect that, then I don’t have to respect you. I will never really respect your incessant demands for attention, your inane babbling and certainly not your appalling ignorance and hatefulness toward loners.

    We wouldn’t have to spell this out to extroverts would get the stinking clue about how rude and hateful they are to us loners.

    Any other loners notice how hypocritical most extroverts are, being so into people, but having such atrocious manners?

    Reply
  • Christel December 27, 2013, 4:04 am

    Hi

    I am an extrovert (39) and my husband of 1 year is an introvert (47 years old). I am his second wife and he was alone for 8 years after his divorce.

    I read the blog above and it is all good and well. But what about MY needs as the extrovert here? I need to feel connected. I need to feel close! All you introverts do most of the day is push people away. I hate that. Why do you marry an extrovert if you are just going to hurt their feelings all the time? Why do you have kids if you can’t stand the noise? I might sound harsh, but sometimes I get SO sad and I think that introverts should marry fellow introverts!!! And stop complaining about the extroverts who just doint get it.

    My husband is quite a big introvert and he is so tired and overstimulated after a week of work in marketing, that he treats me badly every Friday night. He is grumpy and would say the most horrible things. I feel unwlcome in my own home!

    He is also not very sexual and I attribute that to his introversion too. If you are in “push-everyone-away” mode, you dont want to hanky-panky – at all. I wish I knew before we got married, how hard being married would be to my husband. Sometimes he says: My happiest time of day is when I am alone in my car on my way to or from work. Gee thanks! That makes me feel really welcome! (And we so not even have children!)

    I know I sould give him space. I try. And I do. I also achieve great success by not taking things personally (like being pushed away or like his sighing and moaning (not in a good way) when I try to make love to him. But sometimes I just feel so sorry for myself. He would spend hours in the garden, just standing with the hose in his hand, watering the flowerbeds. (He is no moron, he is highly intelligent – so it’s not as if he is just too stupid to engage.) Every time friends invite us, it is a mission. He keeps complaining and he does not want to go. (Although he enjoys it in the end!) I try to help by offering that we go in two cars so he can leave earlier or arrive a little later (which is weird, but we always have a good excuse to offer friends for the two car arrangement.)

    There was a time in our marraige that he constantly said – I just need to be alone.

    That hurts. How does one establish intimacy witha person who just wants to push you away!!!

    Eventually, after a year of being married, we are getting better at living together. Sometimes I purposely let him have the house to himself and I visit friends or ralatives to let him have his me-time. I often sleep in another room to let him have his space. I don’t bother him when he is taking his long baths and I don’t bug him when he is in the garden. I encourage him to take lang walks alone with his dog or to go cycling. But the bottomline remains: Sometimes he makes me feel SO rejected and in the way. When he has had a tough day, he needs to be left alone – wich shuts me out – which destroys intimacy.

    So the bottomline really is: introverts are like cats: they need you, they miss you even when you are gone, but they also push you away quite a lot. You will often feel very frustrated. As an extrovert you will OFTEN not have your emotional needs met. You will probably have a crappy sex life. You will be pushed away, ignored, told to leave them alone and rejected.

    All for a few moments of closeness.

    I honestly don’t know if it is all worth it. I should have married an extrovert. But I love my husband and I will never leave him.

    Suppose I should just focus more on my own interests and all the bull that self-help books teach us. Yeah. BUT: Nothing replaces the welcoming smile of a spouse who is truly happy that you’re home…

    Reply
  • Marie June 23, 2014, 4:20 pm

    My first post was at a time when I was desperately searching for answers (not that I still don’t need some). My husband and I reconciled just over a year ago. It has been very hard but we are doing better. We have seen a counselor but hubby doesn’t like going and I find that if a person doesn’t want to go, they will get nothing out of it. Period. Horse. Water. No drinkie!

    I personally feel that my husband has a form of Aspbergers Syndrome (although he refuses to take any testing). He does realize that he has to take steps to meet me in the middle; it can’t just be on his terms nor can it be on mine. I am praying that God will continue to overshadow us with His love and show us how to better care for one another. But our reality is that we are two very different people and will always have to work more than the average couple. We talk more and try to have more fun in life. We are donig better and enjoying life more than we were so that is encouraging to me! :)

    Reply
  • Rebecca June 28, 2014, 7:36 pm

    This post was from many years ago. Have you figured out your “disorder” yet? lol Sounds like you are highly sensitive, which is not a disorder, but a personality trait. About 15% of the population is highly sensitive. I am. Extroverts can be highly sensitive too, but it’s mostly introverts. Check out this website: http://www.hsperson.com

    Reply

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