I’ve mentioned several times about how my husband Jim has tried to understand my high sensitivity.
At first, he didn’t buy into the idea at all. Slowly, over time, I could tell he was accepting it more. He was able to observe, realtime, my visceral reactions to things that I’d told him about re: HSP.
For example, if we were taking a walk and a big bus went by and its brakes did that insanely loud SCREEECH sound, my hands would fly up to cover my ears in pain. Previously, when I did this, he rolled his eyes and acted like I was being annoying. But now, he gets that I can’t help how my brain processes that noise. That’s just one (not great) example.
And now, sometimes he does something that I can tell is a clear effort to be accommodating to my more difficult issues. In those moments I have to smile and laugh a little, because it’s so sweet that he’s trying to help. It really touches me.
He wants to help me because he cares about me. I mean, when a person you love has a challenge, you try to help. I would do the same for him.
But there may be some danger in this premise.
If you have an accommodating partner, it could be easy to take advantage. You could “milk” their care to your advantage.
So, um….don’t do that. That’s bad.
As an HSP, I try to be very aware of his feelings, too. I would never purposely take advantage of his efforts to help me.
Because I am also an introvert, I love spending time with just the two of us. There are moments when I ask myself, “Wait a minute–are his social needs being met?” If we’ve been spending a lot of time at home, I try to recognize this and suggest going out to a movie, a bar, dinner, or somewhere with friends–even though I might not feel like it. I mean, that’s what being in a partnership is about, right? You sometimes have to do things you don’t want to do. That’s not a secret. So I try to remind myself to be more open to doing social activities, things I know he enjoys.
An Amazon reviewer of Elaine Aron’s book The Highly Sensitive Person in Love, wrote, “It is so very difficult being married to an HSP I can’t even tell you. But the hardest part is the attitude, ‘Well, that’s the way I am, so too bad.’ ”
This really bums me out. It makes me sad to think an HSP might use their sensitivity as a crutch or ignore their partner’s needs. It also makes me sad that the partner might not be willing to extend a bit of understanding to the HSP partner. It sounds like one–or both–of them need to learn how to find a middle ground that can meet both partner’s needs. Lastly, it makes me sad to think that high sensitivity could be causing such problems in a relationship.
My partner goes out with his friends all on his own, and I coudn’t be happier. Because, you know, he can not fully relax and enjoy himself knowing that I’d rather be home. I’d say that’s a win-win situation: I get to be alone, he gets to be social.
Same here!! 🙂
Isn’t this an attitudinal crossroads for someone with any disability? Your use of the term ‘partner’ is appropriate: a two-way street if care and respect. Good post!
Thanks Deborah! With more thought (and maybe input from a relationship professional) this post could probably be much more complete, but….here it is 🙂
Very insightful article about how the two of us (my partner and I) relate. He is learning about me being an HSP and I don’t want to take advantage of his graciousness, but if he’s trying to accommodate me, I let him. If he has a suggestion for a date that I’m in an environment/at a venue I know I will be too overwhelmed to enjoy, I let him know.
Everything about relationships is compromise, a two street and accommodating the needs of both parties involved.
Glad you found this helpful!! 🙂