Dating as an introvert can be intimidating. After all, it’s a number’s game: the more people you meet, the better chance you have of finding someone perfect for you. When you’re someone whose energy is quickly spent after socialising, this can be challenging!
Throughout my twenties, I dated long distance – mostly through the necessities of career and education, but it definitely had its upsides. Even though you’re not able to see the one you love every day, there are some great advantages, such as:
- It gives you plenty of time to work on your own interests, projects and self-growth
- You will have lots of space for calm and reflection
- Often, non-conventional ways of communicating and showing affection (such as writing letters) are well-suited to introverts
However, it’s not without its challenges.
Here are 3 unexpected scenarios you might face as an introvert in a long distance relationship – and how you can make the most of them.
1. If your partner’s an extrovert, you might deal with distance very differently
Whilst some of the LDR benefits I talked about above can suit introverts down to the ground, people who are naturally very extroverted might struggle being in a long distance relationship. For example, whilst you – an introvert – might feel perfectly comfortable staying in to chat with your S.O. most evenings, if their preference is to socialise, this could create some conflicting priorities. After all, they can’t be hanging out with their friends if they’re always indoors, FaceTiming you.
Without proper communication and acknowledgement of your separate needs, this can lead to situations where the more social of the two feels restricted by the demands of the relationship and the more introverted partner feels neglected.
If you find yourself struggling, it’s essential that you talk it out together. It’s important to express your feelings, but also to acknowledge their unique needs as well. Understand that the experiences and environments that make them feel energised / calm / motivated are different to yours and that you might sometimes need to compromise – but also do a rain check and make sure you’re making enough time for each other. Have set date nights with your partner, be sure to regularly show affection and concentrate on caring for yourselves as well as each other.
2. It can be hard not having your partner with you in high-energy situations
One good thing about having a partner physically with you is that you’ve always got someone there to go to social events with. They’ve got your back at family dinners, weddings and the office Christmas party. Even in situations where others are around but you’re not expected to socialise (on the train going to work, for example) you may feel more comfortable being with someone else than being alone.
In a LDR, there’s none of that security when you’re apart. You might even find yourself going out less and less because you want to dedicate all of your free time to catching up with your S.O.
So, what can you do about it?
Embrace it as an opportunity 🙂
There’s nothing wrong with looking to your partner for support in crowded places or overwhelming situations, but it can also be a bit of a band-aid that stops you from making your own decisions.
To explain what I mean: I think there are two ways to deal with things that drain your energy. The first option is to avoid them, the second is to push your comfort zone. Either option may be suitable, depending on the specifics – namely, whether pushing yourself to do the thing that scares you will bring value to your life. Perhaps going to that interview is worth it, even though the train ride is awful. But maybe the same can’t be said for the office Christmas party.
So, although it’s nice to have someone there all the time to encourage you, you might discover more about yourself, your boundaries and your strengths by sometimes going it alone.
3. You might get too comfortable with the distance
If you’re introverted, you might find that you normally feel more comfortable communicating in writing than in person. I certainly am – it’s one reason online dating suited me (profile writing was easy and I was most attracted to people who wrote me long, detailed messages). I’m still like that in almost every case, and most of the time it’s sufficient – at work, for example.
However, if you’re dating someone seriously, you should be conscious of when you’re playing it a little too safe. If you limit your communication to only a few methods you find comfortable, things might start to feel a little fake or stale. Variety is the spice of life and the only resources you have to stay on your partner’s mind across many miles of distance are your words, your voice and your FaceTime calls. Make the most of every communication method you can.
Secondly, get comfortable with spending time together during your visits as if you’re preparing to live together. The messy complications of sharing your space with someone else are absent from LDRs, but you need to be ready, willing and able to deal with them when you finally close the distance.
Why long distance relationships are amazing for introverts
Relationships are amazing teachers. Through them, you learn a lot about what suits you and your needs, but also how to compromise and communicate with another person who is as complex and unique as yourself.
Few people get to have the opportunities that you will have, as a long distance couple, to develop a deep understanding of each other whilst also having the freedom and space to be yourselves.