I’ve felt the euphoria of minds intertwining in the most intimate and spiritual way. I’ve felt an ineffable lightness and joy from simply having the house to myself. I’ve felt intensely content being in the same room with a lover…not … Continue reading
Alone again. I feel I’ve come full circle from January 2012 when I was newly single and aching for personal expression and independence. I had an aliveness that vibrated subcutaneously, poised to spill out from my smile. I wanted to … Continue reading
Do you want to be with me or would you rather be alone?
Oodles of space2live readers have asked this question in various forms.
How much alone time do I grant the introvert before it ceases to be a relationship?
Her space is hurting our intimacy. What about me?
We only see each other once a month because he needs his alone time. Is this normal?
Magnificent alone but interested in connecting
In My Introverted Love Creed: If We Can’t Be Magnificent and Independent Together I’m OK Alone, I wrote, It seems I’m most alive when I’m dancing on the fringe of a relationship, either almost disentangled or almost entangled.
At the time, I hadn’t experienced the kind of intimacy that makes you want to caretake and bend boundaries. There was still the possibility that the next romance would be the one where I’d fall so hard I’d want to give up some me time. I truly wanted to love with an open heart but I needed to find someone who understood and respected my need to renew and create in quiet as well as my wish to co-exist in deep companionship.
My point? Introverts desire love and connection.
Introverts can be in committed relationships if we are mindful of our energy and create meaningful connections. If we create and maintain boundaries. If we act maturely and build trust by working through hurt/disappointment/frustration with our partners rather than running at the first sign of discomfort (like when we feel confined).
Some of us will request time to ourselves but want to participate consistently in a relationship too. Some know how to show up as a partner and others primarily devote energy to themselves. Most of us will exemplify and experience both scenarios in our lifetime. Neither is a bad thing but one is a hell of a lot more conducive to deep intimacy.
Why we like space
We need it for personal clarity: We don’t want to spend all of our time alone but we do need a break from people in order to get back to ourselves. It’s necessary to spend time in our inner sanctuary of thoughts, ideas and dreams in order to reduce stimulation (introverts process information and stimuli deeply) and replenish our energy.
Want to see us glow? Give us uninterrupted blocks of time alone.
Autonomy is sexy:
I have noticed that not just with men, but with social groups I want to join, potential employers and the world at large, the energy of autonomy and self-driven movement are magnets for seriously good stuff. ~ K of Wealthy and Loved and a space2live reader
We are rewarded and revered for acting independently. It’s attractive to be confident and solid in yourself. It’s healthy to know your happiness and satisfaction do not come from the outside. There is a strength in knowing you will be OK with or without a partner.
We have a mission: Introverts are generally good at concentrating. Studies have shown that we can stare out windows the longest (great?). Many of our favorite endeavors require deep concentration — writing, research, creating art, behind the scenes organizing, internet surfing;) We tend to go deep into whatever engages us. Because information travels longer neural paths for storage and retrieval in introverts, it is very difficult to stop and start such focus. We want to continue enriching our minds and our spirits. We want to finish our creations. If we find a ’cause’ to champion, we want to see it through with minimal distractions (they pull us out of deep thinking, make our heads extra buzzy). We need time to work on meaningful projects that require our close attention and give us energy.
All of this space can feel like a distancing or a pulling away from a relationship. Sometimes it is. Sometimes it is merely self-preservation.
How to tell if your person needs an introvert recharge or just isn’t into you?
1. If they simply need breathing space, they come looking for you after a break. Their eyes are bright and they want your company. If they aren’t that into you, they ask for more time or slowly drift away.
2. If they need an introversion escape then they’ll usually retreat somewhere by themselves or with one or two close companions. If they’re not that into you, they’ll voluntarily (as opposed to work or family related) socialize in groups or at bars/ parties.
3. If they’re introverted, anywhere from a few hours to a week should be sufficient for recoup time. If they are ditching you, they can go a month without connecting with or missing you. In my opinion, the relationship is on thin ice if someone voluntarily chooses to be apart for a month.
4. Considerate introverts ask for space but also set up a next time or let you know when they’ll be available. If they aren’t truly interested, they’ll keep you guessing.
The big question: How much tolerance do you have for your partner’s absence?
Have there been times when your partner asked for too much space? Did you wonder if it was lack of interest? How did you handle it?
If you enjoyed Does Your Partner Need a Lot of Space?, then you may also like:
It’s been an incredible year of growth for myself and space2live. I include my own growth in this post because based on your comments and readership I believe my personal experiences as a single introvert fumbling through love, parenthood and self-exploration, resonate with you. If they don’t resonate, you at least find them amusing or informative or you like the sexy images I include.:)
I am so grateful and thankful for your readership. I am in awe of the supportive and wise community that has gathered here at space2live. You all make me excited to get up in the morning!
Top 10 New Posts for 2013
According to WordPress’s survey monkeys, readers searched for the words: sensual, introverts and relationships, passion and how to love an introvert and found space2live. Perhaps I should change the name to space2LOVE?
1. Introverts Explained: Why We Love You But Need to Get Away From You. This is the #1 most viewed post of all time for space2live. This one has elicited extraordinary response from EXTROVERTS. They so want to understand us. Kudos to them for reaching out with questions and comments. So nice to hear how the other side sees things.
3. Video: The Space We Need: An Introvert Wakes Up, Slows Down and Starts Living According to Her True Nature The first space2live video. Readers got to ‘meet’ me on the screen.
4. The Introvert’s Love Affair with Solitude: Will It Always Be Taboo? Why is it so darn wrong to love solitude?
5. Emotional Intimacy: An Introvert’s Ultimate Turn On? Find out what makes us go crazy in a good way.
6. Understanding the Introvert Cycle: Why We Go From Irritable to Ever-Loving It really is a cycle. We love you. Go away. We love you. Go away.
7. Introverts Are Not Misanthropes: We Love Specifically, Individually and Deeply We like you, one or two at a time.
8. I’m Sorry I Hurt You in Order to Save Myself: What Introverts Feel but Don’t Always Say Sometimes we hurt you because if we don’t we deny ourselves. It bites being on the giving AND receiving end of this scenario.
9. My Introverted Love Creed: If We Can’t Be Magnificent and Independent Together I’m OK Alone Being alone is always an option with an introvert. Maybe not the first option, but an option.
10. Confessions of an Introverted Parent The parenting posts are the hardest to write. There is a deep sense of shame and guilt felt when a parent needs time away from their family. According to our culture, it’s not natural to need time alone.
Posts that embody space2live from years past
The following posts were written in 2011 or 2012 but have stood the test of time and were still in the top 10 most viewed posts:
And now for the personal lessons. If you were only interested in the most popular posts then you can cut out here. If what sparked and spoke to me interests you, then please read on…
Lessons in love
I experienced sincere, sensual and mature relationships this year. I learned there are truly good men out there. High quality can be found. The level of sensitivity I discovered was incredible and affirming.
Because of the beautiful intimacy I discovered and embraced, I learned what it feels like to have my heart-broken. I also learned how to survive afterward. Hint: You have to spearhead your own happiness and love.
On a lighter note, I figured out several small personal litmus tests for relationship longevity. Here are a couple:
It feels better and right if my partner is a reader. Books/articles are the genesis for half the things I say and savor. I am hopelessly dull and speechless without them and new insight gleaned from words is exciting to me.
It’s beneficial to our relationship if my guy enjoys food and all its facets —cooking, eating, healthy diet, conversation while dining, sensory delight. When there was no food chemistry (i.e. no enjoyment dining together or interest in food at all) I was thrown off. One time, I found myself standing by the kitchen sink
eating a single microwaved pork chop while my guy ate a granola bar across the room. That is how we ate dinner together that night. He wasn’t bothered by the lack of food, warmth and connection, but I was. It should be noted that that is not how we normally ate together and the gentleman involved is warm and sincere in nature himself.
Lessons in food, mood and energy
Speaking of food, I learned that diet profoundly affects my mood and energy. Cookies and cake make me cranky and weepy. Spinach and kale brighten my thinking. Avocado, butter and bacon make everything better.
Exploring all of this deeply now with more insights to come, I’m sure.
Lessons in parenting
I learned that I need to foster the logical and critical sides of my children even if they go against every fiber in my sensitive, ultra-feeling, harmony-loving body. I am learning to understand my boys’ natural preference for justice and impersonal decision-making. I need to respect our differences and teach them to do the same.
*Bonus piece of knowledge regarding child rearing — Laugh at yourself. Laugh with your kids. Share funny Youtube videos. Humor is the way I communicate best with my boys — my toughest audience.
Lessons in self-actualization
The times I felt the strongest, most whole and most alive were when I was engaged in projects that filled me up. I love to learn. I especially love to enhance self-awareness, both my own and that of others. I completed training in Parenting Time Expediting (working with divorced parents to create a parenting plan/schedule they both find acceptable) and became a Myers-Briggs certified practitioner. Thank you Myers-Briggs for helping me figure out I’m an iNtuitive Feeler (NF) and what that means.
During these times of learning, my mind was so abuzz with new associations, aha! moments and ways to help people, that stress dissipated in my body and home. I read with laser focus and fed my curiosity to the point where it felt like time disappeared. Though self-actualization seems like something you do solo, it actually affects those around you as well. Because I was so filled with purpose I was able to give more love and attention to my kids. I was more patient. I was more calm and balanced.
I also feel I am most attractive to men when I am independently spearheading my life. The jury is still out whether or not that is a good thing. It’s hard to maintain a brutally independent existence and weave lives together.
Which posts resonated most with you this year from space2live? Why? What topics would you like to see more of in 2014? What do you think about adding a section on space2live where readers can ask questions about relationships/introversion/self-actualizing?
**If you enjoy learning about relationships and/or the intricacies of introversion please Follow this Blog to receive more insight and stories from space2live. It would be lovely to share and learn with you. **
Space and Intimacy. Yes please! The two are not mutually exclusive for introverts. This post by T.K. Coleman arrived like a Christmas gift with its perfectly succinct and meaningful insight.
Introverts are capable of powerful love if given enough space.:)
Enjoy! Hope your holiday was beautiful.
Originally posted on T.K. Coleman:
Roger de Bussy-Rabutin wrote, “Absence is to love what wind is to fire; it extinguishes the small, it inflames the great.”
Perhaps this is because absence, like wind, is a force unto itself.
NBA superstar, Kobe Bryant, practices without a basketball. According to his former teammate, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe spends time cutting, motioning and grunting like he is dribbling and shooting but without a ball. Shaq finds this weird but admits it seems to help Kobe’s game.
Bet you didn’t think you’d get a sport’s story here.;)
Feeling weird in your own home
Two years into space2live’s existence, my oldest son declared (in our kitchen in front of his brother and sister), Introverts are weird. Making it unsafe or at least uncomfortable for any of us to admit to our introverted traits. Despite my in-depth writing and explanations regarding what it means to be an introvert, my son still saw introverts as shy, anti-social irregulars who aren’t as successful as extroverts. So sometimes, I feel weird in my own home.
For a long time I hid (somewhat unsuccessfully) my desperate need for alone time because I felt like a non-mainstream, selfish mother for desiring time away from the family. I felt out of sync with other parents/women because I couldn’t juggle multiple sports’ schedules, homework assistance, dinner preparation, household maintenance and husband attention.
I multi-task poorly. I pay attention and move through life linearly, one note at a time. I savor sounds, smells, words, tastes, touch and beauty and fail to thrive in constant busy-ness and lose energy when forced to spend money. Which in the universe I inhabit, is weird.
Sensitive = weird?
I am extraordinarily sensitive. My eyes well up at country songs with sad stories. Hell, I cry during The Voice sometimes because I am so moved by the singing.
I talk about gratitude and harmony and the heart behind every face. My sons think I’m… weird (and a hippie). The other day my middle son’s teacher spoke of gratitude and kinship in the classroom. The teacher, Mr. L, told the kids that grateful people are healthier. My son, relaying the story at our dinner table, said, He sounded like you Mom. I was so thrilled to be associated with such lovely concepts I almost cried;).
I also get a huge high from music, art, writing, intimacy, the stars, compassionate gestures and travel. I have a hard time focusing on small details and conversations without meaning. I have determined that relationships and experiences are all I need to maintain a level of contentedness that most would call happiness.
I don’t have the energy or desire to constantly strive for more. I’m feeling oriented rather than event or task oriented. I am very selective in my loves and passions because I go deep into what I pursue. Sometimes my selectivity offends others. Sometimes my choices are strange. I choose to make my children a top priority but not my whole life. I don’t insist my kids have full schedules. I don’t go over every inch of my children’s homework. I sit at home and write rather than shop or socialize. I keep my home good enough rather than impressive. I chose divorce over security.
Weirdness leads to greatness?
Kobe Bryant is a great basketball player because of his discipline and work ethic. That he dares to be unorthodox in his practice methods just makes him that much more connected to his passion. He goes deeper.
I am saying that I am more content because of my willingness to be different. I am more me. I am weirdly satisfied and open to connect with others. Because of this willingness to feel odd and uncomfortable I have attracted and validated other weirdos like me. Frankly, that’s an experience way better than great.
What do you do that other’s might view as strange? Is there something that you love but are afraid to embrace because it’s not mainstream?
If Sometimes You Have to be Weird to be Great… spoke to you, then you may also enjoy:
- You don’t need a basketball to practice basketball (apparently) (tkcoleman.com)
- 10 Awe-Inspiring Ways to Live Differently (LonerWolf)
- There’s Nothing Wrong with You. You’re an Introvert.(space2live)
- The Introvert’s Love Affair with Solitude: Will It Always Be Taboo? (space2live)
- Understanding the Introvert Cycle: Why We Go From Irritable to Ever-Loving (space2live)
“You’ll always be looking for something better” he said. ”What you want is unobtainable” he said. These statements came in a heated moment shortly after I softly let him know I didn’t think we were going to work. These words from a man I valued, hurt. They stung because I knew I hurt him. They hit home because they let in a whisper of wonder and doubt. Am I doomed in love? Am I too selective? Do I choose unobtainable men? Do I have unrealistic expectations?
For the quirkyalone, there is no patience for dating just for the sake of not being alone. We want a miracle. Out of millions, we have to find the one who will understand. ~ Sasha Cagen, Quirkyalone
Am I quirky? Will I forever be alone? Honestly, I don’t think so but…
I did get excited when I saw a Match.com profile that read, “You have never met anyone like me.” I got even more geeked when I read the rest of his profile and determined he wasn’t conceited. He seemed different in a smart and enlightened way. I almost peed my pants when he ‘liked’ my photos and emailed me. I got energy from his words. We talked about meeting in person and then… he disappeared off of Match.
I’m special so you have to be special too
Do I hold out for extraordinary because I think I have something special to offer? Perhaps. I look at individuals differently than others do. I zero in on the sparkling facets of their inner world. I buff and polish those facets with warmth and safety until that person feels more alive than they did before they met me. I’ve been told I’m comforting, healing and akin to dopamine. Essentially, I help others shine.
If they draw out my light as well, then I give with my whole being. I don’t hold back.
All I want…
In true introvert fashion I have deeply examined (over analyzed?) the qualities I seek in a partner. All of which come with the caveat that my children be embraced and cherished as well (There goes more than half the herd;).
Here they are in no particular order:
1. Inspiring intelligence – Nothing sexier than a brilliant mind. Bright conversation ignites the brain and makes sparks fly. Sapiosexuality Baby.
2. Willingness to help and support - Introverts are constantly aware of our leaking energy. If we want any energy leftover for scintillating conversation and awesome sex we’re going to need some help with the daily grind and decision-making.
3. Respect and validation – It’s easy for introverts to feel inferior in our lack of ability to go-go-go and socialize endlessly. Make us feel like highly valued equals and we’ll do whatever it takes to protect and nourish the relationship.
4. Deep, deep, emotional intimacy – We get each other. We load our conversations with thought-provoking ideas and vulnerable admissions. We look at the world the same. We intuitively understand each other’s hurts, needs, loves and aspirations. We communicate with lively ease. We could talk all night but don’t need to because we are in tune in silence as well.
5. Understanding of the need for space AND connection – Allow me to bathe in solitude but extend an invitation to join you afterwards. Let me know you’ll be there when I’m ready to intertwine.
6. Sweet sensuality - Slow and spiritual most of the time. Hot and fast occasionally. This can be epic if we dare to blend beautifully. Depth in physical connection. I don’t do casual. There is too much energy loss in meaningless.
7. Dynamic and kind - I will feel your energy. Is it compassionate and interested in making the world a better place? I’m partial to non-judgmental idealists. Pessimism and negativity drain, so I abstain.
Beautifully high expectations met
Dear God! I AM going to be alone forever.
As I typed this list, it became clearer and clearer that I am dangerously particular. Dangerous in that there may never be an individual who lives up to these ideals. Unsettling in that I will likely hurt others along the way in my search.
I HAVE experienced a near perfect coupling. I have danced in blissful partnership. I have nailed the spiritual, physical and emotional trifecta. I did stop looking for something better. I have found the miracle, the one out of millions who understands… more than once.
Yes, I lost one and never fully obtained the other but…
They were worth the wait and effort. They filled me with energy and I believe I did the same for them.
At some point Mr. One in a Million will enter my life or I will leap into love that doesn’t fit my criteria and find I was wrong about what I needed.
But for now, alone is better than settling for less. Alone is easier than bleeding energy in a pretend relationship. Alone is where I won’t break any hearts or have mine broken. Alone is where I will discover what I have to offer the world.
How particular are you? Are you willing to wait for the miracle or do you need to be coupled? What are your must-haves in a partner?
If you enjoyed Introvert Relationships: Are Our Expectations for Love Unobtainable? then you may also love:
INFJ sidenote: In the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator I am an INFJ. The rarest of all types. < 2% of the U.S. population. INFJs are described as extraordinarily insightful when it comes to other people’s emotions, thoughts and desires. We connect on the deepest levels. We are enthusiastic and compassionate lovers who see physical intimacy as a chance to connect on a spiritual level. We are also the least satisfied in long-term love relationships. Update: I may actually be an INFP. Since taking a Myers Briggs certification course, I have found I am in the middle zone between J and P. I am an early starter on projects but do love to experience life on my own timeframe. Both are idealists and future oriented so I believe my quest for the perfect mate is still in full force.;)
At the end of June I wrote, How Does Introversion Affect Your Sexuality? It touched on demi-sexuality, a sexual orientation that requires a deep emotional connection before physical intimacy takes place. Physical attraction and magnetic personality are not enough to draw the demi-sexual. Since introverts are big on meaningful conversation and the sharing of dreamy inner worlds I wondered if there was a connection between demi-sexuals, emotional intimacy and introverts. So I asked questions at the end of the post. I received a smattering of responses but felt I needed more so I surveyed space2live readers regarding their sexuality.
Want to take the survey? Click here.
As a novice survey creator I learned post publishing that I should have asked the gender of each survey participant as well as their personality type (i.e. introvert or extrovert). Sexual orientation is another facet to explore. I assumed the majority of the survey takers would be introverts. C’est la vie. Live and learn. The results could be more defined but they still give a nice overview of an introvert’s perspective regarding affection and sexuality.
On to the results based on 149 respondents…
Emotional intimacy backed by security
As mentioned in the first How Does Introversion Affect Your Sexuality?, according to a survey conducted by condom manufacturer Durex, there are three requirements for excellent sex: Physical attraction, emotional intimacy and feeling secure/loved. I added sexual prowess as an option. Of course, we all want the home run with all of the above present in our intimate relationships. I wanted to know which one was key or crucial in order for the relationship to be healthy.
Emotional intimacy ranked highest with Security, Feeling Loved close behind. Emotional intimacy is that heavenly space where partners allow their inner worlds to mingle and touch. Sharing personal and revealing thoughts with another is nourishing for the introvert for very often we are left to listen to and untangle our own deep processing. It’s a godsend to be able to air our internal dialogue and have it validated or simply heard by another.
Vulnerability and transparency fuel emotional intimacy. It makes sense that with emotional intimacy a need for security arises. There must be trust. Introverts have a lot to say but often wait to speak until they feel sure about their words and the likely responses they’ll garner.
Sexual sparks just by looking at someone?
Can you be sexually attracted to someone based solely on their appearance or personality? The majority of you said yes, but a full third of you said no. A few readers responded saying they won’t even kiss someone if there is no deep intimacy first.
One thing I’ve found personally is that I can be sexually drawn to someone even if initially I don’t find them attractive, as long as I feel a deep connection. Often men get more attractive as they reveal their depths. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate a good looking man but there is no need for him to be model perfect or traditionally handsome. For me, an emotional connection goes a long way.
Another interesting point is that most of you said you could be attracted by looks or personality but that would be the end of it. There would be no follow through sexual behavior, just a distant attraction. I wonder if that changes with age. As a college student, I recall a lusty attraction I followed through on with very little knowledge of my partner’s mind/heart/inner-life. I would not seal that deal today. Your thoughts?
Good news about exquisite sex
There is magnificent sex to be had with introverts and extroverts. No need to limit yourself to one or the other according to the survey. Of course, each of us has our own experiences and biases but overall it was almost even (a < 5% variance with introverts edging extroverts) when it came to divine partners between the sheets. So, does that mean that our extrovert counterparts are just as capable of creating emotional intimacy and security with us as our fellow introverts? Is a healthy sexual relationship a requirement for exquisite sex? Or can exquisite sex stand alone?
One note of slightly bad news — roughly 17.5% of those surveyed said they have never experienced exquisite sex. I was in my 40s before my mind was blown so there is always hope.;) Now you know you can experience the magic with either temperament.;)
When is the best time to hit up an introvert for physical affection?
Apparently, we are most physically primed just after intimate conversation with our partner. A little over half of the respondents claimed intimate conversation as their physical affection trigger. Twenty-five percent of the survey-takers said they are most affectionate after having time to themselves. These situations make sense for an introvert given our desire for meaningful connections and our need for personal space. I’m sure this is what confuses extroverts. How can you love me and my open communication one minute and then need to get away from me the next? It’s how we roll. Ebb and flow. We are capable of emotional intimacy and affection but not all the time. We need a break to fill ourselves up (visit our internal world of ideas, associations, mental mulling) and then we are ready to give again. How long does it take to re-charge? I saw one introvert say online that she would need a year to get back to herself. I had one reader say he sometimes needs six months to get to a point where he is ready to connect intimately again with his wife. For me, a few hours a day away from a significant other is sufficient with occasional whole days apart.
What we learned
There are definitely demi-sexuals in our introverted crowd (33% can’t be sexually attracted without deep emotional connection). There is a high correlation between emotional intimacy and the best sexual relationships for introverts although I believe the general population would show similar results. The difference being that introverts are more likely to require it for any sexual relations to occur. Extroverts have it going on too when it comes to exquisite sex. Intimate conversation or time alone can prompt an introvert’s desire to provide physical affection.
Have fun with these results. Use them to create your best most meaningful sex ever.:)
What else would you like to learn about introverts and sexuality? How physically affectionate are you? How can your sex life be improved?
If you enjoyed this post you may also like:
Don’t explain your philosophy. Embody it. ~ Epictetus
Something new for space2live… a short film (5 minutes, it’s worth it). A visual to enhance the many words spilled on the pages of this site. Through filmmaker, Nic Askew’s, beautiful lens the experience, rather than the explanation, of an introvert is captured and shared in a soul biography. You’ll feel the honesty and vulnerability. Enjoy.
How did you like the visual message vs. a written one? Was there a part of the film that spoke to you?
If you enjoyed The Space We Need, you may also love:
Susan Cain: The Power of Introverts (TEDTalk)
There’s Nothing Wrong with You. You’re an Introvert. (space2live)
I learned early that blushing, slow responses and tentative answers would always be out-shined and outgunned by the gregarious and confident. I learned to compensate for my lack of brashness by pleasing others and graciously cooperating. As a teen, I pretended … Continue reading