How are couple relationships in highly sensitive people?
As mentioned in a previous post , highly sensitive people are very empathetic and especially perceptive, so they are greatly affected by changes in the mood of others.
This accumulation of sensations and emotions can lead the person to suffer a high level of stress and even anxiety, which is usually reflected in various somatizations. This, added to the fact that they are people who like to have their own space and time for themselves, can lead them to:
“Believe that it is better not to fall in love, thus saving the possible disappointment that would plunge them into deep sadness.”
This is due to the traumatic experience that disappointments represent for a highly sensitive person.
Tendency to fall in love easily.
However, although the bitter taste of some experiences and the possible feeling of overwhelm and even paralysis at the beginning of the relationship can lead people to feel that it is better to remain single, they tend to fall in love easily .
This is because they are very observant and able to appreciate all the nuances of others very quickly, which generates physical and emotional attraction in them.
“This interest can cause them to become overly involved, which makes them more vulnerable to possible disappointment . “
In the event that the relationship runs its course, the main risk of highly sensitive people is that they come to deduce that their partner loves them less because they do not feel things with the same intensity as they do .
This makes them feel misunderstood and even undervalued when realizing that the degree of involvement is not reciprocal.
In this way, it is usual for the relationship to wear out due to the sacrifice without measure of the highly sensitive person who, in turn, becomes more demanding with the other .
Almost without realizing it, he begins to claim a series of requests that are impossible to carry out , because his partner does not have the same capacity for observation and emotional and intellectual depth.
All this ends up generating even more frustration, misunderstanding and resentment in the couple.
How does a highly sensitive person experience sexuality?
Although sexuality usually arises in response to an emotional bond, there are people who experience sexuality from a more physiological and impulsive point of view.
In the case of highly sensitive people, the desire to be sexually intimate with the other arises from intense relationships , since they are normally shy people, fearful of rejection by others and who do not tend to act rashly.
“Highly sensitive people experience sexuality as an intense and profound experience.”
This intensity is also reflected in the sexual experience itself. This is because these people have a very refined perceptual system, so that an unpleasant smell or an unexpected sound can spoil the intimate encounter .
To this must be added that the excess of excitement or nerves before the first sexual encounters can affect their sexual performance, since this over-stimulation can lead them to feel unusual discomfort , such as feeling great displeasure and even pain with the simple rubbing of bodies.
For this reason, it is advisable to prevent possible saturation in sexual encounters, controlling certain stimuli (eg avoiding strong perfumes, showering before, not playing background music or turning off the phones).
In this sense, special attention must be paid to erotic play during sexual intercourse, including short pauses to prevent the person from becoming saturated.
Likewise, it is important to bear in mind that highly sensitive people have a high capacity for observation and self-criticism.
“For this reason, an inappropriate word or a misleading gesture can lead to misunderstandings that generate distraction.”
In the worst case, the blockage can be reached during the sexual encounter.
Finally, it should be clarified that, although they are usually shy people, highly sensitive people are capable of taking the initiative in sexual encounters and feel the same satisfaction with everything related to sexuality. However, they are conservative people , little inclined to try new sexual positions.
High sensitivity, couple relationships and affective dependence.
Highly sensitive people have a great need for affection , so they often do not want to remain single forever. In fact, they tend to eagerly search for relationships that give meaning to their lives, tending to be in love.
Unfortunately, there are not few cases in which:
“These people fall in love with people with whom they have nothing in common or with whom they do not even have a healthy relationship.”
All this is due to a mix between social pressure (for example, not wanting to be the only single, partly due to fear of the opinion it would generate in others) and low self-esteem (due to excessive self-criticism and the feeling of feeling different and misunderstood).
In this sense, there are many testimonies from highly sensitive people who reveal how an exacerbated chimera and optimism led them not to assess the situation and make a hasty decision (something they do not usually do).
Affective dependence and toxic relationships.
The following are a series of questions that are intended to unmask the true nature of toxic relationships. These questions are valid both for PAS and for the rest of the population.
- Do you want to maintain a relationship as a way to help or rescue the other person?
- Did you fall in love with the other because you felt grateful to feel loved by the other?
- Do you look at one or two important qualities (eg money, physical or sexuality, sense of humor, intellectual ability, common leisure) without thinking about what you really need from a relationship (eg affection, respect, confidence, emotional and / or material security)?
- Do you only pay attention to things in common, ignoring your differences as a couple ?
- If you are in a relationship that does not convince you, why do you stay in it? Do you stay for fear of being alone ?
- Does your partner count on you to bring joy and well-being to your sad and complicated existence regardless of your feelings?
- Do you tend to have partners with addiction problems or serious emotional problems?
These are some of the issues that reveal the presence of affective dependence in couple relationships.
“Affective dependence leads to ignoring one’s own needs and compatibility with the partner to maintain the relationship at all costs.”
This occurs because affective dependence provides some benefit (eg feeling important for being with someone considered special or simply leading a life as a couple).
Is it preferable that a PAS partner is also highly sensitive?
In this case, there is no correct answer. This is because, on the one hand, maintaining a relationship with another highly sensitive person can help to feel more understood , since the other person is capable of experiencing sensations and emotions in an analogous way.
However, sharing a life as a couple with a not-so-sensitive person also has its advantages: being more resistant to stress can help on a day-to-day basis (for example, it has no objection to taking over tasks other than the highly sensitive cost or generate rejection).
In any case, when choosing a partner, it is important not to remain superficial, in a simple label , because the personality goes far beyond a trait.
“Therefore, you should try to find a compatible partner, with whom you can share your tastes and needs.”
In this case, empathy and sensitivity are essential qualities to reach understanding and respect for the needs of the highly sensitive person.
Advice for the highly sensitive person in their relationships.
Here are a number of tips that can help the highly sensitive person achieve a satisfying relationship. Subsequently, the advice for the member of the couple without high sensitivity will be seen.
Not being afraid to express your own needs .
People appreciate honesty. Thus, expressing how you feel or your own opinion with respect and without falling into disqualifications or taunts will increase the well-being and union of the couple.
Learn to set healthy limits .
Sometimes, wanting to help the other, the desire to please and the fear of conflict can lead to not setting limits with others, not even with the partner.
Sometimes, the PAS consider that setting limits means imposing themselves abruptly, but firmness is not incompatible with kindness.
The use of assertive communication is an example of this (expression of one’s opinion emphasizing feelings and what can be done to solve the problem, focusing on the facts rather than judging the behavior of others).
Do not assume the role of victim in relationships.
The PAS must try not to assume the role of victim and fall into emotional dependence.
A person who is not able to bear pain, loneliness or uncertainty cannot love freely, as he falls into the search for power or protection so as not to be abandoned, in relationships with vulnerable people who need his protection or with dominant people who they control the relationship and its needs.
Likewise, loving a person does not force you to sacrifice your life for him or forget to take care of your own needs, because, unfortunately, not all problems are solved with love and patience.
In life it is necessary to take responsibility for the things that happen to take control of the situation and change the things that keep one from their needs.
Get rid of wrong beliefs about love .
Love is the union between two people committed to each other, who share a common project. After a time with your partner, it is normal to de-idealize the other person when you discover that they are different from yourself.
Although discovering the true “I” of the other can lead to separation due to incompatibility of characters, the mere fact of discovering these defects and the fragility that nests in the other, does not have to suppose the beginning of falling out of love.
Accept contradictions and criticism from your partner .
People are sometimes fickle and get angry as quickly as they put their differences aside. To gain emotional coolness, it is convenient to value the fact itself rather than the person as a whole.
It is important not to assume that the couple is going to do a task or have a detail without having previously discussed it, because if it is taken for granted, disappointment is guaranteed, which will damage the relationship.
Recommendations for the partner of a highly sensitive person.
Some useful behavior guidelines for a PAS partner are:
Understand and accept their way of being .
Knowing what characterizes a PAS is important to avoid feeling misunderstood or isolated when feeling anger or disgust at the fact that you perceive things differently.
Avoid accusing him of being touchy.
Try to avoid accusations of being overly sensitive or withholding your feelings from him for fear of his reaction. If there is one thing that highly sensitive people cannot bear, it is being branded as susceptible, because it makes them feel misunderstood.
In reality, they react the same as when the rest feel annoyed, what happens is that they receive the information more quickly and intensely, reacting to it more quickly.
On the other hand, when something is upsetting, it is preferable to be honest with the partner from the beginning rather than the latter trying to find out what is happening.
Ask them to explain how they feel .
PAS tend to hide their negative feelings by considering them too strong, turbulent, or embarrassing. Therefore, it is necessary to be understanding and willing to help the couple, asking what bothers them or what could be done to prevent the situation from repeating itself.
In this sense, it must be taken into account that the PAS perceives and experiences things with greater intensity unintentionally, so that sometimes one is not aware of what has caused discomfort in the couple.
Prevent conflicts .
Given the special impact that discussions have on your well-being, it is preferable to avoid that small disagreements end up generating a major conflict.
Highly sensitive people are especially susceptible because they feel constantly judged and overvalue the opinion that others have about themselves, being able to react in a defensive or exaggerated way.
Respect your space .
The PAS needs to have moments of disconnection in which to reflect and clear up in solitude to maintain the correct state of mind. Remember that the fact that you like solitude does not mean that you are a lonely person or that you do not love your partner.
Take care of the details .
Even seemingly insignificant details can be important to PAS (eg speaking loudly). Therefore, taking care of the details will make her feel more respected, understood and cared for, also fostering empathy towards her.
Alexa Clark specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She has experience in listening and welcoming in Individual Therapy and Couples Therapy. It meets demands such as generalized anxiety, professional, love and family conflicts, stress, depression, sexual dysfunction, grief, and adolescents from 15 years of age. Over the years, She felt the need to conduct the psychotherapy sessions with subtlety since She understands that the psychologist acts as a facilitator of self-understanding and self-acceptance, valuing each person's respect, uniqueness, and acceptance.