Dating can often feel like a delicate dance. One wrong move can cause your partner to swing away from you. This is why relationships aren’t fairytales and require a large degree of work to sustain them. When you’re with the right person, they’re always worth it though. But no matter how much we want to love our partners better, we may not always understand where to start.
Highly sensitive people, for instance, face many challenges in the realm of dating, because their partners may not always know how to approach them effectively. If you’re dating a highly sensitive person and feel as if the two of you are drifting apart, know that this is normal and expected in any relationship, regardless of what your personality is. But just when you’re about to get discouraged or overwhelmed, remember that it’s through hardships that help couples learn about each other the most. Take it as a learning experience. Whether you’ve been dating your highly sensitive partner for a while now, or you’re in the initial stage of dating, Psych2Go shares with you 5 tips for dating a highly sensitive person (HSP):
1. Don’t pressure or make them feel rushed.
Highly sensitive people prefer to think things through carefully before making a decision. Instead of jumping into a situation quickly, they would rather analyze and observe on the sidelines before making a commitment. This is why they don’t like to feel pressured or rushed. They care a lot about how their actions affect others, which is what makes them such great and loyal partners. Once they’ve chosen to commit to you, they take your relationship seriously.
My boyfriend is a highly sensitive person and he was initially reluctant to date me, because he worried that I “didn’t know what I wanted.” I was afraid of that, which is why I wore a serious black dress on our first date to show him I meant business! He also has a good poker face, which made it hard for me to read what he was thinking. I didn’t know he was actually interested in me until he gave me his number right before we departed that night. But then I realized later on that he generally prefers to take his time to think things through before making decisions. That’s one of the reasons why I admire about him. He’s responsible, levelheaded, and he cares about the way his actions affect our relationship.
2. Respect their need for space and time to be alone.
Okay, so admittedly I struggle with this one. But, I’m working on it! Highly sensitive people don’t just like their alone time—they need it, especially introverted HSPs. I also identify as an HSP, but because I’m more extroverted, I require less of it than my boyfriend. If your partner needs to recharge, try not to take it personally. They aren’t doing it to ignore you, but rather because it helps them function as a person. It’s important to respect your partner’s need for space. In fact, the only way for your partner to be at their best is when they aren’t overwhelmed or overly stimulated.
Ever since I moved in with my boyfriend, I’ve been learning how to maintain a balance, so neither of us feel squished nor hard to reach. While your partner is recharging, you can take that time and work on yourself. Do your hobbies and fun activities or connect with your friends and family. Your partner may be your favorite person in the world, but don’t forget about the other aspects that make your life fulfilling.
3. Understand that conflict makes them uncomfortable.
Disagreements are to be expected, and you and your partner are more than welcome to have different opinions. But when they’re highly sensitive, it’s important to be mindful of how conflict makes them feel. Highly sensitive people don’t enjoy fighting because they find it overly stimulating and incredibly distressing. To reduce conflict, try not to fight. I’m not recommending that the two of you act like robots or pretend like everything is fine when you face problems. But emotions often distract us from resolving them. One way to minimize fighting is to give each other signals or warnings before things get out of hand.
My boyfriend and I communicate with each other when something is bothering us. Neither of us enjoy raising our voices. We also don’t put things off or ignore one another when we face difficulties. Instead, we talk it out and make sure we’re not working against each other, but together.
4. When doing activities together, choose less stimulating environments.
Highly sensitive people generally don’t like being in loud, overcrowded places. They may go to parties to catch up with friends or be supportive of the social event (i.e. wedding, birthday, baby shower, etc.), but prefer to leave early when they start to feel drained. To ensure that you and your partner aren’t having a stressful time, opt for soothing environments, such as the beach when it isn’t crowded, a hike in the woods, or a quiet coffee shop. When watching movies together, it’s also important to be mindful of certain genres that may be too overwhelming for your partner. My boyfriend, for instance, makes sure we never watch horror movies together because he knows my anxiety levels increase when I see gore or scary images.
5. Reach out frequently and ask them how they’re doing.
According to Elaine Aron, researcher of highly sensitive people, she discovered a trait they all have that she refers to as “mate sensitivity,” which is their ability to understand what pleases their partner. Highly sensitive people know what to say and do to make their partner feel loved and appreciated, but it’s important to also be receptive and return the same gestures of love. I look up to my boyfriend and often turn to him for advice because he’s wise and full of deep insights. He doesn’t come to me as often for help, but this is why I always reach out and ask him how his day was. I also enjoy making him laugh, because it relieves stress for the both of us. We never stop looking out for one another, and I think that’s what makes us work. I hope you and your partner also continue to do the same.
Are you dating a highly sensitive person? Do you find these tips helpful? Psych2Go would love to hear your thoughts! Please be sure to leave a comment down below!
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If you enjoyed this article, then you may also like 5 Tips for Parents with Highly Sensitive Children (HSC) or 8 Signs You’re a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP).
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Gray, J. (2018). How to Love Your Highly Sensitive Partner. Meet Mindful. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
Holmes, L. (2015, June 22). In A Relationship With A Highly Sensitive Person? Here’s What You Need To Know. HuffPost. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
Holmes, L. (2015, April 30). 13 Things Anyone Who Loves A Highly Sensitive Person Should Know. HuffPost. Retrieved February 28, 2018.