By Derek Reimherr
When I was dating, I always tended to gravitate toward females like me: love being the center of attention, loud, gets along with anyone, boisterous bordering on obnoxious (in an endearing way of course), etc. You get the picture.
However, I will say I always had a soft spot for the shy women. There was something about flirting with a shy girl and seeing her get out of her shell a little bit that I always found attractive. That’s how I found myself in the situation I’m in now.
I wouldn’t have known it at the time, but when Maggie and I met, she was probably the most awkward with guys, most shy woman I had ever spoken to post-middle school. In the beginning of our relationship, I could tell she was a little quirky and nervous. Hey, who isn’t in the beginning? But I had no idea the introvert that I was saddling up next to.
We’ve worked out our kinks and now it’s actually a pretty nice balance. I pull her out of her own head and push us into social situations, and she helps me be okay with “just sitting still.” It wasn’t always this easy, though. Here are the things I’ve learned about being in a relationship with an introvert:
When they clam up, you just have to keep pushing.
The first year and a half of our relationship revolved around me telling (begging) Maggie to COMMUNICATE WITH ME. Literally just repeat the things that are going on in your head without processing through them 16 times. A lot of times, she knew exactly what she wanted to say/how she felt but wasn’t sure how to tell me. I learned that a little persistent encouragement was needed. I became the king of poking and prodding, except not in the creepy Facebook poke kind of way.
…But sometimes you have to let them think.
However, sometimes “I don’t know” really just means “I don’t know.” Unlike extroverts, introverts don’t figure out the great mysteries of life talking about them. They need a 45 minute bubble bath and laying on the sofa staring at the ceiling for an afternoon first. And then maybe they’ll know. Or maybe not and a Gilmore Girls binge will do the trick. Look, I’m still figuring this out. Altogether, being with Maggie has forced my patience to grow… a lot.
Introversion ≠ Shy
While she started out that way, my little introvert has grown into a social butterfly. Like bacon on the frying pan, though, leave her in a crowd too long, and she sizzles to a burnt crisp. She may be a little awkward at first, but she’s great at initiating conversation. Speaking of…
Extroverts go wide; introverts go deep.
We approach parties totally differently. I want to meet everyone there, get a snapshot of their hopes and dreams, and recite all of their names to Maggie afterwards. She’s a little different, but I think I have found a tactic to accommodate her. We walk in, find a corner, and stay there for a while. We’ll push through the initial awkwardness meeting strangers, and then I leave her to her own devices. While I’m frolicking through the masses of people with glee meeting everyone, she’ll leave with a new best friend.
Being introverted is not an excuse to be rude.
Ah, my favorite. What, you need an 8th night in a row to “recover” from a weekend of friends visiting before you can go out again? And you want to bail on previously made plans? Yeah, no. Just because you haven’t had 6 straight hours of quiet alone time does not mean you get to be cranky. Suck it up and be a person.
We extroverts wear people out easily.
Yeah, I’m kind of grating. I ask a crapload of questions. I beatbox and make up songs on the fly, and I yell at my anonymous teammates while playing online video games. I like to randomly pick Maggie up and fling her around in circles (apparently short people do not like to be picked up?) for no reason. I’m really freaking annoying. And sometimes I just have to shut up and go in the other room so that Maggie can watch her 3rd Big Brother episode of the week in peace.
Proximity = spending time together?
This is probably the weirdest revelation I’ve experienced. I can sit at the desk and write, read, game, whatever all day long while she does her thing on the couch. At the end of the day when we’re eating dinner, she’ll say, “I’ve loved spending this nice day together.” Wait, what? We actually didn’t spend any time…(sigh) y’all, I just go with it at this point.
Our opposite personalities have challenged me to understand a different point of view. Maggie has learned a lot from being married to this extrovert, too.
If you're an extrovert married to an introvert, what have you learned? Let us know in the comments!
More Lessons on #MillennialMarriage: