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When Extroverts and Introverts Collide in Love Relationships

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  • When Extroverts and Introverts Collide in Love Relationships

    Opposites can, and sometimes do, attract, but what's a couple to do when their differences threaten to tear them apart? This very scenario can occur on many levels: spenders vs. savers, risk-takers vs. non-risk-takers, or, as is the case in many relationships, extroverts vs. introverts.

    Where an extrovert tends to be more outgoing and loves social activities, introverts tend to be more quiet and self-reflective. In most couples, one partner will be more extroverted and the other more introverted, but when the difference is extreme, it can spell trouble.

    When Polar Opposites Collide

    Extroverts and introverts at opposite ends of the spectrum may find themselves attracted to one another, initially, because their personalities balance one another out. Over time, however, the very thing that first attracted you may cause tension.

    A key issue in extrovert and introvert couples is often how to spend free time. Where an extrovert longs to go out for a night on the town with friends, an introvert relishes the thought of cozying up at home. These types of personality clashes can cause trouble, but they re not insurmountable if both partners work on finding common ground.

    "Characteristics such as values and preferences generally don't change much over time," says Norman Epstein, Ph.D., a psychologist and Professor of Family Studies at the University of Maryland. [But] it doesn't mean that they're incompatible. If they show respect for each other and negotiate these differences, they can actually come out stronger in the end."

    How to Find Common Ground, and Strengthen Your Relationship

    It's important for every couple to have common interests and activities, but this can be particularly challenging for extrovert/introvert couples. Here's how to reach a level of mutual trust, commitment and understanding so your relationship can thrive.
    • Communicate openly. Rather than just telling your partner that you won't go out, explain that you'd rather stay home because you're exhausted (NOT because you don't want to be with him or her).
    • If you find you and your partner are having trouble communicating, The Sedona Method is an excellent tool that can help. The Method shows you how to tap your natural ability to let go of negative thought or communication patterns, freeing you from the negativity and enabling you both to be more easily understood.
    • Be empathetic. Put yourself in your partner's shoes. If YOU loved staying home the way he or she does, how would you feel if your partner would never cuddle up with you?
    • Tell your partner what you love about him or her. Look beyond your differences and remind each other why you fell in love.
    • Find balance. If you're the one who always leads the conversation, take a step back and let your partner speak up for a change.
    • Give in sometimes. It's not fair to never give in to your partner's requests to stay home or go out. Sometimes, it's necessary to give in and go with your partner's idea, and you'll probably find that the favor is gladly returned.
    • Develop common interests. Instead of growing apart, devote some time to finding new interests you share, whether it's an art class, taking your dog for a walk or reading the newspaper together.
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