If you are a highly sensitive person in love, there are a few things you will understand better than most and need others to understand too.
Highly sensitive people experience the world differently. They see subtle changes in the environment in behavior much more quickly than most and process information much quicker. This allows them to attune themselves to the thoughts and feelings of others, sometimes without meaning to. This can leave them feeling vulnerable and exhausted from the over-processing of information.
So how does a highly sensitive person in love feel and behave?
If you relate to the following signs, you are a highly sensitive person in love:
1. Your partner can’t hide a thing from you
Is it frustrating for your partner that they can’t hide a thing from you? Whether it is a surprise or a secret, you will pick up on subtle behaviors that indicate your partner is hiding something.
This leads to constantly questioning what it is because highly sensitive people aren’t huge fans of surprises and can feel insecure easily.
2. You spend months planning gifts and dates
Giving presents is one of the favorite past times of a highly sensitive person in love. You can spend weeks, even months planning the perfect gift or preparing the most romantic date.
Homemade gifts and personalized dates are the hallmarks that the highly sensitive person is in love. This makes highly sensitive people the best people to date as they always make you feel special.
3. You startle easily
When your partner sneaks up and surprises you, you never find it as cute or as funny as they do. Highly sensitive people have a low threshold when it comes to a surprise, even in non-threatening situations.
Even an unexpected sneeze or a cough can make them jump! The highly sensitive person is not the biggest fan of surprises, so be careful when sneaking up on your highly sensitive partner.
4. Change takes a little more time
Highly sensitive people process information on a much deeper level than everyone else. They are much more attuned to their environment and comfort makes them feel more secure.
This makes it difficult to process change and as it can be difficult to find comfort in a new environment. A new relationship can take time for a highly sensitive person to get used to.
A highly sensitive person in love will find it difficult if there is a big change in circumstances that affect the relationship and may take time to adjust.
5. You get overwhelmed quickly
On dates, a highly sensitive person can get overwhelmed quickly, especially in busy or loud places. They may prefer to date in quieter, more secluded places so that they can hold a conversation and won’t become overwhelmed by the amount of noise they have to process.
An ideal date for a highly sensitive person in love is somewhere they can hold a conversation and don’t feel they have to shout or assess what other people are doing.
6. Conflict is difficult to handle
Arguments are difficult for everyone but for sensitive people, they are even more difficult. A highly sensitive person will avoid conflict wherever possible. They find it difficult to be angry at their loved ones in the first place. This makes it hard to express why they are angry or upset. With time, it can lead to frustration and becoming overwhelmed quickly.
If there is a problem, the best way to address it with a highly sensitive partner is to talk it through and stay calm. Avoid shouting wherever possible and give each other time to cool off afterward.
7. You may need some time alone
Sensitive people get overwhelmed, so they can need some time alone to ‘come down’. A highly sensitive person may need space often because they get overwhelmed by spending a lot of time with people in busy environments.
Your partner needs to understand that this is not a reflection on them, just you needing some personal time to relax and decompress from stressful situations.
8. You enjoy connecting at a deeper level
A highly sensitive person in love will want to connect with you as deeply as possible. They think about the bigger picture and will wonder what your relationship might look like in the future.
They want to connect with you deeply now to can build a solid foundation for the years to come. Be open and honest with your highly sensitive partner and they will show you a special and meaningful relationship.
Expert opinion: what challenges does a highly sensitive person face in love?
Life Advancer spoke to Dr. Tracy Cooper, Ph.d., an HSP expert and the author of Empowering the Sensitive Male Soul. According to Dr. Cooper, there are a number of significant challenges to any close relationship for a highly sensitive person, but among the most prominent are:
Many HSPs fail to set or maintain adequate boundaries and end up attracting and remaining with partners who are not good for them. Their lack of effective boundaries leaves them open to exploitation, manipulation, and abuse from others, especially narcissists, who look for those they can control easily.
Learning to set boundaries AND enforce them can be quite difficult for some HSPs, who would rather avoid any type of confrontation because it’s massively overstimulating. Consequently, many HSPs remain in the wrong relationships for far too long.
We know from the vantage sensitivity theory that HSPs do far better than non-HSPs when in positive and supportive environments and far worse when in negative environments. Having boundaries that are enforced and maintained, including being adjusted at times, is essential to any highly sensitive person in love.
A need to trust the other person
Many HSPs experienced Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) early in life and may have been deeply affected by trauma, neglect, non-acceptance, or abuse that tends to follow them throughout life unless concerted efforts are made with an HSP-knowledgeable therapist to mitigate the effects of ACEs.
Trusting our partners is step #1 for an HSP and that sense of trust may be slow in coming as HSPs observe, think, and only gradually open themselves to greater vulnerability with a new partner.
Finding a partner who understands us
Partners who can relate to our strong, quick emotions, depth of thought and reflection, coupled with high empathy, broader emotional range, and sensitivity to subtleties, is not an easy task! HSPs are complex people who have a need to be understood so that deep connections can exist within a relationship.
HSPs are somewhat happier when partnered with other HSPs for this reason but may be happy with any partner who is capable of holding kind space for the dynamics of two people to exist over the long-term, with one partner who may be emotionally intense at times.
Similarly, a suitable partner must understand the HSP’s need for self-care as a serious practice where:
- quiet time is afforded and allowed,
- stimulation is kept within an agreeably tolerable range,
- the relationship is not viewed as having to be “perfect” all the time.
Instead, the imperfections may be viewed as worthy of celebration, as in Wabi Sabi, the Japanese aesthetic philosophy where imperfections, impermanence, and the rugged, weathered beauty of the passage of time are celebrated rather than seek perfection, permanence, and symmetry.
Sustaining a relationship over time
Highly sensitive people and high sensation seeking highly sensitive people both have different optimal ranges of stimulation where they function at their best. Within a relationship, being prepared for the need for frequent personal reinvention – on the part of the HSS/HSPs – or the HSP need for safety and structure, may be quite challenging as what was new and novel at first becomes routine and predictable.
Boredom susceptibility is a cross-over issue for HSPs and HSS/HSPs that may come into play in a relationship. Sustaining a close relationship over time requires deep understanding, trust, and a certain vulnerability to remaining open and honest with emotions, feelings, and actions.
HSPs who have not done the work it takes to heal from past issues and own who they are as sensitive people may be a major contributing factor to why a relationship fails over time. Knowing ourselves to a high degree, including our propensities and tendencies will allow us to build an effective self-care practice that will help keep us in balance and produce a far better partner in a relationship!
It is easy to misunderstand a highly sensitive person, but once in a relationship, they are the most loving and giving partner. A highly sensitive person in love will do all they can to make you happy, but they need you to understand some things.
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