It can be frustrating to be married to someone who is introverted. You have probably invested a lot of energy into trying to get him to be more outgoing. But how outgoing or introverted someone appears to be is influenced significantly by biology. This characteristic of personality is evident at birth and doesn’t tend to change much over time. Your level of satisfaction in the marriage may improve with a better understanding of this personality characteristic.
Explore with your husband ways in which your personalities are similar. Extroversion and introversion are varying degrees of the same personality characteristic. There are many facets to this characteristic. For example, some extraverts enjoy being the center of attention. Perhaps you enjoy being around others, but you may share a discomfort of being the center of attention. Also there may be other personality characteristics on which you are more closely matched.
Explore together the ways in which your extraversion may help your husband to enjoy social situations more. If he is shy about meeting new people (and not all introverts are), it may be helpful for you to facilitate introductions betweheat our husband and other persons in the group.
Respect his boundaries around social situations. Since the degree of introversion and extroversion is biologically based, he has probably always preferred to be alone or in smaller social groups. If he still feels uncomfortable in social situations when you facilitate introductions to others, don’t insist that he continue to participate in these types of situations.
Consider seeing a couples counselor if you have difficulty communicating effectively. Effective communication is essential to a satisfying marriage. Based on the research on reported differences in communication styles between introverts and extraverts, it is likely that this will be an area of challenge in your marriage. Couples therapists can help identify subtle and obvious ways that communication can cause conflict in relationships and teach you how to communicate more effectively.
Remember what attracted you to your husband in the beginning. Focusing on those wonderful qualities will make it easier to cope with personality differences that present a challenge in your relationship.
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Sonya Lott, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in Pennsylvania, who offers online and in office counseling to individuals struggling with grief, loss or a life transition. She also facilitates mental health workshops for educational, professional, and community groups and maintains a blog on her website www.drsonyalott.com.
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