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What you need to know about your highly sensitive partner

When I discovered that I was highly sensitive, I understood a lot about myself. Why I had different feelings, why I felt bad in the presence of certain people or in crowded places. Why I had different needs than most of those around me and why too much stimulation overwhelmed me. Why was my head constantly boiling and I was always on edge because of smells or loud noises. But I also understood why my relationships could be intense and sometimes complicated.

sensitive couple

I hear little voices telling me: “Finally you admit it, it’s not always easy to live with a highly sensitive person!”

I will immediately silence these negative voices. Being highly sensitive is neither a negative thing nor a personality disorder. Being highly sensitive has many strengths and one of them is doing everything to make those around them feel good. They have extraordinary kindness, are considerate, attentive, overflowing with love. Highly sensitive people are also attentive and empathetic confidants.

All of these qualities obviously attract those around us, but when our little distinctions appear, suddenly we become difficult. This is when everything gets complicated in our relationships, especially those with a romantic partner.

Highly sensitive people have unique needs when it comes to love and dating, and sometimes we hold back from communicating them. We cannot show up to the first meeting with a sign saying “Beware, I am highly sensitive!”, or even to the second date for that matter. This is a topic we can address over time if we feel comfortable enough to do so, or when an opportunity arises, because sensitivity is not so debilitating that we need to “warn” people around us.

If the title of this article brought you here, firstly “thank you”, not everyone has the willpower to want to understand who we are and how we operate. Now that you are here, let me share with you what will help you in your relationship with a highly sensitive person, while understanding them much better.

(Not sure if you're highly sensitive? Here are the signs of a highly sensitive person. You can also take the test here or below)

quiz: are you highly sensitive?

What you need to know about your hypersensitive partner.

1. We feel and absorb your emotions.

Because we have a more developed awareness of everything around us and therefore of others, you do not need to speak, we know what state of mind you are in. It goes even beyond knowing your emotions, we absorb them and feel them as if they were our own. So imagine how emotionally draining it can be for us when you walk through the door, stressed, frustrated or angry. The same is true when you feel optimistic, happy and fulfilled. I wanted to mention this because we don’t just absorb negative emotions. However, negative ones of course affect us in a bad way.

This ability does not only have bad sides. On the contrary, it can also be a wonderful thing in a relationship, because it allows us to act and react according to our partner's needs when they are going through a difficult time. It is in these moments that you will appreciate our developed empathy as well as our other qualities, because we always do our best to make those around us happy, soothe them and simply be present.

But, dear partners, what you value for yourself does not stop with you. We simply cannot turn off our empathy or direct it towards a single person. Believe me, there are times when we wish we could, but that's our nature, we cannot escape it.

Trying to silence or repress our feelings would only exile a part of us that is innate and so important. This would lead to self-sabotage. So, even though we sometimes experience difficult emotions, for our integrity, we must accept them and include them in our life experiences.

I am aware that the ability to “read” the emotions of others can be shocking, confusing, even parapsychological for most people. But empathy is something real, it is not paranormal. Today, even if studies on this subject are still recent, empathy is explained and recognized as a particular quality that we all have to different degrees. I invite you to read the article I wrote on this subject.

So empathy is not something we do intentionally, it is something we simply feel, as an energy from the person around us or in the room we are in.

Nor does it mean that we have all the answers and know everything that is going on.

But our powerful empathy allows us to “know” that something is wrong with you, without giving us the reasons why.

So when we ask you what's wrong, don't insist on answering: “Nothing!”, because your stubbornness in silence will hurt us even more.

Although it may be a difficult thing for you to confide in and be vulnerable with us, it is infinitely more painful for us than you could imagine to be kept apart. Imagine having your own emotions, but also those of those around you, and not knowing the reason for the feelings that overwhelm you, because your partner remains silent, and does not want to talk about them. Remember that your emotions and those of others pile on top of ours. That's a lot for one person.

2. Sometimes we need space…

…but that doesn’t stop us from loving you, and it’s certainly not you we’re running from. So stop taking it personally.

Despite our thirst for connection with everyone close to us, we also sometimes need space. After having explained to you the effects of empathy, our depth of information processing as well as our over-stimulated sensory sensitivity add to the amplitude of our emotions. This is a lot to handle, which explains our need for solitude. Unfortunately we can't always predict when this emotional and physical exhaustion will occur, but when it does, we really need to take some time for ourselves.

Just like you, when you have worked long hours and are tired, all the stimuli around us can suddenly exhaust us. We need this time to recharge and clear out our emotions.

We suspect that during these times, it is not easy for you and that you may feel excluded, but it is so important that you do not take it personally, because in truth we are probably already worried and nervous to the idea that perhaps we will upset you or hurt you. Even though we seem focused on other things and in our “world,” make no mistake, you are always on our minds.

3. We don't experience crowds the same way you do.

For highly sensitive people, crowds or crowded places in general are situations that they do not like and should therefore avoid.

Even though we want to go out and socialize, that doesn't necessarily mean we have the energy to do so. Now you know, we can quickly become overwhelmed by sensory stimuli such as noise, bright lights, smells, and pick up just about everything from those around us, so the chaos of a crowd or a bar full to bursting, it's hell for us.

This can be frustrating and very destabilizing for us, because from one minute to the next, while we were having fun, we can be thrown into a disastrous mood. This can even be accompanied by anxiety, panic or physical discomfort. And even though we may look good on the outside, on the inside we may want to scream.

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4. We need your understanding, not your anger or frustration.

To recap, we are sensitive to all emotions, but one emotion that completely throws us off balance is anger. We hate conflict. So when you feel like you're losing your patience and might lose your temper with us, go for a walk or leave the room to calm down. Because of our mirror neurons, your anger could turn against you and you could discover a face of us that you don't recognize, and which looks terribly like yours at that moment. Only, for us, it will be like a stab in our heart.

Our empathy can make it difficult to experience your anger because we will be faced with an inner conflict, that of being overwhelmed by your disruptive emotion, and that of wanting to help you and understand you, while reflecting your negative emotion.

So when we are in conflict, do your best to express things without allowing anger to take control of the conversation. We want to know why you're upset, and we want the truth. We just don't want to drown in the emotions you're feeling, let alone mirror them.

5. Highly sensitive people are deep thinkers.

Consider that highly sensitive people are deep thinkers. Disagreements with us can lead us to prolong discussions (indefinitely long in your eyes), because we want to get to the root of the problem to be able to understand and resolve it together. It's not a bad thing in itself to have in-depth discussions, in fact, it allows us to explore our opinions, mutual and/or opposing, and of course to get to know each other better.

But remember that during these discussions, we also consume much more energy than you and if you react badly, it can send us further into a spiral of thoughts and guilt.

So don’t send us off for a walk by saying, “Let’s move on,” or abruptly changing the subject. That won't help matters.

Ultimately, talking with you about our tensions gives us the opportunity to truly understand what is going on inside us. Taking the time to see our perspective (and vice versa) improves our relationship and builds trust.

6. Remember what you mean to us.

So even though we have days like this and that. Even if we need space. Even if for you our sensitivity looks like susceptibility because we easily feel hurt by your words. Even if sometimes we just seem anxious and worried about our relationship. Even if you have difficulty understanding how we work. Even if all this often bothers you. Try to remember what you mean to us. Try to remember that we love you deeply and that we often go above and beyond to show you that.

To conclude, please avoid…

.-. Wrongly assuming that highly sensitive people have a system of thoughts and information processing identical to yours.

.-. Having preconceived ideas about when people “should” and “shouldn’t” be upset.

.-. Neglecting the reactions of highly sensitive people because you cannot identify with them.

.-. If a subject is not important to you, do not underestimate your highly sensitive person's point of view, but try to understand them. Relate to the shared experience of human pain and suffering, which we all know too well.

.-. Don't think that you feel like a highly sensitive person. Avoid comparisons because there are none. Their sensory and emotional sensations are at maximum volume when yours is at minimum. So you don't know how they feel!

So even though we feel negative emotions very deeply, we feel positive emotions just as intensely. When we love someone, it's not something fleeting, it's powerful.

Remember this in those times when things are a little more difficult. Every relationship has its ups and downs, but you have a very special person by your side. You have someone who loves you passionately, cherishes you in your darkest moments and rejoices in your happy moments. You are loved by a highly sensitive person.


You want to share your story, your struggles and the battles you won, and be part of our circle of sensitive and intuitive people. Come with us and let's chat with other highly sensitive people!

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What is your biggest struggle?

  • Feeling emotionally drained

  • Moving on and letting go

  • Criticism and conflict

  • Being under pressure

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