Given that HSPs are more aware than others of subtleties, romantic relationships with them may be more challenging to navigate. That doesn’t mean that it won’t be worth it, though. Their empathy and compassion, along with their desire for deep and meaningful connections, are just some of the many things to love about them.
A highly sensitive person (HSP) is someone whose central nervous system is so sensitive that subtleties in their environment have a more profound and longer-lasting impact on them. This is neither a disorder nor a condition but rather a personality trait that 15 to 20 percent of the population reportedly experience.
Those with HSP may find themselves overwhelmed by things like bright lights, itchy clothing, loud noises, and strong scents. In addition to these heightened sensory experiences, their reactions to emotional stimuli may also be more intense. For example, minute changes in their partner’s body language or tone of voice may be more than enough to set them off an overthinking spiral.
According to Deborah Ward, a contributor for Psychology Today:
“We are more aware of our surroundings and the people in it, so we are more likely to become unsettled by our partner’s behavior and worry more about the possible consequences. We also feel stress more and need more downtime, which can put a strain on the relationship.”
If you’re in a relationship with an HSP, then here are a few expert-recommended tips on how to navigate your love life successfully:
1. Encourage Them to Practice Self-Care
It’s common for HSPs to experience a sensory overload, especially if they’ve been thrust into a new environment or are dealing with a complicated situation. Things that are normal for the average individual, such as heavy traffic and working in an open office, can prove too much for those with heightened sensitivities.
Because of this, HSPs need to be religious about self-care. Failing to decompress and relax after an overwhelming day may lead to them burning out. With this in mind, you must encourage your partner to take better care of themselves, whether it be running them a calming bath or booking a spa appointment for them.
Pro Tip: Practice self-care together as a couple to strengthen your bond
2. Be Considerate About Their Sensitivities
An HSP’s five senses are easily overwhelmed, which means that they may have a heightened sensitivity to certain sounds, food items, fragrances, and even textures. For instance, a dish featuring lemon sauce may be excessively sour for them, while your new perfume can make them want to gag.
When you’re in a relationship with an HSP, you have to be more considerate of their sensitivities. This may entail you calling the restaurant ahead to ensure that they have at least one thing on the menu that won’t set off your partner’s taste buds. It may seem slightly inconvenient to do so, but your significant other will definitely appreciate it.
Pro Tip: If your partner seems bothered, ask them if their senses are feeling overloaded
Having a romantic partner with heightened sensitivities can be challenging at times. The relationship will force you to be more considerate of their feelings, and you may even find yourself going out of your comfort zone to do so. However, the love life that you’ll enjoy with them will be more than worth it.