What It's Like To Be An Extremely Sensitive Person In A Relationship

by Lauren Skirvin

The most highly sensitive people are often hard to spot on the surface. They aren’t the ones who are open with their emotions or easily moved to tears. They are usually, in fact, the exact opposite.

They are the ones who are hard to get close to. They push people away at every opportunity. They are sometimes harsh and pretend not to care.

They are the ones who will suddenly have an emotional breakdown while drunk or at a sad movie and it will surprise you. You’ve never seen that from them before because they are the ones who try to always hold it in and save their tears for the pillow.

When it comes out accidentally like that, they are very embarrassed. They are so afraid to open up and share their vulnerability with anyone. It can be such an intense deluge of emotions, it’s overwhelming for themselves and everyone around them.

So, they keep it bottled up, and they dull those senses. If they protect themselves with indifference, they can never be disappointed.

People who are tough on the outside are often that way because they never want to be hurt again. They fear being in relationships.

It takes so much coaxing and wrestling to even get them to agree to take it past one date, then past a couple of dates and then, to finally be in a relationship. Highly sensitive people will only eventually be in relationships with people who literally refuse to give up.

I know this because I am one of these people. I have one foot out the door at every stage of a relationship. If it’s a good thing, I’ll probably somehow sabotage it.

We make people chase us, not because we are playing games, but because we are trying so hard to protect ourselves. We don’t want to want you, so we treat you as if you're disposable.

If we care the least, we are always protected. We answer in “no” so much more often than “yes.” The person who is after us must beg and plead for us to reveal how we’re feeling because we would never just offer that up willingly.

But, once in a blue moon, someone will penetrate our otherwise impenetrable walls and we will find ourselves falling. And, that’s when the real battle begins.

If we allow ourselves to make it to the point in a relationship when we finally open up and are fully vulnerable, that’s when the real feelings start to fly. Once Pandora’s box is open, it can never be shut again.

Because we are so sensitive, everything that person does or says affects us. Fear begins to take over and we have a hard time not taking everything personally.

We need constant reassurance that we can feel safe. We feel needy and scared if the person leaves us alone for a minute.

The fights we have can get very ugly. Whenever the person tries to hurt us, we hurt him or her so much worse and so much deeper.

We mainly operate on two levels when we’re hurt: Intense rage or overwhelming sadness. We are the types of people who will key a person's car if we think he or she cheated.

There will be several discussions about feeling insecure and wanting to know where the relationship is going. Because at this point, we are in so deep and we just know that if the relationship ends, we will be shattered.

And, when it inevitably does end because we are too needy/volatile/emotional/aggressive, we are sent into a deep depression so intense, we feel we may never come out.

We regret ever having met the person, ever having loved him or her and ever having experienced anything with him or her.

We want an “Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind” moment that can completely erase the person from our memories. We want to mourn the loss as if the person died because we can’t see him or her, or be okay ever again. We have to protect ourselves.

There are no “I send you love and light” and “I just want you to be happy” conversations. We just want to forget the person ever f*cking existed.

We are left with heartbreak and pain, exactly what we so desperately tried to avoid, because we're not strong enough to handle it.

It will take us years to recover, and we will suffer mostly in silence because to even bring up the person's name will cause us too much sadness.

But, since so many highly sensitive people are artists, someone who sounds a lot like the person will come up in a blog, a poem, a song or an article on Elite Daily, and it will help us deal with the loss.

We will pretend to be okay, though, and we will trudge through our days until the pain finally subsides and the vow to never fall in love again takes over.