The dating scene after a bad breakup or long-term relationship can be a daunting task for anyone, especially if you identify as a highly sensitive person. It might seem nearly impossible to find the right person. But there’s hope! As you learn to live in a world without stress, you can meet new people with ease while maintaining a low stress level.
A highly sensitive person is defined as someone who has a heightened awareness and high sensory processing sensitivity which includes loud noises, bright lights, strong smells, social interactions and deep-felt feelings. Sound like you? For more information, or to take a self-assessment quiz, visit hsperson.com.
The following tips are designed to help you eliminate common stressors to keep in mind while dating, from one HSP to another:
1. Know your personality type or astrological sign or love language
Many companies today rely on having employees and job candidates take assessment tests to determine their strengths, weaknesses and personality traits, which help their teams become more unified and aware of each member’s core abilities. Knowing your type, astrological sign or love language is a great way to help you understand how your mind works, how you see the world and what you need to feel loved and care for. It may also help you find the types or signs that are best suited for you.
2. Be ready for rejection
Only 15-20% of the general population identifies as an HSP, according to hsperson.com, so there is a high chance that not just any one person will understand how you process external stimuli. Rejection can be excruciating for the HSP. You may feel ashamed or disappointed in yourself, as if you are responsible for the relationship’s demise, or you might feel hurt and fight to cope with the sudden loss. As a result, it may take significant time for you to overcome your feelings and feel like you’re back to normal. As a good rule of thumb, do your best to prepare yourself in case the person you’re interested in isn’t mutually interested in you.
3. Look for similar values
Finding common ground is a component dating services like eHarmony and Match function on, which matches users based on levels of compatibility. Per WebMD’s Health & Sex Center, “understanding your core values is at the heart of truly knowing your needs.” If you and your date enjoy similar hobbies, like similar movies or have the same religious principles, you’re more likely to find long-term success and avoid heartache, which will only empower and strengthen you.
4. Have a friend introduce you
Sometimes, friends know who’s better suited for us than we do. Since they have a more objective view of your character and needs, they may see where problems lie and know who’s compatible with you. A second date isn’t necessary if you don’t hit it off, but be careful of damaging your friendship if the relationship fizzles.
5. Be cautious with online dating
For many HSPs, it’s difficult to not be ruled by your desire to be liked or know how others think of you. Therefore, the online dating landscape can be brutal, especially in the gay community on dating apps Grindr and Scruff, which usually consist of being judged by your appearance or having fake conversations with people only looking for sex. Stick to meeting in person. Seeing how they interact with you says more than what you see on an online profile. If you make a date, meet in a public place where there are others present.
Not every dating website fits the above, but each HSP will have some idea of what he or she can handle. If you insist on dating online because it’s easier to introduce yourself to others, or if your schedule doesn’t allow enough time to date organically, consider having a Skype date over dinner. It’ll feel more like a real date, and what the two of you both made for dinner can be a nice icebreaker as you get to know each other.
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6. No sex on the first date
While sex may be one of your top priorities when looking for a love interest, nothing’s more embarrassing than getting into a physical relationship but not being prepared for the awkwardness that could follow. Talk about an overwhelming feeling! If you’re interested in going to a new level with your date, don’t have sex after just meeting them. You might find that, after a few days, you aren’t into them like you thought you were. Waiting ensures your judgment is clear, and it allows you to get to know who they are before you bare it all. It also puts the relationship at a higher priority.
7. Communication is key
As an HSP, communication can be a scary, but it’s a vital component of a relationship. Acceptance and finding understanding in another person holds a major component of attraction to a significant other. If something bothers you, or if you feel overwhelmed by something, whether your date is responsible for it or not, you’ll need to be able to express that. Any solid relationship is built on open communication, which only makes the two of you stronger and makes you less likely to get hurt. The right person will do what they can to try to eliminate the stress from your mind. Doing so only allows you to enjoy your time with them more.
8. Avoid activities and environments that overwhelm you
Whether it’s a loud concert, a roller coaster or large groups of people, if it stresses you out, do what you can to avoid it. As an HSP, your energy can be compromised by stress, so it is your responsibility to protect your energy so you have it for where it counts. Make sure you share the activities that trigger your stress with your potential prospect.
9. Take time for yourself
It’s not selfish to take time for yourself. If you spend all of your time and energy on another person, you will burn yourself out and won’t be able to care for yourself. It’s normal to need time to recharge, so take the time that you need. If you’re dating the right person, they’ll understand.
10. Don’t let anyone ridicule you
Only you know what will make you happy. When it comes to dating, nobody should have to settle, and the HSP’s sensitivity is a precious gift to the person who understands its worth. Be strong in your resolve to be with someone who not only makes you happy but also strives to make you, and themselves, better people.
11. Run as fast as you can from abuse
Sadly, not every person understands the HSP mindset. For those who refuse to acknowledge that you are wired differently, there is a greater potential for heartache and abuse, as it cuts deeper for the HSP. If your significant other deals by punishing you for it, don’t torture yourself by staying with them. Do what you can to get out of the situation and cut your losses. Your well-being and happiness are not worth the pain and long-term side-effects.