Episode 49

Relationships with Non-Hsps: Communication

Published on: 13th April, 2022

Is it possible for HSPs and non-HSPs to have a long happy romantic relationship?

Yes! If both are willing to communicate.

In this episode my husband Jon and I discuss how we navigate our communication as a HSP/non-HSP couple.

If you'd like to ask us questions feel free to reach out to us!

IG & FB: @highlysensitivehealingcircle 

Email: tonya@highlysensitivehealing.com


Tonya 0:03

Welcome to the highly sensitive healing podcast, where we meet the joys and challenges of our sensitivity, with open minds and hearts to awaken our best highly sensitive selves. Hello, everyone, it's Tonya and today I have a very special guest with me, my husband, Jon to talk about what it's like to navigate relationships between HSPs and non HSPs. In our last few episodes, we've been talking about relationships and different aspects. And so this is also an important topic that a lot of us deal with as HSPs. And so I've invited Jon here with me today. So we can talk about how we navigate our relationship as an HSP and an HSP. So let's just start off by I want to ask you, how would you describe our relationship as me, as me being an HSP, and you being a non HSP,

Jon 1:08

it's, it can be a little challenging, sometimes things that affect you a lot more than they affect me. And I only then give it a second thought that would necessarily affect you in the way that it does. So I just need to kind of realize what's going on, kind of give a pause and, and try to reword it or kind of just work with you a little bit on kind of what we're dealing with.

Tonya 1:40

Like what would be an example of a situation where you would say I, I'll say overreact, for lack of a better, better term. But I would say, from your perspective, you probably see it as overreacting to something that you consider to be not really anything, that's a big deal.

Jon 2:01

I don't know if this was quite on the same realm. But even like, I'll say like yard care as far as the me wanting to cut down trees or take care of the lawn the certain way, and you want to watch out for the the wildlife and the in the insects and stuff like that, which I realized are important, but I don't give it quite the thought that you do as far as that stuff goes. So I had to kind of rein in what I want to do with some of that stuff, but to to make a compromise, that I try to see your side of it.

Tonya 2:38

And I appreciate that you do that. And I think it it took it took us a while to get to that. To that point, when you say it's not something that just happened overnight. I mean, we have been together for what, almost 14 years. So it's definitely been a journey trying to find that balance between me worrying about every single bee and butterfly and squirrel and tree. And you trying to understand where I'm coming from and also wanting to maintain things in a certain way that that you that you like, and so would you say, after all this time that you understand my sensitivity, or that you've come to understand it better or if understand is even quite the word that you would use to describe it.

Jon 3:33

Overall, I'd say yes. Sometimes I just can't really even comprehend, like why something in particular is bothering you, at first, but I kind of take a step back and then try to put myself in your shoes try to kind of redo my mind a little bit as far as kind of grasping how you're feeling on the subject, and then kind of got to try to understand where you're coming from with it. I don't know, it's, it's a different mindset than where I am. So it's it's definitely a challenge sometimes.

Tonya 4:13

Would you say that that? I mean, you're a you're an extremely patient person anyway. But would you say that that understanding kind of comes from a place that you already had within you? Or do you think by being with me, you've had to kind of adjust it a little bit and kind of come to that. That way of understanding and having that that patience and taking that pause?

Jon 4:42

It's definitely a combination of both. Like you said, I am very understanding for and with a lot of people and a lot of things. I would say not everyone could actually do be as understanding and and kind of work with HSPs. Quite like I do it not that I'm the best. But I definitely like is that I can definitely kind of work with just about anybody.

Tonya 5:14

Would you have any thoughts on somebody who might be dealing with somebody who's really sensitive, who maybe has a short temper or not a lot of patience? Would you have maybe like one or two thoughts on that or just kind of advice for somebody who's struggling with that?

Jon 5:35

On the HSP side, or the non HS,

Tonya 5:36

the non HSP side,

Jon 5:39

basically, just kind of one of my things is kind of try to think before you speak.

Tonya 5:45

That's really good advice,

Jon 5:47

to try to prove the wrong use of the term but kind of backpedal a little bit to try to try to clarify what you're saying. And just kind of just what just basically just kind of stop, listen to the whole thing in the first place. But then just kind of stop for a couple seconds, try to envision what they're thinking.

Tonya 6:08

Do you think intention and, and tone of voice are important as well? Because sometimes I will, you'll say something that's very neutral. But the tone of voice that you use, just really upsets me.

Jon 6:24

Yeah. So from what I've heard, this is, this is I guess a thing? No, it definitely it definitely is. There are some times where I'm really think I am not inflecting a certain thing into something and you read something else into it. So whether that just be the HSP thing or something else, or just taking it a certain way, for whatever reason. But it definitely tried to, I guess, watch your tone, inflection on different things. But I guess it be as clear as possible in trying to get across what you're trying to say.

Tonya 7:06

And we do this thing where I think both of us do it. Where we'll say, What did you mean by that? Or did you mean to say it that way, or something like that. So we'll we'll stop in, in the middle of a pretty neutral conversation, sometimes, just to clarify with each other, right.

Jon 7:27

And that's whether it be honestly it's HSP, or anything else in the world is there's I'll hear people talking in a class or something like that. And student asked the question, new instructors answering a certain way. And I'm like, I don't think that's what they meant. And finally, the student clarifies No, I meant this. And just a little more clarity. And the whole conversation in the first place is just, I think, a huge thing in the world in general, not just between HSP and non HSP, or anything like that, but just do these needs for more clarity and things. Yeah,

Tonya 8:03

and a lot of the responses or reactions that I have to some things that you say, are, are not just related to HSP, but also related to childhood trauma, as well. And I think a lot of highly sensitive people have experienced that sort of trauma. And so I think that you are very often tied together sometimes.

Jon 8:27

And yeah, like you said, You've you came from different upbringing than I came from. I came with a pretty stable parents that were together, as long as they were both alive basically, until one passed on. But there were no never any kind of major fights. My sister and I were treated. Well, as like I said, as opposed to how you were brought up a little bit differently. So just a little bit, I have no traumatic upbringing to kind of flash back on kind of, so when you've you've definitely come a decent ways from where you are when I first met you like 14 years ago, like you said,

Tonya 9:09

Yeah, I used to shut down right away with any sort of misunderstanding or miscommunication. I would just completely shut down. And well run away basically. But you're the one that taught me how to open up and talk about things and tell me that it was okay to tell you why I was upset and explain it and all of that.

Jon 9:39

And that's I think that's one of the biggest things is a whole communication. Lot of people just keep everything inside and don't actually say what's on their mind or you know, somebody who keeps bottled up and you can tell there's something wrong and they'll just deny there's anything wrong. So one kind of harping the wrong word but harping on so When the economy you know what, what is wrong, and then the person to finally actually open up and say, Well, this is wrong. This is this is what's bothering me when there be something that you said or something that happened earlier today or three years ago, whatever it is, but to actually bring it up and actually communicate what what the problem is. So things can kind of go back into its normal route teller. Relationships should be,


yeah, and there's a lot of vulnerability. And in sharing those kinds of things, too, which can be really hard sometimes, a lot of times it can be really hard. So, in your experience, what would you say is one or two of the most difficult things that you have to navigate being in a relationship with a highly sensitive person.


So the main thing is just the fact that what I consider to be an something saying innocently, have mean no harm intention whatsoever. And you taking it the complete different way. Just just in my mind, more or less an overreaction to what I said. And that comes into what we were saying before, as far as the clarity and stuff like that, just so if I do say something for you, shut down, fly off the handle, whatever it's gonna be to just kind of, I think, clarify with me. Is that what I meant? Or is it? You know, what, what are you trying to say here? That's, that's, I think that's the main the main difficulty, I guess, I would say,


I'd say for me, one of the most difficult things navigating our relationship with a non HSP is, at first I think it was understanding or having the, the desire to have you understand everything about what I was feeling and why I was feeling it. And I, I've come to the, to the conclusion now that it doesn't really matter to me as much if you understand it, but that you've come just to a place to respect it. And you know, that that's how I feel, and that I'm having feelings, emotions, all of these things that you don't necessarily understand, but you respect that, that I'm having them, and you don't dismiss them, and you don't tell me to just get over it, or, you know, what's your, what's wrong with you? And all that kind of stuff? Where I feel like maybe in the beginning, you don't? You weren't necessarily saying those things, but I'm sure most if not all of those things, were probably going through your mind quite often. Oh, yeah, probably helped times. I would say probably right now, where we are in our relationship, it's more about intention. And knowing, trying to understand the intent, the intention behind what you're saying. And that really comes into, like I said, the way we've laid the spot we've gotten to the place we've gotten to, in our relationship where we can just ask, Did you mean that. And it doesn't mean that just by asking that, I won't necessarily get upset. I can still feel that way. But I'm not upset for a very long. And I usually realize that what I'm upset about is not necessarily something that directly related to what you're saying or doing. But something that's really tied to some other experience that I've had, that's kind of more of a trigger maybe. So what would you say is the best thing or, you know, you can name you can name 10 Best things if you want. What are some of the some of the best things about being in a relationship with an HSP


basically, just the get a kind of maybe different perspectives on some things, how I feel about something is not necessarily how you or other people feel about it. So it kind of helps me see. Two or more sides to a, to a to a situation and just kind of, I guess more open to things in the in the world and how they can be seen.


Do you think our differences as HSP and non HSP are a benefit to our relationship? Or do you think it's more of a for lack of a better word detriment? And why or why not? Do you feel that way?


It can be like it's a little bit of a detriment. Sometimes it's because I have to I we have to explain things a little more to each other. But overall, it's it's not really a hinderance as long as we can kind of both see. It kind of helps us see the other side of the coin, basically to see. You know how I'm feeling or you're feeling gotta match the two together and kind of work through it.


You're not an insensitive person, about a lot of things, but usually, so you're definitely not highly sensitive. But you're also not insensitive. I mean, you have, you know, you care about people you care about animals. Just not to the extent an extreme that I do, I don't think extreme is a very fair word.


Extreme in my mind, it can mean,


okay, in your mind that that's good. That's good. That's good clarification and communication. I, you know, I don't know, I think probably if you'd asked me if I had been asked this question. A decade ago, I might have said more of a of a detriment. But the longer we're together, I feel like, it's actually more of a benefit. And for basically the same reason for seeing for seeing the world in a different way, in a different perspective. And honestly, honestly, I'm not sure I would want to be in a relationship with someone who was as sensitive as me, I feel like that would be an awful lot of feelings, and an awful lot of emotions. And it's not necessarily a bad thing. But I feel like if you're, if you're spending the majority of your time with someone who is not feeling that way, it doesn't discount your feelings. But it can kind of bring you back to a little bit more of a balance, as opposed to kind of falling off the edge of, of being so overwhelmed by your feelings all of the time. So do you think that over the years, that we've changed each other? Like I've become less sensitive, or you've become more sensitive? Or, like, in what ways do you think we've changed each other and in good ways and bad ways? I hate to use the word bad, but in good and less good ways.


I say basically, you just said we, you've become a little less sensitive about some things. And I'd become a little more sensitive as we've kind of like even the you know, soften the edges a little bit on the on the extremes of things. To kind of see a little bit of the other person's world a little bit. So it's, I would say, it's definitely, like I said, changed. I've, I've become a little more sensitive in the past 14 or so years, and you've, you're still sensitive, but you you can kind of you've relaxed a little bit, I think, I guess would be the word.


I think that's a good word. I agree, I'd say relaxed is is a good word to describe it. And just a little less on edge to I think that has a lot to do with how we've built our lives together, that we have a very calm and stable home. Right? We don't have a lot


not a lotta of drama.


No, not a lot of drama. And as someone who grew up with a lot of drama, I don't like it at all, but I can still gravitate that way sometimes. Because it's the only communication style that I knew. Before I met you that's the only way I knew to to communicate to someone was yelling and not even so much yelling but just once a yelling.


I feel like in your house when you were growing up there was more


than Oh, yeah, yeah. In the house there was there was yelling, but I hate I hate any sort of yelling and, and loud voices and stuff like that. And that's another thing about YouTube is you never yell. No. Do you think we push each other out of our comfort zones? And in what ways?


A little bit. I mean, we're we're both basically introverts, really, it's not like we're out in a lot of public settings with a lot other people. So like that, but just, I think I try to kind of help you see more of a, a worldly view of how a lot of people accept things, as opposed to I realize there's quite a few of HSPs out there but you know, not just in that smallish world of the of the HSP except more things, little be a little less sensitive about some stuff. And I've also become a little more sensitive myself, like you said, I was I've always been a fairly sensitive person to an extent. But just kind of try to see you know, more of your world. So we kind of push each other a little bit in those aspects.


I would agree, I feel the same. I do. I think we're on the same page about most of the big things on the same page about. So what would you say? What, in your opinion, what are kind of the top three elements to having a successful relationship as a non highly sensitive person with a sensitive person.


One is kind of just listen, try to sense their mood, or just how they're feeling on a subject. As I said before, thinking before speaking, can be a big one. To just try to avoid even getting into hurting feelings or starting an argument, which was not all, at all intentional. It's just a misunderstanding, basically, sometimes, and just having general compassion for the other person, put yourself in their shoes and just relax a little bit.


Do you think these these things that you've learned, do you think they're? Do they make your life harder to kind of take those pauses and to, and to make those adjustments instead of just, you know, going like full on with whatever you're thinking? And saying it without thinking about it first,


sometimes a little bit, had to kind of watch what I'm saying sometimes to try to avoid hurting your feelings on something that, like I said, it's not all meant to be nearly taken. It's just it comes across that way to you. And you're in your mind. So just, yeah, I just need to hit that definitely affects some of that.


Do you think it's fair to say that, that's how really all relationships should work? Not just with not just being in a relationship with a highly sensitive person, but most of us should? Kind of think a little bit before we before we speak and think about the consequences? Yeah, there's a there's a good quote that says, before you speak, ask yourself, if what you're going to say, is it true? Is it kind? And is it necessary? And I think for me, the important part for that is, is it necessary, is what I'm thinking, really necessary to say out loud?


And back to you, I think you asked the question before, which I didn't get a chance to answer. But yes, I would say most advice would actually apply to pretty much all relationships. You know, just, but somewhat depends on people, whether it be highly sensitive or not highly sensitive, somewhere in between, or somewhere even beyond those edges. And honestly, some people, like I said, a lot of this advice would go for HSP is non HSPs. But some people just aren't going to change. So honestly, as much as it would hurt. Some relationships between HSP and non HPC, HSP. Personally, I don't think they would necessarily work. You know, you can definitely try. But don't beat yourself up. If it doesn't work, you have to, unfortunately, find somebody else that's going to that's going to work with you and, and be good for you.


I would describe us as heart versus head. Do you think that's fair to say I'm heart, I'm more heart than head and you're more head than heart?


I would agree with that.


So would you say in your opinion, that communication is kind of at the at the heart of trying to build a relationship with a highly sensitive person, or compassion, like what's what's the number one thing that that you that you would go to or that you would call to you within yourself to kind of bring you to that place to where we could have such a successful relationship for over a decade.


I personally, I feel like communication is drastically underused, whether it be in relationships or anything else and it just especially relationships, or was basically just should be the majority of just a one on one speaking with the occasional texts or emails, whatever kind of thing. But just in the world in general. The lack of communication with so many different things available now even texting and emails and phone calls and video and everything else, it's instantaneous thing as opposed to even those 2030 years ago where you didn't have a lot of these different things. And how much of a lack of communication there is in the world in general. So that that's basically a pet peeve of mine anyways, and people who don't communicate they He's like, don't even try to or don't. Or just don't do it period for whatever reason. But I think it all kind of it all kinds of comes from there. So if you're not going to communicate in the first place, you can't really be necessarily compassionate for what the other person is going through what something like that. So I think it all kind of ties together I, I guess it for myself, just communication is a huge, a huge thing in my mind, which I'm not the best communicator speaking wise. It's just, it's just, it just drives me crazy the lack of communication in the world, like I said, between whether relationships or other things. It's just, it's crazy.


Yeah. And like I said before, I've learned so much through you about communication. And I feel like if, and I know that if you weren't so good at communication, and I wasn't able to embrace all of those things that you were trying to share with me that that we would not still probably be together he's nodding his head.


Fair, a fair assessment.


All right. Well, thank you so much for doing this with me. I know that it was. You're a little bit shy. And I'm shy as well. But but this is the first time you've ever done anything like this. So I remember


being on public speaking and however many people are listening to this and Thanks.


I appreciate your love and support as always. So if you enjoy this conversation between John and I, please reach out and let me know or if you have any, any questions for us as HSP and non HSP and how we navigate or if you have something that you think we might be able to help you with, please reach out and send me that information. And we will do this again for sure. You can find me on Instagram at highly sensitive healing circle on Facebook at highly sensitive healing circle. And you can also email me Tonya at highly sensitive healing.com


Bye till next time.


Thank you so much for spending time with me here on the highly sensitive healing podcast. New episodes are released Wednesdays and please feel free to reach out with any questions or comments and never forget. We were given this highly sensitive life because we're strong enough to live it.

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Highly Sensitive Healing
Clarity and Connection for Highly Sensitive People
Highly Sensitive Healing is about taking healthy and positive action using mindfulness, meditation, and a holistic approach to finding peace, acceptance, and expansion into all areas of our lives as HSPs. Together we’ll navigate the struggles of our High Sensitivity by learning to live with greater wisdom, harmony, and happiness.

Through conversation and practices we seek the clarity and wisdom we need to untangle the challenges of Highly Sensitive living to enjoy a clear path to more joy and self-love.
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Tonya Rothe

Tonya is a Yoga and Mindfulness teacher, Holistic Nutritionist, trauma survivor, depression thriver & Highly Sensitive joy seeker.