This is a common partnering, myself included. Guess which one I am… I’m the shy one of course! Well, ok, maybe not but it doesn’t mean the social butterflies don’t have issues because of their social abilities.
The biggest issues, which come up with this pairing, are in social situations like swinging parties or events where there are multiple couples and singles in the mix. The social butterfly quickly gets into conversations, flirts and can often easily find new playmates to keep themselves entertained. The shy partner, on the other hand, finds it difficult to approach people and start conversations that lead to flirting and on to naked playfulness.
In a group situation it can be the shy partners who are left on the outer a little if the social butterfly is lost in their world of titillating conversation and/or stimulating play. It can lead to jealousy from the shy partner who looks longingly at their social butterfly partner wishing it was easier for them to connect with people and get playmates as easily. It can also lead to the social butterfly feeling like they are walking on egg shells, being constantly worried their shy partner is going to feel upset/jealous/uncomfortable and they are not able to relax and enjoy themselves because of it. Either way, it’s no fun for anyone and this I know for sure.
I completely understand that sometimes it’s hard when you get a negative thought pattern happening in your head, it can ramp up negative emotion and then more thoughts get involved, and before you know it you have a runaway train which makes you spiral down into the depths of anger, frustration, jealousy, sadness and self pity. Unfortunately the only one who can stop the train, or do anything about it, is you. Your partner can only do so much and that is a whole other post.
So how do you as a couple work through this and get back to the fun on the other side where the social butterfly is free to socialise carefree and the shy partner is comfortable, joining in and enjoying new connections? The answer is a careful balance of give and take, of togetherness and freedom. This will differ for each couple but as long as you are both able to look at this with a “trial and error” mindset as you work out the right balance for yourselves, then you’ll be fine. Remember, we are all human and sometimes we make mistakes!
The intention should always be to have fun while being true to your innate nature, and while respecting your partners needs and wants at the same time. For us, we agreed I (the social butterfly) will stick by my Mr Wonderful initially while we connect and mingle, and anywhere I wander, to take him with me. This will help him to fit in and get some level of comfort to be able to handle his own. He has agreed to give me some “free time” at some point to just go where I go and not have to worry about him, and then I have agreed to check back in with him periodically, spend time with him and make sure he’s enjoying his night. He has also agreed to just join in with me at any point, he doesn’t have to stand back and let me play on my own, in fact I like it when he’s a part of it!
The how and when this all happens will differ from event to event as he’ll easily be comfortable some nights and take longer other nights. I also know some nights I won’t feel like going for a wander and will want to stick with him all night but he may want to wander himself at other events. So each event will be different and we each have to be fluid with our agreements but always clearly communicate our needs as they change.
The key is respecting each other’s comfort zones, listening to each other’s concerns and needs, and collaborating on an approach which allows the individuals to have time to be themselves in whatever capacity, or to alleviate any discomfort felt by one or both partners. And after that, know that it might be a trial and error process; people can, and do, make mistakes but if you are committed to each other, you will forgive and strategise a better approach for next time.
Go forth and swing!