7 Ways Introverts Handle Heartbreak Differently

Heartbreak doesn’t hurt any less if you’re an introvert, an extrovert or a somewhere-in-the-middle ambivert.

Still, each personality type deals with the sting of a breakup a little differently. Below, experts share seven things that are true of most introverts going through a split. 

1. They will go over the events that led to the split over and over and over again.  

Introverts are masters of mental replay. You better believe they’re going to pore over old texts from their ex and mull over decisions they made in the relationship years ago. 

“One strength of introverts is our willingness to honestly reflect on events like a breakup,” said Laurie Helgoe, a psychologist and the author of Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life Is Your Hidden Strength. 

While this can be an asset after divorce — self-reflection can better prepare you for your next relationship — it can also stand in the way of moving on, Helgoe told The Huffington Post.

“Exhaustive mental replay, second-guessing and ‘what-ifs’ can keep you stuck,” she said. “That’s when it’s time to give your head a break.”

2. They don’t just want to be alone. They need to be alone. 

After a breakup, most introverts go into what might best be described as heartbreak hibernation: Give them a Netflix account, easy access to food and leave them be for a while. Not only do they need this time alone, they thrive on it, said Arnie Kozak, a psychotherapist and the author of The Awakened Introvert. 

“Introverts are likely to withdraw so that they can regroup after a split,” he said. “They might not want to spend a lot of time with other people, as extroverts are inclined to do post-breakup.”

To make the most of this alone time, Kozak recommends a silent meditation retreat to most introverts.

“Silent meditation is an opportunity to sit with your feelings about the loss of the relationship and the change in your life trajectory,” he said. 

3. An introvert is less likely to hook up post-split. 

You know the type of person who feels antsy when a relationship ends and rushes to Tinder in search of a rebound? The introvert is categorically not that person. They don’t give their heart to just anyone, so when a relationship of their choosing ends, they’d rather be alone than put the mental energy into finding someone new, Helgoe said.

“Introverts are selective about relationships: We like people we’re comfortable around, ones that don’t require small talk,” she said. “Given that, it takes some vetting before someone new is found that’s suitable. Pets, on the other hand, are always suitable for companionship, as are old friends.”

4. They’re totally drained by the divorce process. 

The divorce process is exhausting for anyone but it’s especially exhausting for introverts, said Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, the author of The Genius of Opposites: How Introverts and Extroverts Achieve Extraordinary Results Together. With each new appointment they have to add to their Google calendar, a little part of them dies inside. 

“The logistics and planning of a divorce is tiresome for an introvert,” Kahnweiler said. “They’re forced to talk with their ex, lawyers, mediators, school personnel and family members.”

To make all this extra social interaction easier to bear, Kahnweiler tells introverts to monitor their energy flow and be especially mindful of the need to take breaks.

5. They won’t necessarily pour their heart out to their friends.

The heart of an introvert is a deep, dark, cavernous place. (See the map above for reference.) Even if you ply them out of the house with the promise of wine, pizza and good conversation, they aren’t likely to bare their soul about the breakup, said Kahnweiler.

“Unless it’s a person they really trust, introverts may not choose to express themselves to those around them,” she explained. “They might, however, communicate their feelings about the experience by journaling or writing e-mails to family or friends; writing is a sweet spot for introverts.” 

6. That said, they still need their friends to reach out. 

Introverts are selective about their relationships, including friendships — and unlike extroverts, they don’t necessarily have an easy time maintaining close social ties. That means that sometimes, their support system isn’t the greatest. If you’re an introvert dealing with heartbreak, really push yourself to connect with friends and family, said Sophia Dembling, author of Introverts in Love: The Quiet Way to Happily Ever After. 

“While I always encourage introverts to respect their quiet, homebody nature, there are times, too, when you’re wise to ignore your first instinct — to hole up –and let others drag you out and about, just to keep you connected and remind you of the possibilities in life.”

7. An introvert is a lot less likely to send a text to their ex at 2. am. 

Luckily, introverts’ tendency to over-analyze means they’re probably not going to send a long-winded, late night text to their ex, as much as they might want to.

“The good news is that introverts are a lot less inclined to send an impulsive, hurtful text in the heat of anger,” said Kahnweiler. “Extroverts are more likely to do that!” 

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