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The Highly Sensitive Person in Love: Understanding and Managing Relationships When the World Overwhelms You Paperback – January 9, 2001

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Editorial Reviews Review

Picking up where The Highly Sensitive Person left off, The Highly Sensitive Person in Love explores the sometimes bumpy but ultimately rewarding terrain that love relationships have to offer this group of people. HSPs, as they are known, make up the estimated 15 to 20 percent of the population that have very sensitive nervous system and are prone to deep reflection and feelings of being overwhelmed by the world. These special characteristics, which tend to be misunderstood as shyness and dismissed as signs of weakness in our highly competitive society, inevitably bring interesting challenges to all kinds of love relationships for HSPs. Author Elaine Aron--who's a psychotherapist, researcher, and an HSP--delves deep to into the subject and surfaces with detailed, helpful, wise advice for HSPs and their partners, be they fellow HSPs or non-HSPs.

Aron details the positive and negative sides to such relationships, including how the HSP benefits, how both members of the relationship benefit, the typical challenges that arise, and solutions to those challenges. For instance, a relationship made up of two HSPs may engender low levels of arousal, or awareness, which means that both of you will avoid doing the same things that make you uncomfortable, such as shopping, dealing with conflict, and being in crowds. Solution? Simplify your life, see if you can hire someone to take care of the tasks neither of you wants to do--but don't forget that doing such tasks is also a way to grow personally--and divvy up the tasks according to preference. As for conflict, Aron says that having a plan of action is the best route--decide how to handle conflict in the relationship before the conflict flares up. Another reality of an HSP-HSP union is that neither person will be able to max out on work and expect to have a decent home life, so at least one of you will have to limit activities. So, plan not to have more than one child if you both work (it may be too late for some couples to put this one into action; if so, Aron advises that one parent stay at home).

Throughout the book, Aron stresses that being in a relationship is a "package deal"; neither the HSP nor the non-HSP is perfect, so she urges readers to appreciate the positive aspects of their sensitivity, be it highly sensitive or not, and not to dwell on its drawbacks. But she does urge HSPs who are unhappy with their trait to work on coming to terms with it--through inner work, counseling, or medication if needed--as its qualities, when properly appreciated, can be life enhancing and beneficial to HSPs as well as to their relationship partners. --Stefanie Durbin --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

In her 1996 bestseller, The Highly Sensitive Person, Aron defined "HSPs" as people who "pick up on subtleties, reflect deeply and therefore are easily overwhelmed." A self-professed HSP, Aron identifies the cause of this "innate temperament" as a "strong pause-to-check system" involving the neurotransmitter serotonin. The result, she explains, is "a major, normal, inherited difference in how the entire nervous system functions [and affects] every aspect of life" for 15% to 20% of the population. Aron also identifies inherited traits of "HSSs" or "high sensation seekers," whose love for change and bold risk-taking are spurred by the neurotransmitter dopamine. (Somewhat confusingly, Aron claims that it is possible for one person to be an HSP and an HSS simultaneously, or a non-HSP and a non-HSS, or any combination thereof.) Self-tests help readers assess themselves and their partners in both areas. Based on her research as a psychotherapist, hundreds of personal interviews with individuals and couples, and some recent controlled studies done by others, Aron describes the various possible "personality combinations," reasons for their attraction to one another and potential areas of conflict. Aron offers a fresh way of perceiving the diversity and complexity of human personality that will help readers better understand themselves, their partners and the dynamics of interaction. Agent, Betsy Amster. 4-city tour.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Harmony; First Paperback Edition edition (January 9, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767903366
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767903363
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,890 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Elaine Aron, Ph.D., is recognized internationally as one of the leading scientists studying the psychology of love and close relationships. Dr. Aron's research on love, conducted with her husband, Dr. Art Aron, has been featured in the New York Times, Time, and National Geographic. She is the author of The Highly Sensitive Person, The Highly Sensitive Person in Love, and The Highly Sensitive Child. She has lived in many places all over North America, from a geodesic dome on Cortes Island to an aging southern mansion on Peachtree Street in Atlanta, and now divides her time between New York and San Francisco.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

171 of 175 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 19, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Aron's first book, The Highly Sensitive Person, was groundbreaking. The author pioneered in presenting a well-researched theory on what was essentially an inherited temperament leading to an unusual level of sensitivity to one's environment. Being sensitive to this degree, one sees the subtleties others miss, feels the depths others fail to experience, and essentially lives a fuller life just by observation, let alone by experience. However, this attunement has the downside of over-stimulation of the senses, resulting in feelings of discomfort or panic and a need to retreat into a far less active environment. When I first read Aron's book, I found myself. Not all of me, since each individual has myriad aspects both biological and experiential in origin, but an understanding of some of my persistent and inescapable (inexplicable) behaviors. Now, I appreciate my sensitivity, realizing that I'm not paranoid because I put 2 + 2 together more quickly than anyone I know. In fact, after Aron's book, I've learned to use and trust this ability to my and others' advantage. I realize too that I need a peaceful, silent retreat from stimulus in order to regain my balance -- realize it and understand it and permit it.
So it was with anticipation that I got myself a copy of her new book, hoping for many insights into achieving a harmonious and pleasurable love life. The HSP in Love is not as well-written or as innovative or amazing as was the original volume. I found it difficult at times to focus on the point the author was making during a discussion; however, certain points were enlightening, especially when the author writes about current research into relationships (which apply to everyone, not just HSPs).
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70 of 72 people found the following review helpful By Peter Messerschmidt on October 4, 2002
Format: Paperback
The Highly Sensitive Person in Love is Dr. Elaine N. Aron's "sequel" to her best-selling book "The Highly Sensitive Person."
This second book builds on her previous research, this time taking on the topic of Relationships and along with it, possibly one of the most difficult issues facing Highly Sensitive People (HSPs): How to balance a strong need for "alone and quiet time" with the genuine desire to have an active and fulfilling intimate relationship. In addition to her research, Aron (an HSP) also draws on experiences from her own marriage to a non-HSP.
As a starting point, the book includes a "Sensitivity Self Test" for both the reader and their mate or potential partner. Aron then goes on to explain how HSPs differ from the rest of the world in the way they fall in love, think about love, and their needs within a relationship. There are separate chapters covering the pluses and minuses of different types of relationships: Two HSPs together, and an HSP paired with a non-HSP, as well as the differing needs of highly sensitive men and women. Finally, there are sections on "Building Sensitive Partnerships" and HSP Sexuality. Except for a few vague and indirect references, "The Highly Sensitive Person in Love" deals strictly with heterosexual relationships.
Whereas I enjoyed this book, and found much useful information within its pages, it didn't seem to offer quite the number of insights provided by "The Highly Sensitive Person." This perhaps goes to illustrate that whereas HSPs may have special needs, their relationship dynamics aren't AS different from anyone else's as one might think.
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86 of 90 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 18, 2000
Format: Hardcover
After reading the first three reviews, I put off buying this book. I got the impression that it might be just a rehash of Elaine Aron's previous HSP books which I already own.Nothing could be further from the truth! This book is packed with useful information and practical strategies for HSPs to use to build solid, fulfilling relationships. I gleaned many insights and ideas that I plan to use to enhance my relationships with my family and friends as well as with my husband.If you're serious about building a happy, fulfilling life as an HSP, I highly recommend this book.
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104 of 115 people found the following review helpful By on June 27, 2000
Format: Hardcover
As a psychotherapist, I found this book an invaluable source of practical wisdom. The author has articulated something that often goes unheard in a extraverted, "more is more, and more is better" culture. HSP's have difficulty making a relationship to their healthy creative selves; they have often learned to pathologize their gifts of intuition and introspection, depth and empathy. Separated from self, it should be no surprise that they also often become alienated from their partners, but when they are in sync with themselves, they can be warm, compassionate, spontaneous and profoundly present in love relationships. It is gratifying to find a resource that offers concrete suggestions and a wealth of support to HSP's. They are among the more gifted among us, and they need and deserve to be encouraged.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Dan E. Nicholas on July 18, 2011
Format: Paperback
I'd say this is required reading for those who are dating...or in a relationship where there's some conflict at times. She talks here about HSP--Highly Sensitive People who are in HSP/HSP relationships or HSP/non-HSP relationships. Very helpful.

I first read this and another of her works when I was dating a therapist. She got me into reading Elaine Aron as part of my self discovery quest. Seems obvious that you're not likely to connect well with other people if you don't know yourself well. So I took up the challenge of considering if I was one of these HSP folk. Yep. If you are wondering who you are in relation to others--even your own grand kids, I'd recommend her other introduction book as the first of a pair: The Highly Sensitive Person.

I read this Who Am I work with other "wiring books" about the brain (A General Theory of Love by Lewis and friends; and Why We Love by Helen Fisher). And, of course, heart and soul books (Care of the Soul by Thomas Moore, The Authentic Heart, by John Amodeo)along with poetry. No self discovery tour is quite complete--seems to me--without lots of poetry salted in, read and written.

My big take away with this book was to be able to stop judging myself for being different, knowing after this study that from the womb 20% of us are HSP...highly sensitive persons. I understand full well now that when I enter a party I see everything and everybody, all the conversations going on at once...that's just the way I am. It's just how my brain is wired, my brain and heart. I see now why I can only watch one movie a night, for example, and why a double feature sends me spinning. I need to process what's been in front of me (lots of things, says HSP wiring) and can't move on to B until I've exhausted A.
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