6 Unmistakable Signs You're In Love With A Highly Sensitive Man

Photo: Luna Vandoorne /
Woman comforts upset man

About 20 percent of the world’s population consider themselves highly sensitive.

As a result, this topic is quite popular and has been raised both in the scientific community and in the media. Film director Will Harper even released a documentary called “Sensitive: The Untold Story,” starring singer and eight-time Grammy winner Alanis Morissette, who says she is herself a highly sensitive person (HSP).

Some people may not believe that men can be highly sensitive — or even sensitive at all — but that's a myth. There are plenty of sensitive husbands, boyfriends and even guy friends out there!

Understanding what it means to be a HSP is especially helpful when the person you love is among them.

Here are some signs that you can look out for to determine whether your husband is among that 20 percent and some tips to help you deal with it.

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How can you determine if you are living with a highly sensitive person? 

Maybe you’ve noticed that your husband takes things too personally, or you often have to tell him, “You shouldn’t make such a big deal out of it.” If you suspect that your husband might be highly sensitive, then you should take a closer look at what makes HSPs different from other people. Not better or worse, but different.

The first thing to know is that some people’s central nervous system is literally more sensitive. They are more responsive and process physical, emotional, and social stimuli on a deeper level than other people do. This phenomenon is called Sensory Processing Sensitivity and is what makes people hypersensitive. 

Author and clinical research psychologist Elaine Aron was the first to use the term “highly sensitive person.” She has even developed a sensitivity level test that you can encourage your husband to take or take together.

If he answers “yes” on 12 or more statements then he might be a highly sensitive person. but this is only a general test. If you need professional evaluation, you and your husband can talk to family therapists or psychologists. 

Here are 6 common signs that you have a highly sensitive husband:

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1. Your husband reacts emotionally to everything. 

Highly sensitive people experience more intense emotions and often absorb those of other people. In general, things that you, as a non-HSP spouse, consider insignificant can be of significant importance to your overly emotional husband and cause a sharp reaction.

2. Your husband can’t watch violence on the screen.

When choosing a movie, your husband always skips those directed, for instance, by Quentin Tarantino. Moreover, horror or disaster films are also not an option for him. First, violence makes HSPs feel anxious. Second, they easily identify themselves with on-screen victims.

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3. Your husband overreacts to criticism.

Being too sensitive about even the most constructive and friendly criticism is a norm for HSPs. Moreover, when other people criticize things they like, their reaction can be no less intense. So, for example, if you are married to an HSP partner, and you go negative on their favorite football team, they might take it personally.

4. Your husband has decision-making problems.

Usually, highly sensitive people are very attentive to details. They try to take everything into account and make sure their solutions meet everyone’s needs, which is not always possible. Thus, it can be difficult for them to make decisions, sometimes even the basic ones.

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5. Your husband can’t stand harsh and loud sounds.

The sound of radio interference, a crying baby, a car alarm, etc., can make your husband feel uncomfortable, annoy him, and even cause physical pain. Also, HSPs can get stressed out when talking to someone who speaks a few tones higher.

6. Your husband feels overwhelmed in crowded places.

Usually, hypersensitive people don’t like big parties, crowded bars, or busy office settings. When in such an environment for a long time, they may try to either get away physically or dive into their thoughts. That’s because HSPs are overloaded with sensory information. Sometimes, they get tired of people, although not all of them are introverts.

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How can you deal with an overly sensitive husband?

Since childhood, some of us are told to be strong and not to take everything so personally. As a result, highly sensitive people start to believe that there’s something wrong with them and deny their sensitivity. That’s mistake number one. 

Although both men and women can be highly sensitive, society does not always support it in men.

Being a child and having heard phrases like: “Be a man! Don’t cry!” The boy grows up, hiding his sensitivity, and puts on a mask of hypermasculinity. That’s mistake number two. 

Living your life hiding your true self can lead to various negative consequences such as psychological disorders, communication issues, marriage issues, etc. If you are married to a highly sensitive partner, you might want to help them work through these issues. 

Here are the 5 most effective tips for dealing with an emotional husband.

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1. Respect your husband’s boundaries.

Personal boundaries are lines that lay between individuals, the people around them, and larger social systems. It’s our personal space, interests, principles, and beliefs. 

Although everyone’s personal boundaries should be respected, a highly sensitive person married to a non-HSP needs special attention paid to theirs. Breaking their boundaries can easily get them hurt, worried, or offended.

For example, if your husband wants to stay home and watch a (not scary) movie, instead of going to a noisy bar, try to respect your spouse’s needs and search for a solution that will satisfy both sides. Even better, do it together. You may prefer different pastimes, but choosing something you both enjoy can help you avoid relationship boredom.

2. Mind your voice.

Sometimes, we can unconsciously raise our voices. If you know your spouse is sensitive to loud noises, then raised voices can make them feel uncomfortable and stressed. Try to control your voice if possible or agree to tell each other if someone raises it.

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3. Control your body language.

Body language can say more than words, especially to highly sensitive people. The way you look at your husband, the expression you have on your face and how you touch him, it’s all essential for communication with your spouse.

For example, you may not even notice how you roll your eyes during some discussion, but your spouse may think you are not interested in his opinion and take it more harshly than others.

4. Accept their emotions.

It is crucial for highly sensitive people to know that the people they love acknowledge their feelings. If your husband shares emotions that you think are dramatized or exaggerated, just remember that they are very real for him. Thus, don’t try to change what he feels. And certainly don’t give him advice on how to become less sensitive. It will only provoke miscommunication. Listen to what he says, look at things from his perspective, show empathy, and try to understand what he is going through. 

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5. Plan heavy conversations.

If something bothers you and you want to discuss it with your husband, it is better to plan your conversation in advance. It will help solve several problems:

  • You will have time to calm down and think over your words. In the moment, you can say things that might only aggravate the situation. 
  • You’ll be able to create a relaxing atmosphere where your touchy spouse won’t need to defend himself but will listen and understand what you want to say.

You can both agree to pause for 5 seconds before responding to each other during a conflict situation. Or you can choose certain days of the week to discuss your issues.

Highly sensitive people are still people and their feelings are real.

High sensitivity is not a defect but a personality trait that people can use to their advantage. Responding more sharply to external stimuli, HSPs experience positive emotions more vividly. Being too focused on details, they can analyze and notice changes in other people’s behavior earlier. Perceiving feelings and emotions on a deeper level, HSPs have high emotional intelligence and can empathize.

To live in harmony with a sensitive husband, you'll both need to adjust your lifestyles in accordance with one another's needs. Partners need to learn to accept their differences, seek compromise, and create solutions to maintain a healthy relationship.

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Natalie Maximets is a life transformation coach with expertise in clinical and existential psychology.