How To Find A Mate With A Rainforest Mind

photo courtesy of Felix Russell-Saw, Unsplash
photo courtesy of Felix Russell-Saw, Unsplash

How does a highly sensitive, intense, emotional, analytical, gifted, creative human find another highly sensitive, intense, emotional, analytical, gifted, creative human? Can two such humans get together and manage an intimate relationship without imploding or exploding or interploding? (I just made that last word up. But you can imagine it, can’t you?) 

You’re probably not worrying about interploding if you’re partnerless. You’re wondering if that gifted mate is even out there. And even if s/he is out there, how might you stumble into him/her. So, we’ll start there. We’ll get to an avoiding interploding post later.

(This is not to imply that everyone needs to find a mate. Nooooooo. I’m just writing to those of you who are single and looking. OK?)

There’s lots of advice out there that might be helpful. I’m going to share my theory.

From my psycho-spiritual-rainforesty perspective, I think there are complicated factors at play. But first, I want to remind you that all types of folks have found mates. Even gifted ones. So there’s hope.

Next, I believe that there are three things you’ll need to do.

1. Some of you will need therapy to face your fears. In the therapeutic relationship, you practice trusting someone and being vulnerable. You learn how to speak your truth and how to repair your broken heart. You develop healthy boundaries and shift patterns and beliefs that no longer serve you well. You build self-confidence and self-love, so that you’re better able to select someone who will be a good match. (How to find a therapist.)

2. Some of you will need to explore your psyche to look for obstacles. You may think you want to find someone but your unconscious may be screaming, ” Hell no!” In your journal, explore your fears. Write to parts of yourself and be an empathetic listener. Maybe it’s your Wounded Child who is afraid of abandonment. Maybe it’s your Perfectionist who’s afraid of failure. Maybe it’s your Introvert who’s afraid of being overwhelmed. Write to these parts and build connections. Find ways to soothe and reassure them. Then, get yourself out into the world in ways that you find meaningful and fulfilling. (Writing a blog,  joining the Audubon society, or taking a class in bicycle mechanics…)

3. And last, and here’s the spiritual (some might say woowoo) part. Use your creativity to energetically call the person to you. You can use song writing, collage, letter writing, poetry, dance, painting, gardening, whatever form that works for you and is fun. Imagine that s/he will hear you when the time is right. Imagine what it will feel like when s/he arrives. Picture your first date. If that image stirs up anxiety, go back to steps one and two! If it creates excitement, that’s a good sign. Then, be like the Buddha and let go of any attachment to outcome. Just live your already beautiful, multifaceted, rainforest-minded life.

( Full disclosure: At the present time, I’m single and seeking a partner. You may have guessed?? I’ve worked through steps 1, 2, and 3 and am in the Buddha phase. But, well, if my future mate is reading this right now, um, you know where to find me. )


To my bloggEEs: Those of you in partnerships, how did you find each other? Tell us what it’s been like. Those of you seeking, what do you think of these ideas? Those of you who are enthusiastically single, share your insights. Thank you all for reading and sharing. By the way, I hope you like the changes to my blog. Let me know your feedback. Oh, and when my person shows up, I’ll let y’all know.

And for you, dear readers, struggling with recent events, here’s an older post that might help. Sending all of you love.

Author: Paula Prober

I’m a psychotherapist and consultant in private practice based in Eugene, Oregon. I specialize in international consulting with gifted adults and parents of gifted children. I’ve been a teacher and an adjunct instructor at the University of Oregon and a frequent guest presenter at Oregon State University and Pacific University. I’ve written articles on giftedness for the Eugene Register-Guard, the Psychotherapy Networker, Advanced Development Journal and online for psychotherapy dot net, Rebelle Society, Thrive, Introvert Dear, and Highly Sensitive Refuge. My first book, Your Rainforest Mind: A Guide to the Well-Being of Gifted Adults and Youth, is a collection of case studies of gifted clients along with many strategies and resources for gifted adults and teens. My second book, Journey Into Your Rainforest Mind: A Field Guide for Gifted Adults and Teens, Book Lovers, Overthinkers, Geeks, Sensitives, Brainiacs, Intuitives, Procrastinators, and Perfectionists is a collection of my most popular blog posts along with writing exercises for self-exploration and insight.

19 responses to “How To Find A Mate With A Rainforest Mind”

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  1. Help Me Write the Book on Partnership Love and Rainforest Minds | Your Rainforest Mind

    […] To my bloggEEs: Thank you!!! If you have a lot to tell me but do not want to write it all down and would rather have a conversation, email me and we can set up a time to talk. Here are a couple of posts on the topic that are places to begin this journey. This one and this one. […]

  2.  Avatar

    I’ll share honestly about this. I think there are a few particular difficulties facing the male RFM in a heterosexual relationship. 1) Being gifted but not in a way that makes for early visible career success.2) Oversensitivity and seeing things from angles that neurotypical people don’t. 3) An interest in creative pursuits being misread as a lack of interest in domestic responsibility and other adult competencies. I think I settled for someone who tolerated my strange sort, but finding an actual “soulmate” seemed like a tall order. I don’t know if a lot of RFMs report feeling lonely within relationships.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Oh yes, Anonymous, RFMs very often report loneliness, even within a relationship. It can be a lot of work to communicate clearly and share uncomfortable moments. Differences in sensitivities, intelligence, and interests can also make relationships hard to navigate.

  3. Lucinda Leo Avatar
    Lucinda Leo

    Ooh Paula I love your process. How could you not reach a beautiful outcome following those steps?

    I met my husband in an indie rock nightclub. I was on my own, having ditched my friends in a club whose middle-of-the-road music made me want to scream in frustration.

    Everyone says you don’t meet your life partner in a nightclub. You’re supposed to be introduced at dinner parties given by mutual friends.

    Now I understand intensity, I can see why our shared love of dancing to intense music was the perfect starting point to a relationship now in its nineteenth year. We had to work hard at the start – we had relationship counselling early on which culminated in us getting engaged – but it was worth it. 🙂

    Thanks for another great post. I always enjoy the way you make me think.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Great story, Lucinda! An indie rock nightclub……..

  4. Chipper Avatar

    Online dating and it took some tweaking. IRL I met nice men, but I was too quirky and insecure for them, and they were too conformist and smug for me. The men I met online — well, there are a lot of personality disorders on dating sites looking to hook their next soulmate; I got better at spotting them, but not before picking up a stalker, Ugh. ( You’ve got an advantage there–you could probably spot NPD from a mile away.)–anyway, the NICE, NORMAL men online and I didn’t click, so I got very specific in choosing traits and cast a wide geographical net and found a feller 250 miles away in a dusty town in the middle of nowhere. But, he was smart, funny, geeky, into sci fi, comic con, a foody… He’s totally socially awkward (Aspergerish), but I’m his social buffer so it works out. Best of wishes finding another rainforest.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thanks for sharing your story, Chipper.

  5. Richard Avatar

    I am considered highly gifted, and have been married for forty-one years to an amazing woman. I was asked in a counseling session once, “what my wife means to me”? With out hesitation I responded: “She brings life to my existence, she’s my Anchor Person, her gravity holds me in place, she’s my soft spot to land”. Thank you Paula. Richard

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober


  6. Paula Prober Avatar
    Paula Prober

    Thanks, Mary, for sharing your experience and the “learning curves that true intimacy” presents. It’s fascinating to hear the success stories!

  7. Mary Avatar

    My husband and I met on a hiking safety skills weekend retreat in the White Mountains. We’d both gone by ourselves, hoping to meet hiking partners. We found one another and have been married for 11 years now! Going on that weekend retreat by myself wasn’t something I’d have typically done when actively searching for a partner. When I decided to go I’d just released by attachment to meeting someone. I was 36 at the time. I’m convinced that what made all of the difference for me was spending a little time actually visualizing what it’d be like to meet someone who truly wanted to be with me. I realized that there were aspects to that concept that scared me or put me off- like, oh man, I’d have to always show up for HIM if this happened. I had to learn to appreciate someone who was loyal and very clearly interested. I did that work. I love my husband so much and it’s been well-worth the learning curves that true intimacy with a romantic partner has presented.

  8. Kim Taylor Avatar
    Kim Taylor

    My fellow rainforest dweller is a good man with an enormous, and wounded, heart. The steps you described above are fairly similar to the ones I went through before Tom and I found each other, although I’ll admit that I’d largely given up finding love, and was more focused on finding joy. Our ten years together have both been amazing and extremely challenging; two gifted adults parenting and step-parenting three gifted kids has been an adventure. But I’m home.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thank you, Kim. Good “advice.” To focus on finding joy! And to know that once in a relationship, it’s often both “amazing and extremely challenging.”

  9. Nimue Brown Avatar
    Nimue Brown

    Tom and I fell in love with each other’s creativity first… 6 years of marriage later, that worked out really well 🙂 I think it was because we first engaged with each other using the parts of ourselves that are most essential to each of us. his art, my words…

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thank you, Nimue. Your example will give readers hope!

  10. Beth Heinecamp Avatar
    Beth Heinecamp

    Hi Paula!

    I like the new format, especially the bird’s eye view photo on top. It’s as lovely as a painting!

    I thought I’d share a bit of my experience. I’m a single gay woman (I really don’t like that word nor ‘lesbian’, nor just about any moniker for being who I am, so I’ll use ‘gay’). My most recent relationship was the most satisfying I’d ever had, despite certain challenges. She was a professor of geological sciences, and I’d say she was much farther toward the highly and profoundly gifted end of the gifted family than I was. We had THE best conversations…I’d never met anyone before who could lead me down so many interesting intellectual roads but it was because of her amazing mind. She also wrote awesome poetry, and read a great deal of literature to relax. I miss our great mind melts, that’s for sure. And I met her through an online dating site!

    The relationship didn’t work out. It was quite awhile until I reached the point where I could look back on it without becoming sad or emotional. My goal is to meet someone with a mind as searing as hers was. I recently tried the online dating again, but no luck. So I’m developing other strategies. Thank you for your ideas!

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thanks for describing your experience, Beth. And for your feedback. I hope my ideas provide some insight and possibilities!

  11. Carina de Méndez Avatar
    Carina de Méndez

    Well, Paula, I guess mine is one of the “success” stories. I’ve been married for 12 years with a guy I met in 1999.
    My husband came after the most traumatic relationship ever with a pathological liar who bewitched me. After I finally saw through the psychopathic behavior of the bad guy and ended that extremely harmful relationship which could have killed me, I cried out to God (you didn’t mention prayer among your strategies, but it was successful in my case) and said, “My next attempt will be the last one! Either you send me The One, or I’ll never seek a partner again! And since I obviously cannot choose well, You choose the guy for me!”. In comes new love, and he seemed too good to be true. I couldn’t believe it, but in this case it was true! I knew he was very different from all previous experiences, because less than a month after meeting him, I had a huge psychiatric crisis and he didn’t panic. He wasn’t supposed to stay… but he did.
    He saw the worst in me… and stayed. Even when some of my best friends who knew my good side were not there for me, he was. He supported me, he saw enough “redeeming qualities” to give me the benefit of the doubt, he loved me like no one had loved me before and was super patient. I kept asking myself, Do I love him or do I love how good he makes me feel? Am I really in love or using him because his love is healing my broken heart?
    We’ve had many ups and downs in these 17 years. At points I’ve almost lost faith in our relationship. At times I have been impatient because superficially we’re very different. He’s a “normal IQ” guy so it can be a challenge when I’m quick to understand some concepts but need to explain them three times because he doesn’t. Honestly, in that sense he’s different from my version of Prince Charming. I dreamed of a supergenius, highly successful individual, probably a scientist. But our core values are the same, and he’s much more sensitive than your average man, so most of the time we get along just fine. It’s far from perfect but we love each other, and we have learned to forgive and live with each other’s faults.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      We love success stories, Carina, so thank you!! And yes to prayer!

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