Sharing your life with a partner shouldn’t mean losing your alone time.
Among our many similarities, my partner and I have in common the trait of valuing alone time. We started dating a year ago and for the last six months, we adopted a “part-time living together” system. We’re very happy with it, it has been working wonderfully. Our norm is to spend at least half of the week together, usually in his house.
Fully merging our lives is a big step, and we are starting to talk it through. Our moving in together plan covers several topics — we both believe it’s important to add practicality to romance.
Two issues seem to be the most significant for us: how we’ll manage the finances and how we’re going to work on our need for alone time.
My partner works by shifts, and he works four days and rests five. I work remotely on my two jobs. This means that apart from my social events and appointments, I’m always home. It would be rare for him to come home and I’m not there, and him having days off without me being around all the time.
Despite couple time being incredibly important, time for yourself is equally fundamental.
Being very aware of this, my partner and I have discussed how we’re going to manage our timings, especially to enable him to have alone time, as mine is guaranteed.
Here are the three strategies my partner and I will put in place to ensure we’ll have alone time when moving in together full time:
1. Respect silent moments
I’m very sensitive to noise and when I need alone time, I don’t enjoy having people around me talking or having noises nearby. Acknowledging this, my partner and I agreed that when one needs their alone time, we’ll respect the other’s need for silence.
For me this is easy; I usually submerge myself in my writing bubble or take time to read. It won’t be hard to offer my partner a peaceful and silent moment.
But for him, this will be a change, as he usually watches TV at a loud volume and he doesn’t use headphones for music or during his virtual meetings. But compromises are needed so if I need some silence around the house on his days off, we agreed on creating a “silent moment.”
Obviously, this won’t be a full afternoon, not even a couple of hours. Most of the time, half an hour of silence makes wonders for my mood.
2. Create an isolation space in the house
When one of us needs alone time, we’ve agreed that one of us will go upstairs to the bedroom or to the office. Having a specific area in the house that works as a go-to place when you need alone time is a great strategy.
Maybe you don’t have an office, but for sure you have a bedroom, so relax in the bed, read, meditate, masturbate, or do whatever you need.
If you have a tub, have a long, warm bath, letting your partner know you wish to be alone. If you don’t have one, have a long shower, you can stand or sit on the floor, it’s still very relaxing and you’ll be on your own.
3. Adjust the schedule
What my partner and is that I’ll go to the gym and hang out with my friends when he’s off from work, whenever possible for them. Of course, he’ll also have his own activities, like going for a run and meeting with his friends, but as the remote worker, I’m the one in a better place to adjust my schedules.
This might look like we want to avoid each other but it’s far from that!
My partner has five days off in a row, and I work from home. For two people that value alone time as we do, we need to have a system in place that will allow us to have a bit of time for ourselves, individually.
We’ll have lots of couple activities, but for our own sanity, we’ll need to consciously promote time apart from each other. And only by adjusting my schedule, we’ll be able to do it.
So, going to the gym, hanging out with my friends and writing in coffee shops while my partner is at home enjoying his alone time, will become part of my routine.
Communication is the key to success
Not everybody understands the need one has to be alone. For those who love to be surrounded by people and human bubbling all the time, this is particularly hard to accept and to cope with. It has nothing to do with not loving them enough. Before being a partner, you are an individual.
If you and your partner aren’t on the same page about it, communicating your needs is key. You might fear hurting their feelings, but if you don’t do what you need to do to feel better, it will have a negative impact on your relationship.
If you’re not the type of person who usually needs (much) alone time but suddenly you do, talk with your partner. Honestly explain to them your needs, and what can they do for you. You might fear hurting their feelings, but if you don’t do what you need to do to feel better, it will have a negative impact on your relationship.
So, it’s better to sit down and have an honest conversation about your need to spend time alone.
Be very aware of distinguishing the need to be alone from the need to be apart from your partner — those are very different things, and the latter can be an indicator of emerging problems in your relationship.
Alone time should be a matter of recharging your energies, never to be a hiding strategy.
As two independent individuals, used to living alone for a long time (me for seven years, and my partner for two), moving in together is a big step. One we’re taking gradually.
Living together doesn’t have to mean doing everything with your partner. Each one needs to have your own interests and outlets. It’s not about not enjoying our partner’s company, it’s about needing to be away from people, to be alone with ourselves.
Love may be wonderful, but it might not be enough to make a relationship work. My partner and I are very similar in lots of things so we have the advantage of understanding each other’s needs very well. We’re committed to managing our relationship to meet our individual needs.
© 2021 Emma London. All Rights Reserved.