I love being sociable, but having some time alone every week is a must for me. I just like to slob around in my pajamas and eat peanut butter and watch bad TV. Luckily, my partner likes her alone time too — though she spends it in a less covered in peanut butter way— so we try to be good about making it for each other. It can be really hard to find alone time in a relationship, even when you have the best of intentions, but it's so important to your well-being.
"Alone time is important for so many reasons," Dr. Michele Barton tells Bustle. "Checking in regularly is a logical approach to maintaining and regulating our behavior. When we are out and about dealing with family, friends, jobs, traffic, and other stresses, we cannot put all the focus on ourselves."
But with busy lives, it can be a struggle for everyone who needs alone time to get what they needs. You're probably around people all day at work, come home to roommates, and have time for your significant other on top of it? No matter how great the relationship is, it can be tough. And often your alone time is the first thing you sacrifice, because everything else feels like you're letting people down. It's really important you keep that alone time intact, at least as much as you can. If you don't, you'll end up less happy in the long-term — and may even come to resent your partner. So do what you can to establish boundaries and keep them up— because it'll be better for you in the long run. Here are seven struggles people who love alone time face in relationships:
1. Speaking Up
I'm lucky that my partner likes alone time too, so we can talk about it without offending each other. But I've been in relationships where the other person did not need a lot alone time, so even bringing it up was a struggle. If you're a bit shy (or a people-pleaser like me) vocalizing it can be tough enough, but it's really important.
2. Not Hurting Your Partner's Feelings
When you talk about it, you have to do it in the right way. Even if your partner is receptive to the idea, you don't want to offend them. Think about what you want to say— explain that it's nothing to do with them, it's just something you need to stay grounded and recharged.
3. Making Compromises
A lot of us are really busy people, so finding time to fit in alone time can mean making compromises. For me, I found that my girlfriend likes to sleep in later than I do, so if I get up earlier, I have an hour or two in the morning for running, yoga, reading the news, and general me time. It's not always fun with the alarm goes off, but I'm always glad I do it.
4. The Restless Twitch
You occasionally have times when you're desperate for alone time. If I've been with friends or my partner every night, every day, all week long, by the end of the week (or earlier), I get that restlessness that tells me I need to get some head space. Don't panic if you get this, just take it as a signal that it's time to go for a walk, do some exercise, read the news— just make some time for yourself.
Social exhaustion is real. The other side effect when I don't get enough alone time is I get tired. That rundown feeling like I've been doing way too much— even if all the activities have been fairly relaxed. Hardcore extroverts won't understand, so you may need to explain to your partner why you feel tired and just need some time with a blanket and a good book.
6. Making The Moving In Leap
Even if you find the idea of moving in together really exciting, for people who need alone time it can feel like a scary jump. Like, they're always going to be there. Always. It's important that you've set up the boundaries for getting some alone time before you make this leap because it'll make the transition easier and help you so much in the long term.
7. Realizing It's Not About The Relationship
If you're feeling restless, it's easy to think it's because of the relationship. But the truth is, unless your partner is a d*ck about you having alone time (in which case you have bigger problems) you need to remember that it's your choice and responsibility to yourself to make sure you're getting what you need.
So take a step back, talk to your partner, and see how you can more effectively make alone time within your relationship. You'll both be better off for it— and so will your relationship.
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