6 easy (and maybe sneaky?) ways to get alone time when you live with a partner
Firstly, why do we sometimes feel bad when we crave alone time from our partner?
About a year ago, many of us were unexpectedly forced into 24/7 shared WFH and living spaces with our partners. Maybe the togetherness was welcome at first, but the novelty probably soon wore off.
“We, women especially, grow up on a steady diet of romanticized ideas that to be in love is to crave being together,” says Dr. Alexandra Solomon, licensed clinical psychologist, relationship expert and author of “Taking Sexy Back: How to Own Your Sexuality & Create the Relationships You Want.” “As you transition from falling in love to sustaining and maintaining, there can be confusion as to why you don’t crave that around-the-clock time together anymore.”
Also, do you need to have the “I need me time” conversation?
If you recharge by being alone and your partner recharges through “we” time, word choice is key. Words like “space” or “alone” might trigger feelings of abandonment, or thoughts that you don’t want to be in the relationship.
“The chance that both want separateness at the same moment are slim to none,” Dr. Solomon says. “Navigating that can start with full honesty, such as, ‘Sometimes you want space and I want to be with you. What’s that like for you?’” She also recommends bringing the alone time request back to your relationship: “My ability to think my own thoughts and pursue my own interests lives in the space that I can be alone and know that I’m still loved by you.”
Now, those 6 easy (and maybe sneaky?) ways to get time for yourself…
#1: “I love sitting in my car in the Starbucks parking lot—I call it Subaru selfcare,” Solomon says. Parking lots are your solitary havens.
#2: Sleeping apart. Try giving up the bed for one night to your partner—an especially rational option if one of you needs to wake up earlier than the other.
#3: Offer to run your partner’s errands by yourself.
#4: If your solo hobby somehow morphed into a shared hobby (like cooking dinner, gardening or working out), try taking that hobby back for yourself 1-2 days per week.
#5: Read in the bedroom, while your partner watches TV in the living room (or vice versa).
#6: Create space for alone time together. Sit in the same room: One person can watch a movie on their phone or laptop with earplugs, and the other can finish up a little work.