An Introvert’s Guide to Time Alone When You Live with Your S.O.

So to me, one of the most important parts of self care is being alone. As a natural introvert, being surrounded by people all the time is draining. Every so often, I need time by myself to relax and recharge. However, that’s become slightly more difficult for me since I moved in with my significant other.

In 2014, my boyfriend and I decided to pack up everything and moved to Montana. We had been living together in Florida for the past year and it had been terrible. We weren’t ready to go home, as we were still hungrily seeking adventure. So we decided to move to a state neither of us had ever been to and start anew. A year after that, we decided we hadn’t made things quite difficult enough so we started working together. At the same company. In the same department.

Moving somewhere new with your S.O. can put a lot of pressure on a relationship, no matter how solid it is. You don’t know anyone but each other. You have to build all new relationships. So what can happen is you become this weird island together. You’re each other’s main source of social interaction. And since you don’t know anyone else, you spend an inordinate amount of time together in your own home.

Since I’m a naturally introverted person and I was spending 99% of all of my time with my boyfriend, I started getting stressed. The stress wasn’t doing great things for our relationship, so we decided we needed to make some changes. We needed some guidelines to figure out the best way for both of us to get the alone time we desperately needed.

Here are some things we figured out to help us get some time alone:

This is kind of challenging pending on the size of the place you live, but try and have spaces within your home that you can get some separation without having to physically leave. If you only live in a one bedroom apartment, you can try having one spend time doing things in the bedroom, one in the living room. Set time every so often to stay in these spaces separately and not bother one another. Even if it’s just sitting in your bedroom alone reading a book or watching Netflix, it’s a nice small break from each other. It might not give a full charge on your alone time batteries, but it will definitely help.

Since we worked together, we knew a lot of the same people. Often times, we would get invited out as a duo. At first, I felt pressure to always go with. My S.O. usually wanted to go, and I didn’t want to seem antisocial. How would it look if he always went, and I always stayed home? But the thing is, I didn’t want to go. I wanted to go home and have some time to myself while my S.O. was happily spending time with friends.

Those hours he was gone gave me a chance to recharge my social batteries. So, I stopped going when I didn’t want to. When people asked why I wasn’t there, I just told them the truth. I needed some time by myself for my own mental health and I’d come along another time. As it turns out, everyone was fine with it. I had been pushing myself for nothing.

So this is beneficial for two different reasons. Firstly, it gives both you and your significant other time alone in your home. That way, both of you get some time to zen out completely alone in your own space. Also, you both have the opportunity to be out by yourself. Personally, I find a lot of joy in being out by myself. It’s one of my favorite ways to treat myself; going shopping or out to a meal completely alone. My S.O. is a bit more active than me, so he usually chooses to go disc golfing or rollerblading. The point is, setting time aside to do exactly what you want to do by yourself is freeing.

Living with your significant other can be difficult when you’re an introvert. However, if you set some down some rules and boundaries, it gets a lot easier. Every couple has different needs, but it’s important to remember your personal needs as well. Being with your partner shouldn’t be a chore. So if you feel like you’re not getting enough “you” time, talk to them about your needs and try and figure out a system that works for both of you. At the end of the day, it only will make your relationship stronger.

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