We got this question submitted to us by an anonymous Homie:
My husband and I have been together for three years and always struggled with the balance of personal space. I don’t need to be alone at all — in fact I hate it. He is the opposite and thinks we should live apart, feels smothered, hates the noise, doesn’t like people and wants to be alone. I’m really trying to see his point of view and have an open “modern” mind. But every instinct I have is just shutting it out and screaming how wrong that is…
How can our relationship survive if he doesn’t want to be around me 90% of the time? Isn’t him wanting to live separately just the first step in ending the relationship? Or is it already over, and I’m refusing to acknowledge it?
So I put it out there to the Offbeat Home Facebook community and asked for any advice for being in a relationship when each partner has a different desire for time spent together. The reactions were wildly varied, but all so interesting!
Here were some of the top answers:
Maybe it’s time to be poly?
This could lead to being polyamorous. Have someone who is there when you need someone while your partner needs alone time. The noise part could be difficult to deal with, but maybe set up your master with a mini lounge/computer area. Consider a Murphy bed that is also a couch?
Your needs may be too different. Consider that as well. Being unhappy is not a life. -Andrell
No matter what, respect his requests
RESPECT IT. If you don’t give him his space, he will be constantly on edge and you will push him away. I am an introvert as well, and if I don’t have alone time, or time to decompress, I have a meltdown. His need to be alone has nothing to do with you. It’s how he is, how his brain works. You don’t need to understand it, just respect it. Don’t get all neurotic about it. It’s not about you…
Relationships are two way streets, and not all plants need the same amount of water and sunshine to thrive. He is not “wrong.” He simply is. The question is, can you handle it? If you are going to overthink every time he wants his “me” time, your head is going to explode. And eventually, your relationship will, too. -Paula
Speaking from similar experience…
Eight years in a relationship with someone that only wanted to interact with me on his terms. He slept in a separate room, if I tried to have a conversation with him while he was doing something I was told I was bothering him and I couldn’t have physical contact with him without announcing I was going to touch him before I did.
In the end I was alone in the relationship. 10% of someone’s time doesn’t fulfill one’s need for companionship. If you don’t feel fulfilled or cared for by your significant other it will never last. Just because someone is an introvert doesn’t give them the right to control the relationship and have all things bend to their needs, you have needs too. And if the other person can’t or is unwilling to meet them, there will be no happiness in the relationship. -Erin
I used to think and feel this. But recently, I’m finding out that maybe living separate isn’t a bad thing. Less tension between the two people. It’s far from easy. But if the love is strong enough it works. -Tifa
Therapy could be the answer
You both are on opposite sides of a spectrum and I suspect with some counseling you could meet in the middle somewhere. The question is- are you both willing to work on this? If not then I think you have your answer. -Shanna
This could indicate bigger issues at play
Is this something new from your partner or have they always wanted that much space? If it’s something new, that could indicate that things are over, or that something worrisome is happening with your partner. If they’ve always wanted a lot of solo time, this might mean that they’ve been trying to meet your needs and have just hit a breaking point.
There’s no right amount of time for a couple to spend together; just whatever works for them. -Meghann
Bail out now!
Firstly. He is telling you here that he is not ready to commit and probably would never commit in the future. I would not waste your valuable time and effort on someone who does not want the same things. There will be constant issues regarding this in the future, and, in return, you will only land up feeling rejected and hurt. You eventually will start to feel resentment towards this. It is good for couples to have their own lives going on the side without being tied to one another. This is really important in a relationship, however there are warning signs here that are screaming your partner wants their cake and wants to eat it too. In the grand scheme of things this is not okay. Don’t entertain it. There must be compromise. If someone loved you so much, they would want to build a life and work towards goals together. However, you can not force them to do something they don’t want to. You have big decisions to think about and make. -Bernie
Once again, our community is full of awesome, strong, well-thought-out opinions. What are yours on the subject?
Have you been in a relationship where one partner wants space and the other doesn’t?