Have Girlfriend, Will Travel (Too Much)
September 11, 2009 2:27 PM Subscribe
How do I express the need for more 'me time' with my girlfriend?
posted by anonymous to human relations (34 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
I've been with my girlfriend for seven months, and I love her very much. I'm a recluse, and she is an outgoing opposite. While I need very little attention to feel loved, she drinks affection like water. (She has admitted to abandonment anxiety in her life, which may or may not be relevant.) The standard formula up to now has been any mutually free time that can be spent together, is. This has worked for me because she works two jobs, often requiring her to work nights. I secretly crave these nights, because time to myself always feels like it's at a premium. At the same time, this is a horrible, horrible feeling to have, because I am taking joy in a schedule that is killing her soul and destroying her sanity, and despite the tone of this question, I do enjoy the time I spend with her.
This month, she worked up the guts to negotiate a more sensible schedule with her boss, and to our surprise, got what she wanted. She now has all (or almost all) evenings free. We're still on the old modus operandi, so I've spent almost every minute after my work with her. I realise now I have no ability to express my need for nights alone, because her old hectic schedule made that unnecessary.
Also, I buckle under any perceived tension. I'm a total wet noodle. She employs a number of things, such as a pouty tone, Catholic Guilt(TM), and crying (over anything from 'you raised your voice' to 'I forgot milkshakes have lactose intolerant-unfriendly ingredients'). I try to avoid all that. Unfortunately, I do it to such an extreme that I can't say no to her, and I even propose spending time together when I don't want to, just so I don't look like I'm avoiding her. So in a sense, we're both responsible for my lack of personal time: she wants my time, and I give it unconditionally.
I'm not sure if this is personal selfishness, but from my perspective, if I don't get an evening or two to myself, I'll be the anxious, overworked one in the relationship, not she. This is a highly negative spin on what is otherwise a positive thing in my life, but it's how I feel. Am I wrong to think this way?
If I'm being reasonable, I know I need to say something to her. I don't know what, and I don't know how. How can I express this need for free time in an uninsulting way? And how do I not buckle?
As a mini-question, we would like to move in together when our leases expire in nine months. Hopefully at that time, this question will become moot, replaced with another. I swear I've seen Ask MeFi questions about managing 'me time' with a live-in, but I couldn't find any. Could someone point it/them out?