Halp! Holidays equals no alone time
January 4, 2019 2:07 PM   Subscribe

I’m on a lovely long summer break. Four weeks off work which I so so looked forward to. And my partner has the same amount of time off. But I forgot how this can really stress me out and leave me irritable and cranky.

I do have a great need for time alone, and probably during the working year I manage to get this into my routine a bit more. As well, my partner will bbe busier than with her own stuff. I suspect that this intense need is related to my history of depression and anxiety, and having experiences that lead me to struggle with trusting people. I do things, like write and go for the odd jog which helps, but overall I find it too much to be with my partner all day every day (pretty much anyway). And I don’t know what to do. I have told her I need space, and she seems to theoretically understand this, or thinks that a couple of hours here and there is enough, but argh it is not. How do I deal with this?
posted by summerinwinter to Human Relations (7 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Counterintuitively: schedule time together. Set up some activities during the week to look forward to, maybe some meals that you make a point of eating together. This will make it much easier for you to say "I'm going to lock myself in the bathroom with a book, see you Tuesday!" And it'll make it clear that you're not avoiding her or don't like spending time with her.

It may or may not be related to any of your past stuff; you may just need alone time. I need a ton myself, and I'm perfectly happy when my partner is gone for the whole day and I work from home, six days out of seven. You're not broken, it's a totally reasonable way to be.
posted by restless_nomad at 2:20 PM on January 4, 2019 [16 favorites]

Since you have 4 weeks off, you have enough time to stagger your sleeping schedules a little. If she gets up early, stay up late for alone time; or if she stays up late, get up early for your alone time.

Go out and do stuff without your partner: dinner with non-mutual friends, "adventures", errands and groceries. Take your alone time as you need it.

Be sure to schedule some higher-quality together time with your partner, regularly, during the break. That'll go a long way toward alleviating feelings of neglect or resentment that might arise.
posted by the Real Dan at 2:21 PM on January 4, 2019 [3 favorites]

One suggestion I read here somewhere that said the problem with alone time, say, in your room while your spouse is in the house is that you never know when they're going to come in. So you might have hours by yourself, but it's not sufficiently relaxing, because you don't know when it's going to end, or you do know and you're watching the clock.

The suggestion was to have a time when you go into a space (the bedroom, the office, whatever room with a door) and the rule being that no one disturbs you until you come out. Like, no reason, unless it's life or death--they should act like you're out of the house without your phone; they make plans, eat dinner, whatever, as though you're not there.

My friend tried this and said it made a huge difference in her ability to get "alone time" when her spouse was around. Maybe this will work for you?
posted by gideonfrog at 2:27 PM on January 4, 2019 [15 favorites]

Independent day-trips (or longer) do it for me like nothing else. The effect generally lasts for a considerable amount of time afterward, such that a few hours here and there, especially with gideonfrog's observations in mind, are actually enough. I like it best when I'm not expected home at any particular time, but even working within a broad schedule can be okay as long as all the little decisions are mine to make.
posted by teremala at 3:24 PM on January 4, 2019 [2 favorites]

Do you have the ability to go on an overnight trip or two? Nothing fancy, just a cabin somewhere to spend 48 straight alone hours. I fantasize about doing this (and occasionally actually do it) because I'm an introvert with an extroverted child and a small house and a client-facing job and it's just Too Much. I feel you.
posted by soren_lorensen at 3:32 PM on January 4, 2019 [2 favorites]

I find I feel this way when I go "home" for the holidays and stay in my parents house. I love spending time with my parents, but I have to admit being around them nonstop gets to be too much and I just need some me time. I stay up late and enjoy alone time after they've gone to bed, and I schedule things to do by myself, like massages, going to the gym, shopping/errands, etc.
posted by AspirinPill at 11:13 PM on January 4, 2019

thank you everyone. I have worked some things out. I've 'communicated' my needs, at least some, maybe not completely. But I have more space for my own activities, lying in the hammock in the backyard, going on errands etc. Next time before a holiday I will have some more concrete plans in place. Soren_lorenson, I often think about taking an overnight trip for two. It could be done. I may be able to broach this in the future.
posted by summerinwinter at 10:35 PM on January 7, 2019

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