I need lots of alone time.
For so many years, I felt odd for needing as much alone time as I do. As a child growing up, I remember aunts and uncles coming to visit and remarking to my parents about the massive amount of time I spent in my room alone. They were always so concerned about me and what that meant.
I also remember my grandfather telling my mother and father that “still waters run deep” and to keep an eye on me. Presumably, because there was more going on with me than I was letting on, and perhaps I needed to talk about it more.
I didn’t feel weird about the alone time I needed until others started pointing it out like that. Truth was, I simply enjoyed spending time by myself. When I was in my room growing up, I don’t remember doing anything but reading and listening to music. It’s not like we had cell phones back in those days, so I’m not sure what else I could have been doing.
I remember feeling that it was so lovely to have the peaceful sanctuary of my own room, and I didn’t think anything of it. I wasn’t trying to get away from anyone or escape anything going on in our home. I just liked being alone.
That need for alone time followed me into adulthood. I remember a time when my younger brother was living with my husband and me many years ago. If he and my husband were ever out of the house at the same time, they would come home placing bets on how many candles I would have lit, what music I would be playing, and if I would be reading in front of the fireplace or taking a bath.
Even once we had children, I needed the alone time. I was not the mom who could never leave her babies. Don’t get me wrong—I love babies. I’m not sure if there’s anything I love more than a soft, squishy baby. But I also remember feeling that there was not another human being that I wanted to be with 24/7. Not my best friend in the world, not my husband, and not even these cuddly babies that I loved more than life itself.
I don’t know if this exorbitant need for time to myself is due to my introversion, my nature as an empath, or if it has nothing to do with any of those character traits and it’s simply just who I am.
I know not everyone needs as much alone time as I do, but if you are married to someone who needs more alone time than you are used to or that you think might be “normal”, here’s what I can tell you:
1. If you are in a loving, committed relationship, your partner’s need for alone time probably has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with them.
Maybe they’re not an introvert like me, but simply have a different way of filling their own bucket than you do. Maybe it’s with books or meditating or just driving around with the windows down and singing at the top of their lungs without someone mocking their music choice. We all find balance and recharge our batteries in different ways.
2. If you have children, consider the amount of time and energy your spouse gives to your family.
Personally, I spend so much time arranging activities for and shuttling my kids, that I adore even just going to a movie alone. No one to compromise with, no need to arrange anything—I just pick a movie and go. I pick the time that works for me, sit where I want to sit, and lose myself in another world for a few hours. Bliss.
3. If your partner is an introvert or an empath and you are not, it might be hard to comprehend how that affects a person.
When my children were smaller, I remember just wanting there to be a moment when someone wasn’t physically on me. If my children weren’t on me, then suddenly my husband would appear wanting his fair share of affection. Since my kids are older now, I don’t get as many cuddles as I used to from them, but we still all have moments when our energies are depleted and we retreat to our own rooms.
As moms, though, all bets are off. If you are in the house, you are fair game when the kids need you. So sometimes, we have to leave to get the recharge we need. Or better yet, we need you all to leave so we can have the house to ourselves, for once.
I’m not sure I will ever feel completely normal for needing the amount of alone time I need, as I’ve never met anyone who needs as much as I do. But I also would never want anyone in my world to feel like it had anything to do with them.
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