Jennifer* just moved in with her boyfriend, Tim. As an introvert, she lived happily alone and had little to no trouble finding the alone time she needed to recharge and relax. Now that she and Tim are living together, she’s finding that it’s become a struggle to get her alone time. Tim is an extrovert, and always seems to want to chat or enjoy her company.
The situation is made worse by the fact that both Jennifer and Tim work from home, which means neither of them leave the house on any consistent schedule.
“I love Tim,” Jennifer said. “I think we have a great future ahead of us, including getting married someday. But I don’t know how to tell him I need time away from him without hurting his feelings. I’m afraid it will ruin our relationship and destroy any future we might have. But if I don’t get that time alone, that might destroy it too.”
I know just how Jennifer feels, and I’m sure there are thousands, perhaps even millions, of other introverts who also get it. The good news is that it’s not as difficult as Jennifer thinks it is right now.
Let’s take a look at the things Jennifer can do to get the alone time she needs without creating a rift in her relationship with Tim.
Openly communicate the need for alone time
The first step is to openly communicate the need for alone time. This is where many of us struggle the most. Like Jennifer, we worry about hurting our significant other’s feelings by telling them we need time that doesn’t include them. We think they’ll be offended or so deeply hurt that the relationship won’t recover.
But it’s important to remember that even extroverts don’t want to spend all their time with their romantic partner. They want to hang out with friends, go out and do things, and sometimes even have some alone time themselves. They aren’t likely to be offended by your need for time to yourself.