I’m a self-described extrovert — which means that I “recharge” my energy by hanging around other people. It’s one of the things that my partner and I most struggle with, me being an extrovert who is in love with an introvert. But we make things work because we love and are committed to each other. The thing that might surprise you to find out, though, is that I sometimes need my alone time, too. It might not be as much as my partner… but alone time, even when in a happy relationship, is necessary for both introverts and extroverts.
The truth is that no matter which personality type you are, having alone time is often good for you. Although the amount of alone time any individual needs varies from person to person and couple to couple, there’s nothing wrong with getting a break from people and hanging out solo. You’d never let your partner tell you that you can’t hang out with your friends, right? So the same goes when you (or they) need some alone time ASAP. In order to find some alone time while in a relationship while keeping the peace, here are five ideas on how to handle it well.
1. Tell your sweetie that you having alone time is actually good for the relationship.
The easiest thing to do is to communicate clearly that you need alone time and, ultimately, why. Make sure that your partner knows that this has nothing to do with them or the health of the relationship, and only to do with your individual needs. Instead of saying something like “I need space,” which can sound like you’re running away, say “I need some alone time to recharge and come back to being the best version of me and the best partner I can hope to be.”
2. Listen to them when and if they express concerns, and address those.
When you begin to talk about your need for alone time, it’s important to keep an open mind and listen to your partner’s concerns should any come up. This is something that I have learned in my introvert/extrovert relationship, because sometimes I worry about what too much “alone time” as a couple means. If I or he have an issue, we talk about it beforehand. This is particularly important because you don’t want to stay silent and let your worries and concerns turn into resentments.
3. Be okay with having different interests and things you each like to do.
One of the best reasons to enjoy alone time while in a relationship is to give yourself (or your partner) time to do your own thing… As in, engage in some of those interests or activities that the other person simply doesn’t get. Sure, one of the reasons that you love being with them might be your regular Saturday night movie nights or Netflix binges at home, but you will still have things that you like to do that they just aren’t into. Maybe for you that’s exercising while listening to Bruno Mars or cooking as you catch up on podcasts. Whatever it is, don’t be afraid to do what you love to do — and do it solo.
4. Don’t resist compromising — but don’t always give in either.
You’ve probably already mastered the art of compromise in a relationship. It’s needed pretty much all the time, but is especially important when it comes to letting your needs be known and also respecting your partner’s needs. If you need alone time one weekend, tell them. But if they don’t think that this weekend works, that’s okay, as long as they give you a good reason why and suggest an alternate. You want to continue to compromise but NOT give in all the time to their needs above yours, or let them give in to your needs all the time either.
5. Carve out together time when carving out some alone time.
Another way to compromise when asking for or giving alone time is to make sure that you have a good balance between doing things on your own and doing things with your partner. If both of you are introverts or both of you are extroverts, then it might be easier to determine which way you lean. But if you’re in an I/E relationship like me, then it is ALL about that alone/together balance. One thing I’d suggest is making sure that every “alone time” activity has a planned “together” activity. For instance, my partner takes most of Sunday to do his own thing, which also gives me alone time, but we make sure to come together on Saturdays to do something that’s for the both of us and will keep us connected in the long term.