When you’re married, you are literally living with your best friend, but like every scorn roommate knows, things don’t always end well. Sure it’s fun to binge Suits on Hulu and jam out to J.Balvin while eating a sleeve of Chips Ahoy (if you choose Oreos over CA we can’t be friends), but things aren’t always fun and games. When you are stressed about work, on a deadline, or just plain burned out – you need to be alone and that’s okay! Here are the key questions that I get about being married when it comes to alone time:
When you’re home together, how do you find private time?
When we first moved in together, this was one of the hardest things to get used to. (Maybe, the hardest?!) We were so used to spending all the time we had together, together, that when we moved in together- we didn’t know how to manage our time apart. Think about it. For nearly a decade all of our dates consisted of hanging out till one of us had to “go home”. When “home” is with the other person- when does the “hanging out” time end and personal time begin? I remember the first week we bought our house, I had a girl’s night planned, and I offered to cancel it because I was actually worried about what he would do while I was gone. Fast forward two years, we are experts at being in the same space and while being “alone”. I often blog for two hours (or more) a night and Sahir has to answer emails or do work, but we usually sit in the living room together and put on Friends or HIMYM in the background and just work. Sahir has recently taken up watching sports on his iPad while I’m watching something else on the big TV (or vice versa) and we find it nice to cuddle under the same blanket even if we are on opposite sides of the couch hearing, watching, or reading different things. It’s okay to have different interests, as long as it works for both of you.
How do you ask for alone time?
This isn’t a one size fits all question because everyone is different and every relationship is different. You need to apply the same rules that you would for general communication here: be kind, be respectful, listen before you speak. Asking for time to recharge is completely acceptable. Saying “I’m sick of you, I’m going to Vegas with my friends for a week” – is not. Asking for alone time can feel strange, especially in a newer relationship. Remember to make the conversation about why you need time away vs. why you need to be away from your partner. Self-care is important, but mindful communication with your partner is important too.
42 QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR PARTNER!
DISH! Do you look at each other’s phones or have any rules about snooping?
I really feel like this is such a relevant issue when it comes to relationships these days. Our phones are our modern-day “little black book”, “diary”, and “answering machine” all rolled into one. Your texts, messages, and emails are representations of all parts of your life. For this reason, Sahir and I have an open-door policy. I do look through Sahir’s phone occasionally and I do it in front of him. Seriously, don’t @ me. I’m not looking for anything negative or incriminating – often it’s pieces of his life he hasn’t shared with me (yet) and I like knowing what he is talking about, reading, or watching. Usually, I see a cool article or picture on his phone and asked about it. Last week, I learned he had an awesome view off the top of his building last week from a photo he took that I saw when I was looking though his phone. We’re married and have been together for 14 years, this works for us. I would just caution you to always be open about what you are doing and trust your intuition – if they don’t let you snoop, that’s a red flag. Don’t snoop to find something wrong, that will never end well. [Sahir also has free reign to browse through my phone and mostly finds screenshots and blog post ideas so he quickly gets bored, haha.]
Sahir literally jokes that after he gets home he needs to “take his 10” i.e. take ten minutes away from me and Theo to just decompress for the day and have alone time. To be honest, I don’t blame him. I work from home and factor breaks into my day. I usually watch least one episode of Mindy, How I Met Your Mother, or Friends to put on my pajamas and eat a snack and just be alone and recharge.
Just to be clear, I don’t buy into the “absence makes the heart grow fonder” propaganda. I think you should love and appreciate your partner and adjust your habits to accommodate theirs – even if one of you requires more alone time than the other. As always, be kind and respectful.