Most of us whether consciously or not come to love with all sorts of presuppositions. We have a preconceived notion of what it is like to be in the perfect relationship, what the opposite sex is really like, what a marriage should be, and so on. But living it, that’s a whole other thing. Though we often assume that being together all of the time is a sign of a healthy relationship, after the honeymoon phase is over our needs change. That is only natural. In this next phase, each of us needs some time apart from our partner. Coupledom comes with all different kinds of interactions. You do not have to be Siamese twins to share your love. In fact, it is unhealthy if you never spend time apart. When we are with our partner all the time, we cannot appreciate them as much. Things get stale. We take them for granted, get irritated more easily by them, which increases the chances of relationship strife. Then there are identity issues that come with coupledom. You have to always think in terms of “we.” You have to take your partner’s feelings into consideration. You have to constantly accommodate them. Sometimes we just need time away from our lover or spouse to be who we are without them, to get in touch with our feelings, digest the complex goings on in our lives, and just feel who we are without our blending into someone else.
Some people feel guilty asking for time alone. But realize that you are a big part of this relationship. If it is good for your mental health, it will be good for your partner too. In truth, getting a little time to yourself will actually rejuvenate the relationship. You will have thoughts, experiences, and insights to share. Remember that self-love is just as important as loving your partner. Every once in a while go on an adventure by yourself, or at least without your partner. A day trip, a biking tour, an afternoon at a museum, an evening with a good book, or a few hours at a coffee shop can really help you center yourself again. You will come back to your partner refreshed. Explain to them all of this so they understand. Be sure that they see that you just need a little me-time. It has nothing to do with them. Make sure they don’t feel rejected or lonesome. If so, help them find something to do, and encourage them to take part in personally fulfilling activities by themselves, or with friends.
Asking for some time alone can feel as though you are rejecting your partner. Instead, you are asking for exactly what you need. Anyone in a solid relationship should be able to openly and honestly communicate their needs and have them met. If your partner is resistant, take a good long look at them. Are they needy or clingy? They may have self-esteem issues. Reassure them that this is perfectly natural and reasonable. But also help them to build up their self-esteem over time. Reflect on their positive qualities and accomplishments. Encourage them to take part in interests, hobbies, and spend time with friends. If they are overbearing, manipulative, and try and guilt you into not having some time to yourself, rethink this relationship. This person may not be healthy for you. But a good partner will understand where you are coming from and support you. They may even be dying for a little time to themselves.
For more on how to run your romantic life smoothly read, Managing Relationships: Bridging The Communication Divide by Jemayne L. King.