Social Question

Facade's avatar

Alone time for those of us in committed relationships?

Asked by Facade (22889points) June 24th, 2010

How much leisure time do you spend without your partner?
Does your SO’s interest in what you are doing have any bearing on whether you do it with or without them?
Do you feel that people in relationships should or should not desire to do things without their partners?

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24 Answers

Draconess25's avatar

I don’t know if I should, but I hate spending time alone from them.

beccalynnx's avatar

I know for a fact that everyone needs alone time.
especially when on the jon…
My SO and I lived together for the first 6 months of our relationship, and spent almost every waking (and sleeping) moment together. Our interests overlap almost completely. we love doing a lot of the same activities, and share a lot of friends. I really enjoyed the time we spent together.
Now we are living separately due to work & money issues, and I admit I really miss living together and spending all our time together. However, I have learned to appreciate all the me time I get now. And along with appreciating my alone time, I’ve come to appreciate the precious time we spend together even more.

The desire thing… I’m not to sure. I don’t really desire to be away from him. I don’t loathe the time that we do spend away, but I don’t really ever wish to be away from him, either. So that’s iffy.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

The best relationships I’ve had have been with partners that are very active with me and share friends. In the past years I’ve had very little leisure time due to how much I’ve worked on-call so when I do get some free time then I want my number one person to share in it with me. I haven’t known many successful couples who have their own circle of friends or leisure time apart from their partners. The one couple that comes to mind stays together because they share a huge extended family and over nearly 50yrs have become comfortable enough and retained respect enough to love past the end of a sex life.

jerv's avatar

I think it safe to say that men need a bit more alone time than women, or if not alone then at least away from their woman. Until more women like to drink beer, rebuild cars, and play video games, I don’t see that changing.

In fact, “clingy” women are a big turn-off for a lot of guys, myself included. There is a reason that wives are referred to as “the ball and chain”. Men will generally begrudgingly do what their women tell them to at the cost of their own desires and that will eventually breed resentment.

For those of you that cannot understand why that is, look at it this way; imagine taking all of your hobbies and never indulging in them. Avoid eating all of your favorite foods, don’t go to any of your favorite places, and get rid of at least half of your material objects because they take up too much space in the house and/or your SO thinks they look tacky and/or [insert non-reason here].

My wife give me space and allows me to be myself. That makes me more likely to actually seek her out to do stuff with her and I enjoy the time we do spend together more that I would if we were together 24/7. And the fact that she has enough respect for me that she doesn’t try to dramatically change me makes me lover her all the more.

Jeruba's avatar

@jerv, I wouldn’t generalize like that if I were you. One of the greatest compliments I could pay to my husband-to-be when I moved in was that living with him was as good as living alone. That wasn’t a freedom I gave up lightly.

jerv's avatar

@Jeruba I can only answer based on my own likes, the likes of the people I know, and what I have seen with my own eyes. Every happy couple I’ve known allowed their SO considerable space the same way that my wife and I do. On the other hand, I’ve seen other couples that pretty much were like that (i.e. she was clingy, overbearing, or otherwise a total hellbeast that did not giver her man some space) especially my wife’s parents. To be fair, my father was also like that, and it was one of the reasons that my parents are divorced, so it’s possible for either gender to be bad. It’s just that most guys I’ve seen who are like that also like to be abusive in other ways as well.

If your preferences and experiences are different then c’est la vie.

Jeruba's avatar

@jerv, I don’t challenge your observation, only your conclusion: I think it safe to say that men need a bit more alone time than women. It isn’t safe to say if you want to be right. Plenty of experience runs counter to yours.

jerv's avatar

@Jeruba Let us leave it at “our experiences differ”, that plenty of experience runs parallel to mine as well, and agree to disagree. Now back to the question…

Scooby's avatar

I like my ‘ME’ time, this is why I live alone, anything I choose to do in company is usually with friends, be it they call me over or I call them, we all have common interests but not all the same…….

reverie's avatar

I really enjoy being in a relationship where I give my boyfriend space, and he gives me space. It’s not that either of us think, “ugh, gosh I don’t want to see him/her”, it’s just that I feel like I am a happier, friendlier, more patient, and more confident person when I am given some time by myself, to cultivate my own interests, and to spend time with friends outside of my relationship. Spending time alone, as an individual, makes me feel far happier and far more comfortable in my relationship, and I’m pretty sure the same is true for my boyfriend.

When you live together in a relatively small flat, it can be quite difficult to give each other space sometimes, but I am mindful of his wishes to be alone sometimes, and so I respect that and don’t intrude. Likewise, he doesn’t bat an eyelid when I take myself off into town for the day, or stay late after work and have drinks with my friends.

For example, I am a PhD student and I could work from home much more rather than come into my department every day, but my boyfriend is out of work at the minute, and I know that if I was in the flat in the week as well as at the weekend, the atmosphere might be a little stifling and we’d probably get cabin fever! I know he really enjoys his alone time during the week as it gives him time to just relax with himself, and enjoy his own, more solitary interests (e.g., playing guitar, recording music, doing job applications (although this is hardly a hobby!)). I find that it means in the evenings, we really like to see each other and do things together, even if it is just sitting together and enjoying the presence of the other person whilst you both nerdily surf the internet with a coffee!

It’s something I’ve learned to value more and more with age (even though I am still pretty young), and I think this is because I’ve become more confident in my own skin and as an individual, although admittedly I think I still have a long way to go there (to be honest, I hope self-development is something that doesn’t ever stop!).

I couldn’t possibly say whether the way I am in a relationship is something that other people “should” be like too, because clearly, what works for one person wouldn’t work for another. As with so many things, there isn’t just one “right answer”. I guess the only person who knows whether something feels right is that person themselves. If someone spends a whole lot of time with their partner and that feels totally right, and they’re doing it for “healthy” reasons (i.e., not because they are feeling insecure/nervous/scared of doing things alone), then I’m sure that’s absolutely fine for them, even if it wouldn’t suit me personally.

gemiwing's avatar

Alone time is a must for me. It’s non-negotiable. I need time to be quiet with my thoughts. I require about two hours a day for meditation, lack of external stimulus and self-calming. Hubbs requires much less, which works well for us as he works outside the home.

If I’m interested in something that Hubbs isn’t then I do it on my own. If I need him for support I know he’s always there. Same goes for him. He has a project once a week that I don’t go to- yet support him in his enjoyment of it.

We do plenty of things together so I don’t see the harm. Besides- what’s good for one couple won’t always translate for another. I think it depends on the level of self-reliance of the individuals, emotional health and environmental stimulation requirements.

Pandora's avatar

My husband and I spend a lot of our leisure time together. I do get alone time as well. I can’t put a number of hours on it because it does differ from week to week. He usually can go somewhere alone if he wants but he usually likes my company and the same applies for me. We’ve moved a lot over the years so we don’t usually have good friends to hang out with till we are ready to move. But when we would have friends we still perfered to go out with them as a couple.

HGl3ee's avatar

My SO and I spend all our spare time together, being apart feels.. foreign. We have so much in common and enjoy the same kinds of hobbies so it’s easy for us to hang out and have fun the way to old friends would :)

This weekend the weather is going to be nothing but stormy so we are going to stock up on junk food and play video games all weekend! It’s going to be fun :D

wundayatta's avatar

My wife recently, for the first time in our marriage, let me spend some time (four days) all on my own. It may have been the best decision she ever made, because I have been calm and stable for almost the whole time since then. We have both now given each other time—regular time—to do things on her own. I attend support groups and sometimes go out with folks afterwards, and she does yoga and sometimes has “alone time” with her girlfriends.

It’s kind of a relief. I think there are a couple reasons why it works. For one thing, it takes pressure off each other to always be the support person. For another it is relaxing and you can let your hair down in ways that your spouse doesn’t approve of.

CMaz's avatar

I just need naked time. ;-)

janbb's avatar

We spend a lot of time together and a lot of time alone. He was just in the Bahamas this April on a two week sailing trip with co-ed friends. I fluther, paint and hike with friends. Sometimes one or the other of us may feel lonely but generally it works well for us as we are two very different people – who like each other a lot.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I think having interests of one’s own is essential as it is, for me anyway, to have alone time. We spend most of our time together and as parents, with our kids – that’s how we love to be but on Saturday nights (as you know) I go dance and he goes to listen to music/works on his own music. Sometimes, I do yoga…other times, he goes swimming/takes guitar lessons. We check in w/each other all the time because it’s important for us that each other’s needs are met. I am taking a free course at the NYU Social Work School right now on queer theory and I’m asking him to join me this week because I think he’ll like it too but when I found out about it, I knew it was going to be my thing. We’re pretty balanced. @jerv please don’t take it the wrong way, but your life saddens me…it’s like a caricature…you as a living breathing 3D person and your wife…deserve more than to fall into these traps that you think are norms…just because you see a lot of this kind of thinking around you doesn’t mean you can’t escape the whole ‘she’s my ball and chain and i only want to watch football and burp’ paradigm if you really wanted to.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

The way our lives were structured, frequent long separations, the time we had together was precious to us. In our early relationship, my lady physically and psychologically needed my presence almost 24/7; I understood why and joyfully gave it to her. If we had been given more life together after my retirement, we would probably have needed “alone” time. It’s all speculation now.

Seaofclouds's avatar

My husband and I enjoy a lot of the same things, so a lot of our time is spent together. We have alone time as well, but generally we prefer to be together. The thing for us is that the military has kept us pretty separated so we really like the time we are together to be spent with each other.

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t really think in terms of alone time. Basically if he wants to do something that I don’t enjoy, he does it alone. If he asks that I join him I usually will though. Same with me. If he was interested in everything I am interested in and we were together all of the time that would be fine with me. It’s more about each of us getting to do what we want with our time, separate or not. I never feel like I am doing an activity to get away from my spouse, it is rather my desire to do the particular activity, whether it be an exercise class, or going to see a girl movie that he has no interest in, but he is always invited. robably the only exception is when I go on a girlfriend’s vacation, but I don’t do that very often.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

@Jeruba My wife tells me that living with me was as good as was living alone. That wasn’t a freedom she gave up lightly. Yes I paraphased your comments, but they mean so much to me.

We find that we can enjoy our own time doing different things as well as doing the same thing together. Both are essential for us to have a healthy and strong relationship.

Ludy's avatar

i have been with my fiancee for 3 years and a half, we met at work, we’ve been working together all this time, we started living together 2 years ago, and before that we would only sleep in separates houses, we saw each other every day, and now the only time we’re nottogether is when we go to the bathroom, and when we take showers( sometimes ), i am so addictive to him, even if he is sleeping during the day I need to have him by my side, just looking at him breathing, smelling his skin, I think it sounds psicho but he is the same way too

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

@Ludy I think you are in the lovely, romantic stage of your relationship. The nice thing is that even married couples can retain some of that even after six or more years together.

Just don’t lose you in this relationship because your partner will miss the unique person who is Ludy if you submerge yourself into the relationship.

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

I have always needed, wanted…..and craved (at times) alone time. And took it when I could. I still believe that couples should live separately in a semi-detached house with a connecting door or down the street from each other. It keeps the relationship fresh and from getting persnickety about the “tacky wagon wheel coffee table” that he won’t get rid of (see “When Harry Met Sally”) or the 12 trophies he won for Pass Punt and Kick. @jerv…straight men collect a lot of random tacky things! Since you made a generalization that “men need more alone time” well, here is mine…. “men collect a lot of tacky stuff that doesn’t match anything” and women are hard pressed to match their EJ Frank Edwardian settee to the rotating Bart Simpson lamp. :)

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