My new marriage is great, and Iím still madly in love with my wife. But Iím missing my alone time. Donít get me wrong, I love spending time with my lady, but Iím starting to feel really crowded. I get home from work, where Iím surrounded by people all day, and sheís there waiting, wanting to interact. We eat together, sleep together, wake up together. My only private time is in the bathroom, or on my drive to work, which is starting to feel too short. Is that wrong? How can I reclaim some alone time without hurting her feelings?
Aspiring Good Husband
Dear Good Husband,
Note I left out the ďaspiringĒ part, because youíre already there. Caring enough to want to do this in a way that doesnít hurt your partner is proof of that.
I have two suggestions. First, the best thing you could do for your marriage is to claim a room in the house just for you. Even if you have to wall off a part of the basement or finish the attic, or set something up in the garage. If you can possibly manage to create yourself a space all your own, youíre going to feel loads better. If you get her excited about the notion of helping you create the space, then once itís done, sheíll be right on board with you wanting to actually spend time in it. Iím a firm believer in having separate, sacred space for each person. I have a meditation room and an office. My guy has a man-cave and a garage. We have separate bathrooms, too. We keep ourselves and our stuff out of each otherís designated areas, for the most part. Itís healthy and respectful to give each other room to breathe.
Second, you should probably set aside one day or night a week when you get to just do guy stuff. Either alone or with other guys. (And she gets to do stuff alone or with the girls.) If you gently point out how every guy you know has one of these mental health breaks Ė poker night or bowling night, or gaming day or fishing day, for example Ė she shouldnít take it personally or get upset. If she does, youíve got bigger problems than space. But really, time apart gives you more to talk about when youíre together. It makes each person less needy, clingy, and dependent, and makes both of them more well rounded, informed, and interesting.
Finally, talk about this gently and lovingly, but also honestly. It will probably go better than you think.