We all need personal time and space. This may mean alone time, or time with just our friends. Sometimes, fear of hurting, abandoning or rejecting your partner can make it hard to say, "I need some time alone." Over time, this can leave you feeling depleted or resentful. Or it can have the opposite of the intended effect - you stay home with your spouse or partner, but avoid contact. One of you watches TV downstairs while the other is upstairs on the computer.
Bringing your need for time into the open and having a thoughtful discussion about how each of you can feel taken care of helps. Let your partner know how much you love them. Empathize with any feelings of rejection. Ask for advice - ways you can get your needs met too. Explain how time alone or time with friends recharges you in a different way from your couple relationship.
The amount of time you spend in and out of the relationship can be negotiated and compromised. Empathy is often the key.
*The concept of communicating exits is composed in Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples, written by Harville Hendricks and Dr. Helen Hunt.
If you would like to learn more about how you can begin therapy, or have any questions please call 415-563-4342 or 510-883-9312, or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Susan Regan, MFT has offices in Berkeley near El Cerrito and Oakland and in San Francisco, close to the Civic Center and Nob Hill. 415-563-4342 or 510-883-9312.