Trying to find alone time while living with a partner can feel impossible. Your home can suddenly feel a whole lot smaller when you’re forced to live, work and isolate together in your space.
As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, our usual escapes to the office, gym, or out with friends feel like a distant memory.
But carving out alone time and having space in a relationship is essential not only for personal well-being, for the sake of your relationship.
The last thing you want is to grow resentful of your partner when they’re in your space or to grow so codependent on one another that you forget you need space at all!
How to Find Alone Time Away From Your Partner
Even in the world of remote working and stay-at-home orders, it’s still possible for you and your partner to have a healthy amount of space from one another. Here’s how.
No matter how in sync you are, your partner is not a mind reader. The only way they’ll know you need space is if you tell them.
You may have unintentionally created a codependent routine that’s hard to get out of, but a simple conversation will let your partner know that you’re looking to mix more alone time into your day.
State that you’re going to journal alone in the bedroom for 30 minutes or you want to use the living room to read in silence for an hour. Emphasize that you’re doing an activity solo in a calm, casual way so they don’t feel left out.
While some space will do both of you the world of good, you can’t expect your partner to bend to your need for independence without respecting theirs.
If they’re working in at the kitchen table, now is not the time to decide you want to blast music while cooking up a storm. If they’re taking time to play on their phone, but you’re done with solo time, try to avoid cutting their solitude short prematurely.
Be perceptive of their needs while taking care of your own.
Even if you’re working in the same room in total silence, trying to be productive with an ever-present partner can feel claustrophobic.
Whether you live in an 8-bedroom mansion or a tiny condo, make the most of your divisions by separating into different rooms during your workday, or at least for work calls. This can help you grab alone time between hectic Zoom meetings.
There is nothing quite as soothing as a silent, sleeping household.
Set your alarm a little earlier and make sure to be quiet when getting up so as not to disturb your partner. Drink a cup of coffee by the window or read the news in solitude.
This is also a great time to set positive intentions for the day and order your thoughts before the hustle and bustle of the morning takes hold.
Sticking to a routine is a great way to make your alone time count. Laying out what you need to do each day, when you can take downtime and when you can spend time with your partner, will help you prioritize your needs.
It’s also important to use this plan to have intentional alone time.
Instead of just defaulting to scrolling on your phone or laying on the couch when you’re bored, set aside deliberate time to do relaxing activities so you’re aware of and enjoying time alone when it happens.
Strolling around in the fresh air is good for the soul. It helps detach your mind and body from your stressful home situation and will lighten up your outlook.
This is a good time to listen to your favorite music, video call a friend, listen to a podcast, or just enjoy the sounds of the great outdoors. It also gives your partner time to have the house to themselves, which will help them get space and alone time, too.
The same goes for trips to the grocery store or drives to collect your takeout.
Taking turns running errands is not only more efficient than the two of you spending hours in queues when you could be doing something else, but it also means you can have time apart in organic ways rather than always having to ask to be left alone.
When you’re frustrated about your lack of alone time, resentment starts to build in other aspects of your home life. You might be finding it difficult to tidy because your partner is occupying the whole living room, or it may be frustrating when they try to vacuum while you’re focusing on work.
Collaborate on writing up a fair and equal cleaning list that factors in work schedules.
This is a good time to chill out in your room while your partner cleans the kitchen or to plug in your headphones while you fold laundry. This also means you keep your home organized and don’t let physical clutter add more stress to your life.
Sure, it’s fun to have your partner and best friends all in one interlinked group like an episode of Friends, but this removes another opportunity to find alone time.
Make sure to balance socializing as a couple with socializing as an individual so you can let loose and spend time apart. Whether it’s calling your loved ones from a different room or going out for dinner with your closest pals, it’s important to have space to maintain your personal friendships.
This also gives you time to have a healthy amount of discussion about your relationship and get outside advice from loved ones when necessary.
If you’ve ever wanted to have a 20-step skincare routine, use three bath bombs in one bath, or take an hour-long shower, now’s your chance.
The bathroom is often one of the few places you can be fully alone, so you might as well make the most of it. Light candles, sip a glass of wine, and slather on a facemask or two.
This spa time will leave you feeling physically and mentally cleansed and refreshed.
An intense cardio workout or a sweaty weights session is an awesome way to work through pent-up frustrations and should definitely be factored into your week. But this kind of exercise can leave you feeling drained and lethargic.
If you want to relax and recharge, it can be helpful to incorporate easy movements that prioritize mental well-being as well as physical fitness. Try something like yoga or Pilates that incorporate ordered breathing and positive thoughts, as well as challenging the body.
If you intend on waking up earlier, you’ll need to do this anyway, so you might as well make it enjoyable.
Leave your partner to watch their favorite show alone in the living room and you take over the bedroom. Dim the lights and journal, read a book, or watch a movie on your own.
Often in relationships, we mistake being frustrated at the time we’re spending with one another, with being frustrated at one another. It’s not that we’re sick of being around each other, we’re just sick of being in each other’s space in a non-meaningful way.
When living with a partner, it’s essential to still have date nights or do couples activities in order to really enjoy each others company, rather than just living like roommates. This also ensures that no one feels hurt or neglected when the other looks for alone time.