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Navigating Alone Time

alone in mountains

How well do you do on your own without your spouse?  I certainly don’t need Jonathan to look after me, and I could support myself without him, but that’s not what I’m talking about.  What I mean is: if there are times that your spouse is away from home from an extended period of time, how do you feel about it?

I’ve never liked living alone.  If I wasn’t married, I would prefer having a roommate to living by myself.  I spent the summer before I got married living on my own, and it was unpleasant.  So when Jon goes away, I try to spend as little time alone as possible.  If he’s gone for a whole week, I usually stay with friends or family.  If it’s only for a day or two, I fill those days as much as I can, particularly with activities with friends.

Just this week Jon had to spend two nights in Chicago.  I was telling one of my volunteering friends about it, explaining how I was going to switch my volunteering schedule to minimize my time alone in the house.  “Oh, two nights on your own!” my friend said.  “That would be lovely!”

She obviously has a different reaction than me to being on her own.  Maybe I’ll feel differently once I have kids, and never have time to myself.  I do like having a few hours alone, but I don’t like entire days, especially nights.  Yet it’s something that doesn’t bother my friend, and doesn’t bother my husband either.

Does this mean I’m more dependent on my husband than I should be?  Or, as my friend says, is it bad that she’s so excited when she’d get some time alone?  I don’t think either of these things is true.  It just comes down to differences in personality types.  Most of the time I like being around other people.  I feel safer and more content if there’s someone around, even if we’re not necessarily interacting.  I do relish some moments by myself, but those are rarer.

Jon is the reverse.  Most of the time he is fine, or even enjoys, being on his own.  He does seek out company sometimes, genuinely wanting it, but that’s not as common.  My friend is somewhere in the middle: she likes social situations more than Jon, but she prizes her alone time more than I do.  Part of that might be due to the fact that she has kids: even though they’re grown now, the past 20 years have taught her the value of time she can spend focusing just on herself.

The only way I see these differences indicating any problems in marriages is if I tried to force Jonathan to react the same way I do, or vice versa.  I don’t think I’m any more attached to him than he is to me.  If there was someone else in the house with me (besides my pets), I wouldn’t mind his being gone nearly as much.  It’s just one other personality difference we have to navigate.


*(The above image by graur codrin is from freedigitalphotos.net).