I never thought I would be able to live with someone else for an extended period of time. I am just way too private. There are things I can’t do while someone else is at home.
Ridiculous things, like dancing to my 90s playlist, doing yoga, cooking spaghetti at 2am, or singing in private without anyone listening.
I can’t watch certain movies or tv shows. I want to lose myself completely in the stories and let all of my emotions out without the risk of someone walking by on their way to the bathroom.
And I can’t truly recharge my mental and emotional batteries in order to remain a functional human being.
Explaining this to someone you love is really difficult. If not impossible. No matter which way you put it, they are going to feel hurt and confused.
Because how can you love someone, love being with them, and yet still prefer to not be with them?
For an extrovert, it doesn’t compute. But for an introvert, it’s logical. It’s the most loving thing to do, both for yourself and for your partner.
Without my alone time, I have no affection to give.
Without opportunity to miss my beloved for a bit, I can’t truly appreciate their company.
And without regular periods of solitude, I transform into a depressed, irritated, lifeless shell of a human being.
When pushed too far, I feel like a werewolf at full moon, crawling into a corner, covering my face and growling at my boyfriend to stay away. “You don’t want to see me like this!”
I am simply a better person if given plenty of time alone.
“Oh fine” one’s partner might say, “I’ll just go to another room and close the door. Take all the time you need.”
If only it was that easy.
The atmosphere is still different when there is someone else in the house. There’s still another person to consider: their mood, their plans for the evening, their tendency to walk around in the apartment and make small talk, their dinner preferences.
It eats away at your social batteries, regardless of your love for the other person.
There are times when I’ve literally begged my boyfriend to make plans, any plans, so that I could just breathe in the silence for a few hours by myself.
Or messaged him on my way home from a long day of draining meetings, basically ordering him out of the house so that I can collapse on the floor when I come home and not having to talk to or even look at him.
Now, I have a boyfriend that’s pretty introverted himself and understands and respects me 100%. We have been together for over 8 years and learned to peacefully coexist, despite my werewolf ways. So I am lucky that way.
It pains me to imagine all other introverts struggling to get some guilt free solitude at home, while not upsetting their family. I imagine highly sensitive, introverted moms and dads with no free time whatsoever, slowly suffocating.
And I get scared shitless. I worry about my future. What if we want to have kids? Becoming a mother would not make me any less of an introvert. What if I can’t handle it?
I see horrific images of me, after a few months with a baby, completely freaking out. Packing a bag and fleeing in the middle of the night to go live in some ashram in India.
“Dad, why don’t I have a mommy like all of my friends?”
“Oh you do honey, but she left when you were very little. She couldn’t handle going to the bathroom with the door open.”
But I guess it’s a learning process.
Me and my fiancé have learned to communicate and understand each other’s needs.
I have slowly learned to relax more in his company, and learned what can be compromised and what crucial things I need to feel good and be a good partner.
Maybe that’s all you need.