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Planning Alone Time


anon11
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I recently moved into my partners home "unofficially" over the last two months due to spending so much time together (after dating for 11 months). This move meant that terms and explicitly discussions around roles and responsibilities are still unclear or still forming. My old home is a one hour drive away and has remained empty most of the last months. My partner does shift work which changes often and is relatively unpredictable with a mix of nights/days, and I do regular 8-6, five days (sometimes six days) a week. My partner has expressed that they find comfort and stability in planning their weeks. This plan is typically 2 to 7 days in advance. I do not typically plan a week and leave most small decisions to the day, e.g. what activities to do on the weekend or what to cook the next day. We try to arrange our free time to align with each other, but this sometimes does not work out if my partner is working the weekend or if they want to plan a weekend with their friends.

I understand and want a relationship with compassion, compromise, and adaptation that shows that we care and support each other. I have been struggling to adapt my desire for more flexibility in decision making for how we spend our time with my partners need to plan. My partner has expressed that they gain stability from planning. It causes them significant emotional/physical distress when I leave during the week to spend time in my home with a day's notice (typically three nights per week). I understand my partners need for more planning and have been trying to plan more in advance. I never leave if we have already made plans and have stated that I will try to get them at least 48 hours notice about plans. We do, of course, still plan weekend trips away together in advance during the week.

I have been struggling to confer with my partner that as I am more introverted than them, I need more alone time than they do to "recharge" from the work week and social situations. When I try and ask for alone time at my home, they see it as a direct attack on the relationship. The discussion inevitably ends in them elaborating that they need a partner that WANTS to spend their time together and that they should instead be with someone else that values time together. They explain that spending time together is particularly important because of the intense work schedule that changes week-to-week and how rare their free time is. 

The net result is that my partner and I have become resentful for taking away each other's freedoms. This resentment is exacerbated by the times that I do not plan as thoroughly as they do. Furthermore, my planning is becoming more sporadic and less reliable because I prefer to jump at the opportunity during the week to get alone time and recharge. I have tried recharging with my partner during the week, but it has not been as effective as being alone for a day. When we spend "alone" time together, my partner often requests to spend it with their friends.

Am I asking too much of my partner to want alone time without it destroying the fundamentals of the relationship? I feel trapped between not feeling safe to ask for alone time and making my partner happy. The stakes for these discussions become so high (with threats of relationship ending) that it causes me stress and anxiety, and subconsciously I avoid planning, disconnect from my partner and live less in the moment. I have also begun to question if I am broken in some way for wanting a two or three full days to be alone to recharge or if it is a reflection of a broken relationship with poor communication?

Edited by anon11
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I think you are both too significantly mismatched . You can’t usually have an introvert and extrovert together nor a person who is a planner and someone who flies by the seat of their pants. It leads to aggravation and resentment on both sides. Instead of trying to change people find someone who meets the requirements in the first place. Because I like or love this person is not enough to make a relationship work. 

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I know you wrote a post and you don’t speak this way most likely but pretend you had to tell a ten year old how you are feeling and why.  Lose all the word salad and verbiage, lose the ten dollar “psychological “ words and distill to its essence - at most three short sentences - what you want. What partner wants. Why those two sentences create a problem in your opinion.
And again a ten year old has to do understand why you can’t play nicely in the sandbox.  My sense is you’re trying to bury very simple and common sense notions in tons of big words because you’re afraid if you make it too simple you’ll look high maintenance and or you’ll realize you’re mismatched. 
So one big issue here I wanted to add - you two are in limbo land. You’re not living together and your time in one house over another is because of convenience more than commitment.  
 

So first things first.  Get clear on what you’re doing and why and make sure you two are on the same wavelength.  
but a very simple conversation.  If this is about convenience that’s very different from wanting to be together as one way of getting closer and strengthening your commitment. 

 No need to have long talks about roles and responsibilities unless that’s fun for you  we never really did other than we knew for a long time I’d move for his job and I’d be a stay at home mom if we had a baby and likely for years   And that role is fairly defined and we just sort of tweaked the rest as needed   IT almost sounds like you think you need some sort of conference complete with power points about Role and Responsibilities  why ?

and it’s going to cause friction if you both have different reasons for sharing physical space. 
For the first 3 years of our relationship I was absolutely the extrovert and he the introvert.  It was fine. Then I became a mom and all of a sudden I really disliked having too many people around and socializing.  It overwhelmed me. We’ve been together over 15 years. Married for 12.  I definitely need my alone time - or my time when we’re in the same room but not interacting - I’m in my zone -  and at times others might find unusual. But I try to tell him simply what I need and if it’s possible we make it work. Or I go in  another room. 
but yes keep it simple.  Change is hard but it’s harder when you intention make it this complicated.  Good luck. 

Edited by Batya33
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I am an introvert and my husband is an extreme extrovert. I am a planner, he is not. He goes out without me, and I plan things and he goes along. But you have to understand where each of you is coming from. He understands that being around people means I have to go recharge and I understand that being around people helps him to recharge. Also, he understands I need to plan, so he works with me. But I also know that he likes to do things spur of the moment, he just usually does them when I am busy or not interested (like his need to see Dune the moment it opened). 

 

Edited by arjumand
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When you start living together the dynamic changes. And you both usually have to adapt to each other. At your case you are both at innability to do so. He/She is a control freak with possesive issues. It shouldnt cause them that much distress because you leave to sleep at the separate place. On the other hand you dont need 3 days a week separate from each other to "recharge". I would wonder why you even want to live together with somebody if you want almost half week away from that somebody. You do know that living with somebody actually requires you to live there and share the life even though you are not in the mood from the work week and that kind of stuff? I am not saying that you shouldnt have that "recharge", my friend and his fiance have one day a week where they both separately go to their respective parents homes, hang there and sleep in their old rooms and think that is perfectly fine way to spend some time away during week. But if you need 3 days a week I would wonder why you are even with somebody and what does that tell you. So, as you are both unable to adapt to each other needs, you are very mismatched. Sorry, but sometimes that kind of stuff only surfaces when you start living together.

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10 hours ago, anon11 said:

. My old home is a one hour drive away  . I leave during the week to spend time in my home with a day's notice (typically three nights per week). 

Sorry this is happening. "Move" back home. You're incompatible and suffocating each other.

Instead of being in your own home 3x week, visit her when her schedule permits. Stay home the rest of the time.

This tug of war is brought about by prematurely "living together". In fact you're just camping out there too much at your GFs request and it's not working out.

The other factor is refusal to mesh appropriately and coordinate time spent together. Popping in and out when and if you feel like it is as selfish as your GF insisting you "live" there.

You're generating chaos. Develop a plan for your week and stick to it.

Is this the same woman?:

 

Edited by Wiseman2
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Often, opposites attract, but one has to be okay with, or even like those differences. Communication hasn't worked, so it means neither is willing to compromise, because comprising is too big of an ask in this situation.

I'm assuming you're young, as your partner is in university. Just curious if it's your intent to always keep a separate home even after years with a serious partner, or not? There are people who do this, so it's not unheard of. It's just that it will make your dating pool smaller if you explain this is how you intend to conduct your life, which is something important they should know.

People can carve out private spaces in their homes, and often do. Or maybe they go outside the home for this, to type stories or read at the library or a cafe, bicycle, hike, etc. Just something to think about for a future, serious relationship.

Relationships shouldn't be this hard. Every relationship takes effort and the wrinkles need ironing out, but in your case, it seems that you're both regularly more upset than satisfied, so it's best to bail before you waste any more time.

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Speaking only for myself, if a partner ever threatened to leave me, I'd be the one carrying out that threat.

My needs + his needs = sometimes it's his way, and sometimes it's my way.

If he were to threaten to leave me for trying to claim some 'my way' time, then I'd consider him someone best loved from far away.

Not just because he's inflexible, but because he's a manipulative bully.

That's not the kind of relationship I'd want, so it's not something I'd cater to in any way, shape or form--ever.

Negotiation is fine, but a threat to leave? Not okay. Period. We're done.

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17 hours ago, Batya33 said:

My sense is you’re trying to bury very simple and common sense notions in tons of big words because you’re afraid if you make it too simple you’ll look high maintenance and or you’ll realize you’re mismatched.

I get the same sense.

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22 hours ago, anon11 said:

The stakes for these discussions become so high (with threats of relationship ending) that it causes me stress and anxiety, and subconsciously I avoid planning, disconnect from my partner and live less in the moment. I have also begun to question if I am broken in some way for wanting a two or three full days to be alone to recharge or if it is a reflection of a broken relationship with poor communication?

Quite frankly, between your previous thread and this one, the next time she threatens to end it, I would be out the door so fast and never look back.  It's a blessing in disguise.  Better yet, instead of the "next time", take action now and end this saga once and for all.  You two are seriously incompatible and it won't work. This is a dysfunctional and toxic relationship.  Move back to your own home and be done with it.

It would also be a good idea to seek professional counseling/therapy to help you figure out where your extremely low self-esteem comes from and why it is that you insist on being in a relationship with someone where you feel like you're always "walking on eggshells", and who is toxic.  Remember: YOU insist and choose to stay with her.  As long as you choose to stay, then you can't complain about it.  That's on YOU. 

Time to look within and ask why YOU do this.  Also time to rethink this "relationship".

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I agree with a lot of the advice here.  Especially about making this more complex than it really is.  It is hard to accept that while we love a person, they are not compatible with us.  

You are better off going back home and breaking up.  If they can't bend and you're sick over trying to fix everything, then you are in the wrong relationship.  

Edited by Lambert
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On 10/30/2021 at 12:31 PM, Batya33 said:

 So first things first.  Get clear on what you’re doing and why and make sure you two are on the same wavelength. But a very simple conversation.  If this is about convenience that’s very different from wanting to be together as one way of getting closer and strengthening your commitment. 

I struggle to have simple conversations with my partner without them bringing up all the times that I have failed them in the past. The weight of my past failures feels insurmountable so I do what they ask and do not spend time away from them.

Functionally my partner wants a relationship that meets their needs for commitment, which equates to spending almost every single moment together. If my work schedule is more flexible than theirs then I must capitulate and spend time with them at their home. I feel afraid to ask for a few days to go and visit my family because it will be questioned as a lack of commitment or noted as going "backwards". They want a relationship were we are living together immediately and I am fundamentally not ready for this because of the isolation I feel from the people I care about when I am spending time with my partner. The demands to spend every moment with my partner is causing as much stress and anxiety as it does to the disagreements we have for me to spend some alone time away from them (so I stay with them).

I have to justify the time I spend visiting my family to my partner and the reason that I miss them or feel disconnected from my family is not good enough. They only thing that we get some agreement on is that it is reasonable to spend time with my family roughly once a fortnight and wanting to see visit my family more than this is not seen as "normal" and something that should not be done. When I do get the opportunity to visit my family, my partner insists on going when they are working so as to increase the time we can spend together on the weekends or when they are available to go with me.

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On 10/31/2021 at 1:09 AM, Andrina said:

I'm assuming you're young, as your partner is in university. Just curious if it's your intent to always keep a separate home even after years with a serious partner, or not? There are people who do this, so it's not unheard of. It's just that it will make your dating pool smaller if you explain this is how you intend to conduct your life, which is something important they should know.

 

For context, we are both in our 30's and both have seperate homes approximately one hours drive from each other.

No, I intend to move in with them permanently and start a life together. I do not want to keep a separate home. However, my partner's demands to spend every moment together and how they make me feel bad for wanting to visit my friends and family make a full-time home together with them feel overwhelmingly unhappy. These feelings, combined with me feeling like I am being manipulated to feel bad for asking for the freedom to see my friends and family, add to a cycle of unhappiness and makes me want to spend less time around my partner. Overall, asking to spend days away from my partner makes my partner uncomfortable with how the relationship moves towards moving "backwards". However, at this point, I desperately want to isolate myself away from them and not talk to anyone.

 

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This is NOT an introvert-extrovert problem, this is a control problem. First of all, you have failed him "so many times" by not doing exactly what he wants, I assume? Is he going out of his way for you? What is more, he wants you to spend all your time with him and not with family and others -- he is trying to isolate you and control your time. You are afraid to discuss your needs and you are afraid to bring up wanting to spend time alone and with others -- he is a control freak and you need to stop trying to appease him. This is not a relationship that is going to work. 

I assume he is constantly throwing your "mistakes" in your face. Do you have a list of his mistakes that you throw in his? Do you actually think this is how a healthy relationship works? He uses emotional manipulation to keep you on your toes, constantly worried about rocking the boat, always making himself the hero and victim and you the bad guy.

Move on and fine someone who will let you be yourself and with whom you feel you can actually communicate. If you can't tell someone what you need and then get it (you have to compromise to minimal time with YOUR family to make HIM happy?) then you with the wrong person. 

Edited by arjumand
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1 minute ago, arjumand said:

First of all, you have failed him "so many time" by not doing exactly what he wants, I assume? Is he going out of his way for you?

Yes, my partner has gone out of their way for me by continuing to accept me as their partner, for example, I have betrayed them by lying to them or I have said I would do an action like finding a new job closer to them but later delayed doing what they wanted (mostly out of lack of confidence and lack of feeling supported). They communicate often they have sacrificed what they are willing to accept from me as partner by putting up with my delays and excuses and inaction. I do fundamentally believe that my partner has my best interests at heart when they say they want me to find a better job closer to them that offers better career advancement or more fulfilment. 

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So he makes demands and you have to meet them — and even if you don’t, he is sacrificing by accepting you because you are such a terrible person?
 

You really need to break up with this guy and get some therapy to build some self esteem. He has you completely believing that he is all-knowing and all good and you need to do everything to try to live up to his expectations. In reality, he is an insecure control-freak with abusive tendencies.   
 

please get some help and dump this guy. 

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1 hour ago, anon11 said:

Functionally my partner wants a relationship that meets their needs for commitment, which equates to spending almost every single moment together.

Are you talking about a relationship or a science experiment?  How about this: They want to spend every single moment together. I do not." Who cares if it's "functional" or what the "needs for commitment" are -it's not a need, it's a want.  The dysfunctionality is in how you describe it - it's dysfunctional for you to continue to use formal verbiage to describe what is simple incompatibility and dress it up as some "need" for "commitment" or that it's functional or otherwise.  I think you are unhappy not for any cyclical reason but because they want what you do not feel like giving and when you do you're not happy. You can't play nicely in the sandbox with them, k?

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I can't fathom why your title is Planning Alone Time. After you've typed everything you've typed--spelled out all of that emotional abuse you're subjected to--I would have assumed your title might be "Why did I stay even one second longer after the first red flag?"

You need to plan permanent space away from him/her/them, and ASAP.

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1 hour ago, Capricorn3 said:

OP, after reading your replies, may I ask, what exactly do you get out of  a relationship that has you walking on eggshells and leaves you feeling anxious and unhappy all the time??  Trying to understand your mindset.  I don't get it.  What am I missing? 😕

We love each other very much. Apart from the issue of moving in and progressing the relationship without going "backwards" and my inability to communicate requests for planned alone time to reflect without upsetting my partner, it is an extremely pleasant relationship. We have an active social life alone and with friends, and we both have fulfilling careers. It is a fulfilling relationship when things are going well 90% of the time, I can see a long term future in it.

My partner requests me to change career, plus move in to be closer to them. Because I agreed to change careers very early on in the relationship, this agreement is often used as a mechanism by my partner to note that I "have not held up my part of the agreement" and that I am the one going against my word. My partner feels deceived that I told them one thing and have not done it yet. My lack of action making this happen formally has given my partner anxiety and further strained our partnership. My partner views my inaction as a reflection of what I may do in the future when the stakes are higher and is the primary reason why they have lost trust in my character. I believe my actions justify their loss of trust and that I am the one who is primarily responsible for my partner's unhappiness with me.

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5 hours ago, anon11 said:

For context, we are both in our 30's and both have seperate homes approximately one hours drive from each other.

No, I intend to move in with them permanently and start a life together. I do not want to keep a separate home. However, my partner's demands to spend every moment together and how they make me feel bad for wanting to visit my friends and family make a full-time home together with them feel overwhelmingly unhappy. These feelings, combined with me feeling like I am being manipulated to feel bad for asking for the freedom to see my friends and family, add to a cycle of unhappiness and makes me want to spend less time around my partner. Overall, asking to spend days away from my partner makes my partner uncomfortable with how the relationship moves towards moving "backwards". However, at this point, I desperately want to isolate myself away from them and not talk to anyone.

 

It is truly time to break up. No one should make you feel bad to visit family and friends. 

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The more I read your replies the more it leaves me at a total loss for words.  For some reason you either just don't see what's in front of you, or you refuse to accept this person is totally toxic, dysfunctional and will manipulate you every which way.  OP, you surely can't be this blind?  So gullible? Surely not.  It's beyond comprehension.

That said, it it now pretty obvious that you are NOT going to leave her, no matter what anyone says, because you "love each other", so it is not clear what exactly you are looking for.  As long as you insist on staying in this mess of a relationship you are showing her that you are quite happy being treated like garbage.  Not much anyone can say now but if being treated badly is what floats your boat, then so be it.  After all, you choose to stay.

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This isn't about "planning alone time."

It's merely an extension of all the other control and manipulation issues in your previous threads about this person. 

The relationship is still not working. And that's because you two are fundamentally incompatible and this person doesn't treat you right. Let's cut the pseudo psycho-babble and call it what it is: a dysfunctional relationship. 

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