What Does It Mean For Your Marriage When Your Partner Wants Alone Time?

What Does It Mean For Your Marriage When Your Partner Wants Alone Time?

Depends how long "alone" means. 

By Marianne Garvey

Last week, Twitter was aflutter with comments after Melania Trump shared her Christmas wish. (ICYMI, the first lady said: "I would spend my holidays on a deserted island, a tropical island" before adding, seemingly as an afterthought "...with my family.")

Mmm hmmm.

Nothing wrong with leaving off the “with my family,” in that dream. Experts say that alone time in a marriage is normal, necessary, and healthy to take. Being under the watch of your significant other with no breathing room, or smothering them with your love is no good for the long-term. After all, you are both still individuals.

Solitude doesn’t mean threat, and self-care is required for both individuals to feel their best. People also need solitude to think, create, chill out, and do whatever it is they like to do when they are alone. Doesn't mean you don't love your husband or wife.

Experts say your partner should share with you what their alone time involves, and where it will be, or else, well, someone has just disappeared on you and that’s not good. Whether it’s a spa day, a night with friends, or a regular night in a hotel alone, it’s good to get back in touch with yourself and your feelings.

"Alone time is a chance to do things that you enjoy and that bring you pleasure — to be your own person and do what you want to do with your own choices of activities and happenings aside from those of your husband," Dr. Jane Greer, relationship expert and author of "What About Me? Stop Selfishness From Ruining Your Relationship," tells Brides. "It's important because it gives you your own self-expression and identity separate from being part of the couple. It brings in a new energy to the marriage and offers new things to share and talk about with your partner. It takes time to figure out and also will shift over the course of time as your work and family needs change. What's important is to make room for your individual needs and your joint needs along the way."

Alone time can cover many needs — space to think, work, have fun, be healthy, release some emotions, or just be solitary are all OK. Too much alone time gets dangerous when your partner starts to feel neglected — but that’s typically longer than, say, 24-48 hours.

"If you're going out with your friends all the time and your partner is asking, 'What about me?' that's a situation where you want to consider why you aren't planning time with that person,” Dr. Greer says. “The most important feeling in a marriage is for both partners to feel like they're number one to the other."

Marriages also benefit when spouses have time for themselves, either to pursue their own interests or just to relax. Personal time allows us to maintain our individual identities, provides opportunities to do things we like to do, and lets us feel like we have some control over our lives. Alone time can actually help to keep a relationship fresh and less stressful. 

"How much personal time is optimal varies from couple to couple. What’s most important is that spouses agree how much time they want together and apart. When handled correctly, each partner feels they’re getting their fair share," Dr. Rob Pascale Ph.D., says. "Taking a break is important for a marriage. For wives who constantly sublimate their own needs to those of her family, husbands might want to encourage them to take a mini-vacation from their 'job.'"

Space and alone time is more about accepting what’s different about the other person — and understanding that not everything is about you. People also sometimes just want some privacy. And, for someone in such a visible role as Melania, there's nothing that surprising about that.

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