cool couple

Do you want to be with me or would you rather be alone? 

Many of space2live’s extroverted readers have asked this question in various forms.

How much alone time do I grant the introvert before it ceases to be a relationship?

Her space is hurting our intimacy. What about me?

We only see each other once a month because he needs his alone time. Is this normal?

Magnificent alone but interested in connecting

In My Introverted Love Creed: If We Can’t Be Magnificent and Independent Together I’m OK Alone, I wrote, It seems I’m most alive when I’m dancing on the fringe of a relationship, either almost disentangled or almost entangled.

At the time, I hadn’t experienced the kind of intimacy that makes you want to caretake and bend  boundaries. There was still the possibility that the next romance would be the one where I’d fall so hard I’d want to give up some me time. I truly wanted to love with an open heart but I needed to find someone who understood and respected my need to renew and create in quiet as well as my wish to co-exist in deep companionship.

My point? Introverts desire love and connection.

Relationship material?

Introverts can be in committed relationships if we are mindful of our energy and create meaningful connections. If we create and maintain boundaries. If we act maturely and build trust by working through hurt/disappointment/frustration with our partners rather than running at the first sign of discomfort (like when we feel confined).

one waySome of us want to be single. If we are not interested in a relationship, we have to own that and be up front with potential partners.

Some of us will request time to ourselves but want to participate consistently in a relationship too. Some know how to show up as a partner and others primarily devote energy to themselves. Most of us will exemplify and experience both scenarios in our lifetime. Neither is a bad thing but one is a hell of a lot more conducive to deep intimacy.

Why we like space

We need it for personal clarity: We don’t want to spend all of our time alone but we do need a break from people in order to get back to ourselves. It’s necessary to spend time in our inner sanctuary of thoughts, ideas and dreams in order to reduce stimulation (introverts process information and stimuli deeply) and replenish our energy.

Want to see us glow? Give us uninterrupted blocks of time alone.

Autonomy is sexy:

I have noticed that not just with men, but with social groups I want to join, potential employers and the world at large, the energy of autonomy and self-driven movement are magnets for seriously good stuff. ~ K of Wealthy and Loved and a space2live reader

We are rewarded and revered for acting independently. It’s attractive to be confident and solid in yourself. It’s healthy to know your happiness and satisfaction do not come from the outside. There is a strength in knowing you will be OK with or without a partner.

We have a mission: Introverts are generally good at concentrating. Studies have shown that we can stare artist at workout windows the longest (great?). Many of our favorite endeavors require deep concentration — writing, research, creating art, behind the scenes organizing, internet surfing;) We tend to go deep into whatever engages us. Because information travels longer neural paths for storage and retrieval in introverts, it is very difficult to stop and start such focus. We want to continue enriching our minds and our spirits. We want to finish our creations. If we find a ’cause’ to champion, we want to see it through with minimal distractions (they pull us out of deep thinking, make our heads extra buzzy). We need time to work on meaningful projects that require our close attention and give us energy.

All of this space can feel like a distancing or a pulling away from a relationship. Sometimes it is. Sometimes it is merely self-preservation.

How to tell if your person needs an introvert recharge or just isn’t into you?

1. If they simply need breathing space, they come looking for you after a break. Their eyes are bright and they want your company. If they aren’t that into you, they ask for more time or slowly drift away.

2. If they need an introversion escape then they’ll usually retreat somewhere by themselves or with one or two close companions. If they’re not that into you, they’ll voluntarily (as opposed to work or family related) socialize in groups or at bars/ parties.

3. If they’re introverted, anywhere from a few hours to a week should be sufficient for recoup time. If they are ditching you, they can go a month without connecting with or missing you. In my opinion, the relationship is on thin ice if someone voluntarily chooses to be apart for a month.

4. Considerate introverts ask for space but also set up a next time or let you know when they’ll be available. If they aren’t truly interested, they’ll keep you guessing.

The big question: How much tolerance do you have for your partner’s absence?

Have there been times when your partner asked for too much space? Did you wonder if it was lack of interest? How did you handle it?

If you enjoyed Does Your Partner Need a Lot of Space?, then you may also like:

Introverts Explained: Why We Love You But Need to Get Away From You

Understanding the Introvert Cycle: Why We Go From Irritable to Ever-Loving

I’m Sorry I Hurt You in Order to Save Myself: What Introverts Feel but Don’t Always Say

Introverts Are Not Misanthropes: We Love Specifically, Individually and Deeply