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Do you want to be with me or would you rather be alone?
Oodles of space2live 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.
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).
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 out 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:
It’s been an incredible year of growth for myself and space2live. I include my own growth in this post because based on your comments and readership I believe my personal experiences as a single introvert fumbling through love, parenthood and self-exploration, resonate with you. If they don’t resonate, you at least find them amusing or informative or you like the sexy images I include.:)
I am so grateful and thankful for your readership. I am in awe of the supportive and wise community that has gathered here at space2live. You all make me excited to get up in the morning!
Top 10 New Posts for 2013
According to WordPress’s survey monkeys, readers searched for the words: sensual, introverts and relationships, passion and how to love an introvert and found space2live. Perhaps I should change the name to space2LOVE?
1. Introverts Explained: Why We Love You But Need to Get Away From You. This is the #1 most viewed post of all time for space2live. This one has elicited extraordinary response from EXTROVERTS. They so want to understand us. Kudos to them for reaching out with questions and comments. So nice to hear how the other side sees things.
3. Video: The Space We Need: An Introvert Wakes Up, Slows Down and Starts Living According to Her True Nature The first space2live video. Readers got to ‘meet’ me on the screen.
4. The Introvert’s Love Affair with Solitude: Will It Always Be Taboo? Why is it so darn wrong to love solitude?
5. Emotional Intimacy: An Introvert’s Ultimate Turn On? Find out what makes us go crazy in a good way.
6. Understanding the Introvert Cycle: Why We Go From Irritable to Ever-Loving It really is a cycle. We love you. Go away. We love you. Go away.
7. Introverts Are Not Misanthropes: We Love Specifically, Individually and Deeply We like you, one or two at a time.
8. I’m Sorry I Hurt You in Order to Save Myself: What Introverts Feel but Don’t Always Say Sometimes we hurt you because if we don’t we deny ourselves. It bites being on the giving AND receiving end of this scenario.
9. My Introverted Love Creed: If We Can’t Be Magnificent and Independent Together I’m OK Alone Being alone is always an option with an introvert. Maybe not the first option, but an option.
10. Confessions of an Introverted Parent The parenting posts are the hardest to write. There is a deep sense of shame and guilt felt when a parent needs time away from their family. According to our culture, it’s not natural to need time alone.
Posts that embody space2live from years past
The following posts were written in 2011 or 2012 but have stood the test of time and were still in the top 10 most viewed posts:
And now for the personal lessons. If you were only interested in the most popular posts then you can cut out here. If what sparked and spoke to me interests you, then please read on…
Lessons in love
I experienced sincere, sensual and mature relationships this year. I learned there are truly good men out there. High quality can be found. The level of sensitivity I discovered was incredible and affirming.
Because of the beautiful intimacy I discovered and embraced, I learned what it feels like to have my heart-broken. I also learned how to survive afterward. Hint: You have to spearhead your own happiness and love.
On a lighter note, I figured out several small personal litmus tests for relationship longevity. Here are a couple:
It feels better and right if my partner is a reader. Books/articles are the genesis for half the things I say and savor. I am hopelessly dull and speechless without them and new insight gleaned from words is exciting to me.
It’s beneficial to our relationship if my guy enjoys food and all its facets —cooking, eating, healthy diet, conversation while dining, sensory delight. When there was no food chemistry (i.e. no enjoyment dining together or interest in food at all) I was thrown off. One time, I found myself standing by the kitchen sink
eating a single microwaved pork chop while my guy ate a granola bar across the room. That is how we ate dinner together that night. He wasn’t bothered by the lack of food, warmth and connection, but I was. It should be noted that that is not how we normally ate together and the gentleman involved is warm and sincere in nature himself.
Lessons in food, mood and energy
Speaking of food, I learned that diet profoundly affects my mood and energy. Cookies and cake make me cranky and weepy. Spinach and kale brighten my thinking. Avocado, butter and bacon make everything better.
Exploring all of this deeply now with more insights to come, I’m sure.
Lessons in parenting
I learned that I need to foster the logical and critical sides of my children even if they go against every fiber in my sensitive, ultra-feeling, harmony-loving body. I am learning to understand my boys’ natural preference for justice and impersonal decision-making. I need to respect our differences and teach them to do the same.
*Bonus piece of knowledge regarding child rearing — Laugh at yourself. Laugh with your kids. Share funny Youtube videos. Humor is the way I communicate best with my boys — my toughest audience.
Lessons in self-actualization
The times I felt the strongest, most whole and most alive were when I was engaged in projects that filled me up. I love to learn. I especially love to enhance self-awareness, both my own and that of others. I completed training in Parenting Time Expediting (working with divorced parents to create a parenting plan/schedule they both find acceptable) and became a Myers-Briggs certified practitioner. Thank you Myers-Briggs for helping me figure out I’m an iNtuitive Feeler (NF) and what that means.
During these times of learning, my mind was so abuzz with new associations, aha! moments and ways to help people, that stress dissipated in my body and home. I read with laser focus and fed my curiosity to the point where it felt like time disappeared. Though self-actualization seems like something you do solo, it actually affects those around you as well. Because I was so filled with purpose I was able to give more love and attention to my kids. I was more patient. I was more calm and balanced.
I also feel I am most attractive to men when I am independently spearheading my life. The jury is still out whether or not that is a good thing. It’s hard to maintain a brutally independent existence and weave lives together.
Which posts resonated most with you this year from space2live? Why? What topics would you like to see more of in 2014? What do you think about adding a section on space2live where readers can ask questions about relationships/introversion/self-actualizing?
**If you enjoy learning about relationships and/or the intricacies of introversion please Follow this Blog to receive more insight and stories from space2live. It would be lovely to share and learn with you. **