What To Do When Your Partner Wants To Be Alone All The Time
Have you ever wondered if your partner is losing interest in you or the relationship? Maybe they are spending more time without you, or they want more time alone. You are concerned and can't figure out what their behavior means. You are worried, stressed, and unsure about the fate of your relationship.
Could there be a more significant issue with your partner? Is this a sign that they aren't as into you as they use to be? Your head is spinning, and your uncertainty leaves you wondering what this means for your relationship. If you are wondering why your partner wants to be alone all the time and whether there's anything you can do, here are a few things to consider.
Is it OK that my partner wants to be alone all the time?
It's OK if your partner wants to be alone. The problem may be that they want to be alone all of the time, meaning they don't want to spend time with you at all. Every relationship has a different dynamic, so let's start with the basics.
In any relationship, you need time together as a couple and individual time when you spend time apart. This will help you balance your individual needs and the relationship's needs. That said, some people are more extroverted, meaning they recharge by being around others. For example, an extrovert might like to spend a lot of time with friends or with their romantic partner because they find that social time energizing. This is different from someone who is more introverted, meaning they need time alone to recharge and feel energized.
If you are in a relationship with someone who needs time alone to recharge, don't take it personally. It's about their needs, not something you are doing wrong.
However, if their need for alone time is negatively affecting the relationship, then it's worth a discussion. It's OK to spend time alone, but if your partner isn't investing any time with you to the point that you feel distant, disconnected, or ignored, then there may be a bigger problem to deal with.
How much alone time is healthy in a relationship?
The question of what is healthy versus unhealthy can be subjective. You and your partner are different people, which means you will have varying needs. What matters is whether it is negatively affecting your relationship. If you're feeling stressed out over the amount of time you spend apart, it warrants a conversation to see how you can find the right balance that feels good and nourishing for both of you.
Regardless of your differences in personality, being able to be alone with yourself is a characteristic of a healthy person. If you do everything in your power to not spend time alone, that could be a red flag that you need to explore yourself. Difficulty in being alone may mean that you consistently need something or someone to distract you from yourself—which means you may be the one with an unhealthy behavior to address.
If your partner needs time to themselves, don't interpret it as a negative thing as a matter of fact. Your partner's need for alone time is only unhealthy if it's hurting the relationship. But just because you like to be around others and spend as much time with your partner as possible doesn't mean your partner has the same needs, and that's OK.
What to do if you're worried about your partner needing alone time.
You're worried about what it means that your partner needs time alone. Could they be feeling bored with you or the relationship? What does it say about you that they need this alone time? Is there a concern that your partner may be experiencing depression or another mental health issue that is causing them to pull away?
If you are concerned that your partner may feel depressed, anxious, or is dealing with an issue on their own, then it's time for a conversation. Don't worry that a conversation about your concern will negatively affect the relationship. The goal is to address the needs of both of you and identify any concerns that need a more in-depth look.
Try talking to your partner about your concern. Let them know that you are concerned about the amount of time they spend alone. This conversation doesn't have to be the one time that you discuss this topic, so don't feel overwhelmed.
Here are a few actionable tips to consider:
- Pick a good time to talk with your partner, a time when both of you aren't rushed or stressed.
- Start by using an "I" statement. For example, "I want to talk with you about something that is bothering me. I'm not sure if it's even an issue for you, but it might be for me, so I didn't want to hold it in. I'm concerned with the amount of time you want to spend alone. Before I jump to any conclusions, I owe it to you to be honest about what I'm feeling. I understand you need your time, but does it have anything to do with your feelings about the relationship or me?"
- Don't continue to talk after starting the conversation. Be sure to pause and allow your partner to respond.
- Share with your partner your concerns and ask them if there is anything you can do to help.
- Ask them about their needs, and share your needs with them.
- Your relationship isn't doomed because your partner wants to spend time alone. Don't let your assumptions cause more worry or cause problems that aren't there.
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However, it's important to discuss your concerns with your partner. Avoiding the conversation won't make the problem disappear. Have a conversation with your partner, connect on what each other's needs are and how you can both better support each other, and you'll be on your way to a better relationship.
Kristie Overstreet, Ph.D., LPCC, LMHC, CST, is a clinical sexologist and psychotherapist with 12 years of clinical experience. She is a licensed counselor in California, Florida, Georgia, and Louisiana. She is also a certified sex therapist, certified addiction professional, and president of the Therapy Department, a private practice in Orange County that provides counseling, coaching, training, speaking, and consulting services throughout the United States.
Overstreet holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Sexology and a master's degree in Professional Counseling. Known as the real-world relationship expert, she teaches people to improve their connection with themselves and others. She has given a TEDx talk on healthcare and also serves as a national contributor to CNN, Psychology Today, Readers Digest, Women’s Health, Men’s Health, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, and various other media.