When retirement finally arrives, spending more time with your partner might create some issues. Bob feels a little smothered and craves some ‘me time’. He asks psychologist Dr Emmanuella Murray whether he is being unreasonable or if he should ask his wife to back off.
How do I tell her I need time to myself? I’ve always enjoyed some solitude in my life, but my wife seems to need to do everything together. Does she need help and not me?
A. We all need some ‘me time’. It must be hard feeling suffocated by someone you love. All relationships go through times where one partner needs more togetherness than the other.
Solitude is something you choose, and it does wonders for our self-awareness.
From what I’m hearing, solitude is something you need in your relationship and when I work with couples, I encourage them to talk to their partners about their needs.
If you don’t speak to your wife about your need for solitude, you are likely to start resenting the fact you don’t have enough ‘me time’, and that could also leave your wife feeling puzzled or frustrated in relation to what you want.
Set aside some time to talk to your wife and give her plenty of reassurance that you love her and you enjoy spending time with her. Then gently express how you feel.
For example, you may say, “I really enjoy our time together, but I haven’t had a lot of me time lately. I’d really like some time alone to do a few things I enjoy.” Then maybe you could suggest ways you can both give each other space.
Your alone time might mean reading your paper outside, going to golf with your mates once a week or having ‘time out’ from one another during the week.
Whatever your need is, the key is to talk to your wife and keep the conversation going.
Do you love time alone? Is this a conversation you’ve had with your partner? Is this why book clubs and men’s sheds were started?