A few years ago, my partner and I moved into a new home. We left our crammed bottom-floor apartment for our most spacious home yet, with an extra bedroom and all.
Since I’m self-employed and work from home, I was excited beyond containment. I was to have a room of my own. One with a window, and space to turn around. (My previous home office was a tiny closet with no air circulation.) I could even fit my piano in there.
But best of all: my new room had space for a bed of my own.
My partner and I had lived together for over five years, and had always shared a bed. As you usually do when you’re in a long-term romantic relationship. Over the years, our apartments had grown bigger and our beds wider. As a result, I had become increasingly more pleasant to share a home with. This wasn’t always so.
As a highly sensitive introvert, I crave a lot of personal space and alone time. I’m extremely private, and when I feel imposed on, I get grumpy and lash out.
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Many times, I’ve wondered if I’m at all capable of living that close to anyone, even someone I love so much. To constantly be around one another drained me and it hurt our relationship. We moved apart several times.
The key to making it work has always been space. The bigger our apartment, the more space I would have to retire to when I needed. And the more he could stay away from home and give me a few hours or days to myself, the happier I would be.
He got used to me bluntly ordering him out of his home to “do something, anything, with friends” and “if he wanted to sleep over, that would be great”.
I felt nasty. Really really horrible. But I was desperate. Whenever he stayed home from work too many days in a row, during summer vacation or due to a cold, my skin would start crawling. I literally transformed before his eyes into something more resembling a trapped animal than a person. And he knew that the only way to reverse my lycanthropy was to leave the house and give me my solitude.
A room, a bed, a sanctuary.
Our move from a small apartment in the big city to a bigger apartment in a small town turned everything around for me.
No longer dreading to walk outside, and face loud traffic and crowds, I could now escape into nature when I need to. I no longer felt trapped. And having a room of my own, with a door to close and space to furnish and decorate as I please, I was never bothered by him being at home.
In fact, I enjoyed his company more. Since we both got our alone time on a daily basis and didn’t get on each other’s nerves, we could better appreciate having each other close by. We could choose to spend time together, rather than being forced to due to lack of space. This made our relationship a lot stronger and more affectionate.