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"The girl I’m dating wants to spend all our time together. But I’m really serious about school, and I need alone time to focus on school work. I told her this, but she still acts bummed when I don’t see her. How do I deal with this??"

- Question submitted by Anonymous

Dannielle Says:

The key here is to be honest about your feels and let her know that you miss her.

I totally need alone time, but it’s hard to tell someone that bc I don’t want to hurt their feels and I also assume they’ll think my wanting to be alone directly translates to my not wanting to be around them… WHICH IS NOT THE CASE AT ALL. I just am NOT VERY GOOD AT COMMUNICATING.

I think you need to be totally honest about your necessary alone time and when you are taking that alone time, take a few minutes out of that time to text your boo and tell her how much you miss her. Send her flowers one day. Break one of your alone time days to watch 13 Going on 30. Send your boo a selfie or two. You can easily compromise on this, she gives you your space and you give her a little love in return.

Keep it FRESH (sorry about that word you guys). Like any other part of dating, no one wants to feel like it’s just a routine and it’s sad and it’s boring and it’s stupid. YA KNOW?

Kristin Says:

Honestly? You remain firm in the fact that it is important to both you and your relationship for you to have time apart.

As a person who has had experiences from the other side of this divide (where I’ve felt sad when my boo was all ‘sawry not tonight’), I can tell you that I also understood the need for us to do our separate things. In those moments where I was feeling uncertain, all I needed were these three things:

1) Sensitivity. It is completely okay for you to empathize with your boo’s feelings, yet still remain strong in getting what you need. Like Dannielle said, tell her you’ll miss her too… but that missing her is a crucial part of keeping your relationship healthy. Let her know you feel how she feels, and together you should do what’s best for you (individually and together).

2) Schedule. Whether this means setting particular days that you know you will have as your solo time (ie: every Monday and Thursday), or sticking to a certain number of days that change depending on your plans (ie: 4 days on / 3 days off), having a schedule to look to can often help you both feel stronger in these decisions. It will create more of a routine for her (so that it won’t feel unexpected, etc), and it will give you a structure to help with schoolwork.

3) Stick to it. I am going to disagree with Dannielle here: I do not think you should bend on your days off. At least not in the beginning. If you bend and go over to watch a movie after you said you needed alone time, that gives her more reason to wonder why you aren’t doing the same thing on other nights. When things level off and you are both feeling better about alone time in general, then you might be able to bend on your needs a bit… but for now stick to the routine.

You can be kind, loving, and empathetic while also being strong in what you need for yourself. Lean on the fact that you aren’t just helping you—by helping yourself you are also helping a relationship that you value.

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