Do you have *room* for a partner?

joulesR4meJanuary 12, 2005

Wondering where I was going to store my Christmas giftware made me realize that I have managed to fill an entire 3bdrm (abeit small) home. I don't have the Physical room in my home for another person (and their stuff). It makes me really anxious to have so much stuff, but I never seem to toss enough to make a difference.

Taking this one notch up, I wonder if I have emotional or mental room for a partner ... There are periods of time where my boyfriend spends most of his time at my home. Since he works late, it isn't a huge amount of time, but he still seems to need more attention than I want to give. He wants to chat and cuddle all evening and my *chores* never get done, routines are dropped, and personal interests are neglected. Last night I spent alone and loved it! I came home from school, got some dinner and watched my choice of TV, took a bath, read a book, put out the trash, straightened the house, and got stuff ready for today. Just like *old times*. I haven't done this in months and it really felt good.

I wonder, is this another sign that our relationship isn't what it should be ... that is, if he is *the one* would I not even mind loosing the routine (or whatever)? Do any of you have similiar concerns?

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I have actually closed off a couple rooms in my house because I don't use them. My house is pretty big and my family has already stored a couple extra households in my basement... about ready to just give away a couple couchs down there.

Emotionally?.. that is a whole different story. I so love being single and running my own life.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2005 at 1:30PM
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I have a near 1200 square foot house and I would have to do major cleanout if I were to get involved with someone that had one fourth of the "stuff that I do" and that includes closet space for clothing. For "the one", it would not be a big deal, but right now I am having a problem just sharing this house with a single cat...heh

    Bookmark   January 13, 2005 at 8:22PM
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I think it's easy for women to lose ourselves in other people's lives, only to discover, much to our bewilderment, that we don't know where *our* lives went!

Maybe you could add some structure to your time with your boyfriend?

A young friend just told me a story very similar to yours:

She & her boyfriend have a routine that involves eating out together nearly every night, spending Sundays with his family, going places with his friends.

During the last few months, she hasn't studied for her real estate license, hasn't spent the time with her mom, dad, & sisters that she'd like to, doesn't even have a daily planner any more!

So she told her boyfriend:

To be satisfied with herself, she *must* get back on track to fulfill her plans, goals, & obligations,
& she wants him, as a supportive & caring partner, to be helpful to her in this direction.

His function is not to be a distraction in (from) her life,
& her function is not to tag along in his.

The way a guy responds to something like this reveals what you can expect from him in the future.

Best luck!

    Bookmark   January 14, 2005 at 2:57PM
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Funny Tinman. Actually your cat is sharing the house with you and expects your true appreciation.

I think my personal space would be more of an issue. *things* could be dealt with in time. When one has been alone for an extended period of time I think we learn to appreciate different ideas and values.


    Bookmark   January 15, 2005 at 1:08PM
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Oh I know that I am being "allowed" to share this house with her Wings....wonder if it's any coincidence that her name is Princess?...she seems to think that she is one the way she acts...heh

    Bookmark   January 15, 2005 at 3:23PM
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It's funny ... I have this same conversation with my married friends. I've lived alone for so long now I don't think I could share my space/house/farm with another person.

I think I'm too set in my ways ... I like being single ..

A SINGLE cat "tinmantu"? LOL! I have 3 spoiled cats and 2 very large spoiled dogs I share my space with. I think I actually keep my house for their comfort and convienence ...

    Bookmark   January 26, 2005 at 1:19PM
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Wow Pam...I like critters but most of them go best in my gravy....this cat of mine makes up for at least 3 animals to most peoples one. She is taking this companionship thing to a whole new level. ;)

    Bookmark   January 27, 2005 at 10:24PM
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I don't know. I have two kids, a dog and work full time at night...long hours. I usually sleep the entire next day after a two or three days stretch. I take care of my kids, shop, etc....on the other days I'm off.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2005 at 2:26AM
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I hope you don't mind a comment from a married person...if so, just ignore it.

I lived alone (in my own house) right up until I got married last fall. It was *way* too small for both of us - we knew we'd have to buy a new house, so physical space was never an issue. We're not having kids - we decided on that when we got engaged, so we didn't have to worry about planning for that.

I worried about that whole personal space thing too - over the two years we were engaged, DH spent more and more time at my house...and it was a lot like you describe: my chores didn't get done, I wasn't as organized as I wanted to be, I didn't get the reading time I was so used to every night anymore, and I was kind of sad at the thought of all that going away forever. I had always loved living alone, and while I *knew* I wanted to be with DH forever, it was like I went through a period of greiving for my life alone, ya know?

But then we talked - and I found out that DH was worried about the *exact same thing*. It wasn't just me who wasn't getting things done, or not having time to do the things I wanted to do alone...he had been struggling with the same issues! So we agreed that we had to "protect" that space for each other...and make sure that whatever else happened, neither of us had to "fight" for personal space.

What we did was pretty drastic by some standards, I'm sure - I owned my own house (2 bedroom), and he lived alone too, so when we went house shopping before the wedding, we made sure we picked out a house that would be large enough for us to "escape" from each other for our personal time. We settled on 2500 sq. feet - about 1250 for each of us. :-) He has the basement, I have the main floor, and he can do *whatever he wants* with the basement, and I have free rein over the first floor. We eat meals together, and spend part of the evening together, but while I'm making dinner, he goes downstairs to play pool. We spend a few hours together each evening, but if one of us wants some "reading time", we just grab a book, smile at the other person on our way out of the room, and all is well. He either helps with the chores (which gets them done more quickly), or disappears downstairs so I don't feel like I'm neglecting him when I'm cleaning, etc.

The point of this very long, rambling post is that you don't *have* to lose your personal space to another person, should you find "the one". It does take some planning, and some communication, but you can help each other "protect" that space if you can agree to work at it. Odds are if they've been living alone, they'll appreciate it just as much as you will, so don't be afraid to broach the subject & talk things out.

And if he/she can't handle that you are scared of losing that space, then maybe you should look elsewhere...

Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 22, 2005 at 6:52PM
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Carrie B

Thanks Jamie,

That was a great post! BF and I have been having these discussions lately. He lives only a couple of blocks away, but spends most nights at my house. We're having the "moving in" conversation, but both of us are adults and both of us are used to living alone and have fairly high alone time needs. Your suggestions were really good ones.

A friend of mine, when she moved in (to his home)with her husband (also two adults used to living alone) hired a "space consultant" who helped them to figure out how to make the home "both of theirs" and also to figure out "personal space" in a smallish apartment. She considers it money very well spent and I am thinking of doing the same.

One of the things I really like about this relationship, is that we both have a need to be alone and there's no conflict about it. In past relationships, I had partners whose feelings were constantly hurt because I "would rather be in the garden than" with them, or that I'd rather "sleep in my own bed" than in theirs. Even though BF comes over almost every night, we're not expected to have dinner together every night. I don't need to check with him before I make plans with friends, family etc. If I do make plans, and he's invited, while he's welcome to come, my feelings are not hurt if he'd rather not.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2005 at 12:39PM
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These are all good suggestions. My long distance BF and I have been having serious discussions about our future lately, me move there, he moves here, both move somewhere new...

I appreciate all the great suggestions on living space. How does one deal with furniture and appliances, etc.? Style preferences? Family heirlooms? All the "stuff"? I think I'm more concerned with keeping each of our own identity than he - but I'd hate for him to be resentful later on.

Just in the beginning stages of discussion as we both have family issues to deal with first.


    Bookmark   February 23, 2005 at 1:27PM
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No, not at this time in my life. I was married for 28 years, single now for 6+ years, and I couldn't be happier. I have three great kids, all in their 20's. One is married and expecting in October. All have good jobs, nice friends, and since we live close, they all come over every few weeks for a visit and a meal. I decided, after the divorce, that I'd better learn to be comfortable with myself before/if I ever remarried.

A friend at work asked why I wasn't dating or remarried - I said I'd been there, done that, and had the T-shirt! But as I thought about it, I realized that I don't have "room" for anyone else.

If I was still married, we'd be doing just what I'm doing now, spending time with the kids, traveling, and of course, working. They are creating their own lives and futures, and it's endlessly fascinating to watch, and even participate sometimes. I'm going to be a grandmother this fall, this is so exciting. I want to pay attention to my family (not intrude), and I don't want any drama in my own life to distract me. I don't want any strangers in my family, and I really don't want to be a stranger in someone else's family.

Who knows what the future holds, I'm very content in the present.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2005 at 11:11AM
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"I don't want any strangers in my family, and I really don't want to be a stranger in someone else's family."

I hear ya. I forgot about that stress. One of my younger girlfriends just recently mentioned that she wonders if she continues her on-again-off-again relationship with her guy because of her fears of getting to know a new guy's family (or loosing this ones!).

    Bookmark   April 4, 2005 at 2:23PM
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Wow, good subject. I have been a widow for 6 years this month. It was neither of our 1st marriages, and we were only married for 6 years. While I miss the companionship, kinda, and would like to know someone to go and do things with, I feel I do not want to share my home with anyone else. I too have been there and done that. I like being in my own space.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2005 at 3:36PM
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"I like being in my own space."

me too, Leslie.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2005 at 8:27PM
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