Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Living together...how do you cope with needing your own space?

(38 Posts)
VelvetSpoon Fri 01-Jan-16 20:38:37

Bf and I are hoping to start living together later this year. At the moment we spend about 4 nights a week together, but never normally more than 2-3 nights in a row. We're together every other weekend, and a couple of times in the week (but obviously at work in the day).

I'm an only child and spent a lot of time alone (very happily) as a child. I lived on my own for a couple of years before I had my DC, and now it's been just me and them for 7 years. My DC are teens now so pretty independent and when they're at home spend a lot of time in their rooms, so I get plenty of time to myself. Even when they were younger, I used to go and sit on my own or hide when necessary telling them 'mummy needed some quiet time' blush.

I did live with my Ex for a number of years, however that was a pretty awful relationship most of the time and we used to generally avoid each other at home where possible...

So in this relationship, I love spending time with BF, I miss him all the time he's not here. BUT I love my own space, time for myself. He was here over Xmas, and it was lovely. But when he went home after 5 days I felt pleased to be on my own (even though at the same time I missed him not being there!). I appreciate that sounds a bit crazy grin

We get on really well. It's very easy and comfortable. But I think if we're together in the same house all the time it's going to result in conflict (as after Xmas I could feel myself getting niggly at him, and I think he felt similarly - that we actually needed some time apart).

So what's the way forward? How do you manage living with someone and keeping your own space? He (jokingly) said maybe one of us needs a job where we work late/nights a couple of times a week (or a hobby which keeps us out similarly) so we both get time to ourselves. It's either that or I build a shed for one of us in the garden to retreat to...

Seeyounearertime Fri 01-Jan-16 20:51:43

I dunno what other folk do but me and the finer half see her time at work as apart time.
I'm a SAHD so I busy myself with house work and the like. When the GF gets home she tends to shower and change and spends time with DD so I get an hour of peace. I also stay up later than her most nights so play vidya games I get a couple hours peace there too.

I dunno, it just works, of its really important you'll find a way.
Good luck.

coffeeslave Fri 01-Jan-16 20:56:51

Can you have your own rooms? My boyfriend & I have a 3 bed house, the back bedroom is "his" and the front one is "mine", we still sleep together every night but we have our own domains, if that makes sense!

I can sympathise, I lived alone for 6 years and had a further 6 with lodgers, before I moved in with my boyfriend.

JapanNextYear Fri 01-Jan-16 20:59:53

Get an allotment and a shed. Sorted. I also have a long bath fairly regularly, or wake up earlier and have a cup of tea on my own. It helps if OH has a hobby.

magpie17 Fri 01-Jan-16 21:00:21

I'm an introvert and need a lot of solitude to recharge. I have a husband and baby though so I don't get much! The way we do it is to have separate hobbies - I run which I do alone and gives me valuable time alone out of the house and a break from the baby stuff. DH does a couple of other hobbies and volunteering which means he is out of the house one or two evenings a week or maybe an afternoon at the weekend, while he does that I get to be on my own in the house. I think separate interests is the answer here but if I am dying to be alone I just go and have a bath or tell DH I'm going to bed early to read, he knows me well enough to know not to bother me!

VelvetSpoon Fri 01-Jan-16 22:02:10

We don't really have space for our own rooms, too many children (between us) to permit that, unfortunately!

Part of the problem is we like, and do, a lot of the same stuff - we tend to watch the same things on TV, we go to the gym together, etc.

It's just a worry because when you both have DC, moving in together is a massive step, and I don't want it to go wrong because I, or both of us, end up feeling like we don't have enough time to ourselves...

Lightbulbon Fri 01-Jan-16 22:11:54

If you are moving in together then surely you are going from running 2 homes to one? So why can't that one home be bigger? It's still cheaper than 2 homes.

Offred Fri 01-Jan-16 22:21:15

Don't move in together?

It isn't required.

Seeyounearertime Fri 01-Jan-16 22:23:14

I thinknthe best bet is to move in next door to each other. grin

BertieBotts Fri 01-Jan-16 22:26:07

I would keep running two homes but do some extended stays at one of the houses as a trial kind of run so you can work out the kinks and figure out what you need from a shared space first.

DH and I are both computery type people so we spend a lot of time in the evenings on our own computers using headphones. Sounds a bit sad, but it works for us! We spent some time when we recently moved working out the best place for our desks to go to give the living room a sense of not being too office like, but not to be right next to each other, or in separate rooms.

We will also often one of us take off to the bedroom or for a bath or a walk or something and that's fine. Then when we want to do something together we just do! We don't go out together very often. That's a feature of having DC!

LHReturns Fri 01-Jan-16 22:35:41

A huge issue for me too...I lived (incredibly happily) alone for 20 years before meeting my OH. Had never lived with a boyfriend. OH and I even had a (surprisingly quick) baby before we moved in together. Now having lived together for a year (also with a baby and live-in nanny) we have certainly had to learn how to make it work. I have found the reduced personal space, and lack of quiet, an enormous challenge especially at the end of a working day (whilst still being very happy in my relationship).

We have created different spaces for each other; OH loves to cook and I leave him alone in the kitchen to get on with it; and I always go to bed earlier than him during the week - so I get time in the bedroom to potter around and chill with book or iPad. I am usually asleep before he comes up to bed.

We both relish alone time, and truthfully when we are both at home Monday to Friday we don't spend much time together. We also sleep apart 2 to 3 nights a week. am delighted when he is travelling for work. Most of our 'couple time' is when we are out together (at least two evenings a week), or on weekends with our baby, and his two other children.

But while it isn't conventional and doesn't look quite like other relationships, it works well for us, we are crazy about each other, and getting married next month.

Gillian1980 Fri 01-Jan-16 22:36:14

We don't see much of one another during the day due to work, then some evenings my dh is out pursuing his hobbies. I usually pop out to meet friends at some point over the weekend.

At home we enjoy eating our evening meal together and watching a few TV programmes together - as well as family time with our 5 month old DD.

If I want some quiet time at home I tend to have a lie down in our room with a book or a film, or a soak in the tub once DD is settled for the night or when dh is looking after her.

VelvetSpoon Fri 01-Jan-16 23:21:52

I know we don't have to live together, but financially it makes a lot of sense (as we both live in fairly expensive homes, and are paying half our salary each month in mortgage/rent). We also live nearly an hour apart, I can't move for various reasons, and Bf couldn't afford to rent a house nearer here. Plus, we miss each other when we're not together blush. And it is the natural next step really - we both see this as serious/long term.

I can see extended stays may be a way forward - although this may be tricky as it will involve his DC staying here too (as he has them 4 nights out of 14), the only issue with that is that they'd have to be bringing all their stuff back and forth, but I guess we can work that out somehow.

We're trying to avoid past relationship issues - we both were previously with people we didn't have much in common with (and so ended up doing our own thing a lot of the time), now we have so much in common it's easier - but I/we do still need our own space, and time apart.

Offred Fri 01-Jan-16 23:23:24

It's certainly what society expects the next step to be...

It doesn't mean it would be a good step for you two individuals to take in your relationship.

BackforGood Fri 01-Jan-16 23:35:10

I think you just have to talk about it - your need to have some quiet 'me time' and make sure he knows that it's nothing he's said or done. then work out what you want to do - if you are one to go for a swim 2 nights a week, or if you want to go to a local library or coffee shop with a good book, or if he wants to go out somewhere, or (obvs don't know the layout of your house) go into the other Reception room and read/do a juigsaw / sew / play FIFA / whatever there whilst the other watches TV.

It doesn't really matter, as long as he knows that 'it's not him' and you've always needed an hour here and there in splendid isolation.

dibly Sat 02-Jan-16 00:05:53

I could have written your post before getting married, I really need my own space to recharge and just be. Luckily DH is similar, so we have put another TV and sofa in our dining room, giving us both the opportunity to just chill on our own at home (at least til DD gets older and starts staying up later).

He's an early riser, I stay up an hour or so later; he goes for a run, I swim. Reading that it sounds like we don't spend any time together but we do, just quality time and it works well for us.

magpie17 Sat 02-Jan-16 12:37:08

Me and DH have very similar interests (running and hillwalking for example) but just do those separately IYSWIM, we also work together so that's an added level of 'togetherness'! It's great to have stuff in common but you also need your own space so i definitely recommend getting a hobby each that takes you out of the house leaving the other to have some space. Depending on the ages of the children though this might leave somebody holding the baby, so to speak! It does in our house but you can't have everything!

Joysmum Sat 02-Jan-16 12:54:04

I too like my own space, DH less so but likes 1/2 hour down time to unwind when he gets in from work.

I tell him I'm going upstairs for some down time, or I go in the bath. Likewise he goes upstairs to "get changed".

One thing I've always insisted on and carried through with my daughter too from the start, is the shut door policy.

A shut door means fuck off and leave me alone unless your leg fell off! It's been great for down time, personal space, sex, masturbation, studying, working and secret present wrapping and shopping.

I recommend the shut door policy yo everyone and can't see why others dont have it. smile

AccordingtoMe Sat 02-Jan-16 13:15:33

I like that Joysmum.

The personal space thing is probably the reason I will never ever live with a partner ever again.

OnADarkDesertHighway Sat 02-Jan-16 13:35:38

I am an only child and when I left home I lived by myself for nearly 20 years before DP effectively moved in with me just over a year ago.

We've since bought a place together where there is more room which is easier. I like my own space and found sharing it took a bit of getting used to.

DP works quite long hours and has kids from his marriage and we both think it is important he has time with them without me being there the whole time.

I have a study now and still see friends a lot and not always with DP.

We try and arrange it so I do my things while he is working or seeing his kids. That way we both get our own space but still spend plenty of time together too.

I think it is important that both partners have their own space and it works really well for us. It also means we have good quality time together. We are not sat there in the same room both doing separate things because we do not get time apart.

Artandco Sat 02-Jan-16 13:44:16

It's a case of making space to go to all over the house. So if you are all at home you can all retreat if needed. Add a comfy reading chair to bedroom or dining room for example, or if space add a desk in multiple rooms.
Add a comfy seating area in the garden so for a good few months of the year you/ partner or kids can use outdoors as well. Like some outdoor sofas with blankets and lanterns.

Also not everything has to be done together at home or outside so you can still do things alone

TokenGinger Sat 02-Jan-16 14:13:25

I've just turned my spare bedroom in to a man cave for if DP moves in - somewhere his PS4 can go whilst I stay downstairs watching television. Or, if he wants to be alone watching TV, I can go in to the main bedroom.

ColdWhiteWinePlease Sat 02-Jan-16 15:00:21

We have turned one bedroom into a second TV room. DH can watch footy in there or play the X Box (both of which I hate). It's a ground floor bedroom, so it works really well.

If you haven't got a spare bedroom, how about putting a TV into the Master Bedroom? Then if you do want your own TV time, one of you can watch TV in there.

stubbychick Sat 02-Jan-16 18:33:53

I am the same, I lived alone as a single parent for a decade before I moved in with DH. We have a small flat but a decent size living room and I have my own corner there with my PC which I can use as a TV. It has some shelving around it so it's like a little office and separated from the rest of the room. If I want to lounge without sharing the sofa, I do that on my own in the bedroom and a tablet or phone.

At the moment I'm not working so a lot of my 'alone time' is during the day when the dc are at school. That is quite essential for me but I appreciate it's not possible for everyone. It means I can stay up quite late as well as I don't need to get to work, so some of my 'alone time' is 11pm-2am when DH has gone to bed.

Ragwort Sat 02-Jan-16 18:40:36

We are fortunate in that we have a largish house so plenty of 'space' for each of us to do our own thing, and we have our own bedrooms - I know that wouldn't suit everyone. grin. I crave time alone, DH and DS have been away for a week and I have enjoyed every minute of being 'alone'.

I would seriously re-consider moving in together, it is a huge step, particularly if you have children.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now