Monday, November 16, 2009

So often not a couple, just two tired robots

Maintaining intimacy in a relationship takes work. What do you do when your tired body and worn down emotions take over during those potential moments to connect? Night after night, I find myself sneaking over to my bedroom while my husband snores on the recliner. I take that little time for me to read or just breathe. I feel kind of guilty that I don't wake him to spend some time together. I'm just so wiped out by that time of night. All I want to do is be alone. Each morning, I tell myself that I'll try harder to make the time to connect again with my husband. By 11 p.m. each night, I'm finally finished with the housework and I'm definitely not in the mood to do anything.

I know that we need to schedule time for each other. Who knows when we'll be able to do it. We are overloaded with the kids' activities and my husband's job demands. I'm up to my ears in school volunteer projects too. I know all the things that we can do to spice up the relationship. It just doesn't seem like it's in the cards these days. Just having a kid free conversation can be a challenge.

Lots of kids bring lots of joy and responsibilities. It also can help stall couple time. My husband's job is also very stressful and time consuming too. After two years of unemployment, we are so happy that he is working. It feels like our relationship fell into a predictable pattern right after his layoff. All of that stress and worry took its toll on us. Since the new job pays so much less, we still feel stressed and stretched. I think that we always carry a nervousness in the air as we wonder about the stability of this job.

Even though I know that I should devote that time to my hubby, I must confess that I enjoy that little bit of time alone each night. Being pulled in so many directions all day must make me crave a time when no one needs me for anything. My husband kind of makes it easy for me to hide away at night because he is conked out on the recliner.

I wonder about my desire for solitude. Does anyone else feel that need for solitude? I have to admit that I would grieve the loss of that me time at night. I love that feeling of just "me". It may only last for 20 minutes, but I'll take it.

When there doesn't seem enough hours in the day, how do you find the time for solitude and energy for intimacy with your spouse? I joke with my husband that we'll have to be real romantic in our senior years to make up for all this lost time.

34 comments:

Arlenkern74 said...

this post could have been written by me, so glad we arent the only ones xx

Peach said...

i always wake up before my boyfriend and i absolutely love those minutes or hours of alone time. while i don't have kids, my days are filled with endless work days, subway rides and household stuff, always being "on" and those weekend mornings are something that keep me sane. you are definitely not the only one who needs some solitude!
i agree with the previous commenter, this could have been written by me....

T Rex Mom said...

Alone time is VERY important. When you are being pulled in all directions constantly throughout the day you need a little time to recharge the batteries.

The kids are with you a short time. Do what you can but soon they'll be gone and hubby will be all you have. So, try keep the flame alive so you have something in common when the kids leave but also cut yourself some slack that there's just not enough time in the day.

I've been thinking of moving to Mars - a little cold but the days are 25 hours long!

Jillien said...

My husband and i are in the same position Kelly. and we both happen to be people who need time alone. It works for us. We both need it to be happy.

Enjoy the time you have to yourself. It adds sanity, in my opinion.

Amias said...

I have been in this place more times than I care to admit. First his parents, our children than grandchildren. By the time we became seniors his mojo stop working. Good thing we are friends, but still, there is something missing and neither one of us can recapture it. We are close, but we are also far apart, now I got too much time for myself.

I say to you in all honesty, make some time for both. It's very important. Ask a friend to babysit for you, or use the grandparents if they are available, if not do some babysitting bartering with someone you trust ... make some time for yourself, but remember, yourself is also a part of the man you live with. I didn't and I regret it.

Teri said...

I wonder about this same thing. There are times when my husband's couch snoozing does indeed give me some time to do things that I want to do alone. But I have to admit, I would really rather have together time more often. I get lonely.

Dan said...

I find that it ebbs and grows. When L and I are together all the time, alone time is great. When we are working in different places and see each other only every so often, together time is paramount.

One has to get some computer time somehow!

H F W said...

I feel this way so often now with the addition of number two. I now crave that alone undwind time, too. I never used to. I do try to sacrifice that alone time at night and pick it up elsewhere if possible. I guess I feel like it's worth giving up my precious me time because I wouldn't be too happy overall if it was just me all of the time, so I try to prevent us from going too long without connecting.
I will pray for this!

Christy said...

I think everyone goes through this. How does hubby feel about it? Maybe y'all should have a date night...I know I want a date night. :) Alone time is important, too. I have my alone time in the morning. I can't stay awake long enough at nighttime to enjoy the quiet. Ha!Ha!

Caroline said...

OMG...could have written this post word for word. Time for intimacy? All I want to do is get into bed and sleep! And frankly, I'm not really "feeling it" at 11pm. And alone time...I must have it. I start getting really cranky if I don't get enough.

Kringle said...

What a beautiful and openly human post... perhaps the alone time is not about your husband.. but you? That balance between intimacy, engagement, relationships and solitude is so tender.. yet too perhaps we need times to be intimate with the self?

shabby girl said...

Oh Kelly. Everyone needs that me time. If you don't take that little bit of time for yourself, you can't be the wife and mother your family needs.
This is probably a really tough time for your relationship with hubby. Man, do I remember that. You're tired, he's tired, you're worried.
Remember that he is asleep on the recliner. He could be taking the time as well, right? Maybe you two should talk about how tired you are, and how much you love each other, and how it will get better. Intimacy is not all physical. Reconnect with words.
Hugs girl!

Susan Fobes said...

Unfortunately I get like this too. After spending all day with very needy students then going home to two needy kids, I am as exhausted as you. It's hard not to see my husband as "just another person who needs me." We usually go to our separate corners for an hour after the kids are in bed, then come back together in front of the TV before we head to bed. It works for us-getting some alone time, but still coming back together to talk...

Michelle said...

I am a better mommy and wife when I have my alone time (ok, a better person in general). I sneak off to bed early all the time -- in fact, I'm headed there as soon as I finish typing this while my husband finishes watching MNF and maybe stays up later. I'll be sound asleep by the time he makes it into bed. And that's ok. We find other ways and times to connect. Being alone is not unusual. Or bad.

The Write Girl said...

This is quite a predicament Septembermom. I'm not married so I can't speak from experience. But if you can put a few dollars together you guys should do a bed and breakfast over the weekend. Perhaps a small getaway would be great for you two. I'm sure you guys are too busy though. It's also okay to want solitude. I can totally relate to that.

Ann Victor said...

I think it's a symptom of the crazy world we live in - each day appears truncated as time whizzes by faster and faster. Solitude is a healing time and essential to one's mental health in times of stress. So take it when you can and let go the guilt - just enjoy it and know that it's allowing your soul to regain the strength it needs to cope with all the demands of modern living. ((((HUGS)))

Life, Uncharted. said...

Although I am a single mom I still long for moments of solitude. Even Jesus escaped the chaotic affairs of the world and gave himself a time out. We all need that spiritual retreat for reflection and introspection. Or, just plain relaxing. Many couples and single parents go into robotic mode when life becomes monotonous. You both have to sit down, talk and make dates with each other even if the kids are in bed for the night and you two share a romantic dinner or movie with popcorn. Marriage does take work. Sometimes you have to downsize your life a bit, carve out the excess so you can keep some level of sanity. Love ya!

Life, Uncharted. said...

PS: Amias gave some really great advice. Seriously heed her words. I cart the kids to my mom's or grandparents even if it's for a few hours just to have some ME time :)

Radka said...

Beautiful blog. Have a nice day Radka.

Wendy said...

i dont know yhe answer to that either! i am still wodering how in the world i got pregnant again....or how are we still even married,,, wish i could be more help!

Trudy said...

I'm with Jillien on this one...my husband and I are very much like this but we both need that solitude time as well. We don't have the little one with us yet (another 6 months of peace, LOL)...so it is just the two of us. I suppose we should start taking advantage of the quiet times for us.

God bless!

Herb of Grace said...

It's a toughy. We try to put our kids down to bed early and spend some time together before we crash :)

cypress sun said...

I find that it's a strange cycle...getting in the habit of taking alone time over intimacy. I begin to feel that DH is demanding time/energy from me when he is simply wanting to sit next to me. But...I'm "touched out" & resentful. When I come around to realizing/missing the guy, and finding my way back to him...surprise(!) I'm happier! Usually it comes down to me saying NO to something/someone else.

Banteringblonde said...

I think we go through natural cycles of need for space ... getting them to coincide with other's needs aren't always easy but this isn't unusual. We try to make a point of having a date night a few times a month and it is always nice to step away from "real life" for a bit!

Judith Ellis said...

Kelly - I would be so very happy to pay for you and your husband to get away to a bed and breakfast for the weekend. The pleasure will be mine. What a nice way to "repay" you for your kindness in reading my first rough draft. Let me know. It would be my pleasure. With peace and love.

G said...

A thoughtful post.

We really haven't been able to find the down time as of late, and it probably won't happen until we get out of our current situation, then maybe we can find some quality time together. Until then, we're just two ships passing through the night.

Beth Kephart said...

Oh, this one really pulled at my heartstrings. I do find that it is so necessary to find that time, those moments, to be with the best of each other. But I completely understand how hard that is.

May the pressures cease. My the gift of sweet together calm be yours.

Becca said...

We hardly ever have alone time. On most nights, Dustin doesn't get home until 9:30 or so from work and until recently he was working 7days a week {He would lay tile with his stepdad on his days off}. By that time I clean a little from the mess which is Autumn and hit the sheets. Thankfully he is no longer working on his days off which makes a huge difference. There are still times when he falls asleep on the couch though and you can find me sneaking off to hop on the computer!

christy rose said...

Kelly,
I used to homeschool so I had all of my children home all of the time. There was no break for mommy at all! So, I would find myself staying up very late into the night several hours after everyone went to bed, including my husband. I had to have time to myself and not hear any noise or anyone talking to me needing something. It was absolutely necessary for me. It did make my husband feel a little rejected and left out. But I could not have been a good mommy or wife in the times when we were all together if I did not get that "me time" break. So, Aaron and I decided to make some time in the afternoons for us to go to lunch together a couple of times a week. The kids were big enough to stay home for a short time by themselves. That helped a lot. After that, I felt like I did not need as long of wind down time at the end of the day, maybe only two hours instead of three. :)
Anyways, a couple of years later, I put the kids all in school and life changed hugely for me and Aaron. I had all kinds of "me time" in the day and my life became more regular in routine. Aaron would take the kids to school, then he would come home and sit with me and have coffee for awhile before he went off to work. He still came home and got me for lunch once in awhile and then, evening bedtimes became the same for everyone, including me.
As different times of our life come into play, recognizing that some adjustments need to be made and being willing to make them, is the key. There is time in the day for most everything, we just have to find it. My advice would be to be careful not to overuse your time in the day doing too many things that you do not have time for just "you" and maybe God. :) Because if you do not keep yourself refueled, you run out of gas for the things that might be most important.
Christy

Lynn said...

Alone time is great for us to retain who we once were BEFORE the chaos that is our day to day life took over. But just as important is the time with your man. You don't want to be one of those couples who go out to dinner and have nothing in common to talk about except the kids right? I read one current event for the day and we discuss it either over dinner or after the kids are in bed and it really keeps us in tune with each other. We also have the task of choosing one song a day to add to our dance playlist on YouTube and then that's what we dance to in the morning to wake up the whole family before everyone scatters off to...wherever mom has to drive them... ;oP

My best, Lynn

Teresha@Marlie and Me said...

I can relate! Our baby is 3 months old and we were just saying the other day that we have to make an effort to spend quality time with each other before we get stuck in the cycle of 'we're too tired.' Part of me doesn't want to schedule "it" like it's a chore. But the other part of me feels like that is the only way to make sure "it" happens. I hope you find that balance!

SwedishJenn said...

Wow. I realize I'm a little late here but finally figured out how to add you to my reading list so I can see when your blog gets updated :-). Just one thing to say: Your alone time is just as important as your together time :-).

Caitlin said...

Oh, how I feel this way. I love the evenings when Brian goes to bed early and I can just be alone in the quiet house with myself. IT is hard when we are giving all day to not have that recharging time. Sometimes I just want to yell Don't touch me! I've had someone touching me (well, CLINGING to my leg) all day!

What has helped us is to have a rule. When I'm not pregnant, it is the "Every other night" rule. AS in, every other night, we have to..well..you know. (Remember that my husband is 24 though, so maybe you could get away with the every 3rd or 4th night rule?)
It doesn't sound very romantic, but it is nice to know what is going to be expected that night, so I can make sure and prepare myself mentally so that I can continue to give later. Does that make sense? Too many times I would be crawling into bed just wanting to go to sleep and I would feel like Brian was lying in wait for me or something...

It is hard to find a balance- a constant changing struggle.

Jenners said...

You could be describing my husband and me. Honestly, we have to almost "force" ourselves to spend time together just talking. He kind of does his stuff and I do mine and too often, I would just rather read and than hang out with him. I think this is normal when you are so busy and stressed .. but it is important to occasionally make some time so you don't lose the connection -- even if it is just for 10 minutes one evening and you just check in with each other.

But I relate to you 100%!