Why Sharing a Home is Hard for Introverts

When I saw Why Is It So Hard for Introverts to Share a Home on IntrovertDear, well, just say, it really struck a chord. As regular readers know, I’ve been struggling with this, like many, since Covid because now hubby and I are both working at home instead of just me. And let me say upfront that he is the only person I can stand spending this much time with. Over 26 years now. Longer than any roommate (really didn’t enjoy roommates), longer than my family of origin, longer than my first husband. We are so compatible.

When we first got together, we often stayed in because we didn’t want the wait staff to interrupt the flow of our great conversations. Our 1-week honeymoon in Maui wasn’t enough time together, so we booked a Caribbean cruise 7 months later. And traveled extensively since. Often shorter trips because you can do more of them. Stretch those vacation days with weekends.

We ended up moving cross country several times and one of the things I enjoyed the most was the cross country drive because we got to spend so much time together. Each move was such an adventure!

But having said that, I’ve been struggling since he started working at home full-time during Covid. He’s now got ongoing full-time remote status. I knew retirement was coming one day and I worried how I would handle that. But we’ve had to face this nonstop togetherness before retirement. At least in retirement, he could always go off and walk on the beach, but, then, I’d want to go, too – lol!

The thing is, I didn’t really like being at home alone all day when he worked onsite. It would have been great if he could have come home in the early afternoon after I’d had my alone time. Feast or famine, I guess.

We’re making a conscious effort to do some things differently. He goes off to his home office as if it’s onsite. I try my best not to pop in, but I still do that, so that’s on me.

I’ve been taking my solo walks by just gathering my things and walking out the door. No big announcements, no stopping in his office first – lol! We’ve streamlined our lunches – sometimes together, sometimes apart. I often get up at first light and sit out on the screened Lanai overlooking wide open spaces, sipping my coffee – totally glorious!

I’ve yet to do an artist date (was supposed to go today but didn’t or haven’t… yet). I don’t really want to drive off. I love my studio too much. Will have to work on this. Plus, we need to set aside some alone time on the weekend, which can easily get overlooked.

All in all, it’s been a pretty good week. I haven’t enjoyed my studio as much as I’d like because I was busy rearranging furniture and getting some things set up. I’m looking forward to working on my projects in my studio next week. So much to catch up on.

Until then…

 

Introvert vs Extrovert, East vs West

As an Artist, an introvert, there are 3 things Julia Cameron says are musts:

  1. Morning pages
  2. Walks (alone)
  3. Artist dates (alone)

So not only are we now both working at home together, but we’ve been walking together, too. So lovely to walk and chat together. That’s a nice thing about having him at home. I do so enjoy his companionship.

Monday was not a work day, but we went out for a walk together and crossed paths with one of the neighbors he’s chatted with before. She and her dog were in front of our house just as we were crossing the street to go home. Naturally, we had to greet her and chat. Or, at least, he did. And then there were introductions to be had, because I hadn’t formally met her before.

She said, “Oh, you like to walk?” as if that was an odd thing to do. As if walking was something you did for your dog.

A wave would have been enough for me. We could have kept walking on our side of the street and turned around to cross over to our house later. There was no rush to go home.

Then there’s that other neighbor, the one I call Nancy, although her name is not Nancy. Everybody knows Nancy. As soon as somebody moves in, boom, she pounces on them. She must watch from her front window.

“What’s your name? What’s your last name? Where are you from? What are you going to do with your backyard?” Everybody’s trying to avoid Nancy – lol!

So now, not only do I have to be strategic inside the house, but I need to plot and plan my steps outside the house. Not what an introvert wants to do. It doesn’t work well with the whole automatic thing to avoid decision fatigue.

Walking alone should help. Nobody really approaches me when I’m walking alone. If I cross paths with someone, we smile, say, “Good morning” and keep moving. That’s my style. That’s energizing.

The challenge for my husband is that he needs interaction and that’s probably been difficult for him working at home. Not having those work encounters. I love how friendly he is. That people like him. So personable. His great sense of humor. Dry wit. How he comes alive joking around with people. That’s what drew me to him when we met at work in Silicon Valley.

That’s why we gave him the front bedroom for his office. He can see what’s going on outside, he can pop out and chat with someone when they’re outside. In fact, he’s gotten to know several neighbors, all bonding together in a brand new community, exchanging builder stories and what’s going on with their house. They all seem to be from up north (as is he), as is so often the case in Florida. They bond over that, too. They’re chatty people. That’s what they do out here.

The West is more independent. Even if you do chat briefly with a neighbor, there’s no fear that it’s going to become a problem. There’s no feeling of claustrophobia. There’s no need for strategy. You know you’ll part and carry on with your independent life.

Nobody asks if you like to walk. Of course, we like to walk. That’s what we do there. Nobody asks what your plans are for your backyard. Nobody even asks your name or certainly not your last name or where you’re from. That may sound cold, but that’s what I’m used to. That’s what works for an introvert.

This house gives us all the space we need, but now I feel claustrophobic outside the house and when I come inside, I feel claustrophobic inside the house. As if all of that togetherness outside has barged its way inside, too.

There’s always the nocturnal life, popular with introverts. So here I am, up at 4 am, writing this blog post. I usually wait until first light to get up. But if I get up now, do a few things, starting with morning pages, I can sneak out and go for a walk once the sun comes up.

So that takes care of morning pages and solo walks. I haven’t mentioned solo artist dates, though. That’s because I haven’t been doing them. My excuse is that I don’t really know my way around here–we’re still exploring together. But he’s encouraging me to get started with my artist dates. He thinks they will really help me feel like I do know my way around here.

I’ll let you know how it’s all working for me.