My bubble

I wonder sometimes if I will ever be able to live with anyone again.

I have lived with people before of course. In my early post-parental-home life, it was flatmates. I moved in with my first partner when I was about 24. Since then, I’ve preferred to live alone rather than share a home with anyone I wasn’t sleeping with. Barring extraordinary circumstances, I will never again live with anyone who isn’t my partner.

My introversion manifests in part as a pretty extreme need for personal space. When someone is in my home, they don’t even have to be interacting with me for me to feel them *in my space* in a way that makes me feel stressed by their simple and innocuous presence. Having someone in my home, my sanctuary, makes me feel like there is a kind of disruptive noise going on in my head ALL THE TIME, relentlessly.

When I am in a relationship with someone, one of the things that magically happens is that they become like a part of me. They are no longer ‘other’: They no longer take up my space or drain my energy, and they no longer make any white-noise in my head. I don’t know how it works exactly, but they *give* me energy rather than sucking the life right out of me. I imagine this is what extroverts feel like in general with most people.

When I split up with the last man I lived with, I knew it was really over when he became an ‘other’ in my (our) house. He slowly slipped out of the personal bubble that he had been in with me until he was clearly standing outside of it, and I was again alone inside it. I became more and more aware of him as separate from me, found his mere presence increasingly stressful, started to feel relieved when he wasn’t in the house… Ugh. Sad and difficult.

I actually wonder if the edges of the bubble are getting tougher, harder, less penetrable as I get older. That thought makes me smile a little… not because of the idea that it will be more difficult for someone to get in, but because once someone does manage to find their way inside, well, it’s going to be very difficult for them to get out. That conjures up all sorts of amusing images.

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16 Comments

  1. “When someone is in my home, they don’t even have to be interacting with me for me to feel them *in my space* in a way that makes me feel stressed by their simple and innocuous presence.”

    So crashing on your couch is out of the question is what you are telling me then huh? *laughs* I can understand how having someone in your space stresses you out so bad it drains you completely. Ironically enough, I was actually sitting here thinking that if I find a partner I may not be able to live with them. On top of living with them is when things seem to go wrong also the invasion of my space I believe puts a strain on the relationship. Who knows. I know I am also just extremely difficult to live with anyway.

    Respectfully,
    Mysticlez

    1. *laugh* Crashing on my couch is truly a last resort!

      “On top of living with them is when things seem to go wrong also the invasion of my space I believe puts a strain on the relationship.”

      I think in the past, I have gone into it easily, and I’ve never regretted it. I just think that I get less and less willing to compromise, and that makes it much more difficult.

      And I do agree that living together can be a strain on the relationship, though most people are informally living together before they take that step (ie most are spending 4 or 5 nights a week at the other person’s place already).

      Ferns

  2. My reaction is simultaneously ‘I admire confidence’ and ‘she should be in therapy.’ (…based on other posts in addition to this one)

    Without the benefit of reading this blog—an eloquent window into you psyche—how does a guy who is potential relationship material handle an attractive woman who is also a cypher?

    P.S. Ever done the therapy thing or do you rely on your impressive powers of introspection?

    1. “My reaction is simultaneously ‘I admire confidence’ and ‘she should be in therapy.’ (…based on other posts in addition to this one)”

      *laugh* I have never been in therapy. Funnily, Australians really don’t go to therapy much. I am not sure if it’s because we are super delusional (“Pffftt, I don’t have any problems”) or if all the fresh air and outdoor living means we really don’t have so many problems…

      “how does a guy who is potential relationship material handle an attractive woman who is also a cypher?”

      He doesn’t ‘handle’ her, he gets to know her, he listens, he pays attention, he figures her out, and then… voila! Things become clear!

      You’re welcome (from me and my therapist!).

      Ferns

  3. I can’t ever live with someone who I am not sleeping with either, outside of my own children. I need to not compromise as much as I would with a roommate. And I also have a space issue.
    I like your reasoning for smiling at the thought, it is more positive than I anticipated it being. I thought you were excited to live alone.

    1. *smile* I like living alone. I am a hermit-type, and vaguely think that the longer I do that, the more difficult it will be to live with someone again.

      No danger of having to test that theory in the near future though…

      Ferns

  4. This makes me want to hug my computer monitor. I’ve always felt exactly the same way. You’ve described this perfectly. I typically laugh it off as “claiming territory” in a not serious/totally serious way. Do you think this is a Domme specific trait, or just an introvert trait? Or a specifically Dominant Introvert trait?

    (I also tend to “claim a mate” rather than have boyfriends. I suppose I should have seen this Domme thing sooner. Sorry to babble, I’m still new to this scene and excited to find things in common).

    1. “This makes me want to hug my computer monitor.”

      *laugh* Techno virtual hugs!! I’m glad you could relate.

      “I typically laugh it off as “claiming territory” in a not serious/totally serious way.”

      Ha! I can laugh it off to a point, but in my experience, unless I explain it ‘for real and seriously’ at some point, people get hurt, and understandably so. If someone keeps inviting me to things and I keep saying ‘no’, they are (obviously) going to start thinking that I just don’t like them.

      “Do you think this is a Domme specific trait, or just an introvert trait?”

      I think it’s very much an introvert trait. I actually think the don’t-know-any-better *expectation* is normally that dominant types are extroverted.

      You weren’t babbling at all, thank you for commenting :)!

      Ferns

  5. “I wonder sometimes if I will ever be able to live with anyone again.”

    I can *so* identify with this! It’s been three years since I’ve lived with anyone, and I’ve really become accustomed to being by myself. After my ex and I split up, I thought that I would get lonely, but as it turns out, just being here, in my own place is quite liberating. After being out in the world all day, I enjoy coming home to a quiet space that is mine alone and where I can recharge myself quietly.

    I have not thought far enough ahead to think about how that would effect any future relationships that I might have, and as there are none on the horizon, I am not going to worry about it.

    “Barring extraordinary circumstances, I will never again live with anyone who isn’t my partner.”

    Of course, I now have to deal with my own set of ” extraordinary circumstances” instead. Now that my ex will have to stay with me for a while, I will have to re-learn the intricacies of living with an additional person in the environment. Although, she is coming back as a roommate as opposed to a partner, so the dynamic will be different this time.

    We have already discussed out mutual need for LOTS of alone time, so I expect that with a bit of effort, we’ll be able to live in the same place without crossing those boundaries. I’d like to think that I’m fairly accommodating, and easy to live with, so as long as we can keep out of each others’ way, it should go OK

    1. I know you are moving this week. Eep!

      I hope the place is big enough to get comfortably out of each others hair when you need to.

      Fingers crossed it all goes well!

      Ferns

  6. I think a lot of people have similar feelings to varying degrees; perhaps the size of the challenge we face is about how far along the scale each introvert sits.

    Perhaps partly because I grew up in a small house with a large family, and maybe because I’m just wired that way, I very much value and enjoy ‘alone’ time.
    People can exhaust and irritate me very easily, although when physically fresh and in the mood I do love company, and most work colleagues consider me a bit of a ‘life and soul of the party’ type.

    But I don’t think in terms of visual metaphors like bubbles, although I know I can only stand being around groups for a given number of hours, and then I have to leave, even if for a while.

    I used to think the reason I got fed up with human company fairly easily was because so many people in society were selfish, irritating or stupid; but the truth is that most other people I know manage to deal with each others less endearing idiosyncrasies quite well, and for hours at a time.

    So it is me, really. Our genetic ancestors are highly social animals that- probably for survival reasons- didn’t get a lot of alone time and had to get along living in very close proximity, but some of us these days are just odd that way, and tend to go against our programming.

    I moved in with my gf about 6 months ago, after living mostly alone for 14 years, and at first it is a challenge to adapt.

    Fortunately my gf has similar feelings, although to a lesser degree, so she is quite happy for us to have an hour or so of alone time on many evenings, and we can occasionally sit in the same room for a while, without the need to speak every 30 seconds, and not feel odd doing that.

    So rather than find someone who can inhabit your bubble, my advice (which I’ve just remembered you never asked for!) would be to find someone who really understands your feelings, and who doesn’t take your need for space personally, and who doesn’t have a deep need themselves for 24/7 human company.
    I think for an introvert it might be important to find someone who is more inclined to be patient, kind and a little on the quiet side. Louder extroverts are fun, but if you have to actually live happily with someone, a nice mellow personality is much more easy to adapt to, and much less exhausting over time. So I’m just working on ‘mellowing out’ Mrs S at the moment!

    An ex gf of mine was very extrovert, so a few evenings a week she would just go visiting friends and family, and come back quite happy later in the evening. We found a way around the personality mismatch, and for a while it worked really well.

    It’s a shame that a lot of people have a negative idea about introversion, when actually it is just an interesting human quirk that couples can live with very happily if they think through what they need, and be prepared to adapt to each other a bit.

    (Which advice, if I’m not mistaken, is also mentioned quite a lot in chapter one of ‘being a good relationship partner 101’. Who woulda thunk it, as they say)

    1. “I moved in with my gf about 6 months ago, after living mostly alone for 14 years, and at first it is a challenge to adapt.”

      I’ll bet it was! Wow!

      “So rather than find someone who can inhabit your bubble, my advice (which I’ve just remembered you never asked for!) would be to find someone who really understands your feelings, and who doesn’t take your need for space personally, and who doesn’t have a deep need themselves for 24/7 human company.”

      *laugh* I didn’t ask, but thank you anyway.

      But they HAVE to be inside my bubble. They just do. I think your other qualities apply also, but they don’t negate my need to have someone inside. To me, that’s what intimacy looks like and feels like.

      “It’s a shame that a lot of people have a negative idea about introversion…”

      I actually think that that tide is starting to turn. I know some people find things like the MBTI test dumb, and think the introvert-extrovert thing is just another way to label people, but I’ve noticed an understanding of introverts in the last few years that wasn’t there before. Having the conversations makes it easier.

      Before, it was always easier for me to say I was ‘anti-social’ or even ‘shy’ because people could understand that whereas they’d never heard of an ‘introvert’. Mind you, when I mislabelled it, people would want to ‘help me get over it’ which was irritating as fuck.

      So yeah, I think having conversations about it is starting to change things.

      Ferns

  7. You do such a good job of capturing how it feels to be an introvert! It resonates so well with me, but I could never put it in words like you do.

    I do not think that you are less likely to be happy living with someone as you get older, but I do think it is a very human thing to feel that way.

    I think we tend to feel that way because we humans have a built in tendency to see our current state much more clearly, and to discount alternative states that could happen in the future.

    But given a new person in or life, then we shift our thinking, and then feel like we could never….

    My philosophy is that no one is perfect. From that, I reach the additional point of view that no two (or more) people are perfect matches. But that does not mean that people cannot find a wonderful person to live with.

    Instead, it means that we need to be introspective enough to understand ourselves, so that we will know which things to compromise on and which to hold fast to. And as we go through life, this may chage for us. But if we do that well, and are patient, then the magic will happen.

    Best,

    greg

    1. “You do such a good job of capturing how it feels to be an introvert!”

      Thank you *smile*.

      I like your philosophy.

      “magic will happen”

      I *really* hope you don’t have one of those misspelled bumper stickers… :P

      Ferns

  8. Silly Ferns that’s why houses have cellars or don’t you Aussies have them in case of infestation by killer wallabies or trapdoor kangaroo toads or whatever it is you have over there ?
    Coug

    P.S. I too wanted to hug you as well

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