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.