Loner. Lonely. Alone. The words don’t have the best connotations but recently I’ve wanted to spend more time by myself, and it’s making me uneasy.

I’ve always been a people person. I’ve never really been all that comfortable being by myself for any length of time. I normally spend my alone time sleeping, cleaning, bathing and driving – so if I’m not unconscious, cleaning or in transit I’ve always wanted company.

At the start of the year I moved into my first grown up flat (that I actually purchased) and out of my busy and somewhat manic family home. I moved back home as many young people do these days to save for the aforementioned flat. This means moving back into my old room, my single bed and the challenging teenage memories that come with the territory.

During this time I started seeing a counsellor and one the first questions she asked me was “Where do you feel safe to express yourself and “let it all out?””. To be honest the only place I could think of at the time was my car. The way I saw it was that I was alone, in transit so even if I’m yelling/ crying/laughing like a mad woman no one cares and the best part is neither did. My crappy old 2006 reg car became my sanctuary and I’m grateful for it.

But now I have my own place I don’t need to drive as much and have found myself craving the alone time I used to spend in the car…At first I found the empty flat jarring, like I was secretly invading a neighbour’s house while they were away, stealing the good biscuits from the cupboard, but over the past few months and several hours of glittery baths I’ve started to feel more at home.

I should also probably mention that I have a boyfriend, I met him at the end of last year and he’s the best. He’s become one of my closest friends and I love him. But lately I’ve been feeling guilty and worried because I don’t want to hang out with him all the time.

By honouring my own need to be alone more at sometimes than others I feel like I’ve failed in some way. That I’m not doing “being in a relationship” thing right. It’s raised all sorts of uncomfortable questions for me…

“How can I be in love if I don’t want to spend all my time with him?” / “How can there be a future of us if I need to have time out sometimes?” / “Shit, does he want kids? Am I old enough now that I have to worry about that?!” / “Holy shit what’s happening? Am I even ready for any of this!?”.

You get the picture. Anyway I feel society only portrays the dependant, co-inhabiting relationships as the successful ones, and as someone with little and pretty terrible experience to learn from I find myself on unfamiliar ground, terrified at the prospect of what’s expected of me.

Trying to figure out what I want from my loving, kind and supportive boyfriend is difficult for me as I’ve got some “big stuff” (counsellors words) to work through. But for now all I know is that I want to spend the evening alone with a cup of tea and my book.

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