One of the things that I learned recently when talking to Jonathan about time together is that he feels like he’s been having vastly less alone time these days – to the point where it’s driving him a little crazy. Getting enough alone time is definitely a big challenge for some poly people, especially when more than two of them live together. Part of hoping that Lora gets another job soon is that even when I’m having alone time with her in the apartment, it doesn’t feel quite “alone” enough (I specifically mention Lora because Jon still goes out regularly and work has picked up for him again, so he’s out at least once or twice a week when I’m home). This has far less to do with Lora personally and more to do with the fact that for me, I really want at least a little bit of alone time every month that is truly and utterly alone. There’s something about knowing that no one is going to come interrupt what you’re doing for any reason (bad or good) that feels like the mental equivalent of a big cool glass of water.
It turned out that the last few weeks Jon had gotten into a bit of a bad cycle. He would try to get up with Lora, spend the day with her until I get home, spend part of that time with both of us and then more time with just me until I go to bed around 11:30. After 11:30 he’d finally get his alone time and ended up staying up until 3 or 4am, to enjoy having his time to himself.
It wasn’t working because when Lora got up around 9 or 10, Jon would struggle to be awake that early – he really needed to sleep until noon to get enough sleep. Lora assumed he was going to bed only an hour or so after I did, so she didn’t understand why he was sleeping so late every day. I knew how late he was staying up, but I assumed he was sleeping until noon because he was up so late. Lora and I didn’t put together all the pieces until Jon finally admitted that he was trying to get his alone time under-the-radar, without taking away from any of his time with us.
So we all had a talk about how Jon’s alone time needs to be more of a priority and not something that he gets scraps of only if Lora and I are otherwise occupied. Now Jon is choosing one day a week to be his alone time day. This won’t be his only alone time, as we’re encouraging him to take some time every day to be by himself and do his own thing. But choosing a day will also give him a large solid block of alone time regularly. Also Jon admitted that he is bad at recognizing when he needs alone time (or prioritizing his alone time above time spent with me or Lora) and also will tend to put off taking it unless pushed to take it. By making it something that is put on the calendar every week, it puts a boundary in place and reenforces to all of this that it is something that he needs in order feel happy and refreshed. And a happier Jon makes for a happier Lora and a happier Liz, so we all win.