I like being alone but my wife doesn’t: Which of us is a freak?

There’s always a reason for why someone does something. Your challenge is to figure out why. That’s true of a business meeting just as it is of a married couple. Figure out why and you get a better understanding of the other person’s perspective and can find a better common solution.

Case in point:

Early in our marriage, my wife and I fell into a pattern that frequently sparked an argument. On a typical weekday evening, I’d grow bored of TV we were watching together or maybe we’d be reading separately on the couch and I’d get up, go to the other room to do something on the computer. Invariably, within the next 30 minutes, she’d come in and ask, “Why did you leave me alone out there?”

That tended to lead to the same bickering. Did I really have to sit next to her when I’d rather be doing something in another room of the same dwelling? Was I saying something about our relationship seeing as I’d rather do something by myself instead of engage her in something different? Why did she need me sitting there? Why did I feel the need to find seclusion?

After having this same sequence of events a dozen or so times, it finally dawned on us why we kept having this conflict and it was born out of two very simple facts:

I am an only child.

My wife is one of 11 children.

If you come from a big family, the amount of time you spent in a room by yourself was probably minuscule. As much as you might long for some time and space all to yourself, it’s not beyond the realm of rational thinking that you grow kind of used to always having someone around and feel a little uncomfortable in a room by yourself. Conversely, I spent a huge amount of time by myself as a kid without siblings around and like being able to immerse myself in something without thinking about any one else.

Once we both understood the rationale behind the other’s perspective, we were able to come up with a compromise. Every once in awhile, yeah, I’d go off on my own. I tried to limit it, though, and brought the laptop on the couch next to her more times than not so I’d physically be there and she has another warm body near by. Other times, I’ll admit I’m bored and we’ll do something else together.

Now, I can’t think of anything more important in my life that doesn’t stem from my marriage so I had incentive to try extra hard to understand why my wife hated being by herself so much. While that incentive won’t be as strong with business colleagues the same rules apply. The next time someone says something you think is monumentally stupid or takes a position on something that seems opposite what you think it should be, challenge yourself to find out why they think that way. You will probably find they have a very good reason and uncovering it can lead to an alternate solution.


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4 Responses to “I like being alone but my wife doesn’t: Which of us is a freak?”

  1. loner Says:

    you gave me a very good reason.I am the only child too, and I prefer to be alone too.I enjoy it very much in fact.But others dont’ understand,they thought I am suffering.But some of those who hate being alone are not only child neither.And those who loves being alone like I do are not neccessarily persons with siblings. So what’s the real reaon for some pleople prefer to be along remains uncertain. I think human beings have this instinct to always avoid harmness and always try to gain benefits from the situations he/she is under.So I guess people prefer to be alone believe that he/she can’t get anything beneficial from being together with others so they choose to be alone.They reason for them to have this kind of belief is the experience they had during growing up.

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  3. Daniel Says:

    Very well said. A sympathetic reference point can go a long way. And so can realizing that everyone is usually trying to get to the same point in the end, which would be the optimal solution.

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