How Introverts Can Advocate for Themselves in Their Marriage

A married introvert smiles at her partner

Even if your spouse is the person you feel the most “alone” with, you still need to have time just for yourself.

“Until death do you part” is a long time to be with someone, not to mention, share your space with someone. Even when you find the one, the prospect of literally sharing your life with another person can be daunting to even the most “extroverted” of introverts

When I first started living with my partner, he wanted to do everything together. Since this was my first real relationship, and first time living with a significant other, I was used to being on my own and doing things my way. I had the route I liked to take around the grocery store — and I wasn’t ready to modify it for someone who wanted to tag along. 

Needless to say, it was a real shock to the system that now everything I did involved a conversation and a compromise. But guess what? It’s now four years later and we’re happily married… and we’re just that — happily married. 

We’ve figured out how to advocate for our needs as married introverts and create a balance between me time and us time. Here are seven things we’ve done to meet our needs as married introverts.

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7 Ways to Advocate for Your Needs as a Married Introvert

1. Alone time doesn’t mean you don’t love your spouse.

When I first told my partner that I was feeling a bit suffocated by his desire to do everything together, I learned something interesting about his belief system. He’s an introvert, like me, but somewhere along the line of past relationships, he picked up the belief that it’s rude or wrong to take his attention away from his partner. 

We needed to dismantle this belief together, and it took work and plenty of words of affirmation to assure him that I was totally fine with him playing video games for hours on the weekend instead of staring into my eyes. 

See, as introverts, we need recharge time. If you’ve ever had an introvert hangover, you know the toll too much socializing can take on your mind and body. Even if your partner is the person you feel the most “alone” with, you still need to take time just for you. 

2. Consider separate bedrooms. 

Having my own space is non-negotiable. Living in a traditional dorm with a roommate for two years made that clear to me. I knew that if I ever got married, I would need my own bedroom.

When my partner and I were ready to move in together, I told him I needed a two-bedroom apartment and that I wanted us to have separate rooms and sleep apart from one another. My parents slept in separate rooms for most of my life due to needing different things to get a good night’s sleep, so I didn’t have any preconceived notions about how married couples “should” (or “should not”) sleep. 

It took a lot of convincing, but my partner decided to try it. A few months in, he came to love it. By having separate rooms you get to:

  • Recharge your body in your own energy
  • Spread out as much as you want
  • Have as little (or as much) noise as you want
  • Adjust the temperature the way you like
  • Unwind from a long day on your own before falling asleep

That’s not to say we wouldn’t have “sleepovers” or share a bed on vacations. We did. But for the most part, we slept separately. By allowing ourselves this time apart, we were able to be our best selves during our time together. To this day, we both say this is what allowed us to live together so well for the first three years prior to marriage. 

3. Create a designated “escape space.”

Of course, not everyone can accommodate a living situation with separate bedrooms, but you can still advocate for your need for space. My spouse and I recently bought a house with one bedroom. We knew going into the purchase that we’d begin sharing a bed every night for the first time in our relationship. 

To account for this change, we designated the loft space in our bungalow as somewhere to escape to when we needed time to ourselves. For my husband, he heads up there to unwind before bed while I turn in early. I use the space most often on weekends when I want a quiet area to read in the afternoon. 

Having a designated space for alone time allows us to create respectful distance and meet our needs as introverts. You can create your own introvert sanctuary or “zen zone” — just make sure you have some place to “escape” to when you need it.

4. If you share a bed, stagger your sleeping times.

Okay, so let’s say you can’t have separate bedrooms and you don’t have a room you can designate as a calm space to decompress. In that case, you can easily create pockets of alone time by staggering sleep schedules. They say that every relationship has an early bird and a night owl. If that’s how your relationship is, use it to your advantage. 

My spouse is a big-time night owl, so while he’s enjoying some alone time at night, I get the bedroom all to myself as I drift off to sleep. In the morning, I slip out of the room and relish the quiet while I drink my coffee and read a book. If you look for it, there are many places you can mindfully create these pockets of peace for yourself. 

Do you ever struggle to know what to say?

As an introvert, you actually have the ability to be an amazing conversationalist — even if you’re quiet and hate small talk. To learn how, we recommend this online course from our partner Michaela Chung. Click here to check out the Introvert Conversation Genius course.

5. Set after-work boundaries.

Setting after-work boundaries is a big part of voicing your need for alone time. My husband and I both need to take time to come down from our workdays and return to ourselves, so we make a point to give each other space after work. This is especially important if you work a very social job. 

Personally, I love putting on a podcast and getting lost in the flow of creating new recipes in the kitchen after a long day of work. (My spouse feels that cooking together is pure romance.)

Eventually, I needed to accept that missing out on this crucial unwind time for myself was cutting into my joy and making me a cranky spouse. Now he understands that this time alone in the kitchen is an after-work boundary, and he respects it. 

6. Welcome your partner into the “backstage” part of your life.

Often, the exhaustion that we feel as introverts comes from “performing” an extroverted version of ourselves. After living outwardly in the world, we need to return inward. One of the easiest ways to advocate for your needs is to welcome your partner into your backstage — stop “performing” for them.

Understand that you already won them over. So if wearing ratty sweats and eating an entire box of mac and cheese while binging Love Is Blind brings you back from the brink of an introvert hangover (100% speaking from experience here), be that person. It’s okay to let your spouse see the “messier,” more human parts of you.

Nothing is going to exhaust you more than continuing to perform your outside self within your own home. Get candid, get real, and pull back the curtain on your backstage. 

7. Get okay with voicing your needs in your marriage.

Remember, needing time to yourself doesn’t mean you don’t love your partner. Even the most compatible matches need some me time now and then. When you feel that social battery on empty, get okay with saying so, and allow your partner to say no, too. 

When it gets down to it, respecting each other’s need to recharge as introverts is one of the simplest ways to say, “I love you.” 

My fellow introverts, what tips would you add to the list? I’d love to hear in the comments below!

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