It takes a lot to raise a baby as one article published by Psychology Today elaborates. That’s not to say you shouldn’t give it a go! All we’re saying here is that before having kids, it helps to be certain that you’re adequately grounded and stable!
Have you ever come across a couple where one partner was completely obnoxious and the other, though not half as bad, is usually in support of what the not so great partner might be doing? If you have, what you witnessed is one partner enabling another.
Back in the day the Bee Gees did a number titled; Alone, with the chorus ending in Barry Gibb chiming “I don’t wanna be alone”. Axel rose and the Band Guns ‘n’ Roses on the other hand figured “some time on your own” was something “everybody needs”, saying as much in the hit ballad ‘November Rain’!
Though these are just popular culture references let’s face it; the idea of loneliness is something that has triggered a plethora of human responses. There are those that despise being alone and others that cherish it. Time alone is used as a means to obtain wisdom (meditation and seclusion) but is also used as a means of punishment (solitary confinement).
The question is, in the absence of some kind of externally forced compulsion, is spending time alone a good thing?
What Makes Spending Time Alone a Good Thing?
Being alone without feeling sad or lonely is what you call solitude. Solitude is associated with a number of psychological and spiritual benefits. Since our area of expertise is human psychology and development, we’re going to elaborate on why solitude and being alone is beneficial.
Enjoying Your Own Company
Codependency is a state when an individual is unable to exist without the emotional support and validation of another. We rely on others to feel good, we rely on others to have fun and at times, when others are unavailable, we find it hard to hold ourselves.
Spending time alone helps make those who are codependent a lot less so. It teaches us to enjoy our own company and connect with our own completeness and adequateness. This way, even when engaging with others, we can interact in a healthy manner while holding our own!
Time alone allows us to reflect on ourselves. Self-reflection is of paramount importance for us to evolve, improve ourselves and develop as individuals. This is so both intellectually and emotionally. Spending time along gives us the time and space to really go deep within and get a sense of what we’re about and where we can make changes.
Emotional Distress Tolerance
One of the reasons why many hate being alone is that when alone, we’re pretty much left to contend with our demons. We might feel depressed, anxious, scared or go through other forms of emotional distress.
Spending time alone and sitting with whatever comes up whether pleasant or not makes us more emotionally robust. Our emotional distress tolerance becomes higher making us more grounded and less reactive. The way this translates to day to day benefit is that when challenging situations do occur in life, they do not throw us off balance as they might have otherwise.
As therapists working in Palo Alto, we have come across numerous individuals of different ages when working. Having provided therapy to couples as well as individuals struggling with psycho-emotional situations including depression, anxiety and sexual incompatibility, one thing that we see has often helped is spending some time alone.
We’re not saying that you should head up to the Himalayas and isolate yourself. All we’re saying here is at times, say when you’re too broke to go out on Saturday or when your partner has to leave town for a meeting, don’t look at the time alone as a bad thing! Cherish it! Use it to grow!
Oftentimes, relationships require one partner to make certain changes in order to facilitate the growth of the other. One of the biggest such situations is shifting home to facilitate a partner’s profession. The Atlantic published an interesting article online about how numerous couples have backed each other up in situations where one’s professional development required support from the other.
Suffice to say, shifting or moving for a partner’s career is something that can be navigated. You just need to know how!
Readjusting when you have Shifted Home for a Partner’s Career
The most important thing about making such a big change for a partner is you! The better you adjust, the easier it will be for you to provide your partner with the backing and support they need to thrive.
Here are a few things you need to do in order to get your feet on the ground.
Find Something to Occupy You
Your partner has moved in order to further their career which means that there will likely be enough keeping them occupied. You’re going to need to know what you’re going to be doing when your partner is busy at work. Do you have some kind of online business you can simply continue with? Do you have kids or a home you want to focus on looking after? Do you need to get out and look for employment?
Moving to an unfamiliar place and having little to do can be a bad combination so the first thing you want to do is find something to occupy yourself.
Another thing that is extremely helpful is getting to know your new environment. Feeling of unfamiliarity are no help and the more comfortable you are with the place you have moved to the better.
Look around your neighborhood, find out where people go to shop, to eat, to sight see and to socialize. Make friends with your neighbors and see if you can find a little niche for yourself spatially and socially. It really helps to have your own connection to the place you have moved.
Join a Gym/Class
Human interaction is important and if you’re not getting enough, you’re bound to have trouble adjusting. Another thing that is important is exercise! Join a gym, a yoga group or a kick boxing class! Not only will you pump the endorphins your need to feel good, the same will offer you the chance to partake in healthy social interactions.
This way, you will have both activities and people to look forward to even on the days that your partner may be busy.
Ask Your Partner for Time
It is important to be vocal and communicative with your partner if you feel things are getting to you. Though it is also important to understand that they too are stressed, asking them to spend time where the two of you talk and connect is important.
Don’t shy away from this. Ask nicely and chances are they will come through!
Sometimes readjustment can be touch. You might move to a place only to realize that you feel stuck, suffocated or even overwhelmed. You might have trouble readjusting, getting to know people or simply finding your feet.
In some instances, your relationship too might buckle under the strain if there is resentment. In any case, it really helps to seek therapy during the process of readjustment. A therapist can help you process the change and find ways to navigate your readjustment in the healthiest possible manner.
A therapist can also offer the needed emotional support on your bad days which is why having a professional in your corner is never a bad idea,especially during a period of change!
Any change can be hard to navigate and making a move to support a partner’s work or career is a big one! Still, if you take care of yourself, everything will be alright!
Feel free to connect with us if you’ve recently moved to Palo Alto and are looking for a therapist who specializes in couple therapy, marriage counselling, anxiety and depression among other things. In any case, look after yourself!