Can This Marriage Be Saved? / by Dana Bergstrom

Working with Pauly, my talented and talkative husband of 23 years, all day every day is what life is all about right now. Our current job is to remodel Fixer Upper #5, and as a result, we rarely get a break from one another. Even though we've been renovating houses since 1995, he and I have always had a sense of spaciousness in our relationship because we've also had other jobs. The intense togetherness that's happening now is new and I am finding it BEYOND CHALLENGING.

Pauly and I also just got back from a long roadtrip, visiting both of our families, where we spent 45 hours in a Mini Cooper over an eight day period. I'm crazy about my tiny car and I'm nuts about my husband but, OMG, that's some extremely close closeness. Nearly every time I reached in the back seat for a snack, I'd inadvertently hit Paulycakes in the head. Constantly clocking the driver is not safe, nor funny (to him!) and it's a pretty good indicator of how little space we had.

As an introvert (one who gets energy by being alone) I've recently begun to feel so desperate for peace and quiet that I've even considered getting a job. (Insert princess gasp here.) But then I realized that finding other work wouldn't help at all because people would probably still need to TALK at me. ARRRRGH!

I clearly don't know how to effectively use language to tell Mr. Extreme Extrovert Pauly that I need time by myself. I've attempted to explain, on many occasions, how I'm naturally wired for alone time, preferably in our little house in the woods which we designed and remodeled to feel like a calming nature retreat, but he truly does not understand this part of me.

This means that as each day passes without a good chunk of solitude, I become increasingly agitated and I get louder and louder and LOUDER! I've screamed "LEAVE ME ALONE!" at the top of my lungs more times in the last two months than I ever have in my entire life. I feel so agitated that I'm actually beginning to grow fangs. And somehow Pauly still wants to be with me and my freakishly razor-sharp teeth every damn day!

I will accept some responsibility for this ( 'cause my ego/inner bully still blames Pauly), but I've never been able to summon the wherewithal to turn my sweetheart away for very long. I just find him too stinkin' adorable. I guess I could look on the bright side and be happy that he still enjoys being together after 23 years. But I kinda feel like I have tooooo much of a good thing.

It seems like it might be time to go back to our marriage counselor for some helpful advice, right? Right.

Well, here's the dealio. Pauly's been going to a weekly QiGong (energy work) group with our marriage counselor and I'm pretty sure those two dudes are now in cahoots. I mean, heck, I love that I get a couple of hours alone in our house once a week, but I think he and our therapist have become buds! Two highly balanced, harmonized energy loving males against one toothy, bulgy eyed, out of wack, cranky female in a therapy session? That ain't gonna work!

Oh dear. It appears that this post has turned into a cry for help. Let's see if I can quickly pivot it into something constructive.

In reading this, maybe you've discovered how some introverts allow themselves to become extra moody and unreasonably paranoid when they don't get their much needed solitude. That's helpful, right? Or wait. Perhaps I could discover some new information as well.

I'd love to hear about jobs where nobody would bug, pester or talk to me at all. Do such positions exist? Or maybe someone would love to take my adorable husband on a month long winter camping trip before I forget my manners and chew both of his arms clean off. Those are the only two options my inner bully can think of.

In the meantime, I'm going to get my fangs filed and hope that I don't do or say anything extra stupid until I can gently help my sweetheart to understand the unique needs of this solitude lovin' homebody.