Partner has said before that it sometimes feels like there are three people in this relationship - him, me and the person I talk to in my head.
We'll be talking about something, then at some point I'll go a bit blank and stare off into the distance - but he can see the wheels of conversation still going inside me.
The problem is, I've always been alone with my thoughts (as I guess we all are). Sure I've had boyfriends, and friends - some really good friends that I can talk to about...well, most things. But friends aren't always there. And I'm the person that people say 'thinks too much'. My whole life I've kind of been my own best friend, the one person I could always talk to.
I always dreamed that there was someone else out there who I'd meet that I could talk to about everything. And now I have. But old habits die hard, and there are times when, out of habit, I don't share my thoughts. This isn't a problem, except when we're talking.
Lately I've been very stressed, mainly because of the huge move. And my natural reaction when I'm stressed is to retreat into myself. This was okay when I lived alone, but now I'm living with him it is far more obvious when I'm not really there.
Being alone is my comfort zone, and I sometimes forget that I have another comfort zone now, with him. I'll spend so much time thinking, 'I just want to be alone, so I can find some peace!' and then at some point I'll curl up with him and bury my face in his chest and feel a great sense of peace descend, and remember, 'oh that's right, I have another comfort zone here.' There are times when something is bothering me, and I automatically keep it to myself - but when I do finally tell him, I'm reminded how easy it is to tell him things.
Like this very issue. For a few weeks it seemed that I was so distant from him. I was missing my hometown so much, and I didn't want to talk about it because I didn't want him to feel bad for bringing me here. I just retreated, and then I felt bad that there seemed so much distance between us, and I didn't know how to close the gap... But when I finally opened up and started talking to him about that sense of distance, it turned out he'd noticed it and was feeling it too, and completely understood where I was coming from. The very act of talking about it has brought us back closer together.
Partner values my 'alone' time as much as I do. He believes as strongly as I do that it's not good to completely lose yourself in your relationship with another person. But when it got to the point where our intimacy was not really there because I'd mentally and emotionally gone away, then that became an issue for both of us.
It's so hard to balance. Sometimes I know he wants to be with me and talk to me when I really do just want to be alone. And that's okay with him. But when that aloneness is just a habitual reaction rather than a real need, it's a problem.
Things are better now. And he says he's glad I 'came back'. But I'm still learning how to balance my fierce independance with my desire to be intimate.