How To Tell Your Partner You Need Some F*&%ing Space
I was in the shower the other morning when I heard a tap on the glass. It was my husband, Chris. “Hey, babe! Check out this cool photo I found online!” he said, pressing his phone up against the shower door to show me a drawing of a seagull wearing high-tops and sunglasses.
On the one hand, it was a cool picture. On the other, I was shaving my armpits, which isn’t exactly something I’m into doing in front of an audience. He stuck around afterward, alternating between finding new pictures on his phone and asking me to look…while I was in the shower.
He’s also busted in while I’m bathing to show me videos, tell me that someone texted me, or just to talk about a random thought he had that apparently couldn’t wait three minutes.
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And it’s not just shower sessions that he crashes: Chris has been known to talk to me through the door while I’m trying to pee...or do other bathroom stuff. Believe me, I’ve tried to break that habit, but when I pretend I can’t hear him, he just talks louder.
Apparently, I’m not the only one with this issue. Several of my friends say they’re grappling with the same thing. “I started locking the bathroom door because, I swear, every time I needed to poop, my husband just walked on in,” says my friend Katie.
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While it’s sweet that these guys want to talk to us ASAP pretty much every time we step into the bathroom, it’s also nice to get a little privacy sometimes. What’s going on here?
Erika Martinez, Psy.D., a Miami-area licensed clinical psychologist, says it’s actually a good sign when your partner barges in on your bathroom session. “It’s because they want to feel close to you,” she says. She adds that these interruptions create a sense of connection, especially for couples who spend hours a day away from each other (like we pretty much all do). Our cultural need for immediacy is also at play here, says Martinez.
But…I still need some alone time here and there. I just have zero clue how to approach it because I don’t want to hurt Chris’s feelings.
Martinez says I definitely shouldn’t start the convo with “I love you,but…” since he’ll zero in on what comes after the “but” part and probably end up offended. Instead, she says I should say something like, “Wow—that’s really cool! Can we keep talking after I finish? I want to see more after I’m cleaned up.”
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I tried her approach, and it worked! I hadfive whole minutes to myself, and it was amazing. I showered, washed my hair, and shaved without having to talk or look at something every 30 seconds.
But…it was really quiet, almost too quiet. I missed the constant chatter and little catch-ups that I’m now used to when I’m sudsing up.
So in the future, I’m going to reserve that trick for when Ireallyneed some alone time. In the meantime, I guess I’ll just stick with the status quo. At least it’s more entertaining than soap bubbles.
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