He likes his ‘me time’

Chat with C at 1 p.m.

Dear Meredith,

I don't know where to start. My boyfriend is a really nice guy, and I'm sure I want to spend the rest of my life with him and that he reciprocates. My problem is that he wants way too much "me time." He plays games and watches TV shows for hours, and I'm kind of sick of that. Because I want him to talk to me during that time when I'm there – even though I have nothing specific I want to talk about.

I am a night person, he's not. He says he can't do nights because he starts feeling sleepy and tired. He says he can watch TV and videos at night because they don't require much energy from him, but talking to me requires thinking and effort.

After our latest conflict about this, he said he wanted to make it up to me, but I wasn't in the mood to hear it or to have him visit. Because he prioritized his "me time" too much. After we spoke, he warned me that this will get harder once he starts his new job. I don't know what to do.

– Him Time

You say you want to spend the rest of your life with this man. If that's true, know this: He's someone who needs "me time" to be happy. If you ask him to remove the alone time from his schedule, you will have an unhappy partner.

My advice is to accept that he needs this kind of space, and to figure out what that means for the future of your relationship. If he's bad at interacting for hours at night, when should you be seeing each other? Can he give you a sense of  how he'd like to share time? Is it possible to compromise?

Also, what would it be like if you lived together? (I assume you don't.) How would he feel about having his "me time" with someone else in another room nearby?

Please know that the better conversation to have with your boyfriend is the one about being present. He can watch his videos during his alone time, but when he's with you – really with you – it should feel like he's actually there. He shouldn't be in front of screens, only half engaged with whatever you're trying to say. It's a good time to put his phone away.

Maybe you'd have more empathy for "me time" if he did a better job of interacting when he's around. It seems like it's worth talking about that.

– Meredith

Readers? Do you need alone/TV time? Does your partner understand?