Is it Necessary to Let a Man Be Alone Sometimes?
Is it Necessary to Let a Man Be Alone Sometimes?
It is the holiday season as I write this article and days off are plenty. Women dream
about spending more time with their men. But often men have their own plans:
meeting with friends or family, playing paintball or pool, or simply having some
Is it beneficial for men to be with us all the time? Perhaps it’s more important to give
them a chance to spend some time alone. That is what I want to talk about in this
In my opinion, the Vedas are right when saying “Do not be afraid of separation, be
afraid of divorce”. This phrase is not only about stepping aside in the relationship or
developing your partner’s attitude; it’s also about giving each other personal space,
which is more needed by men than women.
If you read John Gray’s book Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, you
probably remember the term “man cave”: a place where he sometimes escapes
in order to restore his energy, put together his thoughts and feelings, and remind
himself of how much he loves his wife.
Such a place does not necessarily look like a cave. Oftentimes it can be a hobby
outside of home or just a place where a man enjoys being alone. Of course, here we
are not talking about brothels or casinos but about activities such as going fishing
with friends or traveling to conferences and seminars; or about places like his office
and workspace or a separate room in the house where no one is allowed to enter.
When there is a crisis in a man’s life – and crises of all sorts often enter without
warning – it is important for a man to be alone, to sort things out on his own. What
are we doing if such situation happens? Let’s be honest. We are trying to drag him
out of the comforts of his cave. We have different motives for that:
• “He feels bad! I must help him!”
• “What if he stops loving me while he’s there?”
• “His friends are bad influence on him”.
• “I must know what he is thinking about”.
And so on and so forth. Practically, we are persecuting the man. Sometimes we
are luring him out – quietly and innocently; sometimes bursting in with a scandal;
sometimes we gather and bring “community support” to the entrance of the cave so
that everybody will tell him that such behavior is unacceptable.
There are three types of persecution:
• Physical. For example, you claim,“You are not going anywhere!” or simply
follow your man around; accompany him on a fishing trip; organize a
“surprise” visit when he’s at the conference or set a makeshift kitchen at his
office. Without getting his consent.
Emotional. Talking helps us heal our negative emotions, so we think the same
treatment will work for our husbands. “Talk to me! I can see that something
is not right. What happened? Don’t be quiet!” That doesn’t calm a man down;
quite the opposite, he can get really mad.
Moral. Become such an ideal wife that he will not even think about going
somewhere without you. “How can you do that? I do everything for you, and
you … That’s not fair! That’s wrong! I made a sacrifice for you and didn’t go to
the concert. But you!..”
So why is the idea of our loved one relaxing somewhere without us in some
“weird” way is so unbearable to us? There are several reasons for that, some
of them stem from our nature, some originate from our childhood.
Intimacy is very important for a woman. This is one of our basic needs.
When we do not have intimacy, it’s hard for us. The problem is that we
decide that intimacy is possible only with a husband. We do not build
close relationships with other people. To be more precise, we do not pay
enough attention to developing female friendships. Yet it is only from our
girlfriends that we can get enough intimacy to calm our mind.
• We are different. We solve problems by talking and think that this will
work for men as well. Therefore we are trying to help them without
considering the fact that men are different.
• Often we simply don’t know what to do when he is not with us on a
weekend. What about our traditional movie night and evening walk?
“Who will I go for a walk with?”
• Staying alone is also scary, if our dad left us in our childhood. A child
does not understand that a dad left his/her mom, his wife, and not the
child. Later in life the child will repeat after mom, “Dad left us both”. And
that’s when the fear enters: he will go now, and what if there will be a flirt
similar to the one who took my dad?
• If you have a history of men leaving you or being unfaithful to you, or
a history of painful break-ups, a case of a man’s temporary estrangement
can be a problem.
• If your parents neglected you, it will be as painful to experience a
temporary distancing of your loved one, as it was when you were a child.
How can there be love when nobody cares about you?
If you do not have any hobbies or interests, which keep you occupied,
you will also feel restless, mostly because of not knowing what to do. Keep in
mind that it is interesting to be with a person if this person enjoys her own
So what will happen to a man if he is doesn’t have a chance to retreat to
this “man cave”?
He becomes passive. He lays around more, his enthusiasm at work is fading,
not only he is unwilling to do something grand, he barely can make himself
go get some water. No motivation. Why? Because for a man, the only source
of motivation is love to a woman (or to God).
He does not feel love to his wife. Man’s love has a cyclic character. To
realize how much he loves his wife, he needs to get to the point when he
starts missing her. That’s the best way to renew the feelings. For women
it’s different: we are always in contact with our feelings and that’s why
we have this stability. But a man needs to be reminded about it. Again and
again. At least once a month. To fly back home on the wings of love and
move mountains. Think about what medieval knights’ lives were like: off to
a crusade – back to his love with trophies – and a new crusade to come back
full of outpouring love.
He becomes irritable and angry. A man, who did not get a chance to be
alone, starts to become mad with everything. He can’t control himself. To pull
himself together he needs to stay alone, in his cave. Sometimes his friends
can join him in that cave, but it’s all very superficial. In truth it’s collective
loneliness. Have you ever seen real fishermen? They sit far apart from each
other and are quiet the whole day. It sounds crazy for a woman, but that’s
how men really rest.
He might find “uncivilized” ways to escape. Alcohol, drugs, video games
– all these are ways of escape for a man, but they are very destructive for
a male personality and family relationships. But if he doesn’t have another
option, he chooses those ways to avoid completely going crazy.
In short, a man who did not leave for his cave in time when he needed it
becomes not only an irritant to his household, but also destructive. He can easily
fly off the handle with his wife and children and after that will feel guilty which will
only increase the discomfort he experiences.
Short periods of staying apart give love a special taste: a taste of joy when
you reunite. You both are again ready to see only good in each other. Even if you are
apart for just a day, when your husband goes to work, you are looking forward to his
return home because you miss him.
Sometimes we need longer periods of being apart. Recently my husband
went to several weeklong trainings by himself. Got on a plane and flew away for the
whole week. I stayed with the children to take care of them and the house. I think
previously we had never been apart for that long.
It turned out I felt good about missing my husband a little. A man needs and
should have his personal time and space. We tend to forget about that when our
children are born. We need help. We become more dependent and it seems scary to
When we give birth to our children, all our own childhood traumas that we
haven’t come to terms with then reveal themselves. When we panic to lose our
partner, it is more likely that we are scared to lose our father or mother in him.
When we start demanding full care and protection, it’s as if we’re trying to
replace our parents with our spouse. It may last for a long time. It’s a birth of this
little one that starts the chain reaction in our childhood and ancestral memory.
When your child reaches the age at which you had hardships yourself – that’s when
your insecurities might crawl in and those childhood traumas reemerge.
Therefore, that urge to always be together appears – right after the birth of
children. We feel we are too vulnerable at that moment to stay alone. But we lose a
lot if we resist letting a man have his moments of solitude.
In our family it’s a practice that my husband gets his alone time, which could
probably happen more often. It took me some time to understand and accept the
importance of his alone times. But now, when he says that he is going to a café for
a couple of hours to think, I am happy. I am happy that he will come back different:
rested, joyous, loving, looking forward to seeing us. In this case our children and I
will receive much more warmth and love than if he didn’t have that time of his own.
I don’t know how I agreed to let him go for a whole week in the summer
when we were staying in a foreign country. It felt unusual to sleep alone. It was even
more unusual to get up in the morning and not find a husband in the house. The kids
kept asking about him and searching for him, they got used to the fact that daddy
was always there – every morning and every night.
But I was very happy. I was happy that he would get rest from us and from
the household; that he would meet new interesting people and learn something;
that he would come back to us, rested and content. We, too, started missing him a
Now I know how beneficial it is to let him go not only to the nearest “cave”
but also to the one that is not so close. I am not saying this practice has to be
overused, but why not let your husband sometimes rest from the family life in some
civilized ways? For instance, he could travel to a conference or a training to another
country or make a trip to visit his relatives etc.
Now let’s talk about how we should occupy ourselves. How do we not go
crazy and drive him crazy with our endless calls? There are tons of options. In fact,
there are 85 ways of how to spend your time efficiently and with joy:
• Read your favorite book;
• Watch a movie – you can do it even alone;
• Clean your house;
• Chat with your girlfriends;
Invite one of your girlfriends to come visit you (that’s what I did when
my husband left for a week the second time);
Go to a seminar or a training;
Visit your parents;
Go to a massage or a spa salon;
Take part in a volunteering project;
Practice your hobby;
Go to a dance or a drawing lesson;
And many other activities.
I have a funny story about shopping for you. When one girl’s husband went
on a business trip, she decided to get distracted with shopping. Among all the things
she bought there was a pair of not so cheap boots. In the evening her husband called
her and that’s what their conversation looked like:
- Honey, I got me a pair of boots today!
- But you already have several of them!
- Yeah, I do. I just thought maybe it would be better if I bought a pair of boots and
were happy about it than drive you mad with endless phone calls.
Her husband laughed and agreed that it would be better indeed.
To prepare Indian girls for family life, their elders would tell them a story:
“In any man’s life there are special days when he needs to go to the cave to fight the
dragon. That is a man’s sacred duty. It is very dangerous and risky, but it’s every
man’s responsibility. When you get married, be prepared for that. Once a month your
man will leave for the cave tense and return from it as a winner. Do not even think to
follow him. Even if you do find out where the cave is located and try to get into it, the
dragon will attack you and burn you with his flame”.
This story is metaphoric as the dragon symbolizes the worst qualities of a
man, which he can demonstrate to his unfortunate wife who happened to be around
at the moment.
Please, let’s care about each other and understand each other’s nature and
needs. Having let your man go to his cave, do not forget to take care of yourself!
My sincerest gratitude goes to John Gray and Ruslan Narushevich for the
insights into the nature of man’s needs of solitude.
Olga Valyaeva – valyaeva.com
Translated by Lakhno Anastasia