Image licensed from Adobe Stock

It’s Time To Get Rid Of The Relationship Escalator

Every relationship is as unique as the people in it

Sam Holstein
8 min readSep 25, 2020


I have a confession: I’ve always wanted a man-cave. Sort of.

As someone who was raised to believe in the relationship escalator, I’ve always expected to grow up, meet someone, fall in love, and move in with them. And for the most part, I’ve always loved the idea; I love having people around to do shared home activities with (dinner, board game night) and find the experience of sharing a home with people very enjoyable. If someone offered me the choice between living alone and living with my 5 best friends, I’d pick the best friends.

That being said, I love my space too.

I need a lot of solitude. Growing up, I would shut myself in my room for six hours at a time, declining invitations to socialize from friends, family members, and even romantic interests. I would only leave my room to eat and use the facilities — and sometimes, even eating was optional. One of my favorite things to do is lay in my bed, totally alone, watching TV or writing or doing something else I enjoy.

This isn’t a problem when I live with my parents. This isn’t a problem when I live with my friends or my siblings. It is, however, a problem when I live with a romantic partner.

Our culture expects romantic partners to live in shared spaces. A shared bedroom, a shared living room, a shared kitchen, and, if both partners need an office, a shared office. But I’ve always hated this. Too much sharing! When can I be alone in bed for six hours at a time completely undisturbed? When can I read without fear of interruption?

I’ve solved this problem in several ways over the years:

  • Scheduling my solitude while my partner is at work. Effective when my partner has a demanding job, but it comes at the cost of them having a demanding job, which I can’t tell them to have simply because it gives me alone time. Not ideal.
  • Telling my partner to get out, either out of the room I’m in or out of the house altogether. They are usually hurt, but they manage it for two or three hours, but then they start bothering me every hour or so. It hurts their feelings and doesn’t really work anyway. Not ideal.



Sam Holstein

Articles that teach you how to master your mind ☞ free stuff at