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by Abigail Van Buren

Live-In Girlfriend Craves More Time On Her Own

DEAR ABBY: I was 33 and newly divorced when I was finally able to experience living by myself. I kind of loved it. My boyfriend, "Alex," and I have lived together for almost four years and I almost never get time to be by myself.

Alex gets alone time because I'll sometimes have dinner with girlfriends, volunteer, go to the theater, etc. But he almost never leaves. He's somewhat social, but he always invites people over; he never goes to them. I have told Alex many times that I need him to give me some time alone in the house, but nothing comes of it.

He left for a couple of days to visit a relative two years ago (it was partly my idea) and it was great! I loved my solitude, and it was also nice to welcome Alex back home afterward. It was the first time I'd had a break! I don't want to wait another two years to get my house to myself for a while, but how? -- CRAVES "ME" TIME IN PORTLAND, ORE.

DEAR CRAVES "ME" TIME: In order to accomplish it, you are going to have to become more proactive. Many people need solitude to decompress; you are not the only one.

Tell Alex you need time alone in the house and that he will need to make other plans for a specific day. If that's hard for him, call some of the friends he has been inviting over -- after all this time, you probably know most of them -- and ask them to invite him over a couple of times a month. They may be able to help you pry him out of the house. If they are unsuccessful, it looks like Alex will have to visit his relatives on a more regular basis.

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