If I have been out with a group for four or five hours, I need to be alone for at least that same amount of time. It does not matter how many people there are, one or ten. It does not matter if the people I am with are loose associations or a person I am very fond of, after awhile I need time alone.
Moreover, I cannot be alone anywhere. I need to be in my own space. If I am out of town, I will need to return to my hotel room. If I am close enough, I will need to get back home.
When I first realized this, I thought it was a desire to return to my routines. However, if it was about maintaining my personal patterns, I would experience this need every time I am outside of my normal routines even though I might be alone, such as when I am out of town on my own. But that is not the case. The desire to seclude myself seems to occur only when I have been with people.
As I examined this, I realized it was deeply seated. This is probably why, while married to my last ex I would go to my office room so often. As I think back, I can see hints this behavior in my distant past. It is clearly some early programming which is becoming even more pronounced over time. Living alone probably reinforces the behavior, and may lead to Grumpy Old Man syndrome.
I do not know if this is a product of introversion or social anxiety, or if it is perhaps the cause of either of those behaviors. I do not yet know exactly why I do this, why I respond in this way. It may be that the effort used to be social is so draining that I need time to drop my shields and recharge. Or it may be that people over stimulate me and I need to get away from the high kinetic energy. Or it could be as simple as a general dislike for human beings, not that I dislike specific people, but that I am uncomfortable with the human animal.
It isn’t you. It’s me.