Independence in Love

Maintaining a sense of individuality is a common problem in most relationships, and there are a zillion reasons why. For starters, you and your partner spend so much free time together that your lives begin to blend. Then there’s the reality that as time passes, you may forget what you did before you were together.

Even if you do remember all your old pastimes, your “you time” takes a backseat to shared “us time.” After all, there are couple commitments that come into play (dinner parties, work events, household chores). Nevermind the fact that at a certain point, it’s just easier to plop down on the sofa together than it is to motivate yourself on your own. The trouble is, by merging completely, not only do couples lose their senses of individuality, their happiness levels decrease… and their relationships suffer.

Remember, it takes two complete halves to make one whole. So if either or both of you are struggling to remember who you are or what makes you happy beyond the confines of your partnership, it’s time for a reality check. Maintaining autonomy is essential to the success of any pairing. Try these tips to help you do just that.

Your friends love you…
Sadly, one of the first things to happen as we pair off is that our friends (particularly the single ones) can be forgotten. They fall by the wayside in favor of spending every waking non-work moment with our new lovers. Inevitably, forgetting your friends will fail you. Humans are social beings and we need each other to commiserate and identify with in good times and bad. Sure, your mate can provide most things a friend can, but no one person can be all things to anyone. You’re bound to have things in common with your friends that you don’t with your mate… even if it’s just shared experience. Besides, if you have no one else in your life to hang out with, not only will you and your amour eventually run out of topics to talk about, you’ll find your life much less fulfilling!

Whether it’s going out for dinner, grabbing after work drinks or hitting the beach/bookstore on a Saturday afternoon, set aside in-person time for your friends. Emails and phone calls count as contact, sure, but when it comes to fostering a sense of personal satisfaction and history, the power of face-to-face interaction cannot be overstated!

Nix neediness
Sometimes, we worry that if we’re not with our partner, they’ll forget about us – or worse, cheat! If these are your feelings, however, your partner’s not the problem – your insecurity is. Being too needy in a relationship (demanding too much time and attention, denying your partner – and yourself – the time to maintain a balanced life, questioning their every move), only leads to disaster. It creates an imbalance of power that leaves you feeling dependent on your mate for your happiness. Believe it or not, you’re not in the driver’s seat when you’re dictating every moment… you’re giving fear the upper hand. On that note, it may seem counterintuitive but…

Give your partner space
Everybody appreciates a little space every once in awhile to do whatever it is we feel like doing. And believe it or not – sometimes those things are best done solo. A hot, relaxing bath, a sappy, cry-your-eyes out movie rental, a video game marathon or an adult-ed class… whatever it is that rejuvenates them, give your partner the space to do it on a regular basis. Meanwhile, use that time to do something you enjoy, too.

Take care of you!
We all know that a healthy mind and a healthy body go together with a healthy spirit, but figuring out a way to attain all three can seem like a tough proposition. The good news is, every little bit helps – and addressing any of the three components actually contributes to the others, too.

If you want to boost your self-confidence and motivation (in and out of the relationship) start with the stuff you can control. Eat well and commit to some kind of fitness regimen. Not only will it make you feel vibrant and sexy on the outside, it will help you feel strong and capable, which encourages you to do things on your own when you might otherwise steer clear of solo ventures. Perhaps best of all, it’ll enhance your libido and drive your partner wild!

Max motivation
Finally, one of the most common explanations for personal dissatisfaction in or out of a relationship is a lack of goals. If we don’t have a destination (or a series of them, since arriving at one only leads to another), the relationship can feel pointless. People thrive when they have a purpose. So take some time to sit down with yourself and set some personal goals. Then set about achieving them. Doing so will not only provide tremendous self-satisfaction (even when you have missteps and have to start again), but it will allow you to bring more to the table in your relationship.

Likewise, encourage your partner to do the same and enlist each other for encouragement. Two active halves, after all, will only make a more solid, deeply satisfied whole.

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One thought on “Independence in Love

  1. Melvin

    Well. I have a new boyfriend. He is less kinky than my last peatnrr… but I like him much more. In my last relationship, it was all about the kink, all about what we could do to each other physically. But with this new boyfriend, it’s more than that. I feel like he appreciates the rest of me as well as my kinks. Although I am looking forward to “exploring” further with him and seeing what works for us, I’m actually happier than I ever was with the kinkier man. Much as I love my kinks, I think I’ve grown up a bit and realised that I deserve more than just a good match in that way – I can have a man who satisfies that AND more as well… Do you know what I mean?~elle~

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