Take Andrea and Michael, for example. They were inseparable. It had become a joke among their friends–the two were practically joined at the hip. They had a lot of shared interests, of course, and loved spending time together.
That’s how they ended up a couple to begin with.
And, that’s why it floored Andrea when Michael said he needed space.
“What, like, this is the beginning of the end but you don’t want to say it?” she asked.
“No, no,” he said sincerely. “I love spending time with you. I just need some ‘me time’, too.”
When a relationship is new and fresh, it’s common to go full bore, spending every waking hour with your new other-half. We call it the ‘honeymoon phase’ of a relationship. Everything is exciting. It’s a time of discovery. Each hour spent together promises to be full of wonder, fun and passion.
After a while, we begin to adjust to the presence of another in our lives, but a lot of us keep up that non-stop schedule of doing almost everything as a couple.
“But, that’s romantic, right?” you ask. “Isn’t that the kind of connection everybody wants?”
Yes, in many ways it is. But, there’s an important missing ingredient if you make it a habit to always max-out your time together.
Naturally, the two of you are dating because you like being around each other. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t be a couple.
But, just because you enjoy being together doesn’t mean you should always be together. In fact, too much time as a ‘we’ without enough time as a ‘me’ can sabotage an otherwise good relationship.
Think of it this way: before you were a couple, you were on your own. That person, the ‘you’ without any attachments, is the person your partner fell in love with. Assuming you had a full life before you started dating, the goal of adding a relationship to the mix was to enrich your life. To add more to it, to take what was already there and make it better.
Your life when you were single was all about you. Your life as a couple should have two focal points: your relationship and you as an individual. It’s the proportions–the amount of each ingredient–that makes relationships work.
In order to keep your relationship firing on all cylinders, you need time together and time apart. The key is balance. Overdoing it in either direction can ultimately destroy your relationship. You have to find the right mix.
As you move from the initial honeymoon stage into a more stable, long-term relationship, be sure to gracefully and tactfully carve out time for yourself. Keep in mind, if you state your need for ‘me time’ too bluntly, your partner could take it the wrong way! Instead, don’t make a big deal of it. Just make it a point to balance your time with and without your other half.
The goal is a loving, rich relationship that will leave you both fulfilled for a long time to come. To accomplish that, you have to be a ‘we’ and a ‘me’.
Always on your side,