What are the rules? Once we are in a committed relationship and moving down the path of relationship bliss, what happens to the individual? Do we immediately give up all of the aspects of our single lives that do not neatly fit into our couple-life?
Couples all over the world are trying to figure out the appropriate balance that will allow individuality as well as a partnership. Depending on the individuals involved it can either be a rewarding experience or a total mess. When we meet our future partner, hopefully, we are living our lives in the way we are most comfortable. We have friends, interest, hobbies, and activities that have nothing to do with our partner. There is a good chance that some of these aspects are what attracted us to each other in the first place, why change now? Why do so many of us feel that once we have a partner, the other aspects of our lives are no longer important? Not only is that an unreasonable expectation, it is also an unhealthy one.
Statistics show couples that continue to have outside interest and activities report feeling happier in their relationship than couples that do not. It is my belief that many people would like to continue enjoying aspects of their pre-couple lives but simply do not know how. Start here-
1. Recognize what your needs are
Do you need alone time? Friend only time? Spa time? Understanding what you need is key when it is time to communicate those needs.
2. Communicate your needs to your partner
Being able to express your needs in advance will assist with eliminating hurt feelings for not inviting your partner.
3. Set a schedule for the week
Identifying the best days to do certain things with each other so that you will know the openings to plan for things that you may want to do without your partner
4. Be flexible
Don’t freak out if the schedule does not go exactly as planned. Adjust, reschedule and carry-on.
5. Be considerate
Keep in mind that your partner has things they want to do as well. Effective communication is key when discussing what the two of you would like to see happen with the schedule. For instance, if your partner likes Monday Night Football with friends or watching Thursday Night Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy with friends, those are good nights for you to do things with your friends as well.
Remember, both of you deserve to have the same amount of input on how your marriage works!