Go from me to we, with­out los­ing you

Don’t lose your­self in love, girl! Main­tain your sense of self with these ex­pert tips

Cosmopolitan (Australia) - - Contents -

or act salty when your part­ner wants a day or two alone (What! To play video games?! Ugh). It’s a tricky bal­anc­ing act – es­pe­cially for mil­len­ni­als, who are spend­ing more years be­ing sin­gle and cher­ish­ing their #DoNotDis­turb mo­ments than any other gen­er­a­tion. (The proof: The av­er­age Aus­tralian woman now gets mar­ried at 30, com­pared to 25 in 1995 and 20.9 in 1974. For men, it’s 32, up from 27 and 23, re­spec­tively.*)

In fact, giv­ing a new love your all while also pre­serv­ing some space for solo ful­fil­ment is one of the big­gest is­sues sex and re­la­tion­ship ther­a­pist Ian Kerner sees in his prac­tice. ‘Strong re­la­tion­ships con­sist of strong in­di­vid­u­als,’ he says. ‘If you can main­tain your in­di­vid­u­al­ity and re­spect your part­ner’s, you’ve got the ba­sics down.’

To help clients, Kerner and other re­la­tion­ship ther­a­pists of­ten use a nifty lit­tle Venn di­a­gram that divvies up pri­or­i­ties for cou­ples. There’s a cir­cle of needs for you and one for your part­ner. Where they over­lap is for your re­la­tion­ship, which is an en­tity in and of it­self that has to be fed and nur­tured too, says life coach JoAn­neh Na­gler. Here’s how you can al­lo­cate your time and en­ergy into all three ar­eas so that you, your part­ner, and your bond are feel­ing plenty of TLC.

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