Go from me to we, without losing you
Don’t lose yourself in love, girl! Maintain your sense of self with these expert tips
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.