Go from Me to We With­out Los­ing You

Cosmopolitan (South Africa) - - CONTENTS - BY JULIE VADNAL

Ev­ery re­la­tion­ship has three dis­tinct parts: me, you and us. But when you’re dating some­one new and amaz­ing, it’s crazyeasy to get so sucked into hav­ing fun with bae that you drop your beloved me-time (buh­bye, face-mask Sun­day)

– or act salty when your part­ner wants a day or two alone. (‘To play Xbox? 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 woman now gets mar­ried at 27, com­pared to 23 in 1990 and 20 in 1960. For men, it’s 29, up from 26 and 22 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, writes life coach JoAn­neh Na­gler in her new book Naked Mar­riage: How To Have A Life­time Of Love, Sex, Joy And Hap­pi­ness. Here’s how you can al­lo­cate your time and en­ergy to all three ar­eas so that you, your part­ner and your bond are feel­ing plenty of TLC.

Stronger to­gether? Not al­ways!

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