Go from Me to We Without Losing You
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!