You’ve heard the saying that a couple becomes one person in a relationship. It’s even mentioned in traditional wedding vows. While you and your partner share an eternal bond, you are both individuals who still need personal space and independence. Too much togetherness can spoil the best relationships.
Humans are social beings who need contact with others. We are also biologically hardwired to seek out a mate for romance and procreation. However, that doesn’t mean we relinquish our independence and don’t crave occasional solitude.
Establishing Healthy Boundaries
Within every relationship, be it family, friends, or love, healthy boundaries exist. You want your person to spend time with you and to care, yet you don’t want to be smothered. Finding that golden ratio between togetherness and individuality is a labor of love.
A successful relationship depends on love, passion, empathy, and mutual respect. If either of these virtues become unbalanced, it will affect your relationship. Although spending time together is a couple is crucial, too much togetherness can breed boredom and contempt.
Healthy boundaries are not automatic, nor are they static. During your romantic journey, you and your partner will often need to re-evaluate the space you give each other. It’s especially true if you feel your individuality and independence are waning.
Loving as an Individual
How can you communicate your need for space without coming across as selfish or distant? Remember that your partner fell in love with you as an individual. If he is so wrapped up in your attention, you may soon lose your essential elements that he adored in the first place.
You’ve probably heard that you can’t love anyone else until you love yourself. It doesn’t mean that you become an arrogant narcissist. Loving yourself includes extending the same kindness, dignity, and respect to yourself as you would any other person.
Be cautious of a love interest who is consumed with you being with him. Of course, you want them to want you. However, if he starts to be resentful or aggressive when you request some space, he could be too needy or controlling for a lasting relationship.
15 Ways to Maintain Independence While in a Loving Relationship
If you are in a new relationship or an established one, you may need to reassert your independence and individuality. But how do you do it without seeming aloof or callous? Consider these 15 ways that you can bond with your mate while still maintaining freedom.
1. Maintain a Separate Social Life
When you were single, you probably had a rocking social life that included parties, vacations, and other group events. You had your circle of friends, and you knew how to have a good time. That doesn’t need to stop just because you are in a relationship.
Although spending time together in a group setting is essential for a couple, maintaining a single social time is essential. If you’re a woman, consider a standing date each week to have fun with your girlfriends. Guys might enjoy the weekly poker night or watching the big games with his buddies.
2. Go on a Date with Yourself
Everyone needs some alone time to be with their thoughts and recharge their spirits. Gently let your mate know that just because you crave some solitude doesn’t mean you don’t want to be with him or love him any less. On a positive note, spending time alone can make you appreciate your person even more.
Make a point to set aside time each day for each of you to do something alone. Maybe you are uplifted by a solo walk through the woods or by the water. Spend time journaling, planning, or just relax on the deck enjoying your own company.
You’ll both discover the meaning of absence, making the heart grow fonder. People need periodic seclusion to grow mentally and spiritually. When you spend these quiet moments alone, you’ll have more interesting things to discuss when you’re together.
3.The Solo Creative Genius
Some talents and hobbies just don’t lend themselves to group efforts. How many authors could write a novel with a bunch of other people? Unless you are in a book club, reading is pretty much a solitary activity.
Being alone can often enhance your creative powers. You needn’t shelve your hobbies and interests to stay in a relationship. While you maintain what you’ve always enjoyed, maybe you and your love can explore hobbies and interests that you can do together.
4. Sleeping Single in A King Size Bed
Today, it’s almost laughable to watch vintage movies and tv shows that portray husbands and wives sleeping in separate beds. The censors expected the audience to use their imagination as to how these make-believe couples had a houseful of children. It wasn’t until the late 60s until tv married couple shared a bed, and that was the Stevens from Bewitched.
Get the couple’s time you want in bed without sacrificing the sleep you crave snuggled on your side of the bed. Spend the first 30 minutes or so cuddling, talking, or making love, then go off to dreamland on your side. It can make your cuddling time much more meaningful.
5. Maintain Your Own Space
Virginia Wolfe understood the significance of keeping a space for yourself. Even when you share a home as a couple, you still need that special room or corner to be a welcome retreat of solitude. Whether it’s a study, art studio, or just a small reading nook in the corner of the living room, you both should have a sacred space devoted to yourselves.
6. Take A Relationship Break
Do be cautious about approaching this suggestion because it may not be received well unless the idea is presented correctly. Being together too much can be just as damaging to a relationship as staying apart can. Enjoying a little reprieve from your relationship helps you both reboot your independence and sort out your feelings.
Present the idea in a positive way, such as a minivacation for yourself. Reassure your person of your love, and you just need some alone time. Occasional breaks can often strengthen a couple’s relationship.
7. Stand up for Yourself as an Individual
Do you sometimes feel like you’ve lost sight of who you are in a relationship? Although you enjoy being identified as your lover’s person, that’s not everything you are. If you’ve relinquished control of your liberty and your right to voice your opinions and be heard, you may need to rethink the relationship.
Have frequent conversations with your mate about your dreams and what matters most to you. Take time to listen to what he wants too. When you assert your individuality and independence, you gain greater respect and closeness as a couple.
8. Recognize the Difference Between Love and Codependence
Of course, you and your beau should trust and depend on each other as needed. However, a relationship built on dependency is a slippery slope. When you are codependent, you no longer have healthy boundaries, and your individuality and independence have faded.
Discuss these issues with your partner if you feel like codependency as overtaken your relationship. If the relationship becomes toxic or abusive, it’s time to call it quits. Codependency and toxicity aren’t examples of healthy love.
9. You can still be Independent and Ask for Help
Just because you assert your independence doesn’t mean you can do everything by yourself. It’s a hallmark of a self-assured individual to know when help is needed. When a task is overwhelming for either partner, it’s ok to ask each other for a hand.
10. Encourage Your Partner to be Independent
If you want liberty for yourself, you can’t expect any less from your mate. Be your partner’s cheerleader, and you should encourage him to explore separate interests and hobbies. Let him know that you respect his need for solitude and allow him the same space you expect for yourself.
11. Prioritize Your Goals
As you enjoy solitude in your sanctuary, take mental notes of things that matter the most. Have you been true to the goals you’ve had for years, or have you pushed them aside in your relationship? Learn to prioritize your goals and see how they are working for you.
12. Independence Doesn’t Mean Unfaithful
Unless you are in a causal relationship without commitment, seeing other people is still cheating. When you are partying solo with your friends, it doesn’t give you an excuse to step out on your mate. Your individuality and independence usually foster a deeper sense of commitment from you both.
13. Take Care of Yourself
Use your alone time to pamper yourself with a massage, spa day, or a leisurely soak in the bathtub. Treat yourself to a manicure or watch that romantic movie that you’ve wanted to see, but he doesn’t. Caring for yourself releases stress and allows you to be more loving with your partner.
14. Don’t Shut Your Mate Out
When you are expressing your desire to be more independent in a relationship, be open and honest. If you seek solitude secretly, it can make your lover doubtful of your commitment. The time to discuss healthy boundaries and freedom is never in the heat of an argument.
15. Know When to Pack Up
If you are having doubts about the viability of your relationship, talk to your partner. Is he still hindering you from being your person, and you feel miserable? It’s time to pack up and move on.
Final Thoughts on Affirming Your Independence While Growing Closer to Your Partner
Two people in love form a committed relationship. It doesn’t negate each person’s individuality or freedom of expression. Once you and your partner realize these principles, they can enrich your lives as a couple for years.