Here’s a situation most people in long-term relationships have experienced at one time or another:
You really want to do something. Say, a challenging hike that ends at an idyllic waterfall. And you really want your partner to do it with you, because you love spending time with them, don’t want to do it alone, and, hello, idyllic waterfalls are fucking romantic.
But your partner doesn’t want to do it. Their reason could be anything: they’re busy, they’re tired, they hate hiking, they have a phobia of romantic waterfalls — the fact is, they don’t want to do it, and they’re not budging.
I’ve been on both sides of this equation many times. It’s never easy, and whenever nagging enters into the equation (guilty!), it creates a perfect storm for conflict — not to mention resentment on both sides. Finding a balance between quality couple time and independence can be tough, but in this case, I’ve found that there is nothing more empowering and ultimately better for your relationship than learning to do your own thing. Keep reading »
Yesterday evening, Nick and I were trying to hang up some pictures on a blank wall in the living room, and things were getting tense.
“I think that blue frame should go about a quarter inch to the right.”
“I think it’s fine where it is.”
“But the bottom edge lines up too perfectly with that black frame, and it’s giving me an eye tic.”
“Why don’t we move the pink frame down to where the silver frame was?”
“Over my dead body.” Keep reading »
Over the weekend, a friend of mine was telling me that she was headed out to run some errands recently when her husband chimed in, “Hey, I think I’ll come with you.” Normally very open to any help she can get while grocery shopping, my friend was shocked when instead of replying, “Sure!”, she found herself giving her husband a long list of logical reasons why he should stay home. “And then it hit me,” she said, “I was really looking forward to being by myself that day — listening to my music in the car, zoning out at the store, taking my time. I just didn’t know how to say, ‘I really want to be alone right now’ so I made up all these excuses instead.”
As weird as it might sound, I knew exactly how she felt. When you’re in a serious relationship, spending time together and getting enough quality alone time is a constant balancing act. It can be tough to ask for alone time when you need it, but sometimes it’s even tougher to figure out when you need alone time, period. Here are a few signs that you might need to schedule a solo day, ASAP… Keep reading »
Being in a long-term relationship is all about sharing. You share your time, your living space, your most intimate secrets, your friends, your life. When you strike a nice balance in the sharing department, it feels easy and natural. When you share too much, your relationship can veer into codependent territory. When you share too little, your connection might feel cold and distant. The stakes are higher now, but basically, your preschool teacher knew what was up when she forced you to let Billy play with the toy truck in the sandbox: sharing is caring. Obviously every couple needs to figure out their own ideal sharing arrangement, but there are definitely some guidelines that apply to most everyone. With that in mind, here are a few things you should share with your partner, and a few things to keep for yourself. Keep reading »
We live in a culture that values coupledom and biological families over anything else. This is especially true for women, who are seen as more relationship-oriented than men. We hold romantic relationships up as the ultimate end goal, the prize, the be-all and end-all. We tend to believe this regardless of whether a particular pairing is healthy or toxic, discounting the possibility that someone might actually be contented and fulfilled while single.
Being single and being in a relationship both have their pros and cons. I was chatting about this recently with a friend who recently lost her mom. She’s single and she said she felt particularly lonely grieving her mom’s death by herself. She wasn’t completely alone, of course; her friends and family were there for her. But she said she had wished she had a partner to lean on during the worst of her grief.
I just listened quietly when I heard this. I wanted to speak up, but I wasn’t sure it was the right time to say what I wanted to say. Personally, I believe that the good things in life — support, respect, happiness, joy — depend a lot more on having close friends and family, not the absence or presence of a partner. A partner is just one person; friends and family are a whole community.
My relationship is without a doubt the most supportive one I’ve ever had. I don’t keep anything from him, because I’m not afraid anything will scare him away. I feel loved and safe with him. But he’s just one person. He’s just human. I’m still a person who is vulnerable and imperfect. And a relationship is not bubble wrap. Keep reading »
“I just assumed that when I met my soulmate and fell in love, all of these annoying day to day things would fall into place.”
I’m on the phone with a friend of mine, who’s a couple years into a relationship that is overflowing with romance. Their pairing has everything: the meet-cute; the deep, spiritual connection; the sizzling sexual chemistry; the stimulating intellectual back and forth; the aligned life goals and values; the mutual belief that the other is the most amazing human to ever grace the Earth.
They’ve committed to a life together, they own a house, they’re very, very happy. There’s just one problem: they can’t for the life of them figure out how to plan their weekends. Her go-with-the-flow attitude clashes with his get-shit-done vibe and all of a sudden their dreamy love connection is imploding into a cranky spat about how long they’re going to spend at Home Depot and who hit the snooze button for the fourth time.
“I know we’re meant to be together,” she says, “so why can’t we figure this out?” Keep reading »