There are two types of couples in this world: you're either a couple who does everything together and whose lives are intertwined right down to peeing together, or you're a couple who live separate lives that merge on a day to day basis. While in some cases being attached at the hip has its benefits - and would not work otherwise - the vast majority of relationships are doomed to fail if they head down that messy route. You throwing up your fists yet? Good. Here's why you have to keep your life separate from your relationship.
Note: To clarify, I'm a big supporter of doing things together in your relationship - it strengthens bonds and creates lasting memories. This article is about not doing everything together.
Life is about constant personal growth - a topic we cover quite often here on The Indie Chicks. Throughout your life, you're likely to have multiple partners until you end up with Mr.Forever (or Mr.Forever until the divorce). Personal growth must be a constant and in your life, that 7 day one night stand isn't. If you neglect your own 'separate' life while you're busy merging with his, what happens when things don't go as planned?
You come back to a shriveled little plant that once was.
Lesson: No matter your marital status, keep growing. Continue to feed your passions, learn life lessons and engage in activities that make you happy as an individual. Even couples in the happiest of relationships share different hobbies. Don't let your plant shrivel. Don't be defined by your relationship.
Avoiding the Cling Factor
This piece of advice is more for the dating honeymooners than it is for most (sane) deeply committed adults. It's easy for your hips to gravitate toward each other during the honeymoon phase. [Your hormones are all like, Damn, can't get enough of you.. until we marry and reproduce, of course]
The problem lies in the fact that no two people experience emotion in the exact some way. What tends to happen is that one loses interest before the other - even if just a little - and leaves the other to scramble for signs of life. [Desperate scrambling = Cling Factor]
Lesson: Always have something else going on. The reality is your partner, once with hearts in place of his eye balls, may have left your honeymoon a little earlier than expected. And while that may not necessarily mean the end for your relationship, he may not feel as enthused about back to back sleep over sessions and you crashing his boys nights. Refrain from coming off as a psycho and always have a plan B.
The Alternative is Just Plain Sad
Like I said before, there are few couples the merged-and-do-everything-together-life really works for - I call those people fucking crazy. For the rest of us, being 100% reliant on our partners is a recipe for a sad, sad, life. Not only are you limiting mental challenges, personal growth, and the variety of knowledge the world has to offer, but your entire life becomes dependent on one other human being.
If he makes you sad, you stay sad. If he's busy, you're at home waiting for him to not be busy anymore.
Lesson: Here's the sad truth: people cheat, relationships end to shit, and even the best marriages fail. If life throws an ugly curveball at you, you don't want to be left out in the rain with nothing more than a sleeping bag and the dignity that used to be.
Keep Your Life Separate From Your Relationship
And let them merge as often as they want. The keyword here is merge. It takes two things to merge; two things that can be ripped apart and still survive on their own. And as much as this piece of advice is centered around the, "What are you going to do if it all goes to shit", the truth is you deserve a full life, regardless of your relationship status. You deserve to learn and to experience life the way you've always wanted. You deserve to make friends based on your personality and not just because they are friends of your husband. You deserve to life out dreams you've had as long as you can remember because being in a relationship shouldn't be a road block or end all to your goals in life.
What about you, do you keep your lovers separate from your relationships? And what do you think about couples who don't?
Get tips for things to do outside your relationship to make it stronger in our special print edition.