As relationships progress we find that it is a lot harder to reclaim who we are as individuals and not get engulfed in coupledom. So how can you find room to take a breath and avoid the eventual need to take a break from it?
There’s nothing like a brand new relationship—the way you watch the clock at work as you count down the minutes until you can see each other again, the simple text message emoticon smiley faces that make your heart jump, the phone calls that last until the wee hours of the morning. Inevitably, however, time passes, the newness wears off, and the two of you are forcibly jerked back to the real world—the one where his cute little quirks somehow morph into barely-tolerable annoyances, the one where he no longer thinks it’s funny that you have varying musical tastes as you fight over the ipod play list in the car, but also the one where new-relationship infatuation gives way to something stronger, deeper, and much less irritating to the people around you.
The truth of the matter is that all relationships change over time. In the Tasmanian-devil-like flurry of newness it is easy to lose ourselves. As things progress we find that it is a lot harder to reclaim who we are as individuals and not get engulfed in coupledom. So how can you find room to take a breath in your relationship and avoid the eventual need to take a break from it? Here are five ways to find space in your relationship.
1. Be Honest
This one may seem obvious, but unless you talk to him about how you feel, he may see the next few steps as your surreptitious attempt to leave. Let him know that while your time together is important to you, you need some for yourself as well. You may be relieved to find that he is feeling the same way. No one can be everything to one person, and admitting that to each other can be extremely liberating. It’s okay to need and want other people in your lives to talk to, be with and enjoy. It will make your twosome stronger to come back together with fresh experiences to share.
2. Hobbies And Interests
Whether you fell into the “opposites attract” category when you first met or were more “birds of a feather,” no two people have entirely the same interests. Maybe you were a nature buff who loved to hike, or a swimmer, maybe you were a songwriter, or loved photography. Revisit the things you were passionate about before the two of you met. You can even share the fruits of those efforts with him, but be careful to set boundaries so that your hobbies don’t somehow become quality couple time while you aren’t paying attention. This is about nurturing yourself, and finding the space you need to express your individuality without hurting anyone!
3. Girls Night
A girl’s night out may seem like the simple answer to your relationship claustrophobia, and it may actually be the simplest, but this is one of those rare cases where it is also the most effective. Sitting in your favorite night spot listening to your girls dish on what is going on in their relationships, you will not only begin to feel the stress melt away, you will also realize that you are not the only one feeling confined. Your girls are your confidants, your sounding board. Schedule a regular time with them where you can go out, have fun, flirt with who ever you want and of course keep a very strict what-happens-at-girls-night-stays-at-girls-night policy.
Also, suggest that he have his friends over for a guy’s night—a pay-per-view fight, a poker game, or whatever boot-wearing, beef-jerky-chewing, macho pastime he and his friends are into. Helping to foster his bro-mances will buy you a lot less grief when you walk out the door with your girls.
4. A Place For Yourself
It has become the latest obsession. Everyone from former pro wrestlers flexing their construction skills on one of the many home and garden channels to celebrities touting the overblown accoutrements of their jumbo-sized cribs has jumped on board the Man-Cave phenomenon. In your effort to create breathing room in your relationship find a place in your home that you can make uniquely yours and encourage him to do the same. Whether it is a home office where you can shut the door and read or a backyard patio where you can close your eyes and lounge in the sun, give yourself a space where you can escape on a daily basis.
5. Send Him Packing
Every guy has that one thing that he has wanted to do but hasn’t had the time or the money to do it. Whether for Christmas, Father’s Day, his birthday, or just as a surprise, buy the ticket and send him away to do it. Treating him to a few days away will not only afford you time alone, it will let him know that his needs are important to you as well. Don’t be surprised to find him returning to you rested, stress-free, and ready to return the favor.