When you are in a relationship, it’s difficult to not see yourself as a whole individual. Maintaining a balance between your personal, partner and relationship needs is a challenge. It requires certain skills and it’s safe to say that you only acquire them by experience. This is a very personal story; I hope it helps you.
I started my relationship 16+ years ago. He and I have changed during those years, as we grow and learn about life. Now, in my 30s, I am still discovering new interests and started to question current habits. Those that I have since I can remember.
One night, as I went to bed, it stroke me like a lightning. There it was, a difficult truth that had been hiding in plain sight. The certainty that we have a challenge to overcome, if we want to maintain a healthy relationship and be happy as individuals… distance, indifference, disconnection. And it was mutual.
Why this sudden realisation of emptiness? How did we get here? Does love still exist as we need it to? Do we care? What do I need to continue? Do I want to continue?
After so many questions, something was clear… CHANGE. I need it, we need it… or our relationship was doomed to fail.
My soul rebelled to the sole idea of change. It craves status quo and hates it at the same time. So, I went to my inner self for answers, before I moved forward with him, the need to understand myself was 1st.
These are the habits that took us to the point of disconnection
Too much focus on work
We are very productive, both of us have clear professional goals in mind. Thus, the majority of our time and effort goes to work related activities, leaving little time for ourselves. If at least our careers were related, but NOP. So our conversations tend to oscillate between the two without common ground.
Not having a mutual hobby
Our changes as individuals have been constant. But, having mutual ground must be constant also and that’s not our case this time around. It’s sad and we should have saw it sooner. It’s not that I didn’t try ok? I discussed taking wine / dance / language classes together, but he did not like it. Then, purchased tennis equipment to practice and he did not like it either. So I bailed (shouldn’t have).
Not having separate hobbies, apart from Netflix/Internet
This is where I failed the most. Why I don’t have an active hobby? I started yoga and bailed also. I’m not consistent. He doesn’t even try so, there you have it. Enough said; it was like we did not have a relationship.
Looking forward to be alone, not together
When I come home from a day of work, I just want to be alone and not talking to him. Because, from my point of view (of course), he only talk about his work, nothing of interest to me. He made the same mistake and started to spend time with friends all Thursdays without including me or at least alternating between them and me. I felt lost and tried to spend time with new friends (reciprocate) but that ended up being worse.
Breakthrough and New Beginning
I was clear of my responsibilities and his. There wasn’t a need to accuse one another. Both of us contributed to out common path. Although I must say, finding objective level of understanding was as difficult as you can imagine.
Once we committed to start again and build new healthy habits, we saw us as individuals and partners from a new light. We went on, loving ourselves together. Our relationship is in a better place.
Better work-life “balance”
Never perfect, we agreed to have an unbalanced work-life that felt as balance as we could get. Strive for unperfected and you will get great satisfaction from a realistic overview, we were too perfectionists and had to learn to let go of the madness. It feels liberating.
Mutual and individual hobbies
Either exercise, movies or any other random activity, we enjoyed together or alone. We established a healthy agreement of including individual elements to our formula of being together in a relationship and it worked! We did take a wine class, learned and had new friends from the experience. Sometimes you need to force your agenda, make an effort out of your comfort zone and discover a new you.
Time together… time with others
Although it was a stretch for him, we did invest in a terrace for our home, that is our new love nest. Like a sacred space where we spend time together out of the routine of our world. We are planning to get a jacuzzi out there to keep adding to our magical experience. I accepted his random fact conversations and learned from them; he learned to live with my temporary neurosis as a woman with PMS… finally. 🙂
We both have time alone with friends, but we built a confidence network to ensure it does not come to hunt us along the way. Our time together is more important than anything else.
We both know we need to keep learning and grow as individuals and partners in life.