If time apart is important in a relationship, why do I find it so difficult?
Let me start this off by saying I am actually confused as to what has happened to me! (maybe some Blair Waldorf gifs will help?) I used to be this super-independent person who loved to have time to myself and found a million things to take up my thoughts. I enjoyed reading, watching television, cooking, working out (I was never a gym bunny but I liked to try), going to the cinema or eating out, occasionally having a drink or two (or twenty) etc. You know, normal things that people enjoy! Sometimes I’d do these things with friends, but often times I liked to have ‘me’ time (although I’ve never been one to drink alone!). But somewhere along the way, I’ve lost that.
In past relationships, and even in the beginning of my current relationship, I was never very clingy. I found that really unattractive in a person I was seeing, and if I ever saw signs that I could potentially start to become overly-attached I shut it down! Roni had to practically claw his way into my life, because I would always make up excuses not to see him or not to have him come over. I didn’t like him coming to my house because it meant I had no escape when I wanted him to leave! If we met in a neutral place, I could make an excuse to get away so I could go home and watch Gossip Girl!
Over time though, I started to notice small changes in my attitude. As I felt more secure in the relationship, I started to enjoy his company more. We had our individual lives, but I looked forward to our time together. I preferred to be with him instead of alone or even with my friends. Some of the things that I enjoyed doing became less and less frequent, and then ultimately stopped altogether.
But none of this was Roni’s fault. On the contrary, he thinks it’s important for us to have separate hobbies. I do too! I just lost interest in a lot of things because… well, I don’t really know why! I’ve never been a very good multitasker, so having a full time job and relationship seemed to take up a lot of my energy. When I do have time to myself, it’s because I want to watch TV and he wants to play video games, not because we have really made a point of setting individual time apart. It got to the point where we didn’t really know what to do with ourselves, because we were spending so much time together, but we weren’t doing anything productive or entertaining.
That takes us to the present, or rather, this week to be more specific. Roni’s had to work late shifts pretty much every day of this week, and I’ve had a lot of time to myself. The first night was really weird! I literally couldn’t function and couldn’t think of anything to do, so when I got home I spent about 30 minutes staring at the wall. Eventually, I decided to go over to my mum’s house (she lives next door), and spend some time with her. The next day, I set some time apart to work on a few ideas for my blog. By the third day, I was really struggling to find things to do, and I had a bit of an epiphany as to how pathetic this really is, and just how damaging I’ve been to myself.
When you are in a relationship, it’s not like the Spice Girls say it is, two DON’T become one. When I was single, I always hated it when my friends didn’t make time for me. When I was single, it annoyed me beyond belief when people only spoke about their other half. When I was single, I found it ridiculous when couples were always together, and never did anything separately. And now what have I gone and done? To an extent, I’ve become what I despise! But I won’t allow the full transformation to be complete!
I need to take care of myself, the individual who has his own interests, opinions, values and personality. These are the things that made my partner fall in love with me and these are the things that will make him stay. Of course I want to share every waking moment with him. I want to, but I don’t need to. It doesn’t mean I love him any less, it means that we both need to be able to identify where one ends and the other begins, instead of morphing into conjoined twins!
This week has been a huge failure, because I proved to myself that I am incapable of being alone. However, I’m putting that down to the initial shock and lack of preparedness for the situation. So how am I going to move forward? I’ve already made plans to see my best friend tonight (this gif was the reaction when I called —>), and I’ve chosen a book that I am going to start reading in my spare time, as well as trying to focus some energy into my writing. Also, I’m going to make the most of the time that I do have with my husband this week. Because as well as being able to appreciate myself, I need to appreciate the wonderful man I’ve married who I can sometimes take for granted because he’s always present.
I say all of this, probably sounding a little selfish, but I know he agrees and understand where I’m coming from, as well as feeling he could use time to himself to do the things he likes. The intention is not to put my needs or his needs above our needs… However, in order for us to continue to be happy as a couple, our individual needs have to be acknowledged (so long as they do not break our vows and are not damaging the marriage, obviously!). And in order to achieve that, ultimately it’s going to take some time apart.
The thought of him being out and me staying in is daunting to me, because we do so much together. But I understand it’s necessary. No matter how much I feel like I want to be a part of everything I simply can’t without being an overbearing presence. There is a part of me that fears that he will enjoy himself more without me than he does with me. The fear of losing him to a night out with friends sounds preposterous I know, but it’s a feeling that can be hard to shake. Again, not because of anything he has done, it is just insecurity, and I need to have more confidence in myself and our relationship. I know who I want and trust that without a doubt, I have to trust that he feels the same, and he hasn’t acted in any way that would suggest otherwise.
This is new territory for me though, as confidence seems to be a bit of an issue of late, but I’m pushing myself out of my comfort zone a little and I’m cautiously optimistic to see where we go and how we evolve from here. There is a fine line between growing together, growing apart and simply growing in the wrong direction. Too much time together, and you merge; too much time apart, and you drift. The way I see it, there will be times when we get it wrong, and there will be times when we get it right, the thing to remember is that being in a relationship doesn’t define who you are, and being able to handle the moments apart is a real testament to your union.