In a Relationship, Sometimes Less is More

I write a lot about relationships, and always try to keep a balance between making the posts personal and divulging too much information about my own relationship. Even though I have no problem telling you everything that’s going on in my life, Chris is really private and I respect that. With that said, I think there’s no point in having a blog if you don’t offer up personal stories and useful information. If you’re going through it, someone else probably is too.

I’ve had some realizations lately about relationships and I want to share. I’m hoping what I’ve learned may be helpful for someone else. Any relationship is full of give and take. During some parts of the relationship, one person will require more attention, whereas at other times they may need to give it to help their significant other out. You’ll each go through highs and lows and get and give advice. Obviously, relationships also require effort. And a lot of it. But I’m realizing that sometimes in a relationship, less is more. Sometimes you just need to give (or get) space. Trust me, it’s not as bad as it sounds.

Of course you always need to remain committed to your significant other, but it’s also possible to get too involved. Particularly as you’re going through your twenties and trying to figure out what you want out of life, each person needs to be given the room to develop their own identity. You need to make decisions as a couple, but you also need to let your significant other have some breathing room in order to make choices about their career and their path. It’s important to continue to fully develop your identity as an individual. You want to make sure that you’re secure in who you are, and haven’t just figured yourself out based on your relationship.

So many people fall into the trap of getting too invested in their relationship. Your relationship should be an important and exciting part of your life, but it shouldn’t be your entire life. You need plenty of outside interests, friends, and passions. Whether you love hiking or cooking or spending time with pals from work, you need to have your own sense of self even when that other person isn’t around. It makes the time that you do spend together that much more enjoyable. When you’re each other’s whole life, you’re in for a lot of silent dinners when you quickly run out of things to talk about.

Giving your significant other space to find their own identity can be hard, especially if your natural instinct is to nurture, like mine is. I always want to help Chris figure out his life plans, and I want to help him when he’s struggling to determine what he wants to do next in life. I don’t want him to have to deal with any hard choices or turmoil. While I may have good intentions in my desire to help, I’m realizing that sometimes less is more. Sometimes the best way to assist that person is by giving them time to figure things out on their own. When I went through my own “WHAT AM I DOING!?” crisis, ultimately I was on my own when it came to figuring out my life plan. Of course I needed his support, but I also needed room to think about what I wanted to do and how I wanted to do it. Offer advice (if requested) but don’t get too involved in your boyfriend or girlfriend’s discovery process. A relationship should make you feel secure, but ultimately it should also give you the freedom to make choices on your own and find out exactly what you want to do with the rest of your life.

How do you feel about space in a relationship? Necessary? Hard to get used to? 

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