How many times have you had a friend get into a relationship and then disappear? Probably at least a few. Girls and guys are equal offenders too. Not only is this unhealthy for everyone involved, I think it seriously damages the shelf life of that relationship.
You should be able to trust and confide in your significant other, of course. You should love hanging out with them. They should be your favorite person. But should they replace your friends? Absolutely not. Should they take up all of your free time? Never. I don’t care whether you’re in the early infatuation stage or are married, your significant other can’t be expected to be your form of entertainment, your best friend, your mentor, and everything else. When you try to see your partner as both your partner and your only confidante, it puts way, way, WAY too much pressure on the relationship. Instead, your significant other should be a person you love and trust, but should also be one part of your life. They can be a big part, but there still has to be room for other friends, hobbies, and dreams.
When you combine your partner into your significant other and your best friend, that’s where clinginess and neediness happen. You start to rely on them for everything, and can begin to create impossible standards that lead to disappointment and resentment. Plus, if you only hang out with each other all the time, you don’t bring much to the table in terms of conversation and interesting ideas. You already know what the other person has been up to all day, so what else is there to say?
If you want to keep the spark alive and enjoy a relationship that feels healthy and energized, the best thing you can do is to develop a life outside of the relationship. Make friends, take a class, get into a workout routine, develop a new hobby. When you’re a well-rounded, confident, and engaged person, your relationship follows suit. You should include your partner in these activities, but you should also have time when you’re on your own or just out with friends. A little space preserves and strengthens a relationship.
When I was still living in Syracuse, I had no real hobbies, very few friends, and nothing exciting going on. My general “blah” attitude toward life started to seep into my relationship with Chris. I never really had anything interesting to say, and I had no excitement to share. But now that I’m in Charlotte meeting people, trying new things, and having new experiences, I’m suddenly able to bring a whole new level of depth to the relationship. I have ideas to share and stories to tell. When you feel happy and fulfilled outside of your relationship, you’ll feel happy and fulfilled in it too. If you’re looking to make your connection last for the long run, you have to continue to focus on caring for and improving yourself.