A few days ago I was having a conversation with a dear old friend about what happens to individual time in a couple and how that sometimes diminishes to the point of non-existence. Our conversation was about a specific couple: they work together, they always go out together, they live together…everything is a together thing with them. Even though the company they work for is big enough that it allows for some privacy, it’s still the same company. As it turns out she’s happy with the situation as she doesn’t really have a lot of friends outside the common friends, but he’s not. He feels anxious, suffocated, and tired all the time even though he loves her with all his heart; he wishes he had a little time for himself without creating a conflict in the relationship.
It got me thinking; do we need different time in relationships to feel happy? Are most women content with spending all their time with their partner, while men feel the need for a little time out? As I looked at my own relationship and also at the people around me, I realized that some people are just more dependent than others. While there are certain things we’d all rather do with a partner, some of us are just as comfortable doing things on our own or with other friends even when our partner is not present. What was interesting to discover is that every individual inside the couples I talked to need different time for themselves and even more than that, it varies from one week to the other or even from one day to the other. Here’s what I discovered:
- For women the more time they spend together, the more they want to spend together. So if a couple spends an entire weekend or an entire week together, a woman will feel the need to communicate more once the couple goes back to a regular routine (maybe going back to work after a holiday). However the man will most likely react the exact opposite and even become a little distant. It’s all about the way we fall in love. Women fall in love by constant connection, while men realize they’re in love by how much they miss someone when they’re gone…and they will even push those limits just to make sure, just to prove it to themselves that they are really in love.
- Boys nights out actually make men fall in love more. As women we always wonder what on earth men are doing when they go out by themselves. Well it turns out a vast majority of them go out drinking, maybe go to a casino (if they’re in the right place), smoke cigars…and that’s pretty much it. As fun as that may sound, for most of them, the best part of the entire night is still coming back home to the woman they love and cuddling up with her. But they need the boys nights in order to value the cuddling wonderful woman.
- There will always be a certain time of the month when it’s just not a good idea to spend a lot of time away from women. Yes, we can be annoying, irritable, nervous…but all we need is for you to hug us and just play into all our neediness…it’s not always about chocolate.
- As women, we figure things out by talking about them, we always want to have conversations, to hash things out, while men, well they just want to not talk about things. There’s nothing wrong with either solution, the challenge is to understand what calls for a real conversation and what is better left as it.
- The value of a relationship is not just in the number of minutes spent together, but in the quality of those minutes, as well as the quality of the minutes spent apart that give us different experiences, different views that we could later on share with our partner and use step as a stepping stone in evolving as a couple.
Whether you’re in a relationship or not at this moment, take a minute to learn what is true for you and most importantly to understand your needs as well as your partner’s needs. We all have a threshold below which life just isn’t happy anymore, but we also have moments in which we bring unhappiness to ourselves by overthinking things as well as bring incredible happiness by being present and realizing what is true and beautiful in our lives. And remember, when you do need a little time, make sure you take it. Be gentle and respectful about it, but do take your time. It will make you a happier person.