You find yourself with a committed partner. You're in love. It's one of the best relationships you've ever had... but you're about to do something very risky. You have to tell your lover you need to balance "me" as you become part of a "we." Becoming a "we" and falling in love is a beautiful thing, but it can be suffocating and ultimately damaging to the health of the relationship if you don't also balance personal time for yourself.
I love to hear things like "We are going to paint the house this week," "We need to go see that movie," or "We love to go there on vacation." It means a couple is totally in sync and loving life together. The problem is that many people get so lost in "we," that they don't balance "me." I've been in a fair amount of relationships and, because being true to my own needs is important to me, I've always been able to keep my independence. I'm going to tell you exactly how David Wygant keeps his independence in every relationship.
More from YourTango: Do You Feel Like You Fell From The Ugly Tree?
First, I make sure to attract a woman who's like me: independent and self-sufficient. That way I know she has hobbies and interests outside of the relationship. It's something that I make sure of when I'm first dating somebody. I get to know them a little bit, and you should too. Find out what they like to do after work and what they do for fun. Do they go to the gym three, four days a week? Do they take an art class? Do they have a weekly girls' brunch? I want somebody who's very independent, and that's something I learned a long time ago.
I remember when I was in my first serious relationship — about 25 years ago. I moved in with a woman, and we were like two peas in a pod, never separated. If I said yes, she said yes. We were inseparable, but after a while I realized it was starting to drive me crazy. I needed down time. Sure, I was going to the gym for an hour each day, but I needed at least one afternoon a week to myself. I decided to say something to her. I looked at her straight in the eyes and told her that I loved "us," I loved "we," and I love how she made me feel, but I needed some time for "me."
"All I need is a few hours a week, just to go and do something on my own, whether it's take a walk, a drive, or to go to the park with the dog. I need it in order to recharge, so I can come back refreshed." She looked at me and said she understood. It was then I realized how hard that conversation must be for people to have. A lot of people will take it personally, especially when you're negotiating the "we-ness" and it all feels so great and brand new. But I told her one thing at the end of our conversation that resonated with her. I said, "I need this time in order to come back stronger, faster, and with more love for you."
Her understanding made me appreciate the relationship more than anything. In all of my past relationships, I needed a couple of hours a week to unwind on my own. I like to watch my team unfold. I like to watch sports on a Sunday. It's my time, and it's something I've cultivated. And that's what it's about: never losing touch with yourself. I guarantee you'll end up resenting your partner if you don't spend enough "me" time in order to nurture the "we" time.
I work through this often in my blog and I've talked about this in a lot of my products. It's something I like to share with all the women I coach, because sometimes you just need to go to the nail salon. Sometimes you need to go get your feet rubbed. Sometimes you just need to take a walk. Sometimes you need to chat with your girlfriends. And any guy you're with needs to understand that.
But you've got to learn how to communicate that to your lover, especially in the beginning. It's important you let him know from day one how important your special alone time is to you. If you communicate that properly, he won't feel insecure or worry you don't want him around. And when you do come back together, you can enjoy the healthy, exciting partnership that you both love so much.
Lay the ground rules from the get-go and you're going to find your relationships far more successful. I wrote a blog about this the other day at my website. You can read it HERE, and if you're quick, you can also watch a free video that shows you how to attract the man of your dreams.
More from YourTango: The #1 Reason You Shouldn't Fall In Love On A First Date
More relationships advice from YourTango