What it is a couple? The dictionary says that couple is: “two people who are married or otherwise closely associated romantically or sexually”. Two individuals that want to do something together. Two individual worlds that want to create a third one. That means that we need to pay attention and to care about our own universe and to the universe that we are creating with our partner. We need to have meaningful things happening in our individual world and in the world that we are creating with our partner.

Most of the times the universe that we create with our partner we are going to call it “family” and we lose ourselves in trying to do “everything” for the family, neglecting many times our individual needs and desires. And on top of that it is very easy to also lose the perspective of what means to be a family and we only focus on the transactional activities that imply to be a family: having kids, feeding them, raising them, paying bills, going to work, house chores...

It is important to find a balance in the energy, efforts and gratifications that we find in our shared world and the ones that we have from our individual world. Some people will need more individual time, others will need more shared time but all we need both: individual and shared time and spaces.

How you can know when you are demanding more of the shared world and you may need more time focusing on your own world? Needing some time apart doesn't mean you don't love your partner; it just means you need time to take care of yourself and recharge. Here are 6 situations that can lead to think that you need more individual world:

  1. If you're constantly arguing over little things.
  2. When you are “co-dependent” and can’t do anything without letting your partner know or getting your partner’s approval or vice versa.
  3. If every little thing is bugging you in your interaction.
  4. Spending time together is not as fun as it used to be.
  5. You don't want to invite your partner anywhere.
  6. If you are over stressed, it's probably a good idea to spend some time alone.

When we forget about ourselves and to take care of our own needs, we are going unconsciously (or consciously) to demand satisfaction and care from our partner. Those demands will increase the tensions in the relationship and that can lead to frustrations and break ups.

Individuality is important to happiness. Being together all the time can suffocate a relationship. Being individuals will make you both a stronger couple. If you are strong individually, if you have other sources of gratification and self-esteem you will need/demand less from your partner and that will improve the interaction in your relationship. If both of you have interesting and meaningful individual worlds, would be easier to create also a interesting and meaningful shared world, beyond the daily routine.

Pablo Munoz