Creating Independence in Relationships

by Jen Griffin

Being in relationships that fulfill us is like magic. We walk away wanting more and look forward to the next time we see them. If we are lucky,  we receive a bonus by learning and growing and discovering something about ourselves in the relationship too.

As easy as it is to want to spend all our time around a relationship like this, it’s also easy to lose our independence. Understanding our personal boundaries and establishing a healthy sense of independence is key to knowing who we are and to keeping the magic alive.

Here are several ways to identify what to do when we start to feel like we are one instead of two: 

1.     Acknowledge It:  You may not even notice it at first but then one day you realize you’ve become one person. You start missing things you used to do, people you used to hang with or interests you used to participate in. Its ok, we have all been there. When you start to feel this way, call it out, talk about it out loud, let the guilt go (if you have any) and start to call on your partner to help.

2.     Include Your partner: A relationship can feel threatened when changes are starting to occur without including your partner in the process. Talk to eachother about the topic of wanting to establish independence as an individual, not from the relationship. A relationship with a high level of trust, mutual respect and friendship can withstand making these adjustments for the partnership.

3.     Honor Your Values:  Creating independence also comes from understanding your boundaries and what values you hold that are not being honored.  If you aren’t sure what some of these answers are, ask yourself these questions:

·      What is important to me? 

·      What thoughts and feelings are worth protecting? 

·      What friendships have I let go?

·      What are my needs?

·      What hobbies have I not kept up with?

·      What have I given up to satisfy my partner & how can we compromise?

4.    Make Small Shifts: Start by changing one or two things during your week to help honor what you, the individual, needs.

5.    Notice what you have that is truly your own, then explore your own interests:  So many times we think we are being selfish by honoring ourselves. In reality, when we honor ourselves, we are happier in the relationship.  We all need something just for us.  A healthy relationship can make plenty of room for each person to maintain their individuality.

6.    Meditate: When our mind is free of clutter, it's much easier to make a shift.

Remember: Its ok to create a stronger ME to enhance a beautiful WE