Okay, so I don’t mean leave altogether, but can you go to your room? This was a question that came out of my mouth during our pre-marital counseling with the amazing Rev. Ann Marie Alderman.
Ann Marie asked, “Is there anything you haven’t discussed in regards to living together?” and that question, the question just popped out of my mouth: “Can you leave when my friends come over?” I asked in a lighthearted tone if that counts for anything. We all laughed at my lack of tact, and I’m sure Ann Marie rephrased my question in some eloquent way that allowed for our conversation to open up.
When you really get down to it, this question is about being an individual AND living, sharing, in a home together. The lines between “I” and “We/Us” can get blurry. However, I think it’s so important to be able to ask, maybe in a nicer way, to get the hell out while I have some me/friends/watch Bravo time.
Beyond just getting “me time,” your partner leaving the house (or room) gives you something to talk about with them. When we have our own individual lives, we have information and new experiences to share with our partners. In my (short) experience in sharing a home, I find having individual activities and friends essential to keeping my sanity. I’m lucky that Jimmy, my fiance, feels the same way. When we met it wasn’t a “you complete me” moment. Thankfully, we were already full, whole individuals that didn’t need completing. We’d done A LOT of work on ourselves. Our moment was and is more like “you enrich me and make me a better person.” If this is how you view relationships, then hold on to your individual friends, interests, lives. You aren’t keeping a secret from your partner, but you’re keeping it fresh and leaving yourself open to grow outside your relationship. There’s a whole world out there!
In my humble opinion, a happy home is one where two individuals live, love, and share their journeys together (emphasis on the plural form of journeys). We are not ONE. We are not joined at the hip. Although, some couples have physically tried this experiment. In our house, we are separate individuals that have decided to love each others’ unique beauties and flaws.
So far, it works. Let me know what works for you. As my friend Jennifer’s dad says, “Whatever blows your skirt up.” This wise motto was made for relationships.