Are you happy with how much time you're spending with your partner? Are they?
Of all the reasons couples fight and grow distant, too much time spent together is a common cause of strife in a loving relationship. And it's not always in the way you'd think. There are couples who are unhappy because they're spending too little time together and growing apart and others who become agitated when they spend too long together. It's also surprisingly common to hear one half wishing for more time while the other feels that they don't get enough alone time. Does any of this ring true for your relationship?
If you feel that you're not spending enough time with your partner or not getting enough time for yourself (or both!) the problem could be deeper than a scheduling issue. Fortunately, it's also something you can work together to fix and regain your harmony.
Introversion and Extroversion
There's a widespread misconception that couples should want to spend every waking hour with each other paired with the double-income standard of only seeing each other mornings, evenings, and some of the weekend. The fact of the matter is that every couple is different. Some are happy in the honeymoon phase forever, some enjoy a dual independence with a partner to rely on but what really determines how much time you want to spend together is in the personalities of both partners.
For instance, are you introverted or extroverted? What about your partner? Extroverts are both more likely to want to spend a lot of time with their partner and to want to go out with a wide variety of friends. Extroverts with few friends tend to need their partner for constant social interaction but extroverts with many friends can make the mistake of being away from home too much.
Introverts, on the other hand, need less social contact and may crave a certain amount of alone time to think quiet thoughts and sort out their feelings away from the influence or interruption of others. They are both more likely to seek solitude regularly and more likely to crave quiet time together with their partner if there's either too much socializing or time away from each other. Naturally, balancing time at home, separate, activity, and quiet all matter in this equation.
Teamwork and Independence
Of course, your position on the introvert to extrovert spectrum is joined by how much you like to work together with someone on your projects and how much you like to do things alone. Some people value their independence and ability to finish things on their own very highly. They will share their personal and leisure time with their partner but when it's time to get to work or think about something seriously, they like to do it alone
Others prefer teamwork in all things and will want to confer with their partner before making any decision ranging from important things like how to raise the children to tiny things like what brand of eggs to buy.
Independent members of a couple are more likely to work and handle errands on their own then come home to relax with their partner. Teamwork oriented people are more the type to work in the same place as their partner or even start a business together in order to always be working side by side. Needless to say, a disagreement on this level can cause just a little relationship friction.
Separate or Joined Careers
It used to be much more fashionable to run a business with your spouse as your business partner and constant companion and people used to do this all the time. However, the current standard is for both members of a couple to choose their own careers and follow them independently while living in the same house. Each person also has their own preference for whether they want to build a career on their own or build a shared career with their partner. This will also influence how much time you will want and need to spend together.
Getting Enough Time Together
Couples often complain of not getting the right amount of time together, but the right amount is will depend on this combination of factors between the two partners. The most harmonious solutions involve compromises, balance, and taking each other's preferences into consideration when making decisions. Because no two people are exactly alike, one partner is almost always more extroverted than the other, more career-oriented, or more interested in being a full-time team.
The key is to understand your shared needs and build a plan to meet them. If you need more time together, consider a joint career. If you need less time, help each other build separate careers. If there's a distinct imbalance in desires for time together, figure out which times are the most important and prioritize them. For help understanding your needs as a couple and finding the right solutions, please contact me today.