“Be sure you have a life of your own, otherwise it is harder to have a life together. Have your own interests, your own friends, your own support network, and your own hobbies. Overlap where you can, but not being identical should give you something to talk about . . . and helps to expand your horizons as a couple.”
One of the most regular things people who got in touch said was to do with the importance of creating space and separation from a partner.
People sung the praises of separate checking accounts, separate credit cards, having different friends and hobbies, taking separate vacations from one another each year (this has been a big one in my own relationship). Some even went so far as to recommend separate bathrooms and separate bedrooms.
Some people are afraid to give their partner freedom and independence. This comes from a lack of trust and/or insecurity that if we give our partner too much space, they will discover they don’t want to be with us anymore. Generally, the more uncomfortable we are with our own worthiness in the relationship, the more we will try to control our partner’s behavior.
Even more importantly, this inability to let our partners be who they are is a subtle form of disrespect. After all, if you can’t trust your husband to have a simple golfing trip with his buddies, or you’re afraid to let your wife go out for drinks after work, what does that say about your respect for their ability to handle themselves appropriately? What does it say for your respect for yourself? After all, if you believe a couple after-work drinks is enough to steer your partner away from you, you clearly don’t think too highly of yourself.
“If you love your partner enough you will let them be who they are—you don’t own them, who they hang with, what they do or how they feel. Drives me nuts when I see women not let their husbands go out with the guys or are jealous of other women.”