Yesterday a friend was telling me about a couple who don’t eat together, ever. And I’ve often heard of couples, in long term relationships, who don’t live together. This, to many, will seem a little strange.However, this doesn’t particularly bother me, every relationship is distinctive, and will always challenge our notion of ‘normal’. As long as individuals are happy, growing and developing in that unit together, that’s just fine. The other day I came across quite a new couple with only six months under their belt. They kept using the royal ‘we’ which felt a little odd. ‘
We’ are having this for lunch today (it was the same dish), as ‘we’ are watching what ‘we’ are eating and trying to cut down on meat consumption. This did bother me. I’m all for healthy eating, but does it have to be talked about in unison? Of course, this is one of those quirky things that new ‘in love’ couples can do and before you know it they have matching Christmas jumpers with reindeers on. Last year my husband gave up drinking and felt huge benefits. I have now given up drinking. But, entirely on my own terms. Whenever anyone asks me about it, I don’t use the royal ‘we’. I made a personal decision, and giving up drinking isn’t contingent on my husband because we are two individuals.
The question I always ask my clients is this: how happy are you as an individual? How authentic and truthful are you in yourself and your relationship? An element of balance and compromise is essential in any healthy relationship; however, what happens when one of the people in that relationship takes more control than the other? This can happen organically, or it can be there from the start but either not noticed or defended as a way to really show the other one ‘how much they love them’. Often precipitated by a fractious past or relationship, we can filter how we behave in our relationships based on our previous experiences, and it’s not always positive. To make the other partner happy we can forego our own needs, dreams and values to make them happy.
We can unintentionally impact our confidence and self-esteem if we face the world as a couple rather than individuals in a relationship. This may seem counter-intuitive, but being over-reliant on each other, and having an identity as a couple, undermines our distinctiveness. Being happy in our own skin brings self-assurance. The relationship should be that extra cherry, bringing us joy, happiness and love.
How to improve your confidence.
Communication is THE most crucial element in any partnership. Being honest and having harder conversations correlates to the health of any relationship. If you are concerned about having a candid discussion, that is a red flag. Your other half should care about your happiness, and whether you are living your best life BEING YOU. They should be mindful of your needs and desires as much as you are of theirs. Choosing to keep the status quo, or not to upset the apple cart, is a road to unhappiness. You must put in your own boundaries. If you don’t like your other half choosing your food for you, or telling you what you like and don’t like, tell them. If you want to go out with your friends one night a week, don’t apologise for that but make it part of who YOU are in your relationship. If the other person has an issue with you being a free thinker and independent, then that is really their problem. Nothing is worth giving up your freedom of choice.
Relationships should be fun, fulfilling and loving. But remember: as the dust of initial lust starts to fade, you will discover how picking up someone else’s dirty clothes can get irritating very quickly. Both in the literal and metaphorical sense!
Confidence in your relationship is all about confidence in your identity. Here are three ways to help you maintain self-confidence and individuality:-
1) Maintain your own interests
2) See people/friends separate to your partner
3) Keep a healthy perspective of your personal identity
Ensuring the bond with yourself is just as strong as the bond with your partner will provide for a long lasting and happy relationship.
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