Hello couples and anyone in a relationship...! Less is the new more. Quality is the new quantity. Lowering expectations about what healthy couples "should" do together is today's topic.
In my experience with counseling family issues, I see a lot of similar problems come through the door. Too many arguments, not enough "me" time, kids changing the relationship dynamic. I hear couples saying:
"I didn't expect it to be this way"
"All of my other friends marriages are not this way"
"We never spend time together anymore except doing things with the kids"
"I have nothing to myself anymore"
All valid emotions and experiences. Although the common aliment from this is two fold. One EXPECTATIONS and the second is RESENTMENT.
I expected something different than_________...
I resent my partner for not________...
We never do________...
I never get to do_________anymore...
There is also a lot of comparing to others, what we think others are anyways. We build these "perfect" couples and what they probably do all the time..Stop right there, they don't exist! Maybe there are healthier couples, although they still come to therapy I promise.
So what is the measure for healthy? Each family is different, although when you reduce and seek to limit the expectations of time having magical wonderful experiences together, and enjoy the few moments of peaceful time each month together, and stop having resentment for the other person, you ENJOY the moments so much more. Mindfully connecting when possible and letting go of the time you are not able to with peace. See it as a complement that you want to be together, not an insult if it does not happen.
Love is the ABSENCE of judgement. Do not judge your beloved for needing time away from you. Do not judge them for asking to have their own space. Seek support from others, a coach, therapist, or dear friend who has mastered the art of being one with themselves in a relationship.
In the meantime, less is more. Take time to yourselves and allow it with grace.
Remember, absence makes the heart grow fonder after all.
Jaclyn Fortier, LPC