By Rachel Moheban, LCSW
When you’ve been together long enough, you pick up each other’s habits, finish each other’s sentences, share a bed, a home, maybe a couple of kids.
You become a unit.
But have you retained your own identity?
Can you define yourself as your own self, or only as one half of a couple?
Being part of a strong relationship is the ultimate achievement, but only if this is in a healthy and positive way, without giving up what makes you unique. Remember that you and your partner chose each other because of these individualities.
For example, let’s say that you have a friend, Sue. Sue is a motivated and successful Sales Manager at a hi-tech company. She loves traveling, going to art galleries and working out at the gym. Sue always has time for her friends and always offers an ear to listen.
Sue meets Bob. And falls in love. Three years down the line, Sue and Bob are married and are in an intense and passionate relationship.
You hardly ever see Sue anymore. Bob is very demanding of Sue’s time. He prefers to stay at home, so they don’t socialize much. Sue no longer visits art galleries and has stopped going to the gym.
He has a jealous nature, and often goes into her Facebook profile and checks her mobile text messages.
Bob definitely oversteps the relationship boundaries and doesn’t give Sue her right to privacy and individuality.
This is quite an extreme example, but do you feel that there are ways in which your partner oversteps the boundaries?
If so, here are some tips on how to approach your partner about this issue:
· Don’t accuse – raise the issue in a sensitive way, as perhaps your partner doesn’t intend to do this
· Offer suggestions on how your partner could change this behavior
· Reciprocate – ask your partner if there are any ways in which he/she feels that you overstep the boundaries
Healthy relationships can only be maintained if both partners are fulfilled and complete.
Rachel Moheban currently has a private practice in New York City and specializes in individual and couples therapy, and is the founder of The Relationship Suite. She has her Masters Degree in Social Work from New York University and was trained at the Ackerman Institute for the Family and at the Training Institute for Mental Health in marital and group counseling. For more info visit http://www.therelationshipsuite.com