by Linda K. Laffey, MFT


Relationships can be all-consuming.  And a lot of effort.


With the right person, you can be tempted to throw yourself into the deep end of your love.


But while you’re submerged in the relationship pool, it’s easy to get a bit waterlogged from all that togetherness if you forget to take a break.


Your relationship will actually experience heightened intimacy and increased connection if you take some time for yourself, leave the pool for a bit, and bathe in the sun of your own individuality.


Here’s how:


1. Do your own thing.  Maintaining your own interests and pursuits is key to a vibrant, multidimensional life.


When was the last time you participated in an activity without your partner?


Those were things you loved to do.  They made you interesting to know and spend time with.  The people you spent time with doing those activities probably miss you, too.


You’ll relish the feeling of competence and adventure you experience when you’re back in the swing of things.  Reawaken your sense of independence by exploring the activities you enjoy on your own.


Revisit your favorite pastimes or develop new ones.  Send your partner off to do the same.  You’ll have more to talk about when you come back together.


2. Know your own mind.  Reserve the right to decide for yourself.  There is no rule that says a coupled life requires a mind meld.


Sometimes we can lose touch with our own likes and dislikes, wants and needs, even our principles, as we try to bolster and support someone else.


You start to say, “I don’t care.”  But you do.


You catch yourself saying, “It doesn’t matter.”  But it does.


Give thought to the things you agree to or go along with in the interest of your relationship.


Decide what you think.  Act on those convictions.  Live by them for the sake of your own mental, spiritual, and emotional well being and self-respect.


3. Speak your mind.  Express yourself, even if you disagree with your partner.  Value your own perspective enough to share it.


It’s easy to get lost in the views and voice of your spouse or partner, especially if he or she is particularly forceful or passionate.


Get in the habit of sharing honestly.  Don’t dampen your own voice for the sake of harmony and the path of least resistance.


Assert yourself as a fully functioning member of your relationship.  Your partner needs to know what you really think.  Respectful conflict is healthy and keeps your relationship interesting.


4. Make Some Personal plans.  Plot your own course in areas that are just yours.


Career, fitness, and long-held dreams are areas of your life that may benefit from some forethought and time spent goal setting.


Identify hopes and dreams you have put on the back burner.  Make a plan to achieve them.


Expand your horizons by stretching your skills, knowledge, and abilities. Consider taking classes, using community resources, or networking to make new contacts that will help you reach you goals.


5. Find Your Friends.  Invest some time in important relationships.  Give them your undivided attention.


Reconnect.  Be a best friend, a wingman, or a shoulder to cry on.


It’s probably been a while.  Your friends miss you.


Meet at a familiar spot or plan a day of your favorite activities.


Refresh your relationships with a little TLC and time without having to share you with your partner.


When you dive into your life with your partner, try to remember that it’s okay to encourage each other to complete a few laps around the pool on your own.


It just makes floating along together that much more gratifying.


When you’re ready to work on taking your relationship with yourself to a new level while maintaining a great relationship with your partner, please give me a call.


I look forward to hearing from you.


Linda K. Laffey, MFT

(805) 375-5860

(818) 591-2989




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