To sustain a long-term passionate relationship, we need to balance two primary drives—the desire for togetherness and the desire for independence and autonomy. While everyone has a different ideal balance point, it’s clear that the extremes of too much togetherness or too much independence can each generate their own problems.
You might be able to get your partner to stop pursuing his or her passion of choice, but first ask yourself the following questions: Do you want the person you love to stop doing what he or she is passionate about? Do you want to spend time with someone who feels guilty, constricted, and resentful?
The fastest way to suck the life out of a relationship is to make someone feel guilty for what he or she is passionate about.
Moreover, no one can ever, regardless of relationship status, possess rights over another person. Through control, we can manipulate someone to be with us, but we won’t be getting the best of that person or out of the relationship.
When you feel threatened by your partner spending time apart from you, ask yourself how you could empower yourself instead of controlling someone else.
I recommend three steps that involve a simple change of attitude.
1. Be happy your partner is enjoying him- or herself. You will have a better relationship if your partner is happy.
2. Do something you enjoy on your own, whether it’s reading Keats, studying Waterski Magazine cover to cover, or taking up salsa dancing.
3. Make some positive plans together that your partner will want to participate in. “Let’s have a barbeque tonight with some friends.” “Do you want to join me by the riverside to try this great bottle of red wine and Délice cheese tonight?”
Nothing can be gained by resenting your partner’s passions!
by Alison Poulsen, PhD