Many couples come to couples counseling Washington DC because they feel disconnected from their partner. They tell me that conversation and sex with their spouse is awkward, and they just don’t have anything in common. Most of us would agree that this is a problem. Disconnection just can’t be good for a relationship. But, what about the opposite? Is there such a thing as too much connection?
It’s true that sometimes couples can be too connected. Couples find themselves in couples counseling in Washington DC, and like a bad romantic comedy, they spend every waking minute together and can’t help but finish each other’s sentences. In the beginning of a relationship, this is normal and necessary in order to build a strong foundation. However, in some relationships, partners lose themselves in one another, struggling to find friends or interests outside the relationship. This is a dangerous place to be, especially since a spouse is not a replacement for friends, family, hobbies, or a fulfilling career.
I’ve noticed a variation of this phenomenon in my own relationship. My husband needs more “alone time” than I do; as a result, I often find myself busying myself with various unimportant tasks while I wait for him to be ready to hang out. The moment he’s ready, I drop what I’m doing and spend time with him, even if I’m in the middle of an interesting article or TV show. In the last few weeks, I’ve noticed how resentful I feel that my alone time is not as valuable as his alone time. And, then, I realized I wasn’t valuing myself or my interests! How can I expect him to value and prioritize my “me time,” if I don’t value it myself?
The goal in relationships is balancing togetherness with separateness: going forward with your own self-development while caring about your spouse’s well-being. This can be hard at any stage: newlyweds, new parents, raising teens, or retirement. So, if you’re struggling to maintain the balance, you’re in good company. However, if you feel you and your partner are too connected (and struggle to maintain outside interests and friendships) or too disconnected (and struggle to relate to one another), reach out to one of our therapists, and contact us for couples counseling near Washington DC!