When I am coaching private clients, I have noticed that there is often a push/pull attitude towards the idea of being in a relationship; they want one, yet when it comes to discussing the reality they are not quite sure. Much of this hesitation revolves around what they think they have to give up once they are coupled up. They are worried that they are going to have to subsume themselves into the relationship to the extent that their individuality disappears, that they will have to make so many compromises that they lose sight of themselves. Is the price of a partner giving up yourself? I am here to assure you that it needn’t be that way. I am living proof.
When I think of my husband, I often feel a swelling in my heart. He’s so adorable! And while love might be grand, love + respect is even better. That is our foundation. Sometimes it’s challenging because he is a Capricorn and I am a Pisces. You see what I mean? Astrological charts aside, we are very different people, and come at most situations from very different perspectives. Fortunately, we usually want to end up in the same place. In the past, I have shared with you how when we go away together, we travel to Heathrow separately and meet at the flight gate. We want to do the entire journey differently: he wants to leave hours early, I want to leave at what I consider a sensible, but not excessively early time. He wants to eat at the airport. I want to eat at home. He wants to take the tube to the Heathrow Express. I want to take a cab there instead. After getting scrappy with each other on yet another fractious trip to the airport where neither of us was doing it the way we wanted, we decided to meet at the airport for future trips. Now we just get the good parts of the holiday and have eliminated the annoying ones. And there’s a genuine excitement about seeing each other waiting at the gate: that’s where the real holiday starts!
This is a perfect example of what I mean by us having the same end goal, but wanting to take completely different paths to get there and honouring that. The only way for this set-up to work, and not have either partner’s freedom/feelings squashed, is to let the other person do their own thing. But it has to be done in the knowledge, on each side, that just because something isn’t our way of doing things, it doesn’t mean it’s not equally valid. There’s nothing wrong with my husband’s enjoyment of making his way somewhere well in advance, and there’s nothing wrong with my cutting things a bit finer.
If I make this sound easy, it’s not. It takes self-confidence as well as confidence in our partner. Letting your partner approach things in a way that is different to yours, only works when you have love and respect in your relationship.
There are 4 important components to making sure that both parties’ needs are met. These aren’t things you can sort out once and forget about: they need to be attended to continually, again and again throughout the relationship.
- Know what is and what isn’t important to you
In order for you to hold your sense of individuality, you must first know yourself. What are your values? How do you fill yourself? These answers to these types of questions are at the heart of everything. Do you know you? The key to uncovering this will be explored more fully in my new course, ‘Learn to Flirt with Yourself and the Rest is Easy’. In the meantime, I urge you to make a list, right now, of the 5 things that you can do for yourself that you know will nourish you.
Mine, for example
- Yoga 3x a week
- Epsom salt baths with lavender oil 1x week
- Attend a talk/lecture/workshop 2x month
- Cook healthy and creative lunches for myself 4x week
- Steam room 1x week
- Netflix 2x week
Did you notice that my partner didn’t even appear on this list? These are all things that I do for myself, so that I can be a good partner for him. We often expect our partner to fill us and that’s not fair. He is busy filling himself, so that he can be a good partner for me. He can’t fill me as well. But, this is powerful: it means that we can all accept responsibility and have the power to make ourselves happy. We don’t need to rely externally for that.