Why Living Separately From Your Partner/Spouse May Not Be Such A Bad Thing After All
A couple of years ago, I wrote an article highlighting reasons why cohabitating before marriage was beneficial. The basis of my argument came from my personal experience and was loosely inspired by an interview that Michael Ealy did, where he shared that he and his wife moved in together prior to jumping the broom.
The reasons I gave for "shackin up," were to set realistic goals and expectations about solidifying a lifelong commitment, shaving off debt, the opportunity to really get to know your partner inside and out, and to see if there were any bad habits, red flags, or deal-breakers that came up that would give you a change of heart about pursuing the relationship any further.
While I still believe this to be true, after a very traumatic and transformative year; I've been a lot more open-minded about what living well truly looks like, and how it means different things to different people.
During quarantine, I've seen a fair share of relationships/marriages blossom, while some have fallen apart. I think for a lot of us, having to sit still and be in close proximity with our mates has either been a blessing in disguise or has revealed some blindspots that we were too busy to pay attention to or didn't see clearly before.
I know for me, being on lockdown for the last several months has forced me to deal with some uncomfortable truths; one of which is that while I enjoy being married and having a family, sometimes it can feel suffocating. At times, I miss the freedom of just getting up and doing what I want to do at any given moment, not that I'm unable to do so with my current responsibilities, it's just that now it takes some extra planning and preparation.
To be quite honest, I've always been a free spirit. I'm like a walking contradiction. Part of me "wants to be alone and not bothered, the other part of me wants love and attention." Alexa, play Torn by LeToya Luckett.
Contrary to popular belief, living separately while married is becoming a thing, especially for progressive couples, and I'm not mad at it.
Let's be transparent for a moment...some couples choose to live apart out of fear/anxiety, or past trauma. If that is the case, I'd kindly suggest speaking to a licensed behavioral health professional to help unpack any blockages that are keeping you from a fulfilling intimate/romantic connection with another person. For those of us who thrive on autonomy and desire a healthy amount of uninterrupted "me time," I'm all the way here for doing what's best for you and your situation also.
Do you boo!
In the name of self-care, a lot more millennials in relationships are not in a rush to move in together, and instead are taking time to tap into their healing and doing life their way.
I've done some digging on a few reasons why some couples are going this route and here's what I've gathered:
1. An opportunity to develop one's own independence and happiness
It's no secret that at some point in our lives, we all fall victim to losing a sense of our individuality in a relationship. No one sets out to become codependent or to forget who we are, but it happens. Sometimes when we are so devoted to another person's needs and comfort, we rob ourselves of our own individual wants and needs; and is easy to get caught up in that, especially when you are sharing space with them. Having your own separate living arrangement from your partner is a chance to really get to know yourself and discover how you can bring fulfillment and joy to yourself. It allows you the room to grow and learn how to maintain your sense of self without the pressure or distraction of worrying about someone else. Once you get to know yourself from the inside out, you will be able to discern whether or not that special someone is in alignment with what you desire out of life, and it allows you to give from a place of fullness, rather than feeling empty and depleted.
2. Helps to cultivate better sex and intimacy
Dwelling in separate homes is an invitation to get more creative, and spice up your love life. There's nothing more satisfying than being able to let it all hang out in different locations, and have a sexual escapade with someone you love and trust. All it takes is some good communication, consistency, and role play. A sneaky link with your bae is a necessary part of your wellness routine. Have fun with it. You both can take turns planning dates or meetups, and make things interesting so that you have something to look forward to. This can definitely bring out a higher sexual frequency and drum up the excitement for what's to come. Step outside of your comfort zone and bring on the pleasure.
3. Creates more spontaneity and fun
There's only so much Netflix and chillin' that you can do before it gets old and boring. It's easy to lose interest or take your partner for granted if you're in each other's faces 24/7. By having some time apart, you can have more time to dedicate to keeping the sparks going and keeping things fresh and exciting. You are bound to put in more effort and want to impress your significant other because you'll anticipate enjoying their company. This will you give you and your honey all the feels for each other like you had when the relationship first started, and you will both want to keep chasing that feeling. Pull all the stops, and leave no stones unturned. Bring back to their remembrance all of the wonderful things you love and appreciate about each other, and you will be sure to set the tone for how you want the future to be.
4. Invites more peace and harmony into your partnership
Being around your man/woman all the time can sometimes create unnecessary tension and stress that you didn't sign up for, and quite frankly too much of anything isn't a good thing. Arguments over leaving the toilet seat up or dishes in the sink, or perhaps issues with the finances are all things that can bring problems into your relationship when you're tasked with sharing household responsibilities. When you spend less time together or do not have to make decisions that require money, or your joint input about your living conditions, there is less to worry about therefore petty disagreements about those things don't happen as often. If each party handles its own responsibilities, you'll have a better chance of coexisting in a healthier space that doesn't warrant useless disputes.
At the end of the day, only you and your significant other know what's best for you and your relationship. Keep an open heart, and an open mind; and remember that you have the right to live life on your terms. People will have their opinions about what they feel that you should or should not do, and it is up to you both to decide what you can live with, and how you want to move forward. As long as you approach your partnership with love, respect, loyalty, and healthy dialogue; you will be on the path to success. It is up to you both as individuals to do the inner work to manifest what you want out of life, and to be sure that you do not accept anything that is not purposeful and fruitful to your wellbeing.