By Alecia Rice –
Q. My fiancée doesn’t like me to go out with the guys or do anything socially without her. Should it be this way?
— Feeling Shackled
A. Dear Feeling Shackled,
Generally, it shouldn’t be this way. It’s an immature way to be in a relationship because love doesn’t suffocate and confine, but expands trust and grows the couple.
This is a common scenario, especially for younger people, although it happens with elders too. I often see patterns of people engaging in new relationships to the exclusion of their friendships. I empathize with this tendency because new feelings of attraction are so strongly magnetic, yet I counsel otherwise. We shouldn’t spend time with our friends only when we don’t have a love interest. Relationships come and go, yet it’s friendships that generally sustain us after they end. Friends won’t last if we haven’t valued and nurtured them by dropping them as soon as the next love interest comes along.
Partners sometimes misread their mates’ desire to hang with their friends as a signal that they’re not loved enough. Inversely, some confuse their partner’s demands to not spend time with others as a sign that they’re jealous meaning that they’re deeply loved, yet that’s a misnomer. At times, this is accompanied by a demand that the partner “check in” several times a day. This pattern isn’t necessarily about deep love, but more the beginnings of a pitfall which can lead to control, isolation, and even sometimes abuse. It’s important to be cognizant of such tendencies.
There’s a famous movie line where Tom Cruise says to his girlfriend, “You complete me”. This causes females to swoon. While I agree that it’s wildly romantic, it also speaks loudly to the mistaken notion that our mates are supposed to complete us, as if we can’t be complete within ourselves. It’s especially romantic because the man says it to the woman, instead of the opposite. Reverse the roles and it wouldn’t have played out as highly romantic, but as needy. Neediness doesn’t equate love. It’s not attractive and it’s oppressive.
We can’t expect our mates to meet the complexities of ALL our needs. This puts unreasonable, pressured expectation on those we love. It’s our responsibility to nurture friendships with family and friends outside our relationships so that others can fulfill the many facets of our needs and interests that our partners can’t.
Underdeveloped and dysfunctional people are needy. They come with baggage and drama. Our goal is to develop enough self-awareness that we’re conscious of our issues so we can seek tools and perspectives to heal those incomplete parts, thereby not needing another to make us whole. We try to stand as complete as possible within ourselves awaiting a partner who’s also well-rounded. This optimal coupling allows us to enhance who we are together without one feeling undue pressure to compensate for the inadequacies of the other. Balanced people seek out balanced partners to enhance their lives, although this doesn’t mean that we don’t enter a relationship until we’re perfect because, hence, we would be alone forever. A partnership should enhance and evolve who we are, hopefully leading to a peaceful life of contentment, intimacy and connection.
This advice comes with one caveat: if you’ve shown yourself to be untrustworthy and have broken, you can expect your mate to be hesitant for you to go out with your friends until you’ve repaired that trust and proven yourself over time. Trust is like a vase. Once broken, it can be repaired … but it will never look the same again.
Q. My girlfriend and I are moving in together. I told her that I need my own bedroom, and she’s taking it personally. Am I wrong? — Solo Sleeper
A. Dear Solo Sleeper,
At first blush, this can be misread and sting because many equate sleeping in different bedrooms with a lack of intimacy and love, but that’s not necessarily true. People might request separate sleeping quarters for a myriad of reasons, such as being a light sleeper, different schedules, snoring, bed-hogging and varying needs for temperature, light, pets, etc. It’s important to communicate those reasons to her so she better understands while ensuring how much you love her. Let her know that you still want to cuddle, share intimacy or watch TV in bed together, but that you have specific needs when it comes to sleeping, so you can get good sleep and function better during the day. Also, make sure that it’s not really about what other people think because sometimes that’s a thing.
Alecia Rice integrates higher concepts with wisdom to bring forth balance, perspective and clarity. She’s a personal advisor, speaker, and a gatherer of women. For perspective on personal issues, you’re invited to text questions and comments to
681-321-1109. Discussions continue @AskAlecia on Facebook.