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June 13, 2013
Arguing Couple

Arguing Couple

For many people, becoming a couple can create a lot of confusion. Joining yourself with another while being able to maintain one’s own individuality, may present a conflict that is quite difficult to resolve. Becoming a unit and keeping your own sense of self is challenging to balance.

There are those people who are terrified of losing their individual identity upon entering a relationship. Their personal boundary is so strong, they fear allowing the relationship to enter and have a boundary of its own. They guard their individuality with their life. These couples are easy to spot. They are disengaged. Their relationship has a roommate quality to it. When they walk down the street, one of them walks a foot or two ahead of the other one. Rather than appearing connected to each other, they are disconnected; sometimes even sleeping apart or vacationing separately.

Bachelor Party Photo

Bachelor Party Photo

For some reason, traditionally, we throw wild parties as our celebratory ritual prior to someone getting married. It marks the end of freedom. YIKES! Our society sets us up for an unhealthy, negative view of marriage right from the start. Instead of feeling overjoyed at the thought of sharing a life together, we bid our individual freedom farewell.

But still, there are those couples where people have never set up their individual boundaries at all. They appear to be joined at the hip. When you ask one of them a question, the other one answers. They don’t share their lives; they live for each other. They are enmeshed, blurring the lines of where one of them begins and the other ends.

Happy Couple

Happy Couple

The healthy couple is able to somehow balance both extremes with each person finding a comfortable middle. When we first meet and fall in love, we find things about our partner and they find things in us that we love in each other. But over time, we begin to try and change our partner to be more like us. It is as if we want to assimilate our partner into ourselves. The very unique qualities that our mate has that first attracted us and made us love them, can get caught up in our wanting them to do things our way. If we don’t have a very secure sense of self, we can lose who we are and get swallowed up by the relationship.

In a healthy, balanced couple, each person is able to maintain their own identity while they are invested in the welfare of their partner. Healthy couples are able to keep advice that other people, even family member give in perspective. They are able to lovingly and tactfully let their mother-in-laws know, for example, that they are not ready to start a family yet, even when they pour on the guilt-trip about them getting too old to be able to enjoy their grandchildren. They are able to let others people, including family members, know that their first priority for their time belongs to their relationship. They understand that people can be unwittingly intrusive and they do not let their relationship take a back seat.

They maintain who they are, keeping it real, and bring 100% of themselves to the relationship, keeping it the most important thing.

Maybe this is what people mean when they say maintaining a good relationship is no simple thing. It takes hard work.


I’m a licensed clinical social worker and have worked extensively as a counselor with children, adolescents, couples and families. I combine professional experience in the mental health field along with my love of writing to provide insight into real-life experiences and relationships. I hope my down-to-earth approach to living a happier, more meaningful life is easy to understand and just as easy to start implementing right away for positive results!

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