‘Me time’ – underestimated in relationships

The term ‘me time’ came into vogue about a decade ago. Its importance was brought to the fore by experts from the mental wellness fraternity world-wide who couldn’t stop emphasizing its benefits – to counter stress, facilitate decision making, problem solving through insightful thinking, enhance relationships and increase concentration and efficiency. Too bad, indulging in it still continues to be a challenge for most, especially those in relationships.

The most distorted thinking while in a relationship is the tendency for couples to feel compulsive about staying together continuously.  The first thing that comes to my mind is the concept of ‘merged couples’ – an expression given to couples who have lost their sense of individuality, lost the space in between and operate as one. They are like two peas in a pod, never apart. The result – over dependence, feeling of being stifled and taken for granted, decreased attraction and increased clinginess. Mark of an unhealthy relationship.

The strong need for one’s own space should never be undermined. Being in love cannot eradicate the want for one’s own time. For that matter, spending every single moment with one’s partner neither justifies nor guarantees a flawless relationship either. So, the question remains – what should be the ideal balance between ‘we time’ and ‘me time’?  While its very natural and normal for couples to spend 24/7 with each other in a new relationship, striking the right balance between the two is never easy. If 100 percent is a lot, zero is a lot less. New couples must learn to navigate their time together with some ‘me time’ and spending time with family and friends. Availability of couples to their pre-existing relationships decline. As a result, other relationships take a back seat. These are the same relationships which would provide the much required support when they go through turbulent times.

When one partner takes some time alone, the significant other may feel like they have to fight their way on to their partner’s schedule. We can attribute this to men and women being wired differently. Studies show that women are more prone to spending increased amount of time with their partner, while men are like rubber bands. Intimacy and independence go hand in hand for them. So they naturally tend to go back and forth to their original interests and hobbies from time to time.

It is impossible to fulfil each and every need of one’s partner. ‘Me time’ can beautifully substitute and complement some of these unfulfilled needs. Various aspects underlying the need for personal space range from fear of demystification, anxiety about being abandoned or left heartbroken – if remained too invested in a relationship, to compromising on activities of interest, inducing a feeling of giving up something – a feeling synonymous to giving up one’s identity. Sometimes mere suffocation creates the need to take a break. A sure shot way to breed resentment and emotional distance into one’s relationship.

Guilt deters people from not taking that crucial time for themselves. But once it is pursued and the resultant outcome effective, one realises the value of this opportunity to be an individual again. It gives a sense of privacy, independence and self-fulfilment. What better way to recharge one’s emotional batteries, which are inevitably drained at some point in a relationship?

‘Me time’ gives you the biggest platform to be yourself, so even if it’s only ‘tea time’ for starters, take that break and enjoy your cuppa…