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Is it normal to lead such separate lives, but still have a relatively strong relationship?

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Question - (15 April 2018) 5 Answers - (Newest, 18 April 2018)
A female United Kingdom age 22-25, anonymous writes:

I've been with my boyfriend for over 3 years now and we lived together for 2.5 of those years. We met through working together until I left the company 5 months of us dating (separate reasons, not related to our relationship).

Anyway, I've noticed recently how we lead such separate lives. We don't go on dates, we don't get out in the evening together (I have a large group of friends where boyfriends regularly join us on nights out) and we don't even go shopping together (clothing or food).

Would you say that this is a concern for a relationship? Is it normal to lead such separate lives, but still have a relatively strong relationship? I've mentioned it to him many times about doing this together, even if it's going to the supermarket... But I don't ever see the change.

Thank you!

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (18 April 2018):


"It seems it is, but you will notice the distance will start to widen."

Oh-oh! Three to five years! The magic-period in a relationship! When you determine if it will grow, improve, and evolve to the next level; or putter-out and just decline into boredom and complacency. Co-habitation with no frills or thrills!

Get him to sit-down to talk. He may be getting too used to getting around alone. You need him. If he doesn't need you; then leave him, and find somebody who does. If he leaves you alone too much; you may as well be alone on your own terms, and living your life single and dating. Until you find the right-guy.

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (18 April 2018):

I think you are a very independent self-aware woman. You feel secure about your relationship; but you have to be careful not to let work and other activities pull you apart.

You have to keep your relationship prioritized; and make sure he's not neglected. Sometimes people try too hard to make each other feel free; and you also try to keep a handle on your freedom like your were when you were single. Giving your friends more face-time than your lover. Not good!

Stay balanced! Too much extra-curricular activity outside the relationship leads to indifference and detachment; that could lead to mischief. You start to feel single again.

In my previous relationship; my partner was an attorney. I was just getting my legs with a new company. I traveled a lot the first year; and had to attend a lot of company-sponsored seminars home and abroad. There seemed to be endless meetings after-hours; while his firm was handling a huge case. We only saw each other coming and going. We started eating out; or spending our spare-time with colleagues, or our friends. We started to lose touch with each other. We regularly called each other; but sometimes we were in different time zones. I tend to be somewhat of a loner by nature.

I found myself feeling like I did when I was single. I reverted back to some of my old habits; and even felt a little irritated when I didn't have the house all to myself. I got comfortable being alone; although I did miss him.

He started spending more time with his fellow attorneys and joined a private club. I hardly saw him. One day we sat down and decided that was not how we wanted to conduct a relationship. We needed each other. So we reorganized our time and schedules; and we spend more time doing things together. Our relationship really improved, and I was happy we turned it around. He was diagnosed with cancer; but that was a few years later. I'm glad we made more time for each other as a couple. He died, but we made sure we kept our lives in-sync; but still felt freedom and whole as individuals. I loved him very much. Together 28 years! We met when we were only kids!

My new relationship is built on making sure we always go out together. We spend time doing nothing and vegging around the house. We talk, not text, talk... every single day! We never go to bed without discussing our day, exchanging thoughts, or giving each other encouragement. We are very tactile and affectionate with each other. Being up-close and personal keeps things going. Linking through devices isn't enough.

It seems it is, but you will notice the distance with start to widen.

We're a lot older than you; but my two relationships made sure we made time for each other. We kept/keep our communication open and intimate. We didn't rely on devices and texting as our only means of contact. We were actually there in-person for each other. Keeping our human-ties healthy and using our five senses between us.

I know you are of a different generation; very dependent on your devices. Never lose your closeness. You need that for the sake of passion; and to maintain your romantic-connection. I know it sounds old-fashioned compared to how people relate to each other these days. If you keep too much distance between you, you'll strain the connection. It could stretch so thin, you may not need each other anymore. Part of loving is needing each other.

Some people go from one extreme to the other. Too clingy and smother each other the death. Just be sure you maintain a healthy romantic-connection. Don't forget you're a couple and don't let too much distance and time apart turn your romance into just a friendship or a business-like partnership.

You can incorporate all the above into your relationship to make it well-rounded; but too much distance and time apart might pull you away from each other.

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A female reader, aunt honesty Ireland +, writes (17 April 2018):

aunt honesty agony auntYou say you have only noticed this recently, is there a reason for that? Has something changed recently that has sparked your concerns? You say you have mentioned it to him but things never change, what does he usually say when you mention it to him? If you feel he is not making enough effort with you then you need to be upfront and tell him what you need from the relationship or else you are going to walk away, equally listen to what he needs as well. I know all different people need different things from a relationship but I do think that it is really important to make time for each other and to do activities together as a couple.

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A male reader, Lifeshumor United States +, writes (16 April 2018):

To my knowledge, the only way to make this work is to take some time to seriously consider what you need in a relationship to be happy. Nothing but the things you absolutely need. Write them down and make sure you got them all. When you are ready, notify your boyfriend that you need to have some time together for a serious conversation. Please remember that these things cannot be expressed angrily or negatively. Let him know that no matter what, you respect him and his decision. Then let him know that you have taken time to give this serious thought and that there are things that you need in a relationship to be happy. Let him know about the things you wrote down and see if they are things he wants to do and how he feels about them. If spending more time together is one of the things on your list, make serious plans to change it. Let him know that you would like him to share the same things with you about what he needs in a relationship in order to be happy. Give him time to do the same. If both of you feel like you can accommodate each other then work hard to do what you agreed. If there are things that you both cannot agree to, then as hard as it is, you both need to find a partner that has interests more in line with your own. Separation is hard especially when you have been together long enough to create a routine. Long developed routines are hard to overcome and when it comes to separation they can leave you the most vulnerable. Just remember that we are all human and all with flaws and no matter what, there is someone out there that feels just the same as you. All good things come with time.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (16 April 2018):

The only way it would work is for you both to make time for each other. Go out to dinner once a week, or cook at home, rent a movie and watch it together. You need to spend quality time together once in a while.

You say you live together... aren't there times when you both are home alone? Do you talk? Have sex? How do you communicate?

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