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Separateness and togetherness

(11 Posts)
DoraDymant Mon 30-Nov-15 20:38:10

After 16 years together I've finally realised that I've lost my own identity and sense of self. DP and me are in couples counselling and trying to fix things, but we keep hitting the same brick walls. So I'm hoping if anyone has been in the same situation they might have tips on how we can handle this and move forwards together more positively.

Over the years our friends have merged (or at least mine have), our lives are centred only on work and on the DC, and I've been unable to do anything just for me. Like many lesbian couples we've become each other's everything, which is unhealthy I think. My DP feels threatened by my (relatively recent) desire for a bit more independence. For instance when I made a new friend recently she decided she hated her, and in the end (for reasons that are quite complicated and not all that relevant) I had to stop contact with her - at least for now.

Am I right in thinking that if we are separately more secure, it will be easier to make our relationship stronger? Or do the two things pull in different directions, as she thinks?

DoraDymant Mon 30-Nov-15 21:02:46

Does that not make sense? Or am I just boring? hmm

pocketsaviour Mon 30-Nov-15 21:39:26

we've become each other's everything, which is unhealthy I think.

I would agree with you, but your DP seems to find that idea quite threatening.

When you got together, were things initially more separated? or did she very quickly want to make everything about "us"?

DoraDymant Mon 30-Nov-15 22:18:53

Thanks pocket She wanted us to live together straight away; it was all about growing together from the start. We were very couply. Is it unfair of me to only wake up now though?

pocketsaviour Mon 30-Nov-15 22:23:04

I wouldn't say it was unfair; you've been together a long time and it's only natural that you will grow and change as a person during that time. Especially when you add in parenthood, which changes you quite fundamentally.

Is she afraid that you wanting to do things that don't include her is a prelude to you running off? Like you'll have a taste of freedom and bolt for the door?

Angleshades Mon 30-Nov-15 22:31:09

I don't think you're being unreasonable to want to become more sociable and involve more people in your life. It sounds like you've grown as a person during your relationship and would now like to 'find yourself' (cheesy as that sounds) and that for you means going off and doing your own thing for a bit and there's nothing wrong with that at all. Everyone needs a little space from their partners, family...etc at some point.

Is there anyway you can reassure your partner and let her know how you're feeling? Maybe if she understands where you are coming from she'll feel less threatened by your need to meet new friends/have new interests.

FunkyPeacock Mon 30-Nov-15 22:32:31

You can't help feeling the way you do and it is surely better to be honest about your need to feel like an individual sometimes rather than just bring half a couple. Having said that if she doesn't feel the same way then it is understandable that she may be feeling a bit hurt and insecure.

I would find the situation you describe very claustrophobic

Shallishanti Mon 30-Nov-15 22:38:45

would she feel less challenged if your separateness came from different interests, eg if you joined a choir and she doesn't like to sing? then any new relationships grow naturally out of that so are less threatening 'oh yes, that's DP's choir mates' etc
NB other hobbies are available
I think what you describe is very common for longstanding couples with children

Morganly Mon 30-Nov-15 23:02:49

Do you work? I ask because, that is where a lot of people get their "sense of self" separate from their partners, plus friends which are separate from your "couple" friends.

Being a same gender couple makes it more difficult, I think, because it's normal for different gender couples to have their separate same gender friends and to socialise with them in single gender groups, whereas if you want to see a female friend without her, she feels excluded.

I think the PP idea of having a separate interest is a good idea. So you can present it as wanting to do something which is just for you rather than wanting to socialise without her.

DoraDymant Mon 30-Nov-15 23:44:25

Thank you all. Yes, I work, and I've started socialising a bit more with colleagues. DP has always had work mates but it's been rare for me. That is a good development but still not really 'me'.

A new hobby or interest must be the thing, you're right. In fact I had one but it only lasted a few months. I will put my thinking cap on, do some research and find another one that she is happy for me to do.

Thanks all.

marzipanmaggie Tue 01-Dec-15 06:11:27

I think more emphasis on work, socialising and a hobby are all great and you are right to pursue these and good luck with them.

I have to say I'm vaguely troubled by what you say about finding one "she is happy for me to do". Why should you need to clear this with her first? It sounds as if you are a teenage girl and she is your parent. The fact that you say she has had a lot of workmates but you haven't also strikes me as something of a red flag.

It sounds, based on what you've said, as if the power balance in the relationship has historically been skewed in her favour and that she has become rather complacent about the control she has here. It also sounds as if this is starting to change and she is uncomfortable about it as she enjoys having the upper hand. "My DP feels threatened by my (relatively recent) desire for a bit more independence."

It doesn't sound as if she is prepared to allow you the independence you want. How has she responded so far when this has come up in counselling sessions?

I think you need to consider the possibility that you may have outgrown her, or the relationship with her. A partner who won't allow you to be yourself in a relationship and insists on dictating the terms in a way which ultimately suits their needs is likely to make you feel very resentful after a while.

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