Sharing the Struggle: Independent/Co-Dependent

Dear June,
I’m married to a wonderful man. We don’t share a lot of the same interests in terms of social activities. I will often go to a movie alone or leave him with his friends at the bar to snuggle up with a book at home. He and I are just as happy apart as we are together. That being said, we spend a good portion of our alone time explaining to friends and family that the other spouse is fine/not sick and we are just doing different things. Is there a better way to explain this? There seems to be a stigma with going places or doing things on your own.

Happily Independent!

HI!,

I get a lot of “Is this normal?” questions. Normal is relative. You and your husband have found a system that works for you, and I congratulate you on that. Our generation is getting married later in life, which means that when we meet our significant other, we are fully formed adults with our own interests. Being able to spend time apart pursuing your own interests will only enrich your marriage.

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Conversely, if you spend all of your free time apart with no overlap, you may not have what it takes to make it long-term and this is what your friends and family are concerned about. That doesn’t appear to be the case here, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention it. Because we live in a social network society, we are overloaded with information all the time. So, it’s possible for your loved ones to have missed that you and your spouse spent the long weekend in wine country so you leaving the bar throws up a red flag for them.

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HI!, Their concern is well-intentioned. Think of the examples they have in their lives of what a “normal” relationship is. Most likely their parents got married at a young age and the responsibilities of raising a family overshadowed personal interests. They spent all their time together out of necessity. By the time they were able to engage in social activities, their spouse’s attendance was expected. Thereby creating the notion that spouses must spend the majority of their time together. From that perspective, they see you leaving and assume you are angry at your spouse because he dragged you out to the bar when you wanted to be home. You are not forcing your spouse into a position of resentment and he is doing the same for you.

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The next time this happens say, “Thank you for your concern,” because like I said, it comes from a good place “but really there’s no need. My husband and I just enjoy doing things independently sometimes so we can recharge our batteries.”

Just because you walked down an aisle and said some vows does not mean you have to forfeit your individuality. You have to do what is best for your marriage. Check in with your spouse from time to time to make sure he feels supported by you but other than that, go see that movie girl! Not having to share your popcorn is one of the small pleasures in life.

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All the best,
June Spence

Have a question for June? Submit your questions or stories to submit@shuffleonline.net or tweet us @SharingStruggle or @ShuffleOnline!

About June

June was born and raised in the south where “bless your heart” is an insult. Self professed serial dater and an expert in all matters of the heart. June also enjoys volunteering, dancing and sewing.

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