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|Nick Slade • 9/25/14|
Our love relationships add a new and wonderful dimension to our lives. Work and sleep are pretty much set in stone in the schedules of our daily lives, so the only way to make room for romance is by sacrificing a bit of our social and family life.
The key to a happy relationship (and a happy man) is to balance our discretionary time in a way that works for everyone.
Your girl is important, but your friends and family have loved you for a lot longer than she has. If every Sunday afternoon is dinner with Mom and Dad or football with the gang, then that is something you will have to work your relationship around.
You are entitled to some non-negotiable prior commitments and so is she. When there is conflict, compromises will have to be reached, but no one should be expected to give up friends and family for a girlfriend or boyfriend.
As the relationship develops, you and your girl might become more and more attached at the hip. (Get your mind out of the gutter.) When you’re both ready, it may be time to include her in your family dinner on Sundays or your pool and dart night at the pub — at least sometimes.
You will meet each other’s families and go out on group dates with each other’s friends. You might have to alternate Sunday dinner between her folks and your folks, but it is to be expected that the room you make for her in your life will keep increasing.
“Your relationship is only one aspect of a complete
and happy life so, as always, balance is the key.”
No matter how deeply you are involved in a relationship, you are still an individual. You need some time by yourself, and you need a night out with the guys or a day on the golf course — men only.
It’s not selfish. It’s how you remain a sane, loving partner. She needs time with the girls, too. Unless you want to do her nails and braid each other’s hair, she needs time to be girly. And you need time to be a real man.
It’s not as important to go out dancing, dining or movie-watching together as much as it is to just be together.
Do your laundry together, go to the grocery store together, get your oil changed together, go to the gym at the same time once a week, meet for lunch once a week, study together if you’re in school, or invite her over when you’re ready to kick back and watch “The Big Bang Theory” or see what’s on Netflix.
It doesn’t have to be a formal affair for you to see each other. You still have to take her on a real date whenever you can, but it is often the moments we share living the real aspects of life together that bring us closer.
I better not close without saying that you have to have one night a week that is set aside just for her. It can be switched once in a while to accommodate some other special event, but it can’t be cancelled.
Give her three suggestions, but let her pick where she wants to go. I know, she’ll want to go to a dance club sometimes (so do it), but you can come up with some other great ideas that might catch her interest, too. And of course, the evening always ends with all of your wishes coming true.
A healthy relationship has to be part of a well-rounded lifestyle. Divide your free time into “Family,” “Friends,” “Me” and “Us.” Eventually, she will become integrated into all of your social groups and you into hers.
Remember that “compromising” is not the same as “caving.” Sometimes you have to stand your ground for the good of the relationship, and so does she, or resentment might eat away at contentment.
Your relationship is only one aspect of a complete and happy life so, as always, balance is the key.