A healthy relationship with your partner is a sign that you both are independent and have mutual recognition of love, support, and respect for each other. However, the media’s emphasis on the perfect or ideal relationship can lead to unrealistic expectations and may cause relationship claustrophobia. Relationship claustrophobia is a term that is used to describe the fear of being trapped, undermined, or dragged down in a relationship.
Here are some tips to cope with relationship claustrophobia and avoid feeling like you’re being dragged down in a relationship.
1. Have Your Own Space
Have some alone time. A relationship is like a building and partners are the two pillars holding it up. It’s important to have your own space and place in a relationship. It could be a separate room in a home that’s just yours or a coffee spot that you go to unwind. What matters is that it needs to be a place where you can think without being influenced by your partner, breathe, or meditate.
Many times, relationships become overbearing and hard because couples assume that everything in their life together needs to be shared and there shouldn’t be any secrets between them.. That’s not true. It’s possible to share your lives while having some aspects that remain private to you.
2. Have a life outside of your relationship
While your partner may be the most special person in your life, they can’t be a replacement for a social life, family, friends, or a support group. Spending some time apart from your partner with friends and other people in your life is your basic need. Understanding that can help you see that your partner isn’t an all-in-one-replacement for anyone else in your life.
3. Keep a Support System
Having a support system is important but make sure your support group is different from your partner’s. At times when you are struggling with something about your relationship, a support system can help you work through it. Having a couple of mutual friends is common but it’s important that you establish friendships for yourself outside the relationship so that you can get unbiased advice or support whenever you need it.
4. Spare some time for your hobbies & interests
Partners don’t always share the same similar interests. It’s okay to have interests that don’t necessarily overlap. Indulging in new hobbies or activities or taking back the old ones can boost your confidence in yourself as well as your relationship. This can help you both have your own independence and confidence in a relationship.
5. Schedule a Date-Night Every Week
In a long-term relationship, it’s normal to stop putting in as much effort. That’s why couples tend to stop dressing up and go out on dates—especially once they start living together. Trying new things to keep it interesting between the partners is what the longevity of a relationship depends upon. Research has shown that date nights are more important than you may think. This is why, you need to keep aside a few hours once a week and devote that entire time to your partner without distractions. Cook a meal together, watch a movie, or visit an art gallery; spending some quality time with your partner can do wonders for your relationship.
Your relationship should be based on mutual respect and support while keeping your individual identities intact. If your relationship runs into troubles often and you can’t handle it anymore, talking to a marriage counseling or premarital counseling expert is the best thing to do
Azizeh Rezaiyan is a therapist with expertise in marriage counseling, couples’ therapy, counseling for depression, and infidelity counseling in Palo Alto, offering virtual therapy for patients in California. Contact her to book a session, and don’t forget to fill out a pre-appointment form.