3 Tips To Keep Your Love Life In Balance, According To A Psychologist
A healthy love life balance can make the good moments in your relationship last longer.
By Mark Travers, Ph.D. | June 17, 2023
For many new couples who have just discovered the joy of companionship and security, it is only a matter of time before they catch themselves doing everything together, from planning exclusive dates to doing daily chores.
But while this momentum can feel exciting in the beginning, it is still a good idea to take a pause and ask yourself a very pertinent question: is my relationship overwriting other important aspects of my life?
Here are three things you can do to maintain a healthy love-life balance and avoid burning your relationship out prematurely.
#1. Don't let your love get clingy
Our close relationships are important for our health and well-being. But, as boundaries dissipate over time, the genuine desire to spend time together can soon turn into a need.
According to a review article published in Nature, for anxiously attached individuals who crave constant reassurance of love and commitment, this need can manifest as "clinginess." Not only can these feelings lower the anxious partner's satisfaction in their own relationship, but they can also lower their partner's interest.
The bad news, according to a recent study about deal breakers in relationships published in Personality and Individual Differences, is that "being clingy" is one of six red flags people steer clear of in romantic relationships. The good news is that clinginess is preventable.
Staying in touch with your desires beyond your dating life and discussing them with your partner can help you counteract your clingy tendencies. It will help you carve out time for hobbies and interests that you might have set aside, knowingly or not.
It can also give you the space you need to make mindful and intentional plans with your partner, which can lead to more fulfilling experiences together, as opposed to constantly existing next to each other.
Most importantly, giving time to a hobby strengthens your relationship with yourself and eases the anxiety and need for reassurance you might feel when separated from your partner.
#2. Don't lose yourself irretrievably
Another study published in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology finds that close relationships have strong cognitive effects on individuals, wherein they experience the blending of one's own self with their partners in certain overlapping areas of life.
This exposes how impactful romantic relationships can be in dictating broader aspects of our life, including how we see ourselves and our sense of identity. You may lose touch with your close friends, abandon projects, or even put less effort in your professional life.
One simple way to feel like yourself after the high of the honeymoon phase wears off is by reconnecting with your friends. A study published in Social Psychological and Personality Science explains that individuals who have a solid support network of friends and family are better equipped to ride out relationship-threatening fights with their partners.
Our friends remind us of who we are, what we bring to the table, and what we stand for. They shed light on the parts of ourselves we sometimes forget about because we are too busy doting on our partners and accommodating their presence in our lives.
#3. Don't stop listening
A relationship is a two-way street. Just as it is important to assert boundaries that make the relationship work for you, it is equally as important to work with your partner in understanding their needs and wants.
If your partner is feeling overwhelmed in managing other aspects of their life alongside a new relationship, chances are they might want to reassess boundaries and expectations with you.
Psychologist Michal Lehmann of Hebrew University of Jerusalem recommends bringing more humility to the table to enhance your listening skills.
"Humility is most challenged in unpleasant situations, such as conflict, aggression, or fights," says Lehmann. "Listening can increase the state of humility of both parties in the conversation — the listener and the speaker, but especially the listener."
A study shows that the desire to have one's needs fulfilled without having to express them leads to disappointment and conflict in relationships.
If you feel like you have needs, goals, or desires which you haven't been able to tend to in the midst of an active love life, it's a good idea to sit down with your partner and understand their needs and wants while asserting your own to pave the way for a more fulfilling relationship.