“I feel like our relationship has turned into me just working, and you, you working not only at your company but also your many projects.” My partner’s spoon ran circles in her soup, noodles untouched, a scene that garners grave concern.
“Honey, we’re eating together right now. We’re hanging out right now.” I’m careful not to use the words ‘but, however, no…’ when arguing. It just closes her off.
“I understand we’re eating together, I just feel like we’re missing out.”
“Missing out?” I replied.
“I don’t want us to be like 45 and finally have the time to do what we want.” She looks up hesitantly, her brows lifting ever so lightly as her eyes sneak slowly into mine. “It’s not like I don’t enjoy our moments. I want, I just want more… but at the same time I don’t want to be the reason that holds you back. I’m just unsure when we’ll have the time to enjoy what we’re missing…”
Did I also mention we’re in a long distant relationship?
At this moment I’m happy that she hasn’t said ‘Jonathan.’ Anytime your partner uses your real name, especially in these situations, it means they’re angry, or worse, frustrated. She is neither of these things; rather she is in a lull and is trying to fix this.
I try to settle the tension by saying: “Honey, that’s why we’re planning future events – we’re going here and going to xyz and going to have fun. We’ll make a plan – we just need to be patient. Sound good?”
I like making plans because it shows we’re making efforts to move forward with our promises. It shows you were listening. “Even though 90% of my life is revolved around my current projects. 100% of my life is dedicated to us. Just take it one day at a time.” She rolls her eyes jocularly,
“You’re so corny.” She says.
“I know.” I say with a smile.
“But Jonathan, when will these adventures actually happen? We’re always so busy that I’m not sure if they’ll ever happen. The only thing I’m sure of right now is that I want to be with you.”
How Much Time Are You Spending With Your Partner?
The old adage goes, “When you’re experiencing young love, you want to spend every moment together.” I don’t agree. Well I do, but not on a hyper-active level where my relationship becomes a distraction to my life. I not only have dreams and ambitions I want to pursue, but I also have my own world to care for.
When I’m 55 and look back at my life, I don’t want the memories of my youth to be situated on experiences solely based with one person. I hope this goes for her as well. I’ll be disappointed in myself if all her discoveries about herself came from hanging out with me.
I hope to be a big part of her life, but not all of her it.
However, when she does look back, I hope she remembers I was always there for her.
A balance between always being there, but not always being there
What I’ve learned from the relationships of my divorced parents (20 years marriage), friends who broke up (4+ year partnerships), and the strongest couple whose love was like the holy spirit: flawed but immaculate (my grandparents; 45 years) is that your partner is not your life.
What I’m not saying
I’m not saying that “I can break up with my partner at any moment.” Rather, I see her as a bonus to my life, but not my life.
I don’t want to be and cannot imagine being with anyone else
Remember Boy Meets World when Topanga rejects Princeton so she can stick with Corey at his State College? Yeah. Not happening.
I’m saying if anything were to happen to me, or worse, to us, we still have our own lives to carry us forward. We should be able to grow separately.
For example, when one of my best friend’s heart was broken by his girlfriend he began asking himself these questions: Where do I go? My friends were her friends, now who do I turn to? I stopped myself from taking opportunities that would’ve furthered my career, why did I waste it? How do I start my life over?
Those are questions I want to avoid if anything happens to our partnership.
The hard part is managing your time (not in any order): with your projects, your life, your life with them, and your life with others (friends and family).
Again, I believe in planning. It’s one thing for my partner to say, “I want to be a doctor” but if she’s not taking proactive steps to get there or, if she blocks me out and we don’t have time for each other on her way to her dreams; then we’re both not managing our time correctly. This is where finding the balance between these two divisions is important.
If she needs to move to Harvard, who am I to stop her?
Balancing is hard because you must know how to, and how much you can, involve your partner in certain areas of your life.
I always want to be doing things, growing, and the partner should be involved.
The procedure is to involve each other in each other’s lives, outside the fun times: sex, debauchery, parties, restaurants, cooking, traveling, etc… For example, she’s visited my workspace and I’ve done so as well. It’s a time where we’re able to spend time with each other and get a glimpse of what we do outside the house. It’s a win.
However, like I said, there needs to be a balance. Too much involvement in this arena equates to a very dull, errand boy, secretary type relationship. Or, it just becomes over-bearing.
It’s tough because how far do I go without holding her back, while still being a part of her life? I want her to be her own person, but at the same time enjoy having me in her life: sharing experiences.
Regardless if you’re in a relationship or not, this is where your perspective can come in; am I really overthinking this? How do you work things out with your partner? What methods do you use to balance your time? Suggestions?
How Do I Balance My Time?
Even though your time cannot be measured by exact measurements, I’m going to answer this question using percentages.
100% of my time is spent between thinking and producing all my work: job, startup, writing, my development as person, etc., 10% of my free time is spent on myself. 30% of my free time is spent on my friends and family. 60% of my free time is spent on her. And, 100% of the time, I’m thinking about her.
Is this why I’m having trouble balancing everything?
I think my math is a little off.