We've all probably encountered the kind of couple who does absolutely everything together at some point in our lives. If you invite one of them somewhere, you and your crew know it's best to assume that they will both show up. On the surface, having someone to spend all of your free time with is one of the biggest perks of having a bae, but is being inseparable in a relationship a bad sign? Don't get me wrong: If you're in a long-term relationship and still psyched about spending a lot of time with your SO, then that's hardly a problem. However, from my experience, even the strongest relationships can start to feel a little claustrophobic if you and your partner are connected at the hip 24/7.
No matter how much you love someone, having your own life and being your own person separate from them is still important. I spoke to NYC relationship expert Susan Winter to get her take on whether or not being inseparable could ever be a sign you're headed in the wrong direction. For starters, according to Winter, it's important to realize that the dynamic of every couple is unique, so what works for some might not work for others.
"Each couple comes to their own style of balance in terms of their time spent together," Winter tells Elite Daily. "Being inseparable isn't necessarily a bad thing, as long as neither partner is giving up their individual goals in the process."
At the start of a new relationship, being together as much as possible can feel like the most natural thing in the world. During this phase, everything just seems a million times more fun when bae is there by your side. However, Winter warns against letting yourself become too engulfed.
"Engulfment occurs when one partner presses the other to push past their individual boundaries and spend more time together than is comfortable," explains Winter. "In new relationships, this is often the case. In the excitement of new love, both partners can find themselves sacrificing their routine (or duties) in order to be with their mate."
As we all know, the honeymoon phase doesn't last forever, and there usually comes a time when one or both partners start to crave a bit of space. All of a sudden, you might realize that you haven't had a girl's night with your friends in forever, or that you miss spending time on your favorite hobbies. If this is the case, Winter emphasizes that there is nothing wrong with reclaiming time for yourself, even if your partner isn't as jazzed about dialing back on couple time as you are.
"Taking time apart is a very healthy choice that can keep a relationship vibrant and fresh," says Winter. "Yet, this choice can often feel like 'pulling away' to the other partner." After all, if you put yourself in their shoes, it's totally understandable to wonder if wanting to spend less time together might mean you aren't as excited about the relationship as they are. "The desire to have 'time alone' can be seen as a threat to the relationship, sparking insecurity and conflict," notes Winter.
If you're not sure whether or not you and your partner might be overdoing it on time spent together, Winter suggests being aware of dynamic shifts that might signal you both need a breather. According to Winter, the most common signs are bickering, irritability, or starting fake fights — which are basically when one of you ends up picking a fight over something small (or nothing at all) just because there's tension from being overexposed to each other.
If you or your SO suddenly express the need for some space, don't worry. That doesn't necessarily mean that something's up. Instead of taking it personally, it may be a good idea to see how having some space feels. IMO, giving yourselves the opportunity to miss one another (just a little) can actually be fun. This way, when you are together, you'll learn to appreciate every moment, rather than feeling like either of you would rather be doing your own thing.
Ultimately, there's nothing inherently wrong with being inseparable from your partner, as long as both of you feel the same way about it. If, however, one or both of you feels a little suffocated, then having a conversation about it and giving yourselves the space you need is key.
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