One of the greatest gifts you can give in a relationship, is to give your partner guilt free time… by doing something for yourself.
Here is a scenario. Your in a relationship for a while, your lives are busy, so you try to carve out as much time with your partner as you can. Many times this turns into a zero sum game where any free time spent away from them is time that you’ve “stolen” from your partner. You pass up fun times with friends or more importantly, learning and growth activities for yourself, so as not to lose any “time equity” at home. You can hear this in the dour tone of a friend when you ask him to come with you to a seminar that you know would be great for him, “No, I can’t, been traveling a lot for work. Have to be home that night.” As if you awarded points for home nights, regardless of the quality of the night.
Now if your partner is also doing this you may be well on your way to a stagnant standoff. “She never gets to go to seminars so I can’t very well go myself.” you think. It’s as if you both have come to an agreement to hold back and not do anything new without even checking with each other or consciously feeling into it.
What to do?
Someone needs to make the first move. I was in this scenario years ago and my girlfriend broke the spell by signing up for a nutrition course that had her away pretty much one full weekend a month. While this was great for her, an incredible thing happened for me. I felt like I was handed a full Saturday and Sunday each month to do or create anything I wanted. The time felt like it had a different texture. One Saturday I walked the length of Brooklyn by myself with no agenda. Loved it. Not exactly the type of thing you do if you are keeping a secret point total in your head for how good your home attendance is. “Hey honey, I’m gonna go walking, I’ll be back in six hours” Can you imagine? It was possible because of the gift of time she gave me that weekend. And we were both much better off for it.