The beginning of good relationships is all about finding out how similar you are and being inside each other’s pockets, or wanting to be, all the time. That’s the passion that cements you as a couple, and it’s usually a wonderful, falling in love time.
But it doesn’t last, not for any couple, and trying to hold onto it when you need to be growing to the next natural stage in couple love development only causes upset. Of course, it can feel scary and anxiety provoking: What’s changing here? Why is anything changing? We were great, and now you want to spend time with your old friends? You disagree with me… about what??
This second , natural stage of development for couples includes recognizing that you are two different people, with different interests and even emotional reactions. Often it includes wanting to be on your own more of the time. It’s a time of redefining your self-dom and when it is working well, it comes with the delight of having your partner see you as yourself, the uniques you who is not just a mirror of your partner. It includes being able to speak your different opinions describing your differing feelings and being heard and accepted as yourself. Essential too is being able to hear your partner as being different from you – listening to their perspective and their feelings and working out what needs to be agreed on, which isn’t everything.
This second stage of couple growth can be difficult to navigate particularly when one person is ready to step forward into it, and the other is not. The person who is not ready can easily feel abandoned, frightened, and try to prevent their partner from what feels like moving apart from them. This is when many people come to couple therapy, and the right therapist can be a lot of help.
Rather than being afraid, I urge you to see this as a growth step that will lead to a much deeper and closer intimacy for you and your partner.