While we mature and progress in our romantic lives, we need to start seeing our girlfriend or boyfriend as our partner, not just as the person we’re dating. Relationships need to give and receive equally in a way that both party members are comfortable with.
But what happens when you nail the balance and finally do become a “we”? Are you destined to live a life as the world’s most adorably annoying couple who only consult with each other before making plans or forming an opinion? While that may sound cringe-worthy to some, that’s actually a fairly good *though somewhat exaggerated* representation of what a relationship should be.
A “me” relationship
A “me” relationship happens when you’re committed to someone, but you still can’t seem to give up being the Queen Bee, or King Bee as it may go. You are happy with your partner and enjoy their company, but you have let your relationship turn into a being that caters only to you and your needs.
Sure, we all get a little bit selfish, and of course, it’s easy to let someone spoil you rotten, but you need to remember that your partner deserves some time to shine as well. The moment someone feels like they are being taken for granted or underappreciated is the moment they start to think about bolting. [Read: 12 signs you’re being selfish in your relationship]
A “you” relationship
You know what you like about your partner: they are giving, loyal, patient, or they make you laugh or support you emotionally in a way that you couldn’t imagine anyone else doing for you. What’s more, your partner has his or her own life, and they include you in it without reservations.
However, you know your partner hasn’t yet let you into their lives as a “we” couple, when they handle the important aspects of your relationship themselves. It may feel relaxing to not have to worry about what’s going on with your partner, but being in a “you” relationship may make you feel like you’re not even consulted when important issues come up. [Read: 7 signs you’re not being heard in your relationship]
Turning the overly selfish or overly selfless relationship into the ideal “we” relationship
Making the transition from “you” to “we” can be a liberating, frustrating, and unifying experience. Turning into a “we” requires a delicate balance of social and personal maturity. Becoming a “we” means more than simply being able to nonchalantly brag about how you’ve become part of the “Successful Relationship Club.” It also means more than constantly bringing up how “we” saw this movie last night, how “we” now adore Indian food, or that yes, “we” would love to come to dinner on Saturday night.
Instead, it means putting both your needs on equal footing, and making a decision together on which one should be met first. This is where you need to be able to strike a balance between getting what you want and being able to give your partner what they want.
Being a “we” couple means actually working together and sharing the load. You’re not overworking yourself to make the relationship work, but you’re not counting on your partner for everything either.
What to expect from a “we” relationship
Being a “we” means you’ve transitioned into real partners, not just a boyfriend or girlfriend. Here’s a list of things that you can expect when you have a “we” partnership.
#1 Checking in with each other. No more late nights with friends or disappearing off the face of the earth for a week at a time without checking in with your mate. Becoming a “we” means you both deserve the respect of knowing what the other is up to, whether it’s a vacation, a night out with friends or even just a bit of overtime with work.
#2 You make decisions together. I once dated a guy for over a year, and we both considered our relationship to be both serious and monogamous. Still, when it came to big decisions in my life such as going back to school to be a nurse or taking up a new job, I wouldn’t give him so much as a heads-up.
Those who are used to living on their own terms may find decision making difficult at first, but the long-term benefits of truly sharing your life with someone far outweighs the stubbornness of keeping to yourself.
#3 You can bare your soul to each other. That means you get to share both your darkest demons and your innermost fantasies with someone who isn’t going to judge you. Because of this awesome privilege, you now get to share gossip. That’s right, you’ve become part of that annoyingly elusive club of couples whom, when their friends say: “Don’t tell anyone,” they know that what they’re really saying is: “Obviously you’re going to tell your partner, but just don’t tell anyone else.” [Read: 12 things happy couples talk about to feel closer]
#4 Did we mention that sex gets way better when you become a “we” couple? There’s something about monogamy and that fully built “we” relationship that makes the bond of intimacy and trust during sex feel explosive. It’s all about the give and take that makes your entire relationship work. So even in the bedroom, you can expect to get as much as you give.
Unhealthy aspects of “we”
Like most things in life, too much of something can be bad for you. Being too much of a “we” couple is no exception.
Many psychologists and relationship counsellors warn against overdoing the “we” aspect in a relationship. This happens when too much time is focused on being a couple, and not enough time is spent being individuals. For example, those in an unhealthy “we” relationship do not have separate friendships, time alone, interests that are separate from their partner, or family time. These symptoms can sometimes be associated with an abusive relationship.
It’s important to remember that although you’ve become partners, you must still have a sense of individuality that can flourish, even without a partner. Practice a healthy balance of relationship and alone time, and you’ll find that this will greatly solidify your “we” relationship.
[Read: How to give space in a relationship]
Though love, trust and respect are considered the pillars of a healthy relationship, balancing both your needs and wants is still an important aspect of the healthy “we” relationship. When you resolve to achieve that balance, you’ll realize that even though a huge part of your life revolves around each other, it’s that balance that allows you to stay grounded as both a partner and an individual.
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Waverly Smith is a freelance writer who has been getting paid for spreading her sarcastic take on love, life, and sex since 2010. She is many things that peo...
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