The Me in We

spending too much time togetherGood relationships are a balanced mix of time together and time apart. Too much of either and you’re headed for trouble. Yes, you can spend too much time together!

Take Andrea and Michael, for example. They were inseparable. It had become a joke among their friends–the two were practically joined at the hip. They had a lot of shared interests, of course, and loved spending time together.

That’s how they ended up a couple to begin with.

And, that’s why it floored Andrea when Michael said he needed space.

“What, like, this is the beginning of the end but you don’t want to say it?” she asked.

“No, no,” he said sincerely. “I love spending time with you. I just need some ‘me time’, too.”

When a relationship is new and fresh, it’s common to go full bore, spending every waking hour with your new other-half. We call it the ‘honeymoon phase’ of a relationship. Everything is exciting. It’s a time of discovery. Each hour spent together promises to be full of wonder, fun and passion.

After a while, we begin to adjust to the presence of another in our lives, but a lot of us keep up that non-stop schedule of doing almost everything as a couple.

“But, that’s romantic, right?” you ask. “Isn’t that the kind of connection everybody wants?”

Yes, in many ways it is. But, there’s an important missing ingredient if you make it a habit to always max-out your time together.

Naturally, the two of you are dating because you like being around each other. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t be a couple.

But, just because you enjoy being together doesn’t mean you should always be together. In fact, too much time as a ‘we’ without enough time as a ‘me’ can sabotage an otherwise good relationship.

Think of it this way: before you were a couple, you were on your own. That person, the ‘you’ without any attachments, is the person your partner fell in love with. Assuming you had a full life before you started dating, the goal of adding a relationship to the mix was to enrich your life. To add more to it, to take what was already there and make it better.

Your life when you were single was all about you. Your life as a couple should have two focal points: your relationship and you as an individual. It’s the proportions–the amount of each ingredient–that makes relationships work.

spending too much time togetherIn order to keep your relationship firing on all cylinders, you need time together and time apart. The key is balance. Overdoing it in either direction can ultimately destroy your relationship. You have to find the right mix.

As you move from the initial honeymoon stage into a more stable, long-term relationship, be sure to gracefully and tactfully carve out time for yourself. Keep in mind, if you state your need for ‘me time’ too bluntly, your partner could take it the wrong way! Instead, don’t make a big deal of it. Just make it a point to balance your time with and without your other half.

The goal is a loving, rich relationship that will leave you both fulfilled for a long time to come. To accomplish that, you have to be a ‘we’ and a ‘me’.

Always on your side,


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17 thoughts on “The Me in We

  1. Bubbles said:

    I have a different problem. My new partner works a lot. He also lives an hour away. I’m afraid to start the kind of relationship we both want because of his situation. He does physical work outside and he has his son every other weekend. I just don’t see how “us time” is possible.
    Thanks Bubbles

  2. Vashti Washington said:

    I am a widow and just beginning to understand this system we call dating. I will remember the we and me.

    ThAnks James

  3. Katrina said:

    Thanks James your e mails always seem to Come just at the right time!

  4. Daphne said:

    This is true and I couldn’t agree more. The best relationship is one where you still remain friends to those who were there before you decided to become a couple. This leaves out the feeling of “if I don’t spend more time then what” factor.

  5. Josephine Amolato said:

    Thank you so much..I was enlightened by your views….

  6. Wilma said:

    Great! I agree thank you for the reminder James give us more!

  7. nekky said:

    Thanks a lot James. This is completely true but I think men most of the time want the me time and women most of the time want the we time. I really need this me time. Tnx

  8. bernadette said:

    Sometimes we are together and his head is not in the game. That is not good either. I would rather has less time together that is quality time and eventful, rather then quanitity without substance. Balance is the key,grasshopper!

  9. Vanessa said:

    Dear James,
    But, what if there never really is a honeymoon phase? What if we never really have much time to spend together, and he suddenly want some “me time”? We never went to a stage where we do everything together. We have different interests. Our working hours are different. I always love it when we can spend a whole day together, but sometimes he whats to have the day off for himself. We have been a couple for 10 months, now. I want to spend more time with him, but I don’t want to come across as needy. What should I do? Should I respect him by giving him some space, and stay quiet and wait? Please help!

    Thank you!

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi, Vanessa. It sounds like he needs more “me time” and you need more “we time.” That’s normal (to an extent). No two people have the exact same need for closeness. As a result, one person often feels they are running to create space, while the other person feels they are always chasing. It may be that the two of you are too far apart on that issue and in that case you may not be a good match. However, there are things you can do to enhance the relationship. For more details on that, send your question in for a private consultation with one of our professional relationship coaches.

      • Jarrett said:

        I am in the same situation and just don’t know how to take it one step further.

  10. This is very good information. Just need my husband. To let me have me time. I do not get it hardly enough. But he always demands his alone time. Have to fix this. Thanks Jennifer.

  11. Helen said:

    I completely agree with you James. When you have the opposite scenario of two people with very busy lives, what are the most effective and respectful ways to find balance with the “we’s” and “me’s” ?
    Thanks !

  12. squeaky said:

    I really need me time! I have been living HIS life since January 2013. It is true that me time will be healing and enhance the we time. I am implementing me time each and every day and a special me time activity at least once a week, starting NOW! Thanks, James. This article hits me right between my ears… My sincere thank you in a very heart felt way.

  13. Sharon Hayden said:

    excellent totally agree

    • Jennifer said:

      I agree. And need me time. He needs to let me have time

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