Figuring out what makes your romantic partnership tick takes time and intention. My perspective entering a relationship six years ago was vastly different than what it is today; perhaps because I was naive about true love or cohabitation with a partner, or perhaps because I just hadn't experienced that just yet.
And no, I am not a relationship expert and my relationship is not perfect. However, I simply want to share a few things that work for us. So, here we go.
Don't think that your partner requesting alone time means they want to run away from you or something is wrong.
Rams and I tend to lean more towards the introverted side which means we both need time to reenergize. Busy weekends and/or lots of events, small talk can be challenging for us; so if, for example, I have a full workday then a networking happy hour after work Jorden likely knows I won't be much of a conversationalist when I get home. And that's okay!
Those are the nights we opt for takeout that I can pickup on my way home and paper plates while watching a movie, instead of a full dinner spread at the dinner table.
Switch up your dinner routine.
Switching things up can mean more than just changing the actual dishes you're serving. Change up who is making dinner tonight or this week, who is buying groceries, change what your 'usual' takeout order looks like, or simply change the location of the house where you have dinner tonight.
When it comes to the menu, it took me some time to understand that dinner does not always need to consist of a meat, a starch, and a veggie on the side. The dishes you enjoy for dinner don't have to be traditional! Feeling lazy tonight? Craving time away from the stove doesn't have to mean ordering pizza again. Make it a wine and cheese night and eat in the living room in front of the TV. Or find something different and unique on UberEats and enjoy it in your dining room with no phones or TV.
Talk it out, no matter how uncomfortable.
Talking about feelings fall on my list of "things I hate doing." However, it has to be done to keep you from smothering each other at night. This one may seem obvious, but I promise you can practice it in more ways than you are doing today. It's simple; when something is bothering you, talk about it. Don't bottle it up, and when you do talk about it, be mindful not to raise your voice, accuse, or point blame. Simply, tell them how it makes you feel when they never take out the trash, for example.
Pro tip: Initiate the conversation in a way that let's the other person know you want to talk about something serious. The other day Jorden approached me in the kitchen and said "Babe, can I ask you to start doing something differently?" to which I likely responded with "ugh, what?" (only half-serious about my response). He proceeded to ask me to please wash the sink out after I was finished peeling hard boiled eggs. I know, it sounds so silly! But having the conversation about the little things that drive you crazy, or maybe that you hate doing and want your partner to help out with, will force it out in the open instead of causing unintended resentment toward your partner (for something they likely had no idea you disliked!).
Still looking for other ways best practices? Try one of these:
For the next month make it a rule, whoever goes grocery shopping should get groceries for the following week and plan all the dinners for that week. That means a week full of cooking (or takeout, if they so choose!) but bonus is, whoever cooks dinner, gets to skip on dishes. - Pre-made frozen meals from Trader Joe's are one of my favorite hacks for this.
Spend the next two nights in a different environment. When you or your partner get home from work and feel exhausted from the day, try to reenergize one another not through conversation but by doing something different together. That can mean simply going on the back porch and enjoying a beer together or get out a puzzle/board game and play together in a room without any electronics, except maybe some music.
I know most of my "best practices" revolve around food, but maybe I'm discovering food is one of my love languages. Anyways, I hope you found them helpful nonetheless. Cheers!