Most people of a certain age now remember the infamous Anne Landers survey that suggested that a majority of Landers/Dear Abbey readers would rather have a hot bath and a book than have sex with their partners. Well now there is a new study out this week that claims that 29% of couples need “me time”.
Having enough space, or privacy, in a relationship is even more important to a couple’s happiness than a good sex life, according to a recent unpublished analysis of data from an ongoing federally funded longitudinal study. And women tend to be more unhappy with the amount of space in their marriage than men.
The finding: 29% of spouses say they don’t have enough time to themselves in their relationship, and more wives than husbands complained of this lack of me-time. Twice as many unhappy spouses said “lack of time for self” was their main reason for being unhappy than those who cited an unsatisfying sex life.
So what does this mean for your own relationship? I think independence and vivaciousness are sexy. I think dependency and having nothing new to add to a relationship are not. Scheduling time together where you explore common interests and connect are critical. So is time to putter, do errands, have lunch with friends, and explore interests outside of the relationship. It gives you something to talk about at the end of the day.
My in-laws who by all account had a world class marriage since they met as teenagers claim the secret of their marriage was the “4 pm sherry” they had every day of their married lives. As a recent widow, my Mother-in-law says it is that afternoon re-connection time that she misses most. She said they brought in their different time and experiences over the day and shared them with each other. They also had the latitude to have outside interest that included boards, choir, church committees, golfing and time with their friends. She claimed it was that combination of together and apart that made her marriage magic.
So what do you do?
I’ve long believed that scheduled, consistent, sensuous date nights save marriages. I now am learning that a healthy outside interest maintains interest and sanity. Your partner fell in love with that dynamic you. Make a real effort to not let that person disappear.