So, a few nights ago, Pam and I sat on a panel at an event sponsored by one of the many (too many) Facebook groups of which we are members.
This group is lesbian focused and the panel was a discussion about relationships, led by Pam and I and another married lesbian couple.
The audience was fairly mixed between singles and couples and the conversation covered topics such as getting over relationship hurdles, the importance of communication and the general process of maintaining a long-lasting healthy relationship.
One attendant asked how you balance independence and being in a relationship.
My answer was simple and it’s maybe one you’ve heard from us before: Pam and I believe in You, Me, and Us.
That is, we do maintain our own separate identities and interests, and even friends. Although we have a lot in common, there are some things that we do enjoy doing independently and friendships we maintain that are mostly independent of each other.
And then there is Us. This is the part of our lives that we maintain together. Of course, as a married couple, there are household expenses that we maintain together.
But we also have common friends that we made together. There are shows that we only watch together. We enjoy a good group or family outing as much as anyone, but there’s also time that we set aside for just the two of us.
There’s more to it though.
The thing is that one thing feeds another.
By growing in our independent lives, we enrich our married life.
One of the biggest concerns people have about long term relationships is how do you keep it fresh? Don’t you run out of stuff to say?
Well, not if you’re always doing something new, or growing in a different way.
Every new life change we experience adds something different and new to our relationship.
Promotion at work? Something new to talk about and navigate.
New project at work or in one of the organizations in which you’re active? Something new to talk about and navigate.
Your friends get into something they’ve never tried before and they tell you about it? Yep, you guessed it. Something new for you and your love to discuss and maybe even try yourself.
Traveling is something we grew into together. Before meeting, we’d done some basic trips but the farthest we’d ever really ventured was Canada or Mexico.
But I have a friend who moved to St. Croix and she invited me to come visit (friend having a new experience!)
Pam and I were pretty new in our relationship, but I asked if she’d like to join me and (of course!) she said yes.
That was quite an adventure for both of us and we had experiences that were different than on the mainland U.S. The travel bug had hit us — together.
See, as long as you are each growing and experiencing individually, then you have the opportunity to grow and experience together.
It is possible to grow apart. That’s just real talk. But the fear of that should not keep you from striving to grow.
The real danger is when you stop growing and experiencing because that’s when your relationship will, too.
Have a great one and I (Kelly) hope you get to experience a little (or a lot!) of pura vida, as we are!