I Love You, Me & Us: Finding Balance in Loving Yourself & Someone Else
By Raina N. Whitfield, MSW
When you find yourself in a new relationship you and your partner are faced with a plethora of fresh emotions. The butterflies are fluttering and the assumption is that you want to spend every waking and sleeping moment together. This is true for any relationship whether you and your lover come from similar backgrounds or not. When you have found new love one thing is true; I love you.
Balance by definition is a state of equilibrium or equipoise, an equal distribution of weight, mental steadiness, and emotional stability. Balance is habit of calm behavior, judgment, etc. Though in the beginning you feel like one person; a healthy relationship thrives on balance and is composed of three important dimensions. Each of these dimensions must be equally nurtured so that the relationship itself can grow in a state of harmony. The three components are the you, the me, and the us.
The You: Remember that your partner is an individual. They have separate wants, needs, and interests. Take genuine notice of who they are. This includes not only what they like to do, but who they are and where they come from. This is especially important if you and your partner come from different cultural backgrounds. In addition to learning about your partner also know when to let them have space to continue to grow within who they are.
The Me: Just like your partner, you are an individual. Don’t forget to cultivate yourself and continue to do the things that make you who you are. While growing as a person, you also must be open to sharing who you are with you partner. This simply means tell your partner about your life that is separate from him/her even if they are not involved. You have let them in and they have a chance to know you better.
The Us: This is the part where you integrate yourselves. While keeping your individuality, you and your partner can explore all of the things that you have in common. By already maintaining a balance of independence within your relationship you will no doubt have overlapping interests. This can help shape the foundation for finding the common components that make you a couple.
Once you identify all three of these separate entities you and your partner can give each the right amount of attention thus creating the perfect equilibrium. The best way to continue to give attention to the 3 dimensions is to keep finding new things to do together while still teaching one another about the individuality that you bring to the relationship.