That balance is so important and I mentioned it in one of my first posts - the importance to take advantage of all life's pleasures and to really have that balance between alone time and the rest. As I also mentioned, it's quite difficult to balance it all at the same time. Work, girlfriend/boyfriend, friends, family and alone time. Quite the challenge actually. I believe that the most challenging is when it comes down to your friends vs your relationship. This can remain a challenge for years. No one really wants to wake up one morning with nothing but their spouse in their life. A life full of family and friends is important to me. And I say this for couples my age to much older couples like my grandparents - who I must say have a great group of friends and I think that's great!
When my girlfriends first started having boyfriends, this is when it hit me. I would start seeing them less (which of course is normal), but less became even less, and even less became almost never. It struck me how having a gf/bf could have so much influence on their respective other. Was it a trust issue? Was it a possessive issue (which can also be trust)? Was it that the gf/bf was more interesting than us? Was it because their respective other didn't have friends and so they felt guilty leaving them alone? Was it because we didn't provide them with daily sex? I'm sure all of these factors came into play a little. The same scenario would always happen, my girlfriend would break up with her boyfriend and then coming running back. Despite not seeing her for months, she apologized for being a lousy friend and begged us to take her back. This has happened countless times. Some learned, some didn't. Why is it so difficult to maintain that balance? All the reasons I mentioned at the top can be a reason that you see in your own life. So what is a solution? How to maintain that balance?
In my experience, from what I have seen and what I have lived, I have a few little solutions that can help you. But first, if you are with someone that is too possessive and that doesn't allow you to go out on your own and see your friends, you should be questioning that and maybe a talk with your second half is needed.
So first type of solution, is couple outings. Bring your boy or your girl out with your friends. A birthday, a party, a masquerade, a night out out the bar, whatever it is, bring them out with you and have them get to know your friends well. This way, your spouse will be more comfortable when you go out on your own friends, because she/he will know exactly who it is that you are going out with, because yes, sometimes it is a trust issue. "No babe, I trust you, I don't trust them..." is something I have heard from all sorts of people. Well here is my answer to that: "Babe, if I want to be with someone else, I'll be with them. If I do hook up with someone else at "put in location", then that's because I don't want to be with you more than that, and you don't want to be with someone who does that to you." We don't want to be with someone who doesn't want to be with us. Living in a big city like I do, the chances of meeting all sorts of people is there, so we can't prevent our spouse from meeting other people, it will happen, and it will be up to them to decide if they are really happy with you and step away from the situation or give in to temptation and in that case, on to the next. You don't want to choke your spouse and make them feel like they can't go out because you're scared what may happen. I was sent a great quote to illustrate this:
"A nice tie is like a beautiful woman. If you take care of her, let her rest, never strain her and let her breathe she will last forever and get better with age." The same applies for men.
So couple outings is good for that trust issue and for a way to spend time with your lover and your friends ALL AT THE SAME TIME! No one is left alone and so everyone can benefit from this.
Another solution, a solution that I am not a very big fan of, is plan your friends outings in advance. This should be done for those that are deep into the "I barely see my friends anymore" stage. Book your friends a week in advance, ie "Thursday night - Habs are playing - Steve invited me over". Make sure you tell your spouse in advance so if they want to make plans, they too have time to make plans if they don't want to be alone. Being alone is actually a good thing though. This can even be your opportunity to take that long bubble bath!
Yes, spontaneity is great and I'm a huge fan of being spontaneous, and this goes completely against being spontaneous, but this can help get you out of your rut. But then again, it's always nice to tell your bf/gf in advance if you have plans. This way it shows that you have nothing to hide. Make sure you are always honest. You are seeing Amy, Steve and Jim - well then make sure you include all of them. You want to be transparent so that there are no weird stories or questions. Of course, this will develop and trust won't be an issue anymore and you will have time kick back some beers or martinis with friends and actually enjoy the quality time with your girls or with your boys. Talk about different things, inside jokes, and continue to build those bonds. These friends have probably been in your life for a while, for years, through thick and thin and friendship is priceless. You don't want to wake up one morning and just have your spouse and kids in your life. Don't you want a few couples of friends? Those you can have your New Years Eve parties with, those you can have double date dinners with? Those you can share great friendship bonds with.
As my last words of wisdom, it's needless to say, having that balance is never easy and but it is important to keep working at it. It takes effort. Letting your partner do their own thing, beers with the boys, or martinis with the girls or whatever it may be is necessary to keep a sane relationship. Of course, this is my opinion, and you may be very happy in your couple without seeing too many friends, but I'm telling you in the long run, having your own life will keep your relationship strong. It's good to miss your second half from time to time no?
If you have a different point of view or something to add - please don't hesitate to do so in the comments below!