Sometimes you just need some time apart from your partner to do things on your own. While that's perfectly fine, it is, of course, also pretty important that you and your partner do things together. Some of the specific things that are important for you and your partner to do together will vary from couple to couple, based on your own priorities and relationship dynamic, but there are also some things you need to make a point of doing with your partner if you want your relationship to succeed. Thinking more critically about how what you choose to do together versus what you choose to do separately from your partner affects the relationship that you have with them (both currently, as well as how it might affect things going forward) can give you some insight into why it's important that you continue to do these things together or why you might want to make a change.
"You don’t have to give up being an individual," Erin C. Parisi, LMHC, CAP, a licensed mental health counselor and certified addictions professional based in Orlando, Florida, tells Romper by email. "Not everything has to be together. But there has to be overlap, and you have to do the things that build the bond with your partner, and you have to do them repeatedly — it’s an investment in the relationship."
Making a point of doing certain things with your partner isn't just important in terms of getting to know one another better and enjoying one another's company, but because it can help solidify that you're on the same page when it comes to your shared future, as well.
"Life is filled with learning and curveballs, and the ability to be light and playful is crucial to your long-term connection," Stephanie Churma, the founder and owner of The Good Love Company, tells Romper by email. "Laughing together releases a concoction of happy brain chemicals including dopamine [and] oxytocin and these bond the both of you. Laughter and play in romantic love is what can take you to long-term bliss."
Laughing together doesn't have to be something that requires a lot of effort — it's simple — but when you and your partner stop laughing together, having fun, and enjoying yourselves, that could be a sign that something is amiss.
2. The Things That Matter Most To You
Whatever matters most to you is something that you should definitely share with your partner. You don't necessarily have to only do these things together, but you should be able to share what matters to you with the person that also matters so much to you. Parisi says that not doing what you care about together means that you're missing opportunities to bond and that, in some cases, it could also actively be hurting your relationship, which definitely isn't what you want.
3. Talking About Commitment
You might think you know exactly how committed both you and your partner are to your relationship, as well as what you're expecting in the future, but if you haven't actually talked about it, you might know less than you think that you do.
Alysha Jeney, a relationship expert, relationship coach, and the founder of The Modern Love Box, told Hello Giggles that people have different ideas about commitment. If you know that you never want to get legally married, for example, that's something that your partner needs to know if you're going to be together long-term.
4. Taking Adventures
"For two people to truly share a life, there needs to be a zest for it," Churma says. "The two of you don’t need to be climbing Mount Everest to have adventure, it’s about the curiosity of life and exploration of the world around you two." Adventures can lead to all kinds of different memories and stories and can tell you so much more about not only who your partner is, but also about who you really are and what you really want. And that's important for both of you to know.
5. Make Decisions About Your Future
Where you're going to live, if you're going to have kids, how you're going to spend time off from work, and so much more all need to be decided together. If you've been thinking about these sorts of things on your own, you need to make a point of doing them with your partner. Parisi says that making sure that there's enough overlap between your different visions so that you can create a shared vision is essential.
6. Trying New Things
"Trying new things without your partner, anything from a new local restaurant to traveling someplace new, also could be a missed opportunity to bond with your partner," Parisi says.
Shared experiences, like the sort that come with adventures as well as trying new things together, help you form a bond that goes beyond just loving the same TV show or thinking that mystery novels are the most interesting. Plus, you just might discover your new favorite restaurant, neighborhood, or hobby that you'd otherwise have to enjoy all on your own.
7. Things That Are More Intimate Or Emotional
If you don't include your partner in things that are harder, more intimate, or more emotional for you, that could be a sign that there's something going on on your end, Parisi says.
"A lot of people who have trouble trusting may not include a partner in some of the more intimate things in their lives (medical appointments, introducing them to family, processing conflicts and some of the deeper thoughts [or] feelings that can come with them)," she explains.
Ultimately, the things that are important for you and your partner to do together are things that will bring the two of you closer. Though, of course, it's perfectly acceptable and even can be a good thing for you to have your own interests and spend time on your own, your relationship will be better off if you make a point to do certain things together rather than apart.