Spouses of previous generations did not necessarily imagine a life other than that of the couple and the family. Of course, behind the appearance of the conjugal “bloc” remained many conflicts. Especially since male sociality was well differentiated from the female space, often devoted to family management. Today, on the other hand, the question of also having a life of one’s own when one is in a relationship really arises, insofar as men and women more often invest the same kind of activities, in particular friendships, and try, in a more or less effective way, to share the domestic burden.
The problem of inner freedom
Basically, the problem is not only that of “doing” or not doing together, but rather that of the interior freedom that one gives oneself towards the spouse. Some couples appear to each other to be very free on the outside, each with their own activities and friends, while one partner actually exercises control over what the other should do or who they should meet. It is sometimes implicit and subtle. All it takes is an ironic disqualification of such and such a friend or such a step-parent. But that can go, for example, until the interrogation of the spouse who returns from his psychotherapy session to find out what he told his shrink!
What does this life “for oneself” mean? It indicates that the person is not limited to his couple and that he keeps a part “to herself”. Part of freedom and breathing, in short to have places or links that she is not obliged to share. This part “to oneself” becomes problematic if it wants to be hidden, or if it masks a form of betrayal, not necessarily sexual, moreover, but rather an escape. And it is based on trust, trust on the part of the spouse or partner who does not feel endangered.
It is therefore a delicate balance to find as a couple, a balance which supposes negotiation. Indeed, for there to be a part of oneself which is not a threat to the other, it is necessary that there is a part of the couple which is thought out together, a part of intimacy, of mutual friends. , of shared connivance without the children, of rites and festivals developed for two. If the part “to oneself” swells disproportionately, it is because the couple’s share is withering away.
The “accordion” couples
It happens that this alternation of common and personal breaths is difficult to set up. I meet “accordion” couples, alternating moments of fusion with periods when everyone goes their own way. We reconcile, we don’t leave each other, we do everything together and when it becomes unbreathable, we move away powerfully from each other for a few weeks or a few months …
→ READ. Joint projects, a barometer of the couple
The part “to oneself” simply means that each one has had a life before – a life that he or she is not obliged to describe in detail – and that the pulsation of this life still inhabits him or her. This does not prevent strong alcohol from the life of a couple. In fact, when alcohol is distilled, there is always a part that escapes during aging in barrels. It is the angels’ share, they say …