It’s completely normal and healthy for you to sometimes want to do things without your partner. Doing everything together all day, every day, likely isn’t super great for either of you. You need your own interests and your own things. That being said, there are some things that you’re better off doing with your partner, for a variety of reasons. Each couple is different, so just because you and your partner don’t like to do something together that another couple does (or vice versa), that doesn’t necessarily mean anything, but if you want to do these things without your partner, they’re not your soulmate, generally speaking.
Every relationship is different, Heidi McBain, MA, LMFT, LPC, RPT, a licensed marriage and family therapist, tells Romper by email. So, again, it can be difficult to know for sure what might work for one couple as opposed to being a red flag for potential relationship difficulties. Erin Parisi, LMHC, CAP, a licensed mental health counselor, tells Romper by email that even if you see evidence of these behaviors in your own relationship, that doesn’t necessarily mean that all hope is lost.
“There may be a legitimate reason, I know it’s not a one-size-fits-all,” Parisi says. “Along the same lines, a person not wanting to do these things with their partner may not be about their partner at all, but it might be more about themselves. It’s easier to blame the person that we’re dating, cut them off, and complain about how there’re no good people available to date than to look at why we’re not attracting the right people, or whether we may be pushing away the good ones, somehow. So. Many. Defense. Mechanisms. Being vulnerable is really scary, and so many of us get in our own way.”
Parisi also says that she prefers to look at things as though there are a number of people who might be a good fit for you, rather than focusing only on searching for someone who’s an absolutely perfect fit.
If you and your partner choose to do these things separately, it may not mean that your relationship is definitely doomed, but it certainly might mean that there are some things that you need to address.
1. Weekends Away
Julie Spira, an online dating expert, cyber dating expert, and dating coach, tells Romper that weekends away for things like bachelorette parties and the like are perfectly OK, but that if you’re choosing to take regular trips with your friends and family instead of spending time with your partner, that could be an indication that they’re not the right person for you. Spira says that it’s important to make sure that they understand that they’re still a priority in your life, despite your trips and time spent with other people.
“If you only want to have sex not with your partner, that may be a sign, too,” Parisi says. “Sure, everyone’s sex drive is different, and being in a relationship doesn’t mean you’re not going to be attracted to other people anymore, but if you find yourself only wanting to have sex alone, or with someone else, that may be worth further consideration.”
Like Parisi says, sex drives and the like are different for everyone, so just because you’re not in the mood that night or the two of you don’t seem to be connecting as much as you did at the very beginning of your relationship, that doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s something wrong. If you start to notice that there’s a serious change there and that you no longer want to have sex with your partner, it could potentially be a sign that you already know, on some level, that they’re not the one for you after all.
3. You Just Generally Prefer To Do Things On Your Own
Maybe you like watching your favorite TV show on your own because your partner hates it or maybe wandering around the grocery store alone is something you really, truly enjoy, but if you just generally want to do everything alone, that’s not a good sign.
“Part of being in a healthy relationship is enjoying your partner’s company,” McBain says. “This is something that isn’t dependent on what you’re doing together, it’s simply that you like each other and enjoy being together.”
If you notice that you’re just not happy spending a ton of time together anymore, you may want to do some reflecting on what might be causing that or chat with a therapist to figure out what’s going on between the two of you.
4. Being Together, Doing Nothing
If you can hang out with your partner (or even a friend) and just do nothing, that’s probably a pretty good sign that you’re comfortable together and genuinely enjoy being around them. Not every part of any relationship is exciting or even interesting.
“In long-term relationships, daily life is not necessarily action-packed with fun, elaborate, exciting dates, it’s also chores and errands and hanging on the couch,” Parisi says. “Do you like to do some chill out things with your partner? Do you look forward to it? If you find yourself only looking forward to the date nights where there’s expensive dinner, cocktails, or a night on the town, that might be a sign you’re only lukewarm about the person.”
5. Spending Time With Your Friends & Family
Spending time with your friends or family without your partner isn’t a huge deal. Everyone needs a night out with their closest friends from time to time. But if you’re spending so much time with them without your partner that it’s difficult for your partner to get to know them, your partner is starting to feel neglected, or you’re irritated when your partner comes along, that might be something you should think more about.
“Yes, sometimes we just need to vent, or we need some space, or a girls/guys night, but in some cases, people don’t want their partner to mix too much into the rest of their lives, the thought being, ‘if/when we break up, it will be cleaner, easier to do so,’” Parisi explains. If you realize that that’s why you’re choosing to spend time with your friends without inviting your partner to join you, you might need to reevaluate some things or work with a therapist to help you get to the bottom of it.
6. Going To Work Events
There are lots of reasons why you might leave your partner home when you attend work events, but if that’s something you’re doing all the time, you might want to think about what’s really driving that decision.
“Someone you’re in it for the long haul with should probably know some things about your job and the people you work with,” Parisi says.
7. Marking Major Milestones
Whether it’s a birthday, graduation, big promotion, a friend or family member’s engagement, or something else, your partner should be there with you to celebrate. The same goes for dealing with funerals and other not-so-joyful events, too. “Keeping them out of some of the most meaningful things might be an indicator as well” Parisi adds.
Though every couple should do some things apart sometimes, you should also, of course, do a lot of big and important things (and some not-so-important things) together. If you find that you and your partner seem to be having more fun and are happier being apart than you are when you’re together, that’s likely not a good sign that you’re truly meant to be together.