By Samantha Boardman published
Q: I’m more antisocial than my partner. Is this a bad thing?
If your idea of the perfect evening is a quiet dinner at home and your partner’s ideal night is hanging out at a crowded bar, all is not lost. Compromise is obviously important, but as strange as this might sound, sometimes the best way to find common ground is for each of you to give the other some space to do his or her own thing.
Respecting and encouraging each other’s interests is what psychologists call “autonomy support.” In other words, if your significant other loves to go to rock concerts but loud music is your worst nightmare, buy tickets for him or her to go with a friend. Having a strong emotional connection does not mean you need to do everything together. Privacy, boundaries, and a little bit of mystery go a long way.
As long as you are open about your preferences and mindful of each other’s needs, you can use your differences as an opportunity to grow as individuals and as a couple and not as a source of conflict or an excuse to shut down. This is not to say that you and your partner need to be totally independent. On the contrary, when you support each other’s autonomy, it will bring you closer together.
Dr. Samantha Boardman is a clinical instructor in psychiatry and an assistant attending psychiatrist at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York and the founder of positiveprescription.com.
This article originally appeared in the August 2018 issue of Marie Claire.
MORE FROM SAMANTHA BOARDMAN
Fine Line Treatments That Work
The products and pointers you need to make an impact.
By Chelsea Hall • Published
The 23 Best Winter Dresses You Can Get on Amazon
Your next great outfit is just a click away.
By Taylor Ayers • Published
Go Ahead and Binge All These New Christmas Movies
'Tis the season...for a truly unruly amount of new holiday movies.
By Cady Drell • Published
71 Fun Date Ideas for 2021
Skip the old "dinner and a movie" for something original.
By Katherine J Igoe • Published
The 26 Hottest Porn Websites for Women on the Internet
All the best websites, right this way.
By Kayleigh Roberts • Published
COVID Forced My Polyamorous Marriage to Become Monogamous
For Melanie LaForce, pandemic-induced social distancing guidelines meant she could no longer see men outside of her marriage. But monogamy didn't just change her relationship with her husband—it changed her relationship with herself.
By Melanie LaForce • Published
How the pandemic has mutated our most personal disunions.
By Gretchen Voss • Published
16 At-Home Date Ideas When You're Stuck Indoors
Staying in doesn't have to be boring.
By Katherine J Igoe • Published
Long Distance Relationship Gift Ideas for Couples Who've Made It This Far
Alexa, play "A Thousand Miles."
By Jaimie Potters • Published
15 Couples on How 2020 Rocked Their Relationship
Couples confessed to Marie Claire how this year's many multi-stressors tested the limits of their love.
By Sherry Amatenstein, LCSW • Published
I Escaped My Abuser. He Found Me Through My Computer.
After more than a year of abuse at the hands of her then-fiancé, Jaél de Pardo, eight months pregnant, fled the apartment they shared. She was living in secret...until he tracked her.
By Megan DiTrolio • Published