As I fast approach my third year anniversary with my partner, something that’s often on my mind is whether we talk enough.
You see, our relationship began at a distance. We lived 1.5 hours apart and were lucky to see each other once a week. We were official for almost a year when we moved in together (a decision that quite frankly, saved our relationship and my car’s lifespan).
We were built off constant texts and nightly phone calls. Our visits were deemed sacred by avoiding our phones when we were in the same room (it was blissful).
But, like many relationships, ours grew and morphed into something different once we were permanently under the same roof.
The no-phones rule was quickly abandoned and we soon began to navigate the balance of spending quality time together and making space to do our own thing.
It’s worked out well, for the most part. We’re both happy and in love and are in the best place we’ve been in so far. Everything is grand, and yet I still wonder…
Are we speaking to each other enough?
Let me paint a picture: I work from home during the day, and a casual job in the evenings. I wake up before 9 and spend the best part of the day in our home office glued to the computer. I emerge at around 5 o’clock and either dash off to my second job or spend the next few hours next to James on the couch, watching TV or reading. I’m in bed by 11-12 and rarely any later.
James is the textbook definition of a night owl. An early night for him is getting to bed by 2am and an average wake up time is 10-11am in the morning. He starts work before lunch and returns home as I “clock off”. He then potters around in the garden or watches TV or plays video games until well after I’ve gone to bed.
We have different schedules, but that’s okay because we’re both happy. We’ve learnt to adapt to the other’s body clocks and have *never* embarked on any activities involving a sunrise.
Based off the above paragraphs, we have roughly six hours a day that we’re in each other’s company, which seems like a LOT, but goes by quite quickly.
For example, we can’t both read the same book at the same time. So that’s a separate activity. The same goes for Battlefield, although it’s me refusing to play in favour of – well, doing anything else.
We sit side by side, often for hours, and don’t speak all that much. Technology occupies our attention. Stories that aren’t ours take over the narrative of our relationship. We are, in all technicalities, spending time with each other, but yet hardly connecting at all.
I’ve spoken to many friends about this and they’re all the in same, hi-res boat. Their relationships are strong and healthy, and yet they feel like they spend a lot of downtime involving a screen.
Planned activities and date nights. Visiting family and friends and chatting in the car as we drive there. Lengthy conversations before bed. Stopping whatever we’re doing when the other gets home and asking about their day.
I’d be lying if I said we stopped watching TV altogether. We haven’t and we probably won’t.
But being conscious of our separate use of technology (and how often we have genuine conversations) makes all the difference.
Rewatching your favourite shows together also works a treat too (because anyone who says they don’t dissect a Game of Thrones episode for 20 minutes definitely doesn’t *get* the show).