Dear Dumbs,

You both are my husband’s and my go-to for anything that has to do with relationships. We listen to the podcast every week and always pick up the “Folio” to see what else you’re up to.

My husband and I had a talk the other night, and we both wish we had you there to consult. We’ve been married 11 years and feel as though we spend too much time together. We know from listening to the show that you have a business together and the podcast as well. You obviously spend a lot of time with one another. How does that make you feel, and how do you approach the times when you need your own space?

Millie W.
Orange Park  

TERRY: OK! We got this, Millie.

SHARI: Yes. We were actually talking about this subject just the other day.

TERRY: Yup, I was being a baby and had to announce to the entire world I needed some time to myself.

SHARI: Baby? More like b**ch.

TERRY: There are many ways to get your point across. 

SHARI: And you did. Loud and clear. But the fact is, Millie, you do need your own time in a relationship. 

TERRY: In our case it’s very rare. We honestly like being together. That being said, you shouldn’t feel bad for feeling like your world is closing in. 

SHARI: I hate to sound cliche, but this is where communication comes in really handy. Sometimes I’ll even announce, “It’s time for an adult talk.”

TERRY: And the announcement works. It takes the sting out of all the words to follow, especially since the subject of spending too much time together can hurt feelings. Your guy probably will only hear that you don’t like him anymore. Guys are weak like that.

SHARI: I don’t think anyone looks forward to hearing that. But if we were there with you, we would highly suggest spending time on your own hobbies.

TERRY: And if you don’t have any hobbies, I seriously suggest going out and getting some.

SHARI: Feeling like you are losing your sense of self is very common in longer relationships. You actually need to take the time to nurture yourself.

TERRY: I can’t stress enough how important this is. If it’s not nipped in the bud, it could really snowball into something much bigger and more resentful.

SHARI: Terry is right. If you don’t handle this right, it can really become something much bigger! 

TERRY: So, Millie, your issue is very common, and our advice is fairly straightforward. Let him know it’s time to have an uncomfortable but necessary conversation. Suggest hobbies, spending time with friends, etc. Above all, neither of you should take it personal when the other is feeling overwhelmed or slightly smothered. 

SHARI: And carving out some space to be alone isn’t that hard. Start by taking walks or going to the gym or store alone. These small breaks throughout the day really add up and you’ll immediately feel better. 

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