In today’s society, it’s common to hear stories of long-term partners demanding their significant other spend all their free time with them, abandoning their hobbies and interests in the process. This societal norm is even promoted in TV shows and movies as being “romantic” when, in reality, it’s anything but.
As a child, my parents encouraged me to pursue my interests and hobbies, and they did the same for each other. My mom never stood in the way of my dad’s hunting or fishing trips, and he supported her as she pursued her bachelor’s and master’s degrees while also nurturing her passion for art.
This same attitude is something I carry with me today in my relationship with my wife. We are not each other’s parents or children; we are two individuals who are in love and committed to each other but also respect each other’s personal space and interests.
Controlling your partner’s time and denying them the things that make them happy is not romantic, it’s emotionally abusive. Your significant other is not your pet, nor are they indebted to you 24/7. If you can’t handle your partner spending time on their hobbies, career, or friends, you need to reevaluate your jealousy and trust issues instead of stomping on their souls.
In fact, denying your partner the things that bring them joy leads to resentment and, in some cases, a relationship breakdown. The saying, “If you love someone, let them go. If they come back, it was meant to be,” holds a lot of truth. If you truly love and trust your partner, you should be able to let them pursue their passions without holding them back.
Watching my wife flourish and grow through her hobbies brings me joy, and I will never stand in the way of that happiness. So, let’s embrace the idea that our partners’ hobbies and interests are just as important as our own and that a healthy relationship is one where both individuals can thrive together and separately.
Author’s Note: This is a re-work of an older essay. I’m trying a little writing experiment with some non-fiction work.