Time is Limited
While your primary responsibility is always to yourself, once you get involved in a committed relationship you have a sense of duty to take care of the one you love and the relationship you have created. This is why most people practice fidelity, compromise on what movie to go to and what to do on a Saturday night. When you are single you can pretty much do what you want to do. When you are in a relationship that decision is usually made by "us." If you happen to be a man, that "us" more often than not, means her. Although she may very well feel differently. Women make most of the social decisions in relationships. While this is a generality it is also statistically true that women tend to be more social than men and usually arrange to get together with others or get those hotel reservations for that weekend getaway. In my own personal life I know there are times when I know my wife wants to do something because it is meaningful to her and other times she just wants to do things that feel good in the moment. There are times when I know she really wants me to accompany her out into her world and times when I know it is okay to turn down the invitation. Usually I am happy she wants me to accompany her or do something with her for I know it is not easy for her to ask me to help her or join her just because. Those invitations I do my best to attend. Not 100% of the time, but close, because why be in a relationship if you don’t want to have a relationship? Yet, I know there are times I have said “No” to her that hurt and disappointed her. I do my best to be there for her in pain and joy. It’s that traditional commitment to be there in good times and in bad. Some relationships never get to that point or one bails out when the going gets too tough. People in healthy relationships know that you need to attend to your relationship. The more you invest in its welfare the better it will be. So when my wife asks me to a function with her I usually say “Yes.” The struggle often arises between the amount of "free" time you have and what you want to do with it. As people get older they are less interested in doing things they don’t really like. When you are younger you are more willing to experiment and try new things. As you age while you still like a pleasant surprise now and then while at the same time the comfort of the familiar seeps over your being. This happens to the best of us and the rest of us. I am sure someone else must have written that line before. Probably someone famous who I ought to know. I used to lie about those things and try to pretend I knew things and was cooler than I am. I don’t do that as much now – although I still do find myself falling into it now and then. As cool as I can be at certain moments there are plenty of moments I wish I were cooler, knew more or was better. But, like you and Popeye, I am what I am. And however we are, we need to find time to be with ourselves and do the things we need to do and like to do. And, we need time with those we love. Balancing it all, like any other balancing act, will result in some spillage. The trick is to manage those challenges with our best skills and not let our frustration and disappointment take us away from interacting with ourselves and others in kind, respectful and loving ways.