As a young girl, I felt a societal expectation that I would be married with a couple of kids by my mid-20s. So when I approached my mid-30s as a single woman, I was prepared for life as a spinster.
Certainly, the reality of becoming a newlywed bride at 40 was not something I saw coming. The sentiment among my mother’s circle of friends was generally, “I thought she would have been married by now!”
In hindsight, my path of self-discovery as a single, independent woman only helped form a solid and secure relationship after meeting my partner at 35. Before that point, we spent most of our adult lives pursuing individual passions, making friendships and establishing our careers. While my hubby pursued his love of art and music, I travelled solo through Europe, explored Australia and even lived interstate. I owned my own home and established my financial independence before we met.
While my partner and I share many common interests, there are activities we enjoy doing separately. Don’t get me wrong, there are many things we enjoy doing together, like weekends away, watching live music and low-brow comedies, eating good food and playing board games. But we agree it’s healthy for our relationship to have our own interests and time away from one another to recharge and retain our independence.
My partner has introduced me to the great outdoors through hiking and camping trips, and I’ve encouraged him to travel and learn new cultural experiences – he didn’t even have a passport before he met me. He’s come along to the theatre, but it’s not really his thing, so he encourages me to go with my friends instead.
Likewise, I’ve dabbled in the world of Dungeons and Dragons, but I hardly get FOMO when he plays six-hour campaigns without me.
The big factor in our relationship is trust. I enjoy getting out and socialising, but I’ve been sober for 15 years, so late-night benders aren’t my idea of fun. I’ve often left Thomas at the pub knowing that he’ll come home safely, without me needing to call or text every half hour asking when he’s coming home. The trust is mutual, where I often catch up with friends or family without him, no questions asked.
Much of that trust comes with being secure in ourselves as individuals and finding one another later in life. We both had independent lives as adults before we met, and we have built a mutual love and respect over our past five years together.
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