by DAVY WASHINGTON
Q: How do I let my partner know that even though we don’t leave the house, they still need to shower?
A: Shower together!
If my partner asked me if I wanted to shower with them, I would never say no. I don’t care if I just got out of the shower, if they want to shower with me, I’m hopping right back in, and I think they’d have the same reaction.
Q: Do partners need to share hobbies?
A: This is tricky because it’s ideal for you to have things in common with your partner—and I would hope you do. Having hobbies you two share can be beneficial to your relationship, as it can make for better dates and quality time spent together. If you’re feeling like you don’t have shared hobbies, try to remember what activities you both bonded over at the beginning of your relationship, or introduce some that they may like to see if you can find new common interests.
For example, you two may like some of the same videogames, books, sports or other activities, so make a point to do them together so that you can spend more time with your partner. Also, if you aren’t able to do these activities together due to your schedules, make a point of chatting about them nonetheless. Even if you’re not able to play a videogame next to them, maybe you can watch their Twitch stream or have them tell you about it at a later time so that you still feel involved.
That being said, there is a flip side.
Suppose you have absolutely zero shared hobbies. Then what? The way I see it, the relationship may not be very strong because most good relationships have a strong foundation based on common interests. While these common interests may be something apart from shared hobbies, spending time together is an important part of developing a stronger connection. It’s one thing to share common traits, don’t get me wrong, but not having anything you two like doing together would make me wonder why and how you two got together in the first place. Some people say that opposites attract, but if you and your partner don’t share any common interests, then you’re potentially missing out on some really valuable bonding time.
The bottom line: While it’s okay to not share all the same hobbies, it’s a red flag to not have any interests in common, and it may be a sign that you two aren’t a good match.
Q: When you’re having an argument, do you hash it out or sleep on it and talk about it later? I’m with someone who’s emotionally unavailable and we have some trust issues.
A: Personally, I like to resolve conflict as soon as possible, which isn’t always healthy because it doesn’t allow me to sit and think about what I want to say for long enough in some cases, but that’s just me. As nerve-racking as it may be to wait before resolving a conflict, allowing yourself time to reflect is a lot better than making hasty decisions in the moment and saying something you’ll regret.
Another thing I like to live by is to never go to bed angry with each other. Even if you don’t really like each other at that moment, you two—ideally—have something special together that you are growing and nurturing. Remind each other that you love each other, and allow yourselves time to cool down. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve rushed my response to an argument and gotten the opposite of what I wanted when I could have waited just a little bit longer and gotten a much more favorable outcome: Not being dumped.
Now, let’s talk about emotional unavailability and trust issues.
It’s important to instill mutual respect and trust at the very beginning of the relationship. You (hopefully) will share secrets and past hardships with one another, and by respecting their vulnerability and privacy—like, not spilling everyone your partner’s secrets—you’ll earn their trust. By creating that secure bond early on, you’ll create a path to their complete trust later—or as much as they’ll give you.
But, if your partner has trust issues caused by past experiences independent of your relationship with them, this is something they have to work on themselves. You can offer support, but in the end, it’s their problem to resolve, and you’re not their therapist. I can not stress this enough: you cannot control anyone but yourself. All you can do is show them that they can trust and rely on you, and if they’re not putting in the work to resolve their trust issues, then there isn’t much more you can do, and it’s most likely the best decision to part ways.
The bottom line: After supporting your partner and demonstrating that they can trust you, it’s up to them to open up and be transparent with you. While you can’t control your partner’s trust issues and what they do about them, know that you don’t have to endure that kind of relationship if it’s bringing you down more than lifting you up; your relationship should do the latter. If you’ve had a conversation with them about how their issues are impacting you and they’ve made no true effort to change that behavior, then it may be time to call it quits.