Hi, everybody. I’m Mike Staver. This is Mondays with Mike, a weekly video series where I answer questions from people just like you. Here’s this week’s question.

“During the pandemic, I seemed to get more dependent on my partner. Prior to COVID, I was independent. I did as I pleased and had a free spirit. Makes my partner crazy that I’m so dependent and needy. What do you think is the best way to find that independent free spirit again?”

When you are in that dependent state, I think you need to tell your partner that, and I think you need to do something independent that moment, even if it’s uncomfortable. It’s going to be uncomfortable. I’m not making fun of this at all. The fact is we were all locked together for a long time and so we got used to a certain pattern, we got used to certain people. It’s like spending time with a person that you love and then they go out of town or they go away for a while, you miss it. For some of you, and I don’t know if this is your case, you might’ve gotten really sick. Your partner might’ve taken really good care of you. They might have been part of your journey through what was a difficult and scary time.

This kind of dependency though will not only drive your partner crazy, it’ll start to erode the foundation of your relationship. I think you trust, assuming that it’s true, that your relationship is solid and then start waning slowly back into the things that you did when you were independent. I think that’s the best thing you can do. Then tell your partner, “Look, I need you to hold me accountable for being more independent, even when I kick and scream, beg and plead,” all right?

Remember, there is a reason that when you’re on an airplane they say, “Put your own mask on first before you help others with their oxygen,” you know what I’m saying? Your partner’s not oxygen. Hope that’s helpful.

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