Maintaining Identity In Our Relationship

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About five years ago, Alfred (my fiance) gave me a DSLR camera for my birthday. It was a wonderful gift and the wheels in my head quickly began to turn. I, obviously, began shooting tons of photos as I learned the ins and outs of the equipment. Eventually, I had all these photographs and wanted to display them for people to see. That’s when the idea to open an art studio/gallery came to me.

One day, I told Alfred that I was going to open a studio. Within a week, I found a space and begin to organize it into an artistic escape. 

We are both artists on top of our normal day-to-day jobs. The studio became a place to create things and to keep things that inspire us.  It includes a work space, small shop, and a photography studio all situated in a larger building full of artists. Through the studio, we’ve met amazing people and are involved with our community. It is a very positive aspect of our life. 

The funny thing is originally the space was intended to be my studio, alone. However, I decided it would be much better if Alfred also used the space and so it became ours. That is the amazing thing about being in a serious relationship with another human being. No matter what it is, things seem to involve both parties. 

At a certain point, I began to realize the manner in which I spoke changed from saying “I” to saying “We” for most things. Subconsciouly, I include Alfred in everything I do and it feels strange when I don’t.

That’s not to say an individual in a serious relationship can’t maintain some semblance of independence, it’s just you find it more comfortable and natural to include your signficant other. I’m perfectly fine doing things on my own but everything feels more fulfilling when I include my fiancé. Of course, there is a fine line to walk when it comes to this issue. It isn’t healthy to become codependent. You have to keep your own goals, your own desires, and your own happiness in mind and remember ultimately you are the only one responsible for your happiness.

In our relationship, we are not über possessive of one another. While we have decided to unite as one, we recognize that we lead two separate, unique lives.  This perspective brings a lot to the table and enriches our shared life.  

As Alfonso Herrera said in Sense8: “Love is not something we wind up, something we set or control. Love, like art, must always be free.”

J Harvey

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