The 1 + 1 = 3 Rule: How to Thrive as a Couple

Roxanne Bélanger
Written by Roxanne Bélanger /

In order for partners to flourish, they must avoid becoming one...

You might think that I am terrible at math... Wait until you understand my reasoning. Why should healthy couples follow this rule? Logic is not always the answer, especially when it comes to love.

Many people fear distance and individuality in their relationships. Of course, if you perceive this as threatening or predictive of infidelity, it makes sense that you would try to avoid them at all costs. You might also tend to be a bit too invasive and your relationship might come into conflict when it comes to time spent outside the relationship.

In my practice, I frequently meet couples who commit to spending ALL their time together, watching the same shows, doing the same activities, etc. These are often couples who experience a lot of conflict and frustration without really knowing how they ended up there...

Trying to define the “Us” can be wonderful, but also sometimes suffocating and controlling. Closeness is important, but we need to find the right balance! Our own insecurities often push us towards fusion, for fear that the other person will stray too far and not come back or leave us altogether.

At the beginning of the relationship, this fusion is often present and healthy. It is an integral part of the stages of the relationship. After a while, we start to distance ourselves and stop spending ALL our time together, which is perfectly normal. Don’t forget that before becoming partners, you were both unique people with your own tastes, desires, needs and activities.

Ask yourself the following question: “Do you allow yourself to enjoy YOUR alone time?” The old “ball and chain” joke that people sometimes use to refer to their partner reveals a type of attitude that is detrimental to any healthy relationship. Both partners need to feel free to do as they please.

Some people in relationships tend not to consider these moments favourable for their mental health and beneficial for themselves and their partnership. Everyone needs to take quality time for themselves. These moments are different for everyone, ask yourself what YOU like to do and what YOU want.

If you see yourself in this article, it could be helpful to discuss it individually or together with a professional who will be able to guide you toward achieving 1+1 = 3.

*Minor modifications made by Annie Ferland, Content Specialist, Psychologist, Psy.D.

About the author

Roxanne Bélanger
Roxanne Bélanger
Director of Operations and Services, B.Ed, MBA

With over 18 years of experience, Roxanne is a seasoned leader in education and operations. Currently overseeing operations and services at Optania, she has held key leadership roles, including chief executive officer and product specialist. Her career showcases a strong dedication to business management and a deep passion for education.

Roxanne's background as a teacher in special education and orthopedagogy provides her with a unique and valuable perspective in her current positions. This dual expertise has earned her respect in both the education and business sectors.

See all Roxanne Bélanger's posts

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