How to help your loved one be more independent?


So I struggle often with my loved one being very needy though I try to be there for them as much as I can. My life is very busy right now and we don’t currently live together. I spend most of my time at work or with her, sleeping when I can in between. I try to be with to help with her depression and loneliness especially supporting her recovery. The thing is though: the moment that I want to have some me time and just relax at home for once (which is not that often), I get hit with passive aggression and am made to feel guilty about my valid choice to have some me time. How do you guys suggest I navigate this? I want to be able to have my space when I need it, but I want my fiance to be able to 1) not give me a hard time every time and 2) be able to be happy being alone and use that time to focus on herself. Thoughts?


Great question @Dean_Acton are there any other friends / family who are supportive and could plan to fill some of the gaps to give you some needed down time :slight_smile: ?

I think 1. sharing with your loved one that you need some time to unwind and rest and that, that will also make your together time even more beneficial to both of you (and showing this to be the case!) and 2. having someone to ‘fill in’ for you could help her to not feel alone and let her mind wander during this phase of re-stabilizing.

Do you think that might be a possibility for you two?


@Dean_Acton I love that you are looking for ways to take care of yourself! I know that you know it’s so important! :raised_hands:

Wondering, do you guys talk openly about her depression? Has she sought treatment - therapy, or otherwise? I’ve experienced depression on & off since I was a teenager - for me, when it’s bad, it’s really hard to find motivation. Something I’ve asked of my husband is to help me find a therapist who will accept our insurance (Psychology Today has a ‘Therapist Finder,’ and @erica might know of other helpful resources?!), and something he’s offered to me on his own is to help cover the cost of a workout I might enjoy (lots of gyms offer an introductory package, or ClassPass offers flexible memberships to a variety of fitness studios, & sometimes even Groupon has some good options!)

All this to say that maybe you can help her find a way to manage her depression & fill her time so that the responsibility of that doesn’t rest entirely on you. (Like @polly said, these might be 2 of probably many possible options for someone/something to “fill in” for you.) She might just need a boost to get started?

Let me know what you think!


Definitely a gym membership will help, I used to go to the gym religiously and it helped my confidence and all around mental and physical health tremendously. Her and I have talked a lot about getting back into it and I know it will help her. As far as her depression, she hasn’t sought any real treatment. We talk about it, she tells me how’s she’s feeling when she’s down but I’ve dealt with depression and anxiety quite a bit in my life so we’ve talked about ways to deal with ourselves with exercise, going for walks, getting outside, socializing and having productive goals. It’s just a matter of actually doing those things that can be tough it seems, it’s easy to just feel overwhelmed and lay on the couch all day. I’m going to try to get the ball rolling and just start going to the gym and hopefully she’ll see the positive impact and jump on the bandwagon with me. That I hope will sow the seeds of motivation for the other aspects of her life. She just started a new job today which we’re celebrating so that should help her too and maybe help her build a little social circle. All good hopes right now


I really appreciate that you recognize that your decisions to have “me” time are valid! You are 100% entitled to your space when you need it. Agreed with @Jane regarding communicating your need for time to unwind as well as reaching out to others in her support network that could make sure she isn’t isolating while you’re taking care of yourself!
I also echo what @polly mentioned about celebrating small wins, and hopefully her job will help her feel more connected to other people! @Dean_Acton it’s great to hear that you are going to try to get yourself to the gym and model positive behaviors for your fiance! So awesome that you’re recognizing the importance of taking care of yourself and navigating the balance between that and supporting your loved one :slight_smile:!
Positives I see you your situation: you already have a goal to work towards (finding time for yourself) and you have already identified the barriers to achieving that goal: 1) There is a potential that you will be given a hard time when you verbalize your needs, and 2) you have concerns about how your fiance will spend her time while you’re having “me” time. Here are 7 Positive Communication tips that @Jane, @ashleykm3, and myself learned about at our CRAFT Training:

  1. Be brief
  2. Be positive
  3. Refer to specific behaviors
  4. Label your feelings
  5. Offer an understanding statement
  6. Accept partial responsibility
  7. Offer to help

An example that could make sense in your situation is: “I want us to both be able to engage in self-care to improve our overall well being, but when I mention taking time for myself I feel anxious that it will turn into an argument and concerned about what you’ll do when I’m not with you. I understand why you have given me a hard time in the past, and it could partially be because you’re used to us spending most of our free time together. I’d like to help by helping you brainstorm ways to make the most out of your time when I’m not around. How does that sound?”

This is just one way of using positive communication, and you ultimately have to find what works best for you, @Dean_Acton! Can you think of any other ways you could communicate your needs to her and share here? Or share your thoughts on this! Hope this helps, and keep doing the great self-work!


Wow this definitely sounds like a lot of wins to celebrate! Hope the job goes well, remember to celebrate all small wins when you can - it makes a big impact!
With my husband I noticed that making things super easy to do helped - eg. when we lived in a building with a gym he’d go but since then not so much… :wink:
I know he’s mentioned over time that seeing me go to the gym (or whatever activity it might be) is inspiring to him (not inspiring like he’s in awe ha but like oh yeah I can do that) - so I think starting with taking care of yourself and showing you’re enjoying life is always a good example too!