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Marriage is a life changing event in people’s life, especially for couples who are living together for the first time. People usually get married with the idea that their love will prevail over any circumstances, which I agree to a certain extent. Love will be a key component on a happy and long lasting marriage, but let’s be honest, there are things beyond love that will save a marriage.

A common mistake among newlyweds is that they feel that marriage means giving up your identity, but, just because you married someone doesn’t mean that he or she have to be your entire life or the only person in your life. When we start a new relation or a marriage we enter into what people call the honeymoon stage, in other words, we think our partner is the best even if he or she is the worst person in the world and we start giving up passions, hobbies, personality traits and habits that define us and make us who we are, for example, women stop going to their morning yoga classes and men stop watching Sunday football or whatever sport they follow, and even worst, we lose touch with friends and family.

When you live with someone it is easy to end up doing everything together, because it’s so convenient and we needed it to bond with our new partner. Doing everything together sounds romantic, however, it can have many drawbacks especially as times goes by when many of us find that we don’t exactly enjoy what our partner wants to do and we no longer have time to enjoy our own passions.

Losing your individuality is not part of a healthy relation or marriage. In fact, when people realize they lost their individuality, is when things can get ugly.

Fight for your individuality, avoiding this subject will make things worse, if you don’t believe me, just read the rest.

Few years ago a friend of mine, not so close though, was looking for new career opportunities and I happened to have an open position in my department. He came for an interview and everybody liked him, so we decided to hire him.

He and his Family lived in the south and this position required him to move to the North East in addition, he was also required to travel extensively around the world, so I spoke to him before extending the offer and told him that this job was not easy, he has a wife and three kids and I knew that they were very closed to each other so I wasn’t sure how they will handle the travel situation and the fact they had to move to a region completely different than the south, where even the weather is significantly different, for example they are not used to the snow.

After trying to discourage him from taking this job, his answer to me was that they were ready to make some life adjustments and the opportunities for growth in the south were scarce, so I decided to hire him. Couple of months after he and his family moved I started seeing some red flags that I knew they could impact his performance but I decided to stay out and hoped that those red flags were temporary. Big mistake of course!

He moved first in order to find a place to stay and things like that, so after couple of weeks he came to me and asked me permission to take few days off. What? I explained him that he just joined and it didn’t look good to take some time off two weeks after he joined, but he explained me that he needed to go to the south and pick-up his family and then drive all together to here.

“Why you have to go? The company pays for their flights; can’t they take a flight and meet you here?” I asked.

“No, my wife doesn’t feel comfortable flying alone with the kids, she doesn’t know how to go through security, etc and one of the kids has never flown, so we don’t want to expose him to an stressful situation, so I’ll drive, I don’t have any other options” he said.

I didn’t have any other option than to give him permission to take time off. Then, he started to decline meetings that we set up close to lunch time or sometimes at lunch time, even the ones close to 5 pm, so I had to talk to him and see what was going on. His response was that he always does lunch and dinners with his wife and kids. So I said, wait a minute, I respect that and I wish I could do that but, work is work and he had to respect other people’s time. He wasn’t too happy but he had to start accepting the meetings.

Then, the fun started, he had to start traveling; oh boy, I couldn’t believe what happened. Traditionally when we travel we try to mix work with a little bit of fun, like going out for dinners and sometimes for drinks. In my case, I can’t go for dinner and drinks if I don’t workout, I tend to gain weight very easily so unfortunately for the people that travel with me they have to wait until I finish and take a shower and obviously that means, going for dinner at 7:30 or later. He just to joined us couple of times for dinner but never for drinks, not because he doesn’t drink of course, because he had a very straight schedule and he had to go back to his room at certain time in order to facetime with his family for at least 2 hours every night. I love my wife and daughter, they mean everything to me but I call home couple of times a day and talk to them for 15 minutes, and when my wife is the one traveling, is even worst, sometimes she says, “sorry I didn’t call, I was too tired”.

I have always been a good person and try to think about the others; I knew they were alone here so I invited him and his family to some gatherings with my friends. His wife was awesome; she immediately made good connections with my wife and my friend’s wives, he, not so much. The girls started to invite his wife to have coffee, etc and at the beginning she used to joined them, until one day she just stop going out arguing that she didn’t want to live her husband alone. We also invited this guy to go out several times but he always declined the offers.

He worked for us about a year but after that, he decided to resign and go back to the south; he managed to get his old job back, scarifying a good salary and paying for his own relocation, his old company didn’t offered him relocation, even worse, he is paying the company what we paid for his relocation because he had a three year contract with us. I was too disappointed that he left the company being a friend of mine and after all the efforts I personally had to do to train him, etc.

This is a good example on how the lack of individuality can ruin your lives.

His kids started failing in school because daddy was at home all the times, which is bad, both you and they need space; I know by fact that they all go to sleep together very often.

He probably felt bad being away from home while he was traveling so to compensate that he spend hours facetiming with the family, again, maintaining contact with your family is one thing, spending hours in front of a camera every day is too much.

Not being focused on meetings because you are upset that you couldn’t eat lunch with your family; way too much.

He wasn’t too happy to see his wife going out without him, so, she was stocked here with no friends and family and without the freedom to go out.

He didn’t need to go out with us; he preferred to be 24 hrs a day with his family.

At the beginning she was so afraid of driving here because she didn’t know the roads, so she had to wait for her husband to go for shopping, etc. Believe it or not, back home, in the city she has been living since the day she born was the same, she used to have her husband driving her everywhere and before him, her parents.

Before he contacted me the first time I didn’t know much about him, he was an acquaintance more than a friend and after he moved back I have no idea of his life, but his parents and mines are close friends and for some reason his parents try to avoid any conversation about him with my parents, no idea why, but I’m sure because they know that the lack of individuality won’t have good consequences in his life.

 

 

 

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