How fused is your relationship?

We have all seen the couples dressed almost exactly the same, holding hands in busy public areas, leaving others to navigate around them when they will not drop their close attachment. This is a visual clue of a fused relationship. When this couple first met they were separate individuals, but over time they have blended into one identity. They are now unhealthily fused.

This fusion usually means they know exactly where each other is every moment; they will not go anywhere without the other; they do not have separate friends; they have given up past interests to please the other and they compromise on all issues to keep the relationship safe. And if you dig deep, they are content but bored.

There is nothing wrong with spending a lot of time with the one we love, but it is mentally healthy to allow the other the freedom of independence. It is, after all, the differences in each other that kept us interested when we first met. Fusion kills the spark of excitement of the unknown. Fusion stops us, as individuals, from having a sense of adventure where we can go out into the world alone to find new challenges.

Allowing our other the freedom to go out and do his - or her - own stuff is a gift to each other. It is a gift which offers trust and freedom. What is wrong with letting the other take a separate holiday with a friend? Go to the movies on their own? Take a trip to climb mountains with others? Join a separate tennis club? Have drinks with work colleagues? Have separate friends that you don’t really click with anyway?

Extreme relationship fusion is usually not noticeable to the participants at first. Everything seems safe and predictable. Things appear okay, but every day seems like another. Deep down there are held resentments with feelings of being disconnected at an emotional level from themselves and their own wants. Acknowledging that fusion is present is the first step to exploring living life with more adventure and trust.

Allowing your partner to have some separate thoughts or activities is an act of love. They will appreciate you more for allowing this as well. Dig out some of those well-loved music tracks you once loved, but the other hated, and enjoy a great night for one.

Having a close and loving relationship with another can be a beautiful thing, but imprisoning each other with too much fusion can place both partners in a safe but suffocating cell.

Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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Written by Gerry North Couple Counsellor/Psychotherapist

Gerry North works with gay couples and treats depression, anxiety, panic attacks, addiction, sexual matters and self-esteem. He has worked in LGBT counselling for over 10 years. Gerry writes articles for newspapers and online gay websites. A mature counsellor who has experienced single and couple life. He now lives in London with his partner.… Read more

Written by Gerry North Couple Counsellor/Psychotherapist

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