Kirsten Dunst and Garret Hedlund reportedly spent a lot of time together at the Sundance Film Festival. But when they get back to a more regular schedule, the co-stars of the upcoming movie “On the Road” might be faced with that question all new couples must deal with: How do we mesh our worlds without giving up what is important to us individually and possibly losing ourselves in the process? In other words, how much time should we spend together? It is a tricky question, and the answer might not be the same for each partner.

 

If one person wants to be together but the other is pulled toward something else — a scheduled appointment, a night out with friends, a quiet evening at home — the first might feel rejected and the other might then feel guilty. You might be able to avoid that if you are clear from the beginning about your boundaries.

 

Let them know you are excited and looking forward to spending time with them and wish you could make all these other responsibilities disappear, but both of you have things that need your individual attention. As long as you understand that, it will give you the room to do what you need to do and not feel you are neglecting your relationship. The important thing is to emphasize that choosing to do your own thing does not mean you don’t want to be together, and if the other person makes the same choice it doesn’t mean they don’t care about you.

 

You can be considerate and reassuring by letting each other know when you are free to spend time so that you can both make your separate plans and still preserve time to be with one another.

Ultimately, you want to honor your own needs in tandem with theirs. Hopefully, once Kirsten and Garrett settle into a routine they will be able to do just that.

 

— Relationship expert Dr. Jane Greer is creator of “Shrink Wrap” – national commentary on what we can learn from celebrity relationships – and host of “Let’s Talk Sex” at Healthylife.net. Her book, “What About Me? Stop Selfishness From Ruining Your Relationship,” is available nationwide.

 

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