By Chandrama Anderson
E-mail Chandrama Anderson
About this blog: About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and grief and have lived in Silicon Valley since 1969. I'm the president of Connect2 Marriage Counseling. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in ... (More)
About this blog: About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and grief and have lived in Silicon Valley since 1969. I'm the president of Connect2 Marriage Counseling. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in Silicon Valley for 15 years before becoming a therapist. My background in high-tech is helpful in understanding local couples' dynamics and the pressures of living here. I am a wife, mom, sister, friend, author, and lifelong advocate for causes I believe in (such as marriage equality). My parents are both deceased. My son graduated culinary school and is heading toward a degree in Sociology. I enjoy reading, hiking, water fitness, movies, 49ers and Stanford football, Giants baseball, and riding a tandem bike with my husband. I love the beach and mountains; nature is my place of restoration. In my work with couples, and in this blog, I combine knowledge from many fields to bring you my best ideas, tips, tools and skills, plus book and movie reviews, and musings to help you be your genuine self, find your own voice, and have a happy and healthy relationship. Don't be surprised to hear about brain research and business skills, self-soothing techniques from all walks of life, suggestions and experiments, and anything that lights my passion for couples. (Author and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Calif. Lic # MFC 45204.) (Hide)
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As I wrote recently in my best tip for marriage – which is to take care of it, I’ve been thinking of the signs and symptoms of parallel living that I see and hear about.
Parallel living overall is the opposite of living as an intimate married couple.
If you watch kids play, as you may have with other families, the kids are near each other, but each one is actually playing on its own. This is a normal developmental step called parallel play, before kids learn about playing with others.
The following may seem to be different, but I view them similarly.
I’ve written about ships heading just slightly in different directions, which over time can lead to another continent altogether.
Many families don’t have meals together; and while some do, I sure see a lot of devices at the table. In fact, I was Amici’s a month or two ago and saw a dad with three kids, each on their own device. That’s not actually a family meal.
Do you feel you really know your partner anymore? What goes on in his mind? What are her biggest concerns these days?
Do you talk about topics other than logistics?
When you have free time, who do you spend it with? Who would you like to be spending it with?
What are your favorite interests and activities? Do you have more or less of them in common now?
And the big one I hear often: we’re good roommates, but we don’t function as a married couple. In other words, we don’t feel connected, loved, sought after, romanced, desired, sexy, comforted, and so on.
Are you near each other in proximity, but each “playing” on your own? I’m not implying you have to be engaged all the time, by the way. I’m talking about trends.
If after reading this and finding yourself responding or resonating “Yes” to several of these signs and symptoms of parallel living, you have noticed important information about the state of your marriage.
Now it’s up to you to decide what to do about it.
If we keep doing what we’re doing, we’ll keep getting what we’re getting.
If you want a different outcome, take action!