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Why me-time is essential for a healthy, happy relationship

We spoke to Married At First Sight's sex and relationships expert Charlene Douglas about why time alone is important

Couple Looking Away While Holding Hands At Rooftop
Melanie Macleod
Wellness Editor
4 April 2023
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Anyone who's been caught up in the heady haze of a new romance will know it can be tempting to spend every waking minute with your partner, delighting in getting to know each other and experiencing everything together for the first time.

However, Married At Fight Sight's sex and relationships expert Charlene Douglas explains that for a happy, healthy relationship, this is NOT what you should be doing, and instead says that focusing on me-time is key to a long-lasting relationship.

We spoke to the straight-talking expert as part of her work with Pour Moi, for whom she is judging the Uplifting Women Awards, which recognises the achievements of women, helping them to feel confident in themselves – something Charlene is a big advocate of.

Charlene Douglas smiling in a navy dress© Pour Moi
Charlene Douglas is working with the clothing brand Pour Moi

"Pour Moi's ethos around positivity and supporting women of all different sizes and faces really stands out for me. The brand is uplifting and positive and has a really good, nice energy and always makes me smile."

Here's what Charlene had to say about what me-time is essential for a happy relationship, why you should never give a new partner your all and why confidence is so important when it comes to relationships, both romantic and platonic.

READ: Which couples from Married at First Sight are still together?

How to feel more confident in relationships

"I think people underestimate the power of a good, healthy relationship," Charlene told us. "When I was in unhealthy relationships, it had an impact on every area of my life, meaning I wasn't confident, and confidence is so important in a happy relationship."

 1. Don't stop working on yourself  

Before jumping headfirst into a relationship, Charlene advises taking time for yourself to really think about what it is you need from a partner.

"When people get into relationships, the assumption is that your partner can build up all the areas where you feel a bit insecure," she explains. "We rely on them to make us happy, to help us feel positive, and to reassure us when we're insecure. But actually, the work on yourself has to continue when you're in a relationship.

"You've got to do the work on yourself to feel good and positive. Be around good people, eat good food, and be mindful about what you surround yourself with, such as what you watch on TV and who you follow on social media. All of these things influence your confidence in yourself and your happiness."

Charlene Douglas in a chic navy dress© Pour Moi
Charlene Douglas believes me-time is key in a healthy relationship

2. Make time for me time

"When we're in a relationship we can get really caught up and lose who we are, and lose our identity," Charlene says.

She explains that after a breakup, people often say they need to find themselves again, but if you never lose yourself in the first place, this won't be necessary.

REVEALED: Do MAFS couples get paid for being on the show? 

"In order to maintain a level of confidence and happiness in and out of relationships, it is important to get that balance right," Charlene continues. "Do fun things with your partner but continue to make time for your family and friends. Maintain your sense of identity.

"Remember, your partner was attracted to that version of you, without them, so you don't want to lose that part of you when you're in the relationship."

3. Reflect on what went wrong

If you've recently emerged from a relationship that didn't work, resulting in dented confidence, Charlene suggests taking time to learn what didn't go so well. "This will help you understand what you need from a relationship moving forward," she says.

MORE: Married at First Sight: Is the UK version of the show scripted?

 4. Don't jump in headfirst

Charlene also recommends holding back a bit of yourself from a new partner, to protect yourself in the long run. "Take baby steps in terms of entering that world of meeting someone new and don't give your all straight away," she advises.

"You don't want to be your complete self to someone that you don't know and might not deserve you. Take time to build up the trust before you reveal all of who you are," Charlene says.

"Get to know them and once they've shown you that they can be trusted, give a little more of yourself to them."

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