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B Side, Lifestyle

Romantic Enmeshments in Long Term Relationships

Romantic enmeshments are an expected consequence in relationships that have a length of time and common history. This makes for solid inside jokes, a shared love of certain food, music…

  • Chiamaka Ejindu
  • 25th April 2023

There are various changes that new relationships bring upon us. While it may differ in some instances, there are distinct similarities. People report noticing that couples might begin to resemble one another, almost like siblings. Some report feeling that their partner starts to talk like them, using their ‘slangs’ or quips and every so often, even responds the way they would to prompts. All these are what I have come to term as romantic enmeshments, which tend to dictate just how attached each partner has become to the other. When I look at a certain coupling, I notice that these enmeshments tend to occur where the couples are very attached to each other. Couples that tend to have distance, either because they cannot be physically together or they are not very affectionate often find it easier to retain their ‘individuality’ throughout.


While it is not a detriment if a relationship may not have enmeshments, I do enjoy seeing these come to light. I love when romantic relationships tease a softness, an ease out of certain people that was not necessarily there before. It is always a delight especially when each person seems well paired for the other. Unfortunately, enmeshments also make breakups very difficult, because each person is significantly closer to the other. Certain music, movies and even places become off limits. This is what usually informs people who break up and get back together multiple times, because they are often unable to break apart from the months of built bonds. They often believe that their attachments should affirm their decision to going back to their ex, but that is not how it works.


Enmeshments are a lovely way for two people to connect, but they must be handled properly lest they turn into an abandonment of individuality and a quest towards a long or overly drawn out toxic relationship. If you find yourself splitting from a person who you created long-term attachments with, it is important to note that those connections will come up, more often than not. While a person is not expected to just ‘get over it’ within a short period of time, it is also not a good excuse for being unwilling to let new people in, because you are still busy prioritizing those former attachments. This is when enmeshments become detrimental, because they directly block people from moving past or pushing through old relationships. And whether or not the relationship ended badly, it is not a good look when you are not able to reflect on an old joke or a certain playlist without feeling the need to go back to that old relationship. It also does not help when you are not able to take control of your individuality and end up forever stuck in the mindset of being another person’s partner.


Long term relationships are going to move through various cycles, with both partners gaining new perspectives or views on life. It is very important that individuals still keep up with their friendships, loved ones and hobbies even while in a romantic connection. This helps each person to maintain a life outside of their relationship. Even if the relationship does not end and progresses into marriage or permanent commitment, couples that have healthy identities blossom together much stronger than couples who become helpless once their other partner is not present. It also helps them be better friends, family and loved ones to the people around them.

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