Are You Staying with Them Because of Your Lifestyle?

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Our relationship expert Dr Pam Spurr (@drpamspurr on Instagram and Twitter) explains when you need to know if you're in it for love or the lifestyle.

Some say there has been a rising trend for couples to stay together because of the lifestyle they share, even when the love has gone. Here's some questions and my answers about this:

Do you think this is a rising trend and why are we valuing materialism more than love, etc?

I'm not sure if this is a rising trend or whether people are simply more honest about why they're staying in a relationship nowadays. A decade or two ago they would’ve been too embarrassed to say they were in it for the "lifestyle" because that would’ve been such a "Stepford Wife" thing to say. Now we have the sorts of friendships where we don't expect to be judged over such decisions.

How do you know when you've reached the point when you're staying together just because of the lifestyle?

You know when you've reached the point where lifestyle means more than love when you're clocking how that lifestyle is going. Usually it's seen as an upwards trajectory where the lifestyle should keep improving with better clothes and gifts, better restaurants, better holidays, etc. If inside you've started to feel quite mercenary about the relationship then that's a very big wake-up call. Also, if you find you’re telling your friends more and more about the material side of things then that's what you’re focused on. Early in a relationship when all you can do is gush about them, e.g. and their sense of humour and how hot they are in bed, but now you're talking about what they’ve just bought you, then your priorities are changing!  

Can lifestyle ever make up for love?

Lifestyle can only make up for love when you're not looking for a deeper love and he knows you feel that way. If you've been honest enough to tell them then they’re also probably happy with the lifestyle you both share and not so worried about the love thing. If you’re hiding the fact that you’ve fallen out love with them but still love the lifestyle, then it devalues you.

Is there anything wrong with staying with someone for the lifestyle and how can you make it work?

There's nothing wrong with staying with someone for the lifestyle if you have basic respect for them and they feel the same way, too. But if you lie to them that you’re still deeply in love then that's complete deception. To make it work requires that openness. It may be that you’re both in a life-stage where a passionate love is not the most important thing. For example, you may both be so in to your career that the lifestyle you share works well for you both without the hassle of finding a new relationship.

Do you have any tips on maintaining that lifestyle if you break up (e.g. how do you manage to stay close to your joint friend)?

You can maintain your joint friends if you don't ask them to take sides. Also never involve them in gossip about your ex. For a time, you might find you both need to see them separately after you've first broken up. Eventually, you can all go out together as a group again. It does happen! To maintain the financial side is a completely different issue. Either you can choose to work harder to fund it or get together with another single friend to share costs on different things you both enjoy.

Originally posted on Dr Pam’s blog

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