I have found that both men and women often have trouble figuring out how to do this successfully. A great place to start is understanding that we are individuals first and a couple second. This means that we must first know, understand, address, deal with, and heal ourselves. This will enable us to show up to be the best possible partner in our relationship.
For example, if I do not fully know and understand who I am and what I desire, I may be left feeling lost or unfulfilled in my life. This can lead me to look at my life and especially my partner and blame these feelings on those external elements. It can actually trigger me to cause damage in the relationship that does not need to exist.
So how do you figure out where to draw the line with separate activities and having your own life outside your relationship?
Providing a blanket or cookie-cutter answer to this question will not work because what may be successful for one couple would be absolutely disastrous for another. It truly is up to each person and his or her individual choice. As long as each partner in the relationship is comfortable with the amount of separate activities, it is healthy and works.
The problems usually arise when one partner is not comfortable with it and does not like it. This partner may feel rejected, unloved, not cared for, invalidated, etc, which can definitely cause the demise of the relationship. For example, if one partner wants to sleep in separate beds because he/she does not sleep well with someone in the bed, the other partner may intellectually understand this, however, emotionally may feel discarded. If this goes on unaddressed over time, it can be a slow yet predictable end to the relationship.
As long as there is true intimacy and a close emotional bond, a couple can have separate activities in their relationship without fears of it tearing them apart. However, if there are not these elements present in the relationship, these separate activities will only cause more of a divide and speed up the process of the relationship ending.
Checking in with yourself and your partner about what works and is comfortable for you both and then creating that life through conscious choice and effective communication is a solid formula to figuring out where to draw the line.