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How Healthy Relationships Benefit from Time Apart

A couple in a healthy relationship, touching noses, about to kiss.

In early relationships or new marriages, time together is essential. In many ways, you’re still getting to know one another, you’re learning new exciting things about this person, and you feel great around them. But at some point the honeymoon phase ends, and that new thing you learn about your partner is that they eat yogurt by chewing it, or that they can’t put their smelly wet towel anywhere but on your side of the bed. This is where a couple’s relationship can benefit from spending a little time apart.

Balance in every aspect of life is important, especially in relationships. Too much time together can allow problems to arise and fester. Spending time apart grants the opportunity to view your relationship and its challenges objectively. You might also appreciate your partner more from afar. Sometimes absence really does make the heart grow fonder.

Spending time apart can help you achieve a well-balanced relationship. Here’s how:

You stay connected to the world.
Investing time to nurture important friendships away from your partner helps you achieve strong social ties, which can reward you with lower stress levels, a stronger immune system, and an important network of support.

Harvard Health found that a lack of social ties could lead to depression and poorer health. But, on the other hand, closeness with others can bring you a strong sense of meaning and love.

You maintain your personal identity.
Taking care of your partner often means taking care of yourself, first and foremost. While this comes in many forms, maintaining or establishing your own individual identity is central to weathering the storms of uncertainty that most couples face at some point in the relationship.

When times get tough you need to know what, not who, defines you in order to remain strong in difficult times.

Sturdy connections with friends, a strong sense of self-sufficiency, and having personal hobbies that your partner can appreciate, but not necessarily take part in might ensure that you find yourself standing on your own two feet if a relationship fails.

You focus on quality over quantity.
When couples spend time apart, it allows them to come together for quality time that may otherwise be taken for granted. This is a time to come together and appreciate shared experiences. The goal should be spending valuable time together, time that allows you to grow and enjoy one another. Focusing on just spending as much time as possible near one another can be detrimental if this time is spent negatively.

You miss each other.
A recent study has found that individuals in long distance relationships might experience more intimacy than those who spend every day together.

Relationships greatly benefit when time together is meaningful, communication is more thoughtful, and the relationship can transcend beyond just physical togetherness.

Not spending every waking second with your partner allows you to clearly realize what that person means to you, and what they bring to your life.

You get a lesson in priorities.
When couples spend time apart, the focus in a relationship becomes big picture. There is less time and less opportunity for small things to escalate out of hand, and potential fights never see the light of day.

Knowing what you value, and staying true to those values will allow you to see if a relationship won’t work, or it will effectively promote the goodness of a relationship.  Big picture thinking sheds light on how you’ll make life-guiding decisions as a couple in the future.

Shared interests can be the glue that bonds you together, but it can’t be the only thing keeping you in your relationship. It’s important to remember that you’re an individual, and, as a couple, to not melt into one identity. You can’t grow in someone else’s shadow.

Be yourself. Listen to the music you love and your partner hates. Wear the clothes that make you feel good. Hold onto your opinions even if they disagree. Nobody should leave behind his or her interests to appeal to someone else. It’s important to hold onto the things that make you, you. Oftentimes, this means spending time apart, and that’s ok.

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