When you’re in a relationship, it is natural to want to spend loads of time together, but you also need time apart in a relationship.
The whole point of a relationship is to be together, right? You want to see each other, go on dates, travel, etc. But, time apart in a relationship is vital. Spending too much time together can create a lot of tension, especially in a romantic relationship.
What does time apart in a relationship mean?
By time apart, I don’t mean you should try to have a long distance relationship or not talk for days at a time. Time apart in a relationship will be different for everyone.
For some, that may mean having a girls’ or guys’ night out once a week. It might mean making “me-time.” For others, it could be going on a trip with your friends for the weekend.
Spending all of your free time with your partner can put a lot of pressure on your relationship. It can even cause you to lose your independence if you aren’t careful. [Read: These relationship expectations will keep your relationship healthy]
What happens if you don’t spend time apart in a relationship?
Have you ever gone on a vacation with a friend and by the end of it, you are sick of them? They may not have done anything wrong but some of their habits just start to drive you crazy. So much so that you don’t want to talk to them for a week afterward.
This is what can happen when you spend a lot of nonstop time with someone. Instead of appreciating each other and looking forward to spending time together, you get annoyed by little things like their constant channel flipping or knuckle cracking.
If you don’t take even a few hours a week away from your partner, these small annoyances that really shouldn’t affect your relationship can get in the way of the happiness you would have otherwise. [Read: 15 rules to be a good partner in the relationship]
Reasons why you need time apart in a relationship
Without time apart, every bit of your life is depending on your relationship. And instead of enjoying your time together you become bored or irked. But, if you still aren’t convinced, take a look at some of these reasons why you need time apart in a relationship.
#1 You need to miss each other. This may sound silly, but missing each other even just for one day can offer a lot to your relationship. You may have gotten so used to being around your partner that you’ve started taking them for granted.
Time apart in a relationship can reignite that excitement of wanting to be together rather than having it be a second nature. [Read: How to manage your expectations in a relationship]
#2 You can look forward to your time together. Expecting to spend all your free time with your partner makes all your time together predictable. But when you have time apart, you can look forward to your next date night.
Anticipating not just seeing your partner, but also doing something fun together keeps things interesting and prevents a rut from forming.
#3 You make the most of every moment. Couples that are long distance make the most of every second together because they know it won’t last long. And if you take more time apart in a relationship, you will begin to do that too.
Yes, it is nice to be with your partner while you are just lounging around or going grocery shopping. But after a little time apart, you interact more with each other. Sitting together watching TV and scrolling through your phone is not making the most of your time. [Read: How to get a boring partner to start doing things again]
#4 You can focus on yourself. Long-term relationships can cause each partner to lose a bit of their identity. You become so dependent on your partner and your relationship that you forget who you are on your own.
But, when you take the time to focus on your hobbies and yourself, you offer more to the relationship. If you lose yourself in your relationship and it ends, you fall apart. You need a part of yourself to exist outside of the relationship. Time apart maintains that independence.
#5 You can focus on your friendships. I’m sure you have that friend that ditches you whenever they are in a relationship. They cancel plans, they go silent in the group chat, and you don’t hear from them unless their significant other is out of town. You don’t like it, so don’t do it.
Depending on your partner to fulfill your life puts a ton of pressure on them and the relationship. Having your friends to rely on and vent to or just relax with is vital for a healthy relationship. [Read: 15 easy ways to start making new friends as an adult]
#6 You won’t need a painful break. I know thinking about a potential break up sucks. But, if you have ever made your partner your whole life, the break up is a thousand times worse.
Without time apart in a relationship, breaking up is so awful because you are readjusting your entire life. So, not only is time apart beneficial if things go south, but it can prevent things from even getting that far in the first place. I’ve seen a lot of couples hit a point where they break up only to get back together a few days later.
If you spend a reasonable amount of time apart, that temporary breakup may never rear its ugly head.
#7 You’re taking care of your relationship. If you over-water a plant, it dies. If you smother your pet, they squirm away. Sometimes the best thing you can do to nurture your relationship is to give it space.
Simply spending a few evenings a month on your own or with your friends can give your relationship that breather it needs. [Read: The obvious hints your partner gives when they want more space]
#8 You realize what’s important. When you spend a ton of time with someone nonstop, little things that aren’t important weigh on you. You may hate that they drink from the carton, squeeze the toothpaste from the middle, or leave razor trimmings in the sink. Once you spend time apart, those little things become trivial.
With time apart, you realize that the good things outweigh these small flaws.
#9 It lets you recharge. Just the same as parents need a night out while the kids are home with the sitter and teachers need weekends, time apart lets you recharge.
Although you may love every minute together, a tiny break can bring you back together feeling refreshed. Everyone needs a tiny vacation every once in a while, even from what we love.
#10 It makes your life more balanced. Having all your happiness depend on your relationship is unhealthy. Taking time apart in a relationship to focus on your hobbies, your friends, exercise, or even just shopping can help maintain a balanced and healthier lifestyle.
When your life is more balanced overall every aspect of it, including your relationship benefits. [Read: How to schedule “me time” in a busy season]
How to spend time apart in a relationship
Now that you know why spending time apart in a relationship is so important, you may be wondering how to do it. You don’t want to hurt your partner’s feelings or seem distant, especially if you normally spend all your time together.
So how do you spend time apart in a relationship without causing problems?
#1 Tell the truth. It may sound harsh, but break it to your partner gently. Let them know you love spending time together, but you’re worried you’re becoming too dependent on one another.
Remind them you’re not taking a break, just focusing time on your needs outside of the relationship. Let them know what you’ll be doing. Going out with friends, reading at Starbucks, or just curling up with a rom-com. Remind them they can use that time to do the same. [Read: How to give space in a relationship without drifting apart]
#2 Make it a positive. Some people may take the fact that you want to spend time apart as an insult. But, this doesn’t mean you don’t enjoy your time together or that you need space because they’re bugging you. Telling them this will make your time together even better.
Remind them that absence makes the heart grow fonder, even if it is just for a few hours here and there. [Read: Does absense make the heart wander or grow fonder? The real truth]
#3 Offer them a benefit. This is not exactly a bribe but may help your partner wrap their head around the idea of time apart.
Maybe you would rather watch The Bachelor with your girlfriends rather than your boyfriend who always rolls his eyes. Remind him he will have a better time at the game with his friends. Compromise is great, but so is time apart.
#4 Don’t use words like smothered. Even if you feel a little smothered from spending too much time together, try to avoid words like that. You don’t want your partner to feel bad. Proposing the idea of time apart isn’t a punishment, but a benefit.
Steer clear from complaining about how things have been and instead focus on how you want the future to be. [Read: 15 boundaries for a happy love life]
#5 Send them this article. If you still can’t ease into the idea of telling your partner you want some time apart, send them this article. Maybe just say something like, “I came across this article and maybe we spend too much time together?”
They may have to see it for themselves.
Time apart in a relationship is vital for balance and independence. Without those things, your relationship can greatly suffer.