Sometimes the best way to grow closer is to spend time apart.
I love spending quality alone time with my husband.
Watching Netflix curled up on the couch –nothing is better. An intimate dinner with a nightcap of frozen yogurt –what a perfect night. But, sometimes the only thing better than quality time with my husband is quality time all by myself.
While it might sound counterintuitive, spending time apart has become one of the most important commitments we’ve made to our relationship. It took my husband and I a while to learn that time apart was needed to keep a healthy balance and stay passionate about each other. It also took some trial and error to figure out exactly how much alone time was needed by both of us to still feel connected and fulfilled. Here are three reasons why it can sometimes be better for us to separate.
They say opposites attract and it couldn’t be truer when you look at the personality traits of my husband and me. I’m a textbook introvert, exhausted by too much human contact, with a craving for at least a few hours a day of silence and downtime. My husband, on the other hand, could go and go all day long. He’s constantly moving through varied activities with fury and would be ecstatic to attend a crowded party every night of the week if he could.
Sometimes, when I’m exhausted and not in a ‘people’ mood, I just let him go. He doesn’t mind attending events by himself and has no qualms about walking into a party without me. I can savor my quiet time and ‘recharge my batteries’ without feeling guilty about ruining his night.
Spending this time apart allows us to both be our true selves. I don’t try to change his need for constant human interaction and he doesn’t try to push me to be more social. We are who we are and we love each other for it, even if we may disagree about what’s ‘fun’ at certain times.
Being in love doesn’t mean never getting sick of your significant other. In fact, sometimes it seems true love makes those little quirks and pet peeves you notice about your partner even more taunting and obnoxious. There’s nothing more normal than a couple who gets sick of each other.
We’ve found that spending time apart makes it easier to deal with each other’s negative characteristics. The science behind it is pretty simple: You just don’t have to observe those annoying characteristics as often. When we start to feel a little tension and snippiness in our relationship, we know the time has come for a boys’ night out or a girls’ night out – or both. After a ‘night off’ from each other, it always feels so much easier to deal with each other’s irritating habits. If it’s a significant amount of time apart, we might even find ourselves missing those disgusting behaviors that drive each other crazy.
Being in a long-term relationship has always made me feel just a tiny bit less independent. Going through the name changing process in the first few months of our marriage definitely did not help my feelings of dependency on my husband. Although sometimes I’m too proud to admit, there are things I whole heartedly depend on him for. Depending on each other for things can make it feel like a true partnership, but it also does make me feel a little less in control of my own destiny. In order to combat these feelings of co-dependence for both of us, time apart is key.
A vacation with some of my girlfriends where I’m traveling without my other half and making my own decisions is usually just what I need to genuinely feel like an independent person again. Sometimes, even a just a solo trip to the grocery store where I can be the one to plan our week’s meals gives me enough control to feel liberated and whole again.
Quality time together can be just as important as quality time alone. When I first realized how important time apart was for our marriage, it made me feel like we were failing or we didn’t have a strong connection. But now that I see how much this time apart makes us feel balanced and appreciative of each other, I wouldn’t change it for the world.
We’re annoying, opposite, independent people who get on each other’s nerves all the time. .. Or another term for that would be: spouses. In order to be the best spouses we can be for each other, we know we need to spend some time apart. So, I’ll send him to that party alone and he’ll leave me on the couch with my adult coloring books and red wine. Then we’ll reconvene later to continue our awesome relationship. And we’re okay with that.