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The Importance of Spending Time Together and Apart While Living Together

When love is newly in the air, you want to spend every waking minute with the object of your affection. Even a few hours spent apart feels like an eternity, and you cannot wait for the blessed reunion when you see your loved one again. But living together is an entirely different thing. Suddenly, your partner’s habits that you once found so charming are driving you crazy, and you find yourself having to bite your tongue more and more. What happened? The person you now live with is the same person that you couldn’t wait to spend time with, and the truth is you DO love them and still enjoy their company. Have you suddenly become less tolerant, or has your partner become more annoying?

It has been said that familiarity breeds contempt. During the initial dating phase, we are all on our best behavior, reserving our quirks and irritating habits for our quiet times when we are home alone. But when a relationship moves from a two dwelling state to one, our partners find themselves under the microscope. Annoying behaviors surface that we have not seen before, and others that seemed so cute when evidenced infrequently now develop into a major frustration. Yet love means accepting the entirety of our partners, warts and all. We hope to receive the same understanding for our own peculiarities in return.

For any relationship to thrive, there needs to be give and take, and there also needs to be balance. Too much time together can often lead to conflict. Minor annoyances become magnified and blown out of proportion, leading to angry words and hurt feelings. Yet too much time apart weakens bonds and builds a type of independence that can be harmful to a growing relationship. Both time together and time apart are important for any bond to thrive. Each person needs to choose to rely on the other while still maintaining their own identity and independent spirit. The key is finding what works best for you and your partner.

Why it’s important to spend time together

If you’re not interested in spending time with your partner, it can be indicative that there might be something wrong in the relationship.  However, spending all of your time with your loved one isn’t the best idea either. Even the strongest relationships will start to show cracks at the seams if partners spend every waking minute together. Still, it cannot be denied that it is important to invest quality time into enjoyable pursuits together as a couple.

Here are some reasons why spending time together is important for your relationship:

It increases feelings of confidence and self-worth.
Knowing someone enjoys your company is a great self-esteem booster. Is there anything better than a shared laugh or unburdening your heart to the one you know always has your back? Being able to bounce ideas off your best friend helps you to work through challenging emotions, giving you confidence to face problems effectively. 

It enriches bonds.
Spending time with a loved one is the easiest way to build a connection. Though absence can make the heart grow fonder, too much time spent apart leads to feelings of distance. Bonds are established through shared positive experiences.

It encourages positivity.
The more time that couples spend in leisure activities as well as working towards joint goals, the greater sense of accomplishment they foster. Productivity leads to increased feelings of positivity which is infectious.

It is how memories are formed.
Memories often form the glue that cement strong relationships together. In order to create memories, couples must invest quality time into the relationship. But memories don’t always have to be positive ones to have a powerful impact. Partnerships are also strengthened by shared trials and tribulations weathered as a couple. 

It reduces stress.
Time spent with someone whose company you truly enjoy helps to reduce stress. Whether it’s as simple as going for a quick drive for a change of scenery, a weekend getaway, or a stimulating conversation over coffee at your dining room table, these quiet moments of introspection enrich the fabric of a relationship thus equating to greater stress relief.

Why it’s Important to Spend Time Apart

Time together is critical to all relationship growth. Yet time apart is equally as important.

Here are some reasons why relationships thrive when couples choose to spend time apart:

It gives you time to miss each other.
The truth is we do get sick of each other when we spend too much time together. Encouraging your partner to enjoy some solo time or even an outing with friends allows sufficient time apart for the two of you to begin to appreciate anew what it is that first drew you to each other. It’s like introducing a breath of fresh air into a relationship that has started to stagnate.

It increases attraction.
Let’s face it; it’s hard to feel amorous towards someone who consistently annoys you. Taking time away from each other reduces the sense of frustration at what are really minor irritations, allowing you to view your partner in an entirely new light. As a result, romantic feelings resurface and increase, adding a bit of spark back into your love life.

It prevents petty fights.
It’s hard to get annoyed with someone who isn’t around to annoy us. We all have irritating habits, but we are far less likely to be snippy with one another when we take time apart to enjoy other activities. The old saying “out of sight, out of mind” certainly applies. When your partner puts his coffee cup on a coaster-less café counter, the people at Starbucks don’t mind while that singular action repeated on your grandmother’s antique sofa table is enough to send you into blind rage . Friction is reduced at home as a result, leading to a far more harmonious home life. 

It allows you to pursue things you enjoy, but your partner doesn’t.
If it’s true that opposites attract, this means that there are likely lots of things you enjoy doing that your partner doesn’t and vice versa. Being one half of a couple does not mean that you have to say goodbye to the things that you would like to do that don’t rank on your partner’s list of favorite activities. Use time apart to do the things that make you happy. You will feel much more relaxed and contented as a result which in turn makes you a more pleasant and fulfilled person to be around.

It encourages individuality and healthy independence.
It is easy to start to lose your identity when you are involved in a relationship. We see it often in celebrity culture when two names are integrated to form one entity such as Bennifer or Kimye. But in order for a relationship to thrive, it is important for each person to maintain their own sense of identity. After all, you fell in love with your partner for the things that make them who they are! You want them to maintain their sense of identity, and that is fostered by asserting a healthy sense of independence.

While relationships are built on sharing and cooperation, independence is also important. You need to maintain the ability function as a whole person entirely on your own.

It allows you time to process.
Sometimes you just need time to think. You don’t want to talk through what is on your mind; you just want to stew on things for awhile and come to your own conclusions.  Maybe you want to sit quietly and read to help refresh your mind or take a leisurely walk through an enchanting garden. All of these things help you to “reset” and restore a tranquil frame of mind.

Yes, spending time together is a critical part of any relationship. However, spending time apart is every bit as valuable. As with all things in life, finding the proper balance is key. What works for one couple may be entirely different from what works for you. Making time for togetherness and time apart will help enrich your relationship and help keep that spark alive!

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