Joined at the hip, two peas in a pod, stuck together like glue; when couples first fall in love, the time they spend together can be intense both emotionally and in terms of the physical time spent together. As time goes by, however, this bond can turn into co-dependence and create a feeling of being stuck in a rut. Whether you are in the first bloom of a blossoming romance or are way down the path of a long-term relationship, one piece of advice that will benefit you both as a couple, and individually, is to make sure you spend time alone.
Be apart to come together
Being alone is not the same as being lonely. You can still feel lonely in a couple, after all. Some alone-time, away from your partner, can do you both a plethora of good. As world-renowned philosophical writer Kahlil Gibran wrote in his celebrated book, The Prophet, togetherness comes from also being apart.
“And stand together yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.”
If you are part of a couple there are many benefits alone-time can bring to your relationship. Here are some tips for how to make the most of your time with yourself in order to benefit your partnership.
- Connect more deeply – Spending time alone is a great way to connect with yourself. From this greater understanding of yourself you are able to make a deeper connection with those around you, including your significant other.
- Appreciate your partner more – Life is about balance, and time away from a loved one can give you the space you need to actually take a step back and realize the value of your partner and the relationship you have with them. Missing somebody and looking forward to seeing them can have a very positive impact on your relationship.
- Reduce stress levels – While you may or may not think of your relationship as a distraction and a source of anxiety, the fact is that any relationship is a demand on your time and energy. When relationships are not running so smoothly this can create stress. Being alone helps your mind to switch off and declutter.
- Work out problems more easily – When you are up-close to an issue it can be difficult to deal with. It is often far easier if you create some space in which to focus and maneuver your thoughts and feelings. Not spending enough time apart doesn’t allow you this problem-solving window, so emotions and issues can build up to the point where they can become confusing and unmanageable.
- Avoid neediness – Alone-time propels you to be less dependent on your partner and more self-sufficient. This helps maintain a feeling of equality in your relationship and stops one partner from feeling stifled. It can also make you more attractive to your partner.
- Prioritize what’s important – If the time you spend as a couple has no limit or cutoffs, then it is easier to under-appreciate quality time together. Prioritizing a relationship can mean putting quality above quantity. It’s not how much time you spend together but how you are spending your time that really counts.
- Energize and revitalize – Relaxing time to yourself recharges your batteries and enables you to bring renewed vigor into your time together as a couple. This avoids the relationship drain, where some individuals seem to lose their natural buoyancy when one becomes two.
- Achieve more balanced perceptions – Your perceptions are changeable and not based on facts, but on your feelings. With any relationship, past events and present-day perceptions, as well as views of what the future may hold, all feed into your relationship and influence how you react. Alone-time can help even out biased perceptions to inspire a more balanced view of your relationship and the world around you. This means you can break free of the same reactions and interactions and grow together.
- Bring up new and dynamic conversations – It is really healthy to be able to bring something to the table in a relationship. By enjoying your own interests and pursuits you will have much more to talk about and add a dynamic spark to your time together. It is vital that communication doesn’t just focus on the practicalities of your lives together, but celebrates your personalities and characters too.
- Never lose your sense of Self – When relationships run into trouble or end, it is easy to feel as if you have been cut adrift; as if you are alone and no longer know who you are without the other person. However, having a strong sense of who you are can help you reconnect, whether with yourself or with a partner. Alone-time ensures that you do not lose sight of your own identity; as you alone are the source of your own happiness.
Find occasions to spend positive time alone that makes you feel great. By making a concerted effort to separate yourself from your partner for this quality me-time, you can learn how to grow as an individual and develop a strong relationship without your bond binding you too rigidly.