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Time apart cements long-term relationships

It feels nice being with your partner. However, here’s why spending all your time with your significant other could be killing your marriage

Sylvia Wakhisi @PeopleDailyKe

The whole essence of any romantic relationship, whether dating or even marriage is to be together, right? Lovers want to spend time together as much as possible, which is okay.

However experts argue this may lead to partners taking each other for granted and can even create tension. It can also put a lot of pressure on your relationship and make one lose their independence.

Joan Wachira knows this too well. She and her husband operate a salon and a barbershop business in Nairobi. While she deals with salon clients, he attends to those who require barber services.

So, they would leave for work together, spend the day together and most of the time, go back home together. Over the weekend, they would go outing together on Saturdays and spend time at church together on Sundays.

“In as much as I love my husband, it is suffocating being with him 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I felt like I wasn’t myself anymore,” Joan says.

This affected their marriage even at home. They had little to talk about. “After all he couldn’t ask how my day was, because he was part of it,” she laughs. Life became boring and predictable. She felt she had to do something.

“I came up with an idea of opening another branch and one of us to move to the new one. Also we agreed to give each other time to go out with friends once in a while. And it worked. Now we are a happy family,” she says.

What does time apart in a relationship mean? “Time apart does not mean you should try to have a long distance relationship or not talk for days. However, it is different for each couple,” says relationship coach Mary Mwaniki.

For some, that may mean having a girls’ or boys’ night out once a week. It might mean deliberately creating some me-time. For others, it could be going on a trip with your friends.

So why have time apart when in a relationship, you may ask? Well, time apart can reignite that excitement of wanting to be together. Anticipating not just seeing your partner, but also doing something fun together keeps things interesting and prevents a rut from forming.

“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,” Mwaniki says.

Couples that are in long distance relationships make the most of every second together because they know it won’t last long. So, if you take more time apart in a relationship, you will begin to do that too.

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,” Mwaniki explains.

Your partner maybe the whole world to you, but you are not an island. Time apart help one to focus on your friendships.

Having your friends to rely on and vent to or just relax with is vital for a healthy relationship. Depending on your partner to fulfil your life puts pressure on them and the relationship.

When you spend time with someone nonstop, little things that aren’t important weigh on you. You may hate that they drink from the bottle or squeeze the toothpaste from the middle. With time apart, you realise that the good things outweigh these small flaws. It also lets you recharge.

Simply spending a few evenings a month on your own or with your friends can give your relationship that breather it needs.

“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,” she concludes.

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