While you may think that the ultimate goal of a relationship is to spend 24 hours a day with your other half, never getting bored of each other or wanting to do anything apart, in reality, it seems that the most productive and loving relationships involve a decent amount of alone time. Spending time by yourself and focusing on different goals or hobbies to your S/O is an essential part of a relationship that helps ensure you retain your own individuality while also growing together as a couple.
Read on to discover why alone time in a relationship is important and how you can find ways of adding space into your relationship without neglecting or judging your other half in the process.
Develop Individual Interests
Just because you are married or dating somebody doesn’t mean that all of your interests must be shared or that you aren’t allowed to have individual hobbies. As they say, opposites attract (at least in terms of extraversion, conscientiousness, and openness according to Hudson and Fraley) so it seems obvious that there will be areas of our life or our personality where we don’t exactly match up with our partners.
But this is OK! Having your own individual interests allows you to spend time by yourself, or with others who like the same things as you, without you having to worry about whether your partner is enjoying themselves. It also allows you to create friendships with people based on mutual interest. This means you don’t have to try and persuade your other half to understand your hobbies or to take part in them, as you’ll have your own friends who appreciate the same things.
Solo Time To Think And Breathe
Relationships are never smooth sailing 100% of the time and while it is important to be able to have an open, clear conversation with your partner, there are occasionally times when a bit of space on your own allows you to gain greater clarity about a situation before having a discussion. We are all guilty of reacting or saying hurtful things sometimes when we are acting from a place of self-preservation or feel as though we are coming under attack, and it is in these moments that having some time to think, breathe and perhaps journal can be really beneficial.
It might be that you are angry or annoyed at your partner for something and by the time you’ve sat with that anger by yourself, you realise that it was actually comparing the present situation to past relationships or experiences that made you upset, rather than your partner themselves or their actions. If you can take the time to sit with your emotions, becoming aware of the experiences that have shaped you, you are much more likely to be able to view the situation with a clear head and to move through the issue instead of fighting about it.
Being Comfortable On Your Own
Being comfortable in your own skin is arguably one of the most important factors when it comes to having a successful relationship as it is vital that you pursue and develop a relationship from a place of want rather than need. If you are seeking out a life partner because you are lonely or ‘need’ someone else to make you happy, then you have instantly put expectations and weight onto the relationship and your partner before you’ve even begun. This will then start to put a strain on your relationship when your other half lets you down (which is inevitable at some point) or when you feel that your partner is becoming too independent.
It is important not to feel that someone else completes you or that you’d be lost without them as otherwise, your sense of self-worth and purpose will forever be reliant on somebody else. Instead, you should try to focus on being comfortable on your own. This ensures you can set your own boundaries and you can live a life that is in line with your values. Being comfortable on your own also gives you a strong foundation from which to work through the ups and downs of your relationship.
Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder
When you’re in a long-distance relationship, the old cliché ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’ is probably the last thing you want to hear. Yet, to a certain extent, it is true. It’s almost impossible to miss someone when you are spending every day with them. While that’s not to say you should live alone forever or not strive towards having a closer relationship where you spend more time together, having time apart does allow you to appreciate your partner more from afar.
Having time away from each other is a good way to reignite the spark that you had when you first began dating, and also tends to make us more present with each other the next time we meet.
Allows You Time To Grow In Line With Your Own Values
Lastly, spending time alone allows you space to grow in line with your own values and helps avoid the possibility of confusing your own goals and desires with that of your partner. When we spend long periods of time with people – be that friends, family or partners – we can sometimes blur the lines between what are our own thoughts and feelings and what are somebody else’s. We can feel the pressure of expectation from others and even change our actions in line with other people’s goals rather than our own. This is why time alone is important in a relationship as it helps us stay focused on our own purpose.
Things To Remember When Creating Alone Time In A Relationship
- Discuss alone time with your partner before just doing it as if this is a major shift in your relationship your partner may feel as though you are being distant or aloof.
- Compromise – you can’t say that it is OK for you to have your regular yoga practise but it’s not OK for your partner to go to football training. Creating balance is everything!
- Perhaps have safe words that signal to each other that you need a time out. This means that both parties are understanding of the situation and know that you are not avoiding a conversation, rather you are taking time to think things through before acting or conversing.
- It’s not OK to blow off plans with your partner because a better offer with your friends has come along. While friend time is important it’s also vital that you are respectful of your partner and wish to spend time with them.
At the end of the day, a relationship is all about balance. Managing your time, sharing the chores, and both giving and receiving are all cogs in the well-oiled machine that is love. As long as both partners in the relationship are truthfully happy about how much time is spent together and apart then you’re sure to have a long, fulfilled, happy relationship.
Let us know how you have found balance in your relationship in the comments below!