Quality time together with your significant other is amazing, especially if you have similar interests. Spending leisurely Saturdays strolling in a park and then grabbing appetizers and drinks can be wonderful, but there can be a flip-side to all this togetherness.
Feeling like you must do everything with your partner will only foster co-dependence and clinginess. This sort of dynamic will stifle growth in both partners, and could make either one feel like they are being suffocated by the relationship.
Experts say that having your own life outside of your relationship also can enhance your bond with your partner. Pursuing your own interests, spending time solo, or hanging with your friends can create lasting benefits and will strengthen your relationship.
Who wants to be co-dependent, when you can be an independent power couple?
Here are 5 reasons space will help your relationship:
1. It amps up the romance factor
As they say: “absence makes the heart go fonder.” This phrase is very true, and space will give you a chance to do that.
“A misconception about relationships is that when you are in one you need to be glued to one another which could not be further from the truth. If you’re always around each other, you don’t have a chance to both miss and appreciate each other,” says Sophia Reed PhD NCC, a certified counselor and author. “Often, having some space will bring both.”
2. Stop codependence and clinginess
A relationship is great, says Reed, but it is not your saving grace, and the moment it becomes that, you have a problem because you are dependent upon your partner.
“If by chance the relationship does not work out the dependent person is at risk for depression or bad after-effects because they have made their partner their entire world,” she says. “Space helps each person stay grounded and less dependent on each other which is healthy.”
3. Increased appreciation for your partner
Space in a relationship can be very beneficial for couples who have gotten too close or too accustomed to really see what makes their partner special.
“The reasoning behind this is that it gives each of you time to appreciate each other,” explains Laura F. Dabney, MD, a relationship psychotherapist. “If you have outside interests or time away from each other, it will also make you more aware of each other’s schedules and time.”
It’s a great chance to reconnect with what you loved about your partner in the first place. Dabney also says that time apart helps create balanced relationships.
“Having time apart will really help each person keep their own sense of identity,” she adds.
4. Get over the fear factor
Even if space sounds scary, the concept will vary, and what “space” looks like will be different for each couple.
“While it can be intimidating, having space can promote strength in a relationship,” says GinaMarie Guarino, a licensed mental health counselor. “Space promotes independence and autonomy, which minimizes the risk of codependence and other kinds of dependency issues. It can also help to prevent boredom in a relationship, as each partner looks forward to seeing each other and spending quality time together.”
5. Concentrate on making you better
Space creates the opportunity to be your best self — for both you and your partner.
“Individuals who are whole and complete in themselves are better partners in a relationship because they realize and understand that they are personally responsible for their own happiness,” says relationship expert Tiffany Toombs. “And in taking time and space to do the things that make you personally happy, you can better contribute emotionally, energetically and spiritually to your partner’s life and to enhance their life.”