They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. And they’re right.
It also makes the eyes stop staring at the unwashed dishes, the mouth stop mentioning that the bin still hasn’t gone out, and the fingers stop pointing at that pile of clothes on the floor that ‘isn’t going to move itself!’ A little bit of time away from your other half will do wonders for your sense of perspective.
When you get married, you vow to be together forever. To share the good times, the bad times, and all the other times in between that are just sort of alright.
But nobody said you had to spend every waking moment together – in fact they’d be wise to make you promise not to.
In my experience, time apart is one of the many secrets to a happy relationship. There’s that, Netflix, home grocery delivery and an agreement that it’s OK for two people to feel differently about Match of the Day. If only they incorporated these things into the curriculum we’d all be a lot better off.
And, of course, I don’t mean long periods of time – assuming you actually like him or her that would most likely cause discomfort – but just the odd bit here and there. A weekend away with friends, a night at your mum’s, a day-long hen do/stag do/general drinking bender after which it’s best there’s nobody there when you get home to see just how green you can go – whichever way you do it, a bit of separation will do you both the world of good. And here’s why:
1. It gives you the chance to miss each other
Before you live with your other half, you spend a lot of time missing them; waiting eagerly for the next day or night that you’ll spend together, counting down the hours ’til date number 19, or considering whether the time has finally come for you to mention that you were lying when you said you liked football. But once you’ve moved in, that feeling goes away. Sure, you might miss them when they’re at work or when you’re on the tube and thinking how much you’d prefer it if it was their butt that was three inches from your eye but, all being well, you’ll be back together in time for Eastenders. So incorporating a little time apart brings a touch of that feeling back – a little bit of longing to remind you that it’s still them that you want by your side – and most definitely not the round-reared stranger with no appreciation for personal space.
2. There’s nothing like a bit of perspective
No matter how much you adore one another, it’s still hard not to get caught up in the little things – the bathroom light he relentless fails to switch off, the pile of Busted and McFly CDs you refuse to throw away, and the two rolls of wallpaper you are collectively too lazy to put up. And if you never leave each other’s side, there’s a chance those things may start to grind you down – you’ll look at him and see an electricity bill and he’ll look at you and see nothing but your incredible taste in music. A little time apart can help give you your perspective back; some space to remember there’s more to this guy than his apparent ignorance to the rising cost of power, that there’s a reason you bought those headphones and that, lights on or lights off, there’s nobody you’d rather not put up wallpaper with.
3. You might get a text message that isn’t about food!
Correspondence, like all things, changes the longer you’re in a relationship. By the time you’re married text messages are mainly used to say things like “What do you want for tea?” and “Can you remember if we’ve got any peas in the freezer?” rather than “I can’t wait to see you” or “Your hair’s nice” (or whatever people say when they’re dating). But if you’re away for the night, it’s a chance to drop the domesticity and type out some words of love and affection. You can get back to thinking about the frozen veg situation tomorrow.
But of course, while there are lots of reasons to go away, thankfully there are many, many more to come home. You’ve just bought yourself a little time to remember what they all are.
You’ll arrive back fresh-faced, eager to see one another, and full of anecdotes from your time spent with other human beings.
And, if you’re lucky – if only for a little while – you’ll have forgotten all about that bin.