I love you. Please leave me alone.
Darling Husband and I have been together for a long time — since junior year of high school — so we often get the whole, “Wow-you-guys-have-been-together-forever-what’s-your-secret?” question …
The truth? Being together for almost a decade doesn’t mean it gets easier. Our relationship — like every relationship — takes work. And some of that “work” is knowing when to get the hell away from each other.
Yup, if I could sum up our relationship-saving advice, it would be two words: “time alone.”
“Honey, I love you … now please go to the other room.”
I have seen couples — friends, even — who spend every possible minute together. And you know what? It usually ends badly.
People need to be alone sometimes.
People like to be alone sometimes.
If you spend too much time with someone — whether it’s your parent, sibling, best friend, or partner — you are going to be cranky and fight about the stupidest stuff, just because you are sick of each other but don’t realize it.
When Darling Husband and I were dating — and still living at our parents’ places — we would hang out constantly. I would stay at his parents’ place until the wee hours. We would talk on the phone for an hour or so once I got home.
I was tired a lot, from staying up late, but I didn’t want to stop the late-night chats. We squabbled quite a bit, because we were constantly together. I barely had time to read. But I never once thought about spending less time together. I wanted to be with him all the time … right? …
When we moved into our first apartment together, things relaxed a bit. Spending time together was easier, because … well, we lived together. I was able to go into another room and paint or read, knowing that he was in the other room watching TV. Call me possessive, but having him in the other room was much better than having him two towns away.
It has only improved over the years. Now that we’re older, wiser, blah blah blah, we appreciate time alone even more — and we really recognize its importance.
On date night sometimes, we will come home from work, make dinner, eat dinner, clean up, and then — poof! — my patience expires. I have been on the go since 6 or 7 a.m., dealing with people and putting on a happy face, and suddenly I just can’t take it anymore.
So, recognizing that I could erupt at any second, Darling Husband will cautiously suggest we go our separate ways for an hour or two. I read a book or make a craft, he plays a little PS3 or goes on the computer, and then we’re good to meet up for the second half of the evening. We are both more relaxed, and happy to see each other.
All is good.
Seriously — being alone has kept us together.
I’m really bad about this. I constantly feel the need to be with DH. When he goes out to do his hobby I have a hard time of it. I’ve got to be better because I know we both need our space. I don’t know why I’m so clingy! Its ridiculous.
I really believe that this is one of the most important lessons to learn when in a relationship. In my own relationship, as well as most of my friends’ relationships, this seems to be a common problem.
I think it’s hard for people to accept sometimes, because they think loving someone = always wanting to be with them.
I love spending time with DH, but have realized that sometimes choosing to do our own thing prevents stupid fights/bickering and actually makes us closer.
I agree wholeheartedly with this post.
I’ve been with my boyfriend for all of 4 months, but this is the first relationship that time alone has been a part of and I can’t remember ever being happier.
Good job passing the word on!