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Time Apart in a Relationship: 21 Signs, Reasons & How to Bring It Up

Most people in romantic relationships like doing things together on a regular basis. But sometimes it’s healthy to have time apart in a relationship.

time apart in a relationship

The whole point of a relationship is to be together, right? You want to see each other, go on dates, travel, etc. But, every now and then, time apart in a relationship is vital. Spending too much time together can create a lot of tension, especially in a romantic relationship.

What does time apart in a relationship mean?

By time apart, we don’t mean you should try to have a long-distance relationship or not talk for days at a time. Time apart in a relationship will be different for everyone.

For some, that may mean having a girls’ or guys’ night out once a week. It might mean making “me-time.” For others, it could be going on a trip with your friends for the weekend.

Spending all of your free time with your partner can put a lot of pressure on your relationship. It can even cause you to lose your independence if you aren’t careful. [Read: 20 healthy expectations in a relationship that ensure you have a good love life]

How to know if you need time apart in a relationship

The whole point of being in a relationship is so that you aren’t alone in the world, right? You always have your person to have fun and enjoy life with. So, you might not even realize that you need time apart because it is counterintuitive to the very reason we have romantic relationships.

But being together 24/7 isn’t necessarily healthy. It can be, but only if both partners really enjoy spending that much time together. However, most couples need some time alone to do their own thing sometimes.

So, you might not consciously know that you should spend some time apart from your significant other. Here are some signs to look for to see if you need some me-time. [Read: Couple time – All the signs you spend way too much time together]

1. You get annoyed with your partner easily

When we first start dating someone, we see them through “rose-colored glasses.” In other words, we only see their good qualities and not their bad ones. That doesn’t mean they don’t have them, but we either overlook them or just don’t see it.

So, if you find yourself getting annoyed with a lot of things your partner does all of a sudden, this is a sign that you need some time apart.

If every time they leave their socks on the floor or clear their throat is like nails on a chalkboard, then you really need to plan to spend some time on your own for a while. [Read: Does he need space? The subtle signs guys give when they need space]

2. You crave alone time

When you are with your partner all the time, you don’t get any time to be by yourself. Maybe you have to watch all the TV shows and movies they want to watch, and none of your own. Or at best, you have to compromise.

But if you’re daydreaming about what it would be like to have the house or TV all to yourself, even if for a few hours, then that is one of the signs you need time apart in a relationship. 

3. You miss your friends

It’s natural to not see our friends as much in a new romantic relationship. We’re so in love and caught up in our new partner that we can’t get enough of them. And as a result, hanging out with our friends sort of goes by the wayside.

But if your friends are pointing out that they never see you anymore, and you agree, then it’s time to take some time to yourself. It’s healthy to have a balanced life, and that includes different people too, not just your partner. [Read: When a girl says she needs space – What she means and what she expects from her guy]

4. You feel smothered

If you feel like you can’t do anything without your partner by your side, then you probably are feeling smothered.

If you can’t even go to the grocery store without them wanting to go with you, then this is just too much. You don’t want to feel like you have a ball and chain attached to your leg.

5. You don’t enjoy your partner as much as you used to

Everyone has a honeymoon phase in their romantic relationship. So, it’s normal for it to wear off after a while. It could last as long as a couple of years, or it could wear off in a couple of months. But regardless, it will wear off eventually. 

But if you’re in the period after the honeymoon phase has ended and you are not enjoying them as much anymore, then that’s not good. You should still want to be around them. If you’re not feeling that way, then it’s time to get some time apart in your relationship. [Read: Honeymoon phase – How to calculate how long it’ll last for you]

How much time apart is healthy in a relationship? 

This is a difficult question to answer, mostly because all couples are different.

For example, some couples spend very little time together, but they both enjoy it that way. And then some couples spend very little time apart, and they like it that way. Then there are the ones who have more of a balanced partnership, with equal time together and apart.

So, the more important thing to think about is the level of happiness for both of you. If one of you wants to be 24/7 and the other one needs a lot of space, then that won’t work very well. But if both people want to be together 24/7 and/or like a lot of alone time, then that would work well.

It really depends on whether both of your needs are being fulfilled. If they are, then don’t change anything. But if they’re not, then you probably need to have a serious talk and negotiate how much time apart you need in the relationship. [Read: How to give space in a relationship without drifting apart]

As you can see, there really is no such thing as the “perfect” amount of time spent together or apart. It just really depends on if the two of you can reach an agreement for what works for both of you as a couple.

What happens if you don’t spend time apart in a relationship?

Have you ever gone on a vacation with a friend and by the end of it, you are sick of them? They may not have done anything wrong but some of their habits just start to drive you crazy. So much so that you don’t want to talk to them for a week afterward!

This is what can happen when you spend a lot of nonstop time with someone. Instead of appreciating each other and looking forward to spending time together, you get annoyed by little things like their constant channel flipping or knuckle cracking.

If you don’t take even a few hours a week away from your partner, these small annoyances that really shouldn’t affect your relationship can get in the way of the happiness you would have otherwise. [Read: 15 rules to be a good partner in the relationship]

Reasons why you need time apart in a relationship

Without time apart, every bit of your life is depending on your relationship. And instead of enjoying your time together, you become bored or irked. But, if you still aren’t convinced, take a look at some of these reasons why you need time apart in a relationship.

1. You need to miss each other

This may sound silly, but 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.

Time apart in a relationship can reignite that excitement of wanting to be together rather than having it be second nature. [Read: How to manage your expectations in a relationship]

2. You can look forward to your time together

Expecting to spend all your free time with your partner makes all your time together predictable. But when you have time apart, you can look forward to your next date night.

Anticipating not just seeing your partner, but also doing something fun together keeps things interesting and prevents a rut from forming.

3. You make the most of every moment

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

Yes, it is nice to be with your partner while you are just lounging around or going grocery shopping. But after a little time apart, you interact more with each other. Sitting together watching TV and scrolling through your phone is not making the most of your together time. [Read: How to get a boring partner to start doing things again]

4. You can focus on yourself

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.

You may even start to feel uncomfortable going out by yourself, or even running errands on your own, because you’re so used to having your partner around.

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. [Read: Am I codependent? 14 signs you’re clingy and overstepping boundaries]

5. You can focus on your friendships

You probably have that friend that ditches you whenever they are in a relationship. They cancel plans, they go silent in the group chat, and you don’t hear from them unless their significant other is out of town.

You don’t like it when others do this, so don’t do this yourself.

Depending on your partner to fulfill your life puts a ton of pressure on them and the relationship. Having your friends to rely on and vent to or just relax with is vital for a healthy relationship. [Read: 15 easy ways to start making new friends as an adult]

6. You won’t need a painful break

We know that thinking about a potential breakup sucks. But, if you have ever made your partner your whole life, the breakup is a thousand times worse.

Without time apart in a relationship, breaking up is so awful because you are readjusting your entire life all by yourself with no other important person in your life. So, not only is time apart beneficial if things go south, but it can prevent things from even getting that far in the first place. We’ve seen a lot of couples hit a point where they break up only to get back together a few days later.

If you spend a reasonable amount of time apart, that temporary breakup may never rear its ugly head. [Read: Overly attached boyfriend? How to get your space back and grow as individuals]

7. You’re taking care of your relationship

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.

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

8. You realize what’s important

When you spend a ton of time with someone nonstop, little things that aren’t important weigh on you. You may hate that they drink from the carton, squeeze the toothpaste from the middle, or leave razor trimmings in the sink. Once you spend time apart, those little things become trivial.

With time apart, you realize that the good things outweigh these small flaws. [Read: 21 signs of a clingy girlfriend and how to avoid turning into one]

9. It lets you recharge

Just the same as parents need a night out while the kids are home with the sitter and teachers need weekends, time apart lets you recharge.

Although you may love every minute together, a tiny break can bring you back together feeling refreshed. Everyone needs a tiny vacation every once in a while, even from what we love. 

10. It makes your life more balanced

Having all your happiness depend on your relationship is unhealthy. Taking time apart in a relationship to focus on your hobbies, your friends, exercise, or even just shopping can help maintain a balanced and healthier lifestyle.

When your life is more balanced overall every aspect of it, including your relationship benefits.

11. You can appreciate your partner more

As time goes on in a relationship, many people take their partner for granted. It’s sad, but unfortunately, it’s just human nature. And the more time you spend together, the less you appreciate them.

When you get some distance between the two of you, the things that annoyed you about them will seem less important. Plus, you can also remember all the things you liked about them at the beginning that made you fall in love. [Read: Are you a giver who’s feeling unappreciated in the relationship?]

How to spend time apart in a relationship

Now that you know why spending time apart in a relationship is so important, you may be wondering how to do it. You don’t want to hurt your partner’s feelings or seem distant, especially if you normally spend all your time together.

So how do you spend time apart in a relationship without causing problems?

1. Tell the truth

It may sound harsh, but break it to your partner gently. Let them know you love spending time together, but you’re worried you’re becoming too dependent on one another.

Remind them you’re not taking a break or trying to push them away, you’re just focusing time on your needs outside of the relationship.

Let them know what you’ll be doing. Going out with friends, reading at Starbucks, or just curling up with a rom-com. Remind them they can use that time to do the same. [Read: How to know when to give someone space – Don’t be that annoying person]

2. Make it positive

Some people may take the fact that you want to spend time apart in a relationship as an insult. But, this doesn’t mean you don’t enjoy your time together or that you need space because they’re bugging you. Telling them this will make your time together even better.

Remind them that absence makes the heart grow fonder, even if it is just for a few hours here and there. [Read: Does absence make the heart wander or grow fonder? The real truth]

3. Offer them a benefit

This is not exactly a bribe but may help your partner wrap their head around the idea of time apart.

Maybe you would rather watch your favorite with your girlfriends rather than your boyfriend who always rolls his eyes. Remind him he will have a better time at the game with his friends. Compromise is great, but so is time apart.

4. Don’t use words like “smothered”

Even if you feel a little smothered from spending too much time together, try to avoid words like that. You don’t want your partner to feel bad. Proposing the idea of time apart isn’t a punishment, but a benefit.

Steer clear from complaining about how things have been and instead focus on how you want the future to be. [Read: How to set boundaries in a relationship – 15 rules for a happy love life]

5. Send them this feature

If you still can’t ease into the idea of telling your partner you want some time apart, send them this feature. Maybe just say something like, “I came across this article and maybe we spend too much time together?”

They may have to see it for themselves.

[Read: You-complete-me relationships and why they need space]

Time apart in a relationship is vital for balance and independence. Without those things, your relationship can greatly suffer. And most importantly, when you learn to balance your love life and the rest of your life, both of you will only be happier and more in love!

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The editorial team of LovePanky comprises relationship experts and real-life experts that share their experiences and life lessons. If you want the best love ad...