I used to think being physically together with the person you love carves a deeper relationship.
Because the more you snuggle and swap stories with each other, the closer you feel.
Makes sense, doesn’t it?
That’s why I always tried to do everything with my boyfriend.
Workout at the gym.
Play computer games (World of Warcraft was our favorite!).
Go grocery shopping.
Even if it was something I wasn’t fond of, like shooting targets at a shooting range, I’d still do it. Because in my mind, battling our lack of interest and turning it into a shared hobby was the right path towards becoming an inseparable couple.
We’d eliminate our differences. Appreciate our bonding time more. Argue less.
Often times, my friends would raise their eyebrows whenever I told them we spill all of our embarrassing secrets to each other without a pause. Or that we share the same obsessions. Almost as if we were identical twins. Because for them, their relationships are often distanced by work commitments and location. So it made sense why they didn’t feel as open and honest with their partner as my boyfriend and I were.
But one day, the relationship I’d worked so hard for, fell apart.
The man I thought I loved and lived with for 9.5 years suddenly confronted me with a request — for us to see other people. He was bored of the same old life with the same old me and wanted new excitement. But I wasn’t able to give him that. And the reason is because I didn’t want to give up my time with him.
And that’s the thing.
When you spend too much time holding hands with (or obsessing over) the person you love, you lose that time to build yourself. To expand your mind. To connect with incredible people. To accomplish greater goals. You stay the same, more or less.
And that usually leads to a dying relationship, where we no longer feel the same spark we once had when we first met our significant other.
So give yourself (and your partner) some alone time.
Pick up some hobbies, some new skills. Watch a heart-breaking movie. Take a trip around the world.
It might feel a bit lonely or uncomfortable not being near each other. But if you take some time out for yourself to accomplish greater things, you’ll be smarter. Stronger. Have an endless supply of stories to share. And you’ll soon realize that a little loneliness goes a long way to making your relationship feel even closer than being physically there with the person you love.