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 would always try to do everything with my at-the-time-boyfriend.

Workout at the gym.
Play computer games.
Go grocery shopping.
Watch UFC.

Even if it was something I wasn’t fond of, like shooting targets at a shooting range, I’d still do it. 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. It was almost as if we were identical twins.

It was different for my friends; their relationships were 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 had 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’d first met our significant other.

So give yourself (and your partner) some alone time.

Pick up a hobby. Build 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 and have an endless supply of stories to share.

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.

  1. AJ
    Nov 19, 2017

    Tiffany, heartfelt post and valuable advice. Similar situation helped destroy my first marriage. What I learned from that is that in every relationship, there is You, Me, and Us. When we focus solely on the “Us”, the relationship can’t survive.. Good luck on the recovery process, but kudos for the guts to make “chicken salad out of chicken poop” (as we say in the US south…). 😜

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