Ain’t no sunshine when he’s gone…really? The benefits of distance in a relationship
“Absence makes the heart grow fonder”. This old saying is one we’ve probably all heard at some point. But does time apart really benefit relationships? Or is it just a pointless, old saying used to reassure those spending time apart from a loved one?
I must’ve looked a right mess when I think back to it. Frantically trying to find my way out of Heathrow Airport, tears in my eyes, clutching hold of a giant stuffed panda (long story), and stuffing my face with Oreos in a futile attempt to cheer myself up. I had just said goodbye to my boyfriend as he left to go travelling in Asia for two months. My best friend, the other side of the world; me, at uni, taking exams. From seeing him fairly regularly, to minimal contact for eight weeks. How was I going to cope?
I’m not going to lie, to start with it was really hard. How has it only been four days? I kept thinking. If I miss him this much after just four days then what am I going to be like in a month and a half!? However as time went on, a number of surprising benefits were uncovered.
For starters, I became a lot lot lot more grateful. When you realise what it is like to not have that person in your life everyday, you gain a greater sense of perspective. I found that I appreciated him a lot more and the couple of times we got to call whilst he was away were so special. Our conversations felt more meaningful than before.
I also found more time for myself. It’s so easy in relationships to get swept up and to let your relationship define you; you can end up becoming just an extension of your partner. Time apart forces you to be more independent and to focus more on you. I found I had more time for my friends (who were all very supportive during the time he was away!), more time for my family and more time for me. Having time to yourself is so important for reflecting, self growth and self love; all qualities which I definitely nurtured over those two months.
Finally, our reunion was incredible. I was probably the most excited I’d ever been and we went on to have the most amazing summer together.
So although I have been used to an element of distance in my relationship for some time, due to being at university in a different city to my boyfriend, the two months he was away definitely changed my perspective on things. It may have been hard not having him there in close proximity for that amount of time (those of you in more permanent long distance relationships, I respect you), but the benefits made it a little less hard.
I am a lot more confident that the 6 months I am away in Australia, although it will be very hard for both of us, will bring opportunity for personal growth, deeper gratitude and greater independence.
So, if there’s something you’ve always wanted to do (travel solo, study abroad..whatever it may be) but felt like you couldn’t because it would mean time apart from your significant other, then I urge you to rethink this. If an opportunity comes your way, take it and embrace it. And you never know, the benefits of time apart may surprise you too!
Thank you for reading – if this resonated with you then please follow/share!
Have a beautiful day!
~ Emma ~
Ps. Most importantly I no longer had to worry about “accidentally” stealing the duvet in the night..!