How Time Apart Can Strengthen Your Relationship

How much individual space do you need in a relationship? That might not be easy to define. It will be different from person to person and couple to couple. But the reality is, most couples need some breathing room away from each other on occasion.

Date nights, romance, and simply spending time together is essential for a long-term relationship or marriage. It lets you find common interests and maintain the bond of love in your relationship. But there can be such a thing as too much time together.

Healthy relationships require healthy individuals. And healthy individuals need a dedicated amount of time for themselves.

It can be healthy to spend time apart

We all know those couples who spend every waking moment together. They seem to read each other’s minds and finish each other’s sentences. And while that can seem sweet, the downside of too much togetherness is that it can stifle each partner’s individuality. 

Being in a relationship doesn’t mean you've turned into a two-headed entity. Spending every waking moment together puts a lot of pressure on both of you to be everything to each other. That’s a tall order.

Whether you’re in a happy marriage or need some space from a rocky one, you may benefit from spending time apart. This time not only allows you the space and time to tend to your own physical and emotional wellness, but it can also keep your relationship fresh.

What you get when you spend time apart

Taking time to do things that make you happy is important. And a happy partner enhances a good relationship. When you make time to nourish yourself, you can bring more to the relationship. 

Here’s what you get when you take consistent, self-nurturing time away as an individual. 

You have time to clear your head

Life is stressful. And sometimes, you need to deal with those stresses alone. Whether they stem from your job, your kids, or the relationship itself, taking time away for a break and a clearer perspective can be a life-changer during stressful times. 

You have time to think through problems

Despite your relationship, or even because of it, you’ll encounter problems that require individual focus. Especially if your relationship has hit some bumps, getting out from the middle of the issues can help you see them from a different vantage point. That could lead to solutions you never would have considered if you were still in the middle of the problem.

Suggested: Can a Marriage Counselor Save our Marriage?

You nurture your sense of self

No matter how compatible you are as a married couple, you’re still an individual person with your own needs. Have you put those needs on the back burner if they didn’t mesh with your partner’s? Taking time to nurture yourself isn’t selfish. It’s crucial to your mental health and the health of your marriage.

You enhance your self-sufficiency (and self-esteem)

It’s a nice perk to rely on your partner, especially when you fill each other’s voids. But it can keep you from learning new things and taking responsibility outside your comfort zone. Challenging yourself to do things alone can remind you of your ability to be self-sufficient.

You return to your partner with less stress

While going away can be freeing, coming back can make you feel refreshed and cleansed of all the stuff that weighed you down before. Sometimes, a simple change of venue can place you firmly in reset mode. Your partner will likely benefit from that as well. 

You appreciate your partner more

It’s cliché but true. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. When you take some time for yourself, it allows you to miss your partner and appreciate what you have. 

When is marital separation a good idea?

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If your marriage has hit some roadblocks and you’re unsure about your future, taking a marital hiatus can be helpful.

A separation gives both of you time to consider whether you want to work toward keeping your marriage alive or let it go. It gives you the time and space to consider the problems, work on your own stuff, and even get some important professional help, such as counseling. It also gives you a real-life taste of what day-to-day life would be like without the other person.

If you choose to reconcile, having that time apart can shine a light on what was wrong and what can be done to correct it. In some cases, a marital separation can even lead to a stronger and more resilient marriage. 

Happy individuals make happy marriages. If your individuality has suffered from neglect, spending time away from your spouse can be helpful. Whether you just take some short-term self-nurturing time alone or decide on a trial or legal separation, we can help. At Hello Divorce, we meet you where you are with marital health resources, online divorce plans, and flat-fate professional services. Schedule a free 15-minute call to learn more. 


Is Your Communication Style Harming Your Relationship? Annie Wright, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

Divorce Content Specialist
Mediation, Divorce Strategy, Divorce Process, Mental Health
Candice is a former paralegal and has spent the last 16 years in the digital landscape, writing website content, blog posts, and articles for the legal industry. Now, at Hello Divorce, she is helping demystify the complex legal and emotional world of divorce. Away from the keyboard, she’s a devoted wife, mom, and grandmother to two awesome granddaughters who are already forces to be reckoned with. Based in Florida, she’s an avid traveler, painter, ceramic artist, and self-avowed bookish nerd.