We’ve all seen that one couple who just seems to have the perfect relationship. They spend every waking minute together, they work together, they always seem to be delighted to see each other, and maybe exhibit a little too much PDA for your taste. Everything is roses, and you have a hard time believing they ever fight about anything.
Then Friday night comes around and you find yourself wanting to go out with your friends — or even just have an evening to yourself — rather than go on a date with your partner. Unbidden, that annoying couple pops up in your mind’s eye.
Cue the guilt trip.
You think about your Friday night goals with shame now — why don’t you want to spend it with your partner? What’s wrong with you? What’s wrong with your relationship??
The answer? Absolutely nothing.
It is healthy to have some time and activities that are separate from your partner! In fact, studies show that it is incredibly beneficial to your relationship. That couple that seems to always, always, always enjoy each other? Chances are there are problems you can’t see. And, in any case, their lifestyle in no way diminishes your healthy right to have time to yourself!
Sometimes it’s hard to talk about this with our partner; we don’t want to hurt their feelings, or make it seem like we don’t care about them. We want them to know we do love spending time with them, we just need other things, too. Like time alone, or valuable, intimate friendships outside of your couple-hood. Don’t be afraid to gently communicate that — your partner might be having the exact same feelings, and didn’t know how to broach the subject.
The key, however, is to make sure you do plan time together — and be completely honest about your time apart. Put a fun adventure of a date on the calendar for Saturday, so when you go out Friday with your friends, your partner will know their time is still highly valued. That you cherish them. And when you go out Friday, tell them everything you’re going to be doing. If you start keeping secrets, the issue is going to be a lot deeper than simply wanting time alone. So don’t even go there — just share.
With those two strategies combined, time apart will actually do good things for your relationship. After all, with the right amount of healthy time apart, your time together will be all the more precious.