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Could the key to repairing your relationship be spending less time together?

Do you struggle to make conversation with your other half? 

Are they always around, meaning you never get a moment to yourself?

Is your relationship deteriorating, with less and less physical and emotional intimacy as time goes on?

It’s possible that you’ve fallen into a common trap for couples: spending too much time together.

In this article, we’ll explain why this isn’t always healthy and how more time apart may help improve your relationship.

Too much love?

It’s incredibly easy for couples to end up spending all their time together. This usually happens accidentally, and/or due to life events – such as: 

  • Moving to a new area where you don’t have a social support network
  • Having a baby or a second child, and needing to parent them together
  • Other lifestyle changes that mean you’re spending more time at home together, rather than pursuing individual interests
  • Both of you working from home some or all of the week – an increasingly common situation after the Covid-19 pandemic.

Now, spending time together isn’t all bad: indeed, there’s compelling research that spending time together on shared interests helps strengthen your relationship. And we all know those ‘inseparable’ couples who thrive most when they’re together.

However, for most of us, we need periods of solitude to help our wellbeing. Recent research from the University of Reading found that spending time alone was linked with increased feelings of reduced stress. A day with more time in solitude is also related to feeling freedom to choose and be oneself. If your partner is always with you, you don’t get the chance to recalibrate and recharge in this way – and this can manifest in relationship problems. 

At its most serious, spending too much time together can develop into a codependent relationship – where one or both people are experiencing poor mental health, and where the relationship dynamic is only making things worse as one or both parties can start to neglect other areas of their life to please the other person.

How more time apart can help

Intentional time away from your partner (and maybe your kids too) is a healthy thing to do: it allows you to reconnect with your desires, aspirations and personal boundaries. Now, we’re not talking about ‘taking a break’ here (although sometimes that can be helpful) – we’re just talking about making time for yourself to pursue your own interests, enjoy a weekend away or even just spend a quiet evening sat on the couch watching TV. 

In addition, less time spent with your partner may mean the time you spend together is quality time. You’re more likely to look forward to seeing each other. You’ll have more to talk about, and have stories to tell from your individual pursuits. Lower stress levels will mean you’re more present (both with partners and kids), and more able to engage in physical and emotional intimacy. 

Of course, with the many and varied demands on our time, it’s not always easy to make the time for solitude – especially if you have work and/or childcare obligations. But there are ways to find time for yourself, even if it’s as simple as going for a walk. 

If you’re looking for ideas of how to make time for yourself, you can always discuss strategies and ideas with a qualified couples counsellor like Ginny at From 2 to 3. Whether you attend alone or together, From 2 to 3 provides a neutral place in which you can speak freely – helping you to find the right balance between time together and time apart for your relationship in a non-judgemental environment.

At From 2 to 3, we help individuals and couples navigate life’s numerous relational challenges, irrespective of their relationship status or the nature of their dilemmas. We believe in nurturing relationships and cultivating healthy communication patterns. Ready to start your journey of understanding and growth? We’re just a call away.