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Is your relationship stifling you? Here are 5 practical ways to regain some independence

It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of spending all your time with your partner – whether it’s due to the needs of parenting children, increased working from home after the Covid-19 pandemic or simply slipping into a routine where you spend more and more time together.

No matter how much we love our other half, most of us need some ‘time out’ once in a while, otherwise our relationships can suffer. Common symptoms of spending too much time with your partner include feelings of irritability, resentfulness or even contempt towards your partner, craving alone time, and reduced physical and emotional intimacy.

However, if you’re stuck in a rut (or need to accommodate work or childcare needs), it can be difficult to come up with ways to carve out your own time. In this article, we’ll suggest five easy ways to get some time out.

1. Schedule ‘alone time’

Firstly, it can be helpful for you and your partner to actually schedule in ‘alone time’, especially if you have a busy schedule. What this time consists of can vary dramatically depending on what you personally need – it could be as simple as ‘home alone’ time where you can watch trash TV, or time to pursue solo activities and hobbies. Scheduling is important as it reminds you that this self-care time is just as important as everything else in your calendar.

2. Go out with friends

You could also arrange to spend time with friends (without your partner)! It’s common in long-term relationships to fall into a pattern where you only see friends (including friends from your pre-relationship days) with your respective spouses accompanying you. Arranging a catch up without your partner(s) is likely to be a refreshing break.

3. Arrange a weekend away

If it’s practical, book a weekend away from your partner doing something you enjoy – maybe a music festival, sporting activity or just a weekend away with friends. Not only will you come back refreshed, you’ll also have plenty of stories to share! 

4. Go for a walk

Quite often, you may feel the need for some alone time but be unable to do any of the above for whatever reason. In these situations, there’s no better option than to sling on your runners, pop in your headphones and go for a walk. If you can go for a bushwalk, even better! Even 15–20 minutes of vigorous walking will help you reorient your headspace and reduce stress levels.

5. Work in a cafe or coworking space

If you’re a couple that works from home together, consider working from a cafe or a coworking space one, two or more days a week. Not only will it give you time away from your partner, it’ll get you out of the house (also good for your wellbeing) and you’ll make new social connections.

What if time out doesn’t help?

If you try the above and your relationship is still suffering, you can also talk about your relationship with a qualified couples counsellor like Ginny at From 2 to 3. Whether you attend alone or together, we provide a neutral place in which you can speak freely and move forward at your own pace – 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.