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  • Writer's pictureGeorgina Sturmer

Does absence make the heart grow fonder?

This week, the actor Matthew McConaughey was in the news for his 'nine day rule'. It's a boundary that he has set together with his wife. Regardless of their commitments, they won't spend more then nine days apart. Yahoo Life asked for my thoughts on this. Does absence make the heart grow fonder? Click here for the original article on Yahoo.

Every relationship involves a balancing act of emotions, commitments, intimacy, chores and distractions. And modern life doesn’t always enable us to spend quality time with our partner whenever we want to do so. Some couples barely spend any time apart, while others are used to feeling like ships that pass in the night. The key thing here is to understand what it is that you need from your partner, and how you communicate this to each other. And are you each making sure that your needs are met in time that you have available? If your needs are being met, then you might welcome time away from your partner, as an opportunity to reset, spend time with other friends, to indulge in your hobbies or downtime. But if your needs aren’t being met, then you might feel frustrated or resentful when spending time apart from each other. So is it true that absence makes the heart grow fonder? It’s important for all of us to actively work on our relationships. To remember to communicate with each other, to support each other, and to have fun with other. Sometimes when life becomes a series of mundane chores, it can be helpful to have a little time apart. This can reignite a spark, or remind us what we enjoy about each other. But it’s important to remember that time apart can also highlight any difficulties in our relationship. So, notice how you feel when you’re away from your partner. Is absence making your heart grow fonder? Or are you enjoying your time without them? How can you stay connected as a couple if you are struggling with the amount of time you spend apart?

  • Establish how you want to communicate with each other. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you need a strict schedule of phone calls. But it’s important to recognise that while one of you might want constant updates, the other might be perfectly happy with ‘radio silence’.

  • Ensure that you feel like you’re part of each other’s lives. Make the effort to understand what’s going on in each other’s day to day schedules.

  • Ringfence your time together, if you’re able to do so. When you have time to reconnect, make an effort to enjoy each other’s company.

And what about couples who might feel they spend 'too much' time together? Is there such a thing? If you feel like you ‘come as a pair’, then be curious about what makes you feel that way. Maybe it’s because you’re a perfect match, and you just loving spending every spare minute together. But it also might be because you’ve fallen into a habit of bumbling along together. And that could be to the detriment of your own sense of who you are. Consider scheduling time for yourself - whether it’s hobbies, seeing friends, or just sitting on the sofa watching something that’s just for you.

Keen to explore more? In counselling we can take a deeper look at your relationships with those around you. Click here to contact me, or click here to book a 30-minute introductory call.

Does absence make the heart grow fonder?

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