No. 26

Time Together…and Apart

One of the hardest things about a new relationship is that you suddenly have this incredibly awesome person you want to spend all of your time with. You make each other laugh, you have fantastic conversations, and there’s a good amount of kissing involved. You feel lit up and stunning.

Wait — I said that’s one of the hardest things? It sounds more like one of the best.

But it’s easy to go to extremes and discover most of your free time is now devoted to this new person. Time you once spent reading novels or seeing friends or exploring on your own is suddenly gone. I’ve certainly fallen into this trap many times in the past.

Over the weekend, I met up with a good friend and we talked about this. He’s trying to navigate a new relationship while balancing it with his work and the time he needs to himself. There doesn’t seem to be an easy solution. We all differ in how much time we need to ourselves — introverts a little more, extroverts a little less — because we recharge in different ways.

I haven’t figured out the answer to this conundrum for myself, so I would love to hear from you:

How well do you think you balance time together with your partner and time apart? Do you have any tips for handling the situation when you find you need more alone time — or time together? Do you think how much time you spend together need to be established early or can that change?

{awesome photo above taken by the very talented Susan of en pointe photography}

About brandi

Brandi is a digital strategist, website developer, and founder of Alchemy+Aim, a company that helps entrepreneurs and business owners elevate their online presence and enhance their digital experience. Her academic background in theatre, philosophy and physics was the perfect foundation for launching her business, where she’s worked with Brené Brown, Laverne Cox, Judy Smith, and other notable thought leaders since 2013. She is an advocate for using technology in ways that humanize, connect and serve people as well as for asking deeper philosophical questions and teaching others to think more broadly about impact when they create, particularly in STEAM fields.

9 thoughts on “Time Together…and Apart

  1. I can totally relate to this post as my significant other lives in Hawaii. We’ve been together for just about 9, almost 10 months now and have only seen each other twice. He came to California once to meet me and things kind of just came together since then. Two months ago, he flew over again but to San Francisco where I was staying for a week looking at a potential grad school and we spent a week together just touring the city.

    Though the majority of the time we’ve been together has been apart, it doesn’t feel like it is with the amount of communication that we do through Skype. We don’t call each other that often (once in the morning to say good morning and once after work/class just to update on our day) and texting isn’t something we do on a regular basis.

    Even though we are on Skype, we don’t always talk. We just leave it on as we are doing homework. It’s as though he’s in front of me physically, but not. People always ask me if we’re in love since it doesn’t seem like we are through the way we communicate to each other, but we are. It’s strange, but it works so well.

    Love is pretty strange, but in a good way.

  2. I love that it’s a Susan photo. I saw it and thought, “Great photo!” Should have known!

    In response to your question, I remember having issues with clinginess in the beginning of relationships. I would want to spend every day and night with them. I was soooo not a solitary person. But I am now, after years of marriage. I don’t know why, but I love being alone. That said, when Mr. Branflake comes home I get really excited and sometimes jump around. TMI?

  3. this is a great question. i think it’s something that you have to negotiate based on expectations and personal preference. there are times when i want to be two peas in a pod and then there are times i want to live like a monk. i try to go for the middle ground. we have a given in our relationship that we can say that we want to be alone and that it okay. sometimes, we are both off working in our corner of the apartment coming up for air and cookies and that is good, too. that said, i think in the past i felt guilty for wanting alone time or to do something just for myself and that guilt can really add resentment to relationship. i am learning there is a beautiful dance that happens in relationships because you really want what’s best for yourself as an individual and as a couple.

  4. I’ve found myself in that situation many times and it’s really tough. Balance in life always is and I’ve realized that there are some parts of my life that I don’t mind NOT having balance in. You have to make a conscious decision to do things apart, to make sure that you each retain the parts of your life that are important to you and to make sure that you’re your own person still

  5. I am notoriously horrible at this balance. In my defense, I did not start dating my boyfriend in a normal way. After spending a year apart, we dove right into spending every single second together. Honestly, it was a huge mistake. We never really learned how to be apart, ya know? Now that we’re in Canada and he has a completely opposite schedule from me, it’s making it easier for me to establish my own space. It’s really hard sometimes to establish that space but it’s absolutely important.

  6. Man, A. and I have been together two and a half years (my longest relationship yet, by the way) and I STILL haven’t figured out this fine art. I enjoy being with him and getting affection so I often lose myself in the relationship. It’s not good because he’s someone who loves his alone time – a lot! Thing is, once I get my own time to breathe and do whatever I want it’s bliss for me! So I wish there were a way for me to remember how much I enjoy doing things for myself and not get so caught up in the other person be it a significant other or a close friend.

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