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Does Absence Make the Heart Grow Fonder or Wander?

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Does absence make the heart grow fonder or does it give room to wander? Find out what really happens when two lovers are separated by distance. By Elizabeth Arthur

does absence make the heart grow fonder?

Have you ever wondered how absence affects a relationship?

It’s believed that absence makes the heart grow fonder.

But how true is that really?

To a large extent, it’s true that absence makes the heart grow fonder, but there’s a thin line beyond which absence and distance can be disastrous for a relationship.

Why is absence good in love?

At the beginning of a new relationship, all both of you want to do is spend every waking minute with each other.

Both of you would want to know everything about each other and end up spending all the time texting or calling each other up even when both of you are away for a few hours.

But as the relationship starts to move away from the infatuation stage and into the deeper stage of love, you’d start to realize just how much of your own life as an individual you’ve missed out on.

[Read: The different relationship stages you’d experience as a couple]

When you start to feel this instinctively, you end up withdrawing from the relationship to spend a bit of me-time.

And once you replenish your alone time, you’d feel like spending more time with your lover because you’d start to miss them already.

How giving space creates a better relationship

You may want to spend a lot of time together with your lover, and there’s nothing bad in that. But as soon as your lover feels claustrophobic in love, which will eventually happen at some point of time, they may end up pushing you away for a while.

This could lead to emotional confusions, which can make one partner more clingy and needy while the other partner starts to get distant. And the more each partner tries to get what they want, space or intimacy, the more it frustrates the other partner.

To have a successful relationship, you need to remember that a relationship is only a part of your life. You need to grow as an individual and allow your partner to grow as an individual too. [Read: How to give space in a relationship and have a better romance]

By giving space to each other to pursue individual interests, neither of you would feel stagnated because of the relationship. In fact, giving space and creating the absence can actually make your partner miss you more which will keep the love alive for longer.

Absence gives both of you time to reflect on the relationship and realize just how much each of you mean to the other person. It can bring both of you closer, create better individuals and make conversations in love a lot more interesting. [Read: How to make your boyfriend want you more than ever]

The problems of too much absence

Is too much space in a relationship a bad thing? It most definitely is. A little absence makes the heart grow fonder. But too much absence though gives too much room to wander.

Think of it this way. If a new movie that you’ve always wanted to watch released today, wouldn’t you be excited to watch it? Let’s assume you couldn’t make it today because you didn’t get the tickets. The same thing happens tomorrow and the next, and the whole of next week.

As excited as you maybe, if you’re unable to get the tickets every single day for a week, don’t you think you’d eventually get frustrated and give up on ever watching the movie because it’s just not worth the effort?

At times, you may even start to dislike the movie before you even watch it, or wonder why you give it so much attention. What happens in love and absence works along the same lines. It’s just a lot more serious and life altering though.

Giving too much space to each other, either because both of you are busy working or have been forced to separate over a long distance relationship, will always cause a strain in the relationship unless you know to handle the space perfectly. [Read: What does it take for long distance relationships to survive the distance?]

What keeps two lovers together in a relationship?

There are two primary needs in a relationship, emotional intimacy and sexual intimacy. If there’s an imbalance in these needs or even if one of these needs aren’t met, a relationship will start to fail on a fragile scale. All it needs is a little distraction to topple over.

#1 Emotional intimacy. Emotional intimacy in a relationship is the kind of bond that two lovers share, emotionally. Do you communicate with your partner and talk about your feelings, dreams and aspirations regularly?

If there’s no emotional intimacy in a relationship, it leads to insecurities and jealously, which can further lead to clingy behavior or arguments. [Read: 13 signs of a clingy girlfriend and how you can avoid it]

#2 Sexual intimacy. Even if both of you are away from each other most of the time, try to meet each other as often as possible. Even spending one good day with each other in a week can keep the romance alive until the next week.

Too much absence and how cheating enters the picture

Even the best of lovers are susceptible to cheating if they’re away from each other for too long. If you want to better the relationship, spend a few hours away from each other now and then. But don’t ignore each other so much that both of you feel like two strangers living under one roof. [Read: Signs your partner is already cheating on you with another person]

If both of you are separated by distance because of work commitments, spend more time communicating with each other. At times, even a strong emotional connection can hold the relationship together and keep it strong.

And remember this, never take your partner for granted and ignore their needs, especially when both of you are away from each other. When one lover starts to stray or distance themselves, the other lover strays too, or tries to cling even further. Either ways, it won’t do any good for your relationship. [Read: 15 subtle signs of a controlling boyfriend]

Your partner may date another person in your absence

Love happens spontaneously. You experienced it with someone, and in all probability, you may experience it again if you’re not emotionally connected to your lover.

And just like you, your partner too may get attracted to someone else. This is one of the big insecurities you need to deal with when you’re away from your lover for long periods of time. Your partner may meet someone interesting at work, and one coffee may lead to conversations over the phone, and then some more.

But you know why that happened, right? It’s only because, as humans, we have needs that have to be satisfied. If you can’t connect with your partner emotionally because of the absence, your partner may find someone else to communicate with. It’s the way life works. [Read: Falling out of love and why it happens]

Why does absence make us wander?

Love is all about evolution. As much as humans say they believe in monogamy forever, it’s not always true. Yes, you can stop yourself from cheating, but can you stop the thought? If you can think it, it’s still cheating, isn’t it? Your mind wants to do it, but society around you tells you that you shouldn’t do it. And that’s why you aren’t doing it.

When you and your partner are away from each other and someone attractive shows an interest in you and spends a lot of time talking to you, you’d feel good about it. You may not tell your partner about it, but on the inside you feel good because your emotional needs are being satisfied. And the more you’re away from your partner, the higher your odds of cheating on your partner because your sexual needs need to be satiated too. [Read: What should you do when you start liking someone else?]

Space is good. Long absences are terrible.

So does absence make the heart grow fonder? It sure does. But if the emotional and sexual needs aren’t satiated, the fondness may soon turn to loneliness, which may lead to affairs or failed relationships. [Read: 25 rules of love to have a successful relationship]

To have a successful relationship, you must learn to give space and help each other grow as individuals. But at the same time, always remember to keep the emotional and sexual intimacy alive, and avoid long absences that could end a perfect relationship from the inside.

[Read: 7 secret signs of a relationships that's about to go bad]

Does absence make the heart grow fonder or wander? Well, you know the answer, and that’s the easy part. But finding out the thin line between perfect space and long absences in your relationship, well, that’s the hard part.


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Have your say!
  • Clarisse
    June 6, 2012 | Permalink |

    Many believe that absence makes heart grow fonder. But I think that’s just bull.

    There’s just too much temptation in the world these days. As humans, we’re always craving for emotional and sexual intimacy. It may be easy to stay apart from each other and miss each other for a month or two. But anything more than that, and couples who are apart may start getting used to the routine. And then, if someone nice comes along and impresses you, you can’t help but get drawn to this new person because of your unfulfilled sexual and emotional needs.

    And as the article says, your mind is always looking out to cheat even though the rules of society stop you from doing it.

    So does absence ever make the heart grow fonder then? Perhaps, the phrase works only for a few months, or until someone nice comes into your life.

  • Toni keys
    June 7, 2012 | Permalink |

    I was with a guy who said he needed space…so I gave him space. I heard my friends and family, even advice experts say space is good and keeping myself busy and having a life was great. He asked for space two weeks before valentines day so I didn’t bug him about going out, I just went dinner and dancing with friends. I got into activities that took up each of my days after work, and I was only in the room with him when I HAD to be. I even slept at friends houses or the spare bedroom on many nights lol. Now he says I act like he doesn’t exist and I am never around…I thought he wanted space? I gave him tons and made sure I didn’t mope around. If he didn’t want space or couldn’t handle it then why ask?

  • Joshua
    June 7, 2012 | Permalink |

    I am personally in a long distance relationship right now. My girlfriend and I are in separate countries. I believe that this article pretty much is right, but there are few things that are wrong too. You have to realize that relationships are situational and that each one is going to be different than another. I would not treat my current girlfriend the same as I treated my past for example. I am on a tangent, but to end this, I would like to say my girlfriend is 6000 miles away from me and I love her dearly, but I loved her when she left too. The only thing distance did is make me think about myself and her more often. I will leave it with a question… how would you deal if she/he would just leave you right now?

  • Tyleshia
    July 29, 2013 | Permalink |

    im in the same situation. It hurt so much to feel like the one you love & care about doesn’t appreciate you. Like in the beginning everything was good. We didn’t argue at all. He used to text me first all the time. He used to call me bae or baby. He used show that he was interested in me. It’s like the second month we started arguing then that’s when he started acting all distant. I feel like if Im absence I feel he wouldn’t miss me or want me more. Idk what to do but he’s the one that made me smile, mad, sad & happy. I don’t want to give up. We’re trying to change our ways but if he not willing to change for the better then I’m done. It’s right for me to change for the better if he’s not willing to change. Help me!

  • Amanda
    September 23, 2013 | Permalink |

    I am in a long distance relationship because my boyfriend is in the army. the way you deal with it is remember you love that person. and we came up with the saying “dont do anything you wouldnt want me to do” we move in together in January and we count down the days together. you need to trust that person especially if u want the relationship to work long term. that distance makes the heart wander is bullshit. my heart stands where it always has with my baby pie. it just has him more in it now. i love him more everyday. they should have someone who is in a long distance relationship write this article, not a biased person who probably has never experienced it for themselves. you cant expect someone who has never experienced it to understand. long distance is also not for the weak minded or doubted at heart. it is for the strong willed, strong minded and who believe in love

  • chrisitna
    February 2, 2014 | Permalink |

    I currentlly live in Italy right now and in two weeks i will have to move back to Los angeles. My boyfriend has to stay because he did not show strong ties to his home country when he applied for a visa. I will have to leave not knowing when i will ever see him again. I have been away from him for two months before and it was the hardest thing we had to go through together. At the time me and my boyfriend were not official but i loved him with all my heart! He was my first love. We got throuh it and when i finally reunited with him our love and relationship was stronger than ever. So now im very stressed with knowing that the “heart can wander” because i just can not imagine our love becoming like a dull flicker.It will be hard work but trust me if any of you are going through this type of situation and you absolutley love this person you will and can get through this! If you can picture your life with this person you have to be strong and be willing to work.

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