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Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder, or Wander?

Do you believe that absence makes the heart grow fonder? Or, does it make it easier to forget? The good news? Distance doesn’t have to be a barrier.  

absence makes the heart grow fonder

Have you ever wondered how absence affects a relationship? We’ve all heard that absence makes the heart grow fonder, but how true is that really?

To a large extent, it’s true that absence makes you yearn for someone you’re missing, but there’s a thin line beyond which absence and distance can be disastrous for a relationship. Of course, this doesn’t mean that couples separated by distance are doomed to fail – far from it. Many long distance relationships have a closer connection and bond than those who live together! It all comes down to the individual couple and how you navigate the distance between you. [Read: 10 Survival tips for every long distance relationship]

Why can absence sometimes be a good thing in love?

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

You want to know everything about each other. Perhaps you end up spending all the time texting or calling, even when you’re only 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 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. That’s not a bad thing; we all need to connect with ourselves and spend time doing the things we love, but it’s possible to do that and have a deep connection with your partner too. Then once you replenish your alone time, you feel like spending more time with your lover because you start to miss them.

This enriches your relationship because you don’t lose yourself. That’s is vital in any long term relationship that has a chance of lasting the test of time. If you don’t look after your basic needs, you’ll end up losing your individuality. That’s not a good thing. [Read: How to focus on yourself in a relationship & avoid losing yourself]

How giving each other space creates a better relationship

You may want to spend a lot of time together with your lover, and there’s nothing bad about 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 confusion, 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]

Of course, there are problems in too much absence too

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 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. [Read: 11 Tips to fall in love with yourself and be a better you]

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 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.

How cheating may enter the picture when there is too much absence

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]

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]

Signs absence is making your heart grow fonder

So, how can you know if absence makes the heart grow fonder in your case or whether you’re on the cusp of moving away from the relationship for more satisfaction? It’s different for every single person, but if you’re experiencing these signs, absence is definitely making you pine more for your lover.

1. You get butterflies whenever you speak to them

When you head on video call or just hear their voice, you get butterflies – before and after. You can’t wait to speak to them because they’re a solid and key part of your life. [Read: How to control the butterflies in your stomach & calm it instantly]

2. You have no interest in anyone else

It’s normal to find other people attractive but if absences makes the heart grow fonder for you, then you won’t want to do anything about anyone who comes into your life. You’re committed to your partner and that’s all you care about.

3. You regularly plan fun things to do when you meet up

However long you’re away from one another for, you’re always coming up with fun things you can do together when you do meet. This can be anything from a visit to the zoo, to a mini break somewhere exotic, or just staying home and watching Netflix together. The most important thing is that you’re together. [Read: Fun things to do with your boyfriend]

4. You feel sad you’re away from one another, but you connect regularly

It’s normal to feel sadness when you’re not with your partner. However, you balance this by connecting regularly, either in person or via the phone.

5. You trust one another

This is a huge sign. If your heart is considering wandering thanks to absence, you’ll struggle to trust your partner completely too, because you’re having those thoughts. If you trust one another completely and have no solid worries, all is well. [Read: How to get over trust issues in your relationship]

Signs absence is making your heart feel like wandering

If absence is making your heart consider wandering away, what signs do you need to be aware of?

1. You sometimes miss calls

If absence is causing a strain on your relationship that you can’t bear, you’ll probably be less than focused on taking every call or answering every message. It’s possible that you won’t answer every time and that you’ll let the phone ring out occasionally.

2. You wonder what it would be like to be single

This is a huge one. If you seriously wonder what it would be like if you weren’t in the relationship and you were free and single, that’s a massive red flag. We’re not talking about little drifting thoughts however, we’re talking about serious contemplation. [Read: How to be in a relationship after being single for a long time]

3. You often think it would be easier to end things

You might only think this occasionally and then berate yourself for it entering your mind. But, that fleeting thought is a serious thing. If you sometimes think that it would be easier if you were not together and that you’d be happier that way, you have to ask yourself why.

4. You flirt with other people, or seriously think about it

We’ve already said that it’s normal to find other people attractive but the key is that you don’t do anything about it. However, if you do something about it, you flirt, or you think about doing something about it, that’s a sign that you aren’t as committed to your partner as you once were. [Read: 9 Subtle signs he’s being too flirty with other women]

5. You’ve run out of things to talk about

For sure, sometimes we all struggle with conversation starters, but we tend to talk about random subjects and get by. However, if you really have nothing left to talk about and you can’t think of anything to say to one another, that could be because your connection is weakening.

[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 exploring the thin line between perfect space and long absences in your relationship, that’s the hard part.

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Elizabeth Arthur
A mom of two who’s currently working on a novel, Elizabeth Arthur lives in Cornwall. And when she’s not chasing her boys around the house, she enjoys sittin...
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