A Successful Relationship Easily Handles Time Apart

A Successful Relationship Easily Handles Time Apart
Photo by Antoinette Rootsdawtah
Photo by Antoinette Rootsdawtah

MAUDE: I’ve been away for 5 days at a wonderful gathering with 30 women, called Sisters in Spirit. Just got back this morning, and Tuesday being our blog planning and forming day, Phil and I shared and looked at what is happening for both of us right now.

In relating our experiences to each other, we were struck by a similar theme. We both had a really happy and full time without the other.

Now this may seem to mean the opposite of what it does. No, we were not glad to be rid of each other! It’s just that our connection is deep and unruffled by either of us doing our own thing. Each of us was able to be fully present with the events and people we were with during our time apart. Both of us felt safe and secure – there was no sense of real separation.

Our togetherness is not fueled by needs – neither of us is looking for the other to fill holes in our lives or our being. This kind of connection enables each of us as individuals to develop and prosper, and at the same time, feeds that energy right back into our relationship.

It is indeed also important to nurture the relationship by spending time together and to create ever new shared experiences. As with most things, balance is the key.

Relationships need attention, whether this be through exploring common interests or mutual adventuring. You cannot just put them on the back burner because things are going so well. At best, they will slowly turn into golden memories, but they won’t be replenished. At worst, you will lose contact with each other and that inevitably leads to misunderstandings and estrangements.

And there we are with that grand old paradox again: the closer you are, the easier it is to spend time apart as individuals.

The closer you are, the easier it is to spend time apart, flowing together and apart like water Click To TweetPHIL: Maude was away for 5 nights last week at a women’s retreat on a remote island off Vancouver, B.C. As for me, I used my new laptop to work every day on my political writing. I changed from using WriteMonkey to Scrivener. I recorded voiceover for a video about the Santa Barbara Courthouse Clock. I bought flowers at the farmers market. Delicious!

I described this to Maude when she returned and she said hearing it made her happy because it meant that if she died first, I would be alright. I don’t know about that. There’s a big difference between leaving for 5 days and leaving forever. The longer we are together, the more she feels like that comfy spot on the sofa that seems to have molded itself to my body.

Nonetheless, her point is not wrong. I have always had the exquisite sense that we are both complete already, and when we come together, we add to each other rather than completing each other. Earlier in my life, I was in a codependent relationship that felt completely the opposite; my role was to support, compliment, complement her. Everything I did was at risk of being wrong.

This completeness means that with Maude, a separation like last week is so easy because there is no sense of loss, and because of that, there is no closing down and needing to open up again when we rejoin. We flow together and apart like water.

Tell your friends!

6 Comments on “A Successful Relationship Easily Handles Time Apart

  1. Thank you for the post. I appreciated it because at this present time, my mate and I are apart for 3 weeks. Physical separation reminds us how well we function individually, but generally how much more fun it is to function together. Separation gives us each time to explore ourselves, handle our frustrations and renew our own pursuits. Quiet time is so very valuable to each of us and when we return to each other, there is a freshness of renewal and the relating of so many experiences and discoveries. Bottom line is we are separate, but equal in the best of ways. And we both find your book, newsletter and more to really help us stay present to ourselves and each other. Many thanks and love to you both. Barb

    • Dearest Barb, Thank you so much for sharing your experience and wisdom. I have nothing to add but thank you!
      with love

  2. Valerie and I have been apart for two months as she teaches at the University of Lodz in Poland. She is due back this week, which will make both of us happy, though we have done well apart. This separation has given us both time to reflect on our relationship, a good thing, and to reflect on ourselves, also a good thing.

    • Dear Sk,
      Thank you for sharing your experience – we all learn from each other and that makes our relationships fuller 🙂

  3. I am reminded of a lovely sentence fragment from The Book of Runes,
    ” … keep enough room between you for the winds of heaven to blow … “

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