I’ve always been tactile. I’m what you’d call a serial cuddler.
The moment you let me hug you or hold your hand, you can be sure that it isn’t a one-time thing. It doesn’t even matter whether you’re a friend or something more. As long as I’m comfortable around you, I’m gonna want some form of physical contact.
But just because physical touch is my love language, this doesn’t mean that I need to have my significant other by my side all the time. It’s the opposite, actually.
I need space to be my own person. It’s only lately that I realized that maybe I need physical distance if I want to maintain a healthy relationship.
Whether it’s living apart or being in an LDR, is space away from your SO the right thing for you, too?
When Living Apart Seems Better
Let’s be real. It isn’t easy to find a place for yourself given today’s real estate market. So a lot of people who move out of their parents’ house tend to look for roommates or live with their partner. It isn’t all fun and games, though. You’re gonna need to put in a lot of effort if you want to move in together.
But don’t let this increasingly common living arrangement force you into finding a place with your partner. It’s totally normal if you prefer to share space, split bills, and divide chores with someone other than them.
It’s also perfectly fine to want to live alone. You don’t owe anyone anything, even if it’s your loved one.
Take a look at Gwyneth Paltrow and Brad Falchuk, for example. Sure, the spouses regularly sleep at each other’s place, but they have individual houses. It’s not that they can’t stand each other for long periods. It’s because couples like them believe that absence makes the heart grow fonder.
Living apart together is increasingly common for married couples. You may realize that, although you’re committed to your spouse, you thrive when you have independence and personal space. The globalized job market and the normalization of nontraditional arrangements, like polyamory, also play a role here.
Whatever your reason for not wanting to live with your SO, one thing remains the same: every time you pick each other up for dates or spend the night at each other’s house, it gets as exciting as the first time.
When You Have No Other Choice
Sometimes, living apart is not a conscious choice.
Career demands may force you and your SO to live apart. The distance could be as close as a few hours’ drive. Or, you may need to get on a plane before you can see the love of your life. This is particularly difficult because you aren’t in control of the situation.
How do you keep a long-distance relationship manageable? What makes it easier?
It all boils down to trust and effort. Trust that your partner will stay loyal. In turn, maintain their trust. Put effort into communication, especially when you’re fighting against time differences.
If you and your partner were forced to be apart, it’s going to take a toll on your relationship. You may wonder if it’s worth fighting for. You’re gonna doubt whether they think about you as much as they used to when you when you were in the same space. But their physical absence may help you discover more things about yourself.
Your world doesn’t revolve around your partner just because you’re in a relationship with them.
If you’re having difficulty with your LDR situation, try looking at its benefits. You have time to explore independent hobbies. You can travel on your own. And your reunions will always be sweeter than the last.
What you initially wanted as a short-term arrangement may turn into a long-term agreement if you and your spouse realize just how beneficial an LDR is for your independence and personal growth.
Be There for Each Other
“I got you, I promise. Let me be honest. Love is a road that goes both ways… I’ll be there for you, but you gotta be there for me, too,” Troye Sivan reminds us on his song “There For You” with Martin Garrix.
There are many reasons I love that song. But the main one is that it seems like a simplified guide for healthy couples. It’s a gentle reminder that relationships are full of mutual concessions and compromises, especially when you prefer living alone or career demands require you to stay apart. Be independent but be supportive. Live the way you want to, but be mindful of how it affects your significant other.
Learn to enjoy your life outside your relationship, and it’ll help you improve as a partner.