Does Taking Time Apart In A Relationship Really Work?

Break up And Loss | | , Founder, Author & Editor
Updated On: May 4, 2022
time apart in a relationship

“And ever has it been known that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.” Khalil Gibran’s beautiful lines capture the essence of what we’re talking about today, and that is taking time apart in a relationship. A lot of people wonder if taking time apart in a relationship is a good idea or how space in a relationship should be navigated. Does absence truly make the heart grow fonder? Is time apart good for a relationship? Does time apart help a marriage? The story we have covered today certainly suggests so.

We tend to underestimate the impact our partners have on us, and distance gently shakes us by the shoulders to remind us just how important they are. A good, healthy relationship reduces stress and increases our chances of a longer life. So it can be said that our partners are sources of emotional, sexual, and spiritual fulfillment in our lives.

But we get so used to their presence that it’s easy to start taking our better halves for granted and start focusing on their negatives much more. We might even turn hostile toward them or become irritable. Hence, spending time apart in relationships can do the trick of making you appreciate one another all over again and realize why you fell in love in the first place. Let’s hear about the journey that Henry and Amanda undertook before emerging stronger together.

Taking Time Apart In A Relationship To Strengthen It

It’s always comforting to know that someone has stood where we are at this moment. That someone has been through the turmoil that is in our own heads right now. The fact that they have walked a mile in our shoes, and have ended up okay, gives us some kind of reassurance. Maybe we will also be fine, even if the shoes are a little uncomfortable. Their story and experience can lend us hope and inspiration as we set out on our own journey. This is why we bring to you this narrative that can give you a better understanding of what is time apart in a relationship and how it can actually be good for you. So, here it goes.

You have to meet Henry and Amanda (names changed to protect identities) just once to know that they’re a team. And an unbeatable one at that. Coming across a couple that is so in tune with each other is admirable (not to mention rare). I knew that I had to get their story out there because it truly reaffirmed my belief in love after marriage. I’ve asked myself, “Is time apart in a relationship a good thing?” In their story, I found the answer.

how time apart in a relationship is unhealthy
Is time apart in a relationship okay?

After some convincing, and promises of confidentiality, Henry sat down with me over a few cappuccinos and narrated how they’d ended up where they were. While I initially wanted to write about the solid marriage they had built, his story took me in a new direction. He kept saying how taking time apart to strengthen a relationship is a wonderful idea that he recommends strongly to everyone he meets.

He said that spending time apart in the relationship had helped his marriage considerably. Theirs is a story that gave me a refreshing perspective on romance.

Henry talks about their beginnings…

Both designers by profession, we fell in love when we met at university. Two years into dating, we kick-started our own design firm. She created content, while I did the graphics. We were excited, driven, and had the skill set to know that we would succeed. It was just a matter of time.

At night, my tiny one-bedroom was our love nest, and during the day, our workstation. When we landed our 40th client we moved out of our apartment and into rented premises. That was the day I proposed to her with a creative outdoor proposal idea that she could never forget. And she said yes, yes, and a million times, yes. I remember we celebrated the occasion with a bottle of champagne and some garlic bread.

At the office, we were a team of 5 and growing. Both Amanda and I are strong-headed individuals, so sparks flew often, but we suppressed our egos for the company’s good. And both of us worked ourselves to the bone. A normal working day was about 13-14 hours long. But we couldn’t complain. Our company was in the seventh year, our marriage in the fourth year, and work poured in from all quarters.

It seemed surreal that we were refusing clients every week. We were on a roll and taking time apart in a relationship was something we’d have laughed at back then. We wanted to expand our team so that we could take in more work, but we couldn’t find the right skill set and synergy; this wasn’t California or New York. And then Amanda started complaining of fatigue, sleep deprivation, joint pains and so on.

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And things went downhill

She wanted to take a break from work, slow down a bit. I didn’t get it. We were already short-handed. Isn’t there a time and place for everything? I wanted to tell her that we really couldn’t afford it right now. Besides, I was taking the clients’ fire. I was very unhappy. She was unhappier, both with herself and with me.

The more she pushed herself, the more irritable she became, and the more errors her final copies had. We had to invest in a proofreader, an expense we could have easily avoided. She revealed, months later, that this was when she had first considered taking time apart to strengthen the relationship. At that point, I never understood why you should give your partner time away from the relationship. I honestly thought it meant it only indicated a possible breakdown of the relationship. But that’s not the case.

We carried the work stress to our bedroom and the bedroom stress to our work. She accused me of not understanding while I accused her of blaming me constantly. It seemed as if there was just no way to stop fighting in the relationship and got into a bad cycle, with no respite from each other. (At the time, I wasn’t familiar with the concept of taking time apart in a relationship.)

Once we got the diagnosis, I understood that she had a rare condition that does not allow the mind and body any rest. So even if she lay down and closed her eyes, her body wouldn’t go into the automatic rest and repair mode as ours do. Her mind and body would keep working, and hence the exhaustion and severe irritability ensued.

It was time to take a break…

While we had a logical explanation for our relationship problems, it did not solve our practical issues. We had deadlines, heaped work, flaring tempers and resignations. Amanda moved to Jersey City, for none of the doctors in ours had the wherewithal to deal with her condition. I stayed back; I didn’t have the luxury to shut shop and help her in her worst time. Though she understood that, I ultimately wasn’t there for her when she needed me the most.

Once she got the medication and adapted to her new lifestyle, she moved back. We tried to get back to normal but it wasn’t easy. The resentment in the marriage remained; she held a grudge against me for not understanding her situation before it was formally diagnosed. I should have known that something minor wouldn’t have deterred her. We couldn’t work things out.

It was her idea to live separately. I had my doubts. “Is time apart good for a marriage?” I wondered to myself. But I moved out and into a friend’s place. And that is when it all started falling into place. That phase was when I learned how time apart in a relationship actually knits people closer.

Related Reading: 18 Things To Know Before Starting A Long-Distance Relationship

Is Time Apart In A Relationship Good? Evidently So!

It was a vacuum that we both felt, acutely. We had become each other’s habit over the years. I’d take in the milk, she’d make the morning cup of Joe. We’d discuss newspaper headlines over tea and biscuits. The breakfast discussion would kick-start our work hours.

Blocks during work hours would be cracked over hot soup at 3 a.m. in bed, and an intimate session would be interrupted by a sudden brainwave on how to clinch a new client. Hours of the stress of bending over a computer screen would be released through foot rubs or shoulder massages.

The list seemed endless. Missing out on the little and big comforts that two people living together bring to each other was no longer trivial. Is time apart good for a relationship? Yes, because you understand what truly matters. Those 28 days of living apart made us realize that our life together was beautiful. Besides, it was no fun having your breakfast alone, the food just wouldn’t taste the same. And entering an empty apartment was like stabbing yourself afresh every evening.

The separation made the hitherto ‘big’ resentment seem rather stupid and inconvenient. Sometimes spending time apart in a relationship is the best gift one can give to their partner. Since that day six years ago, the farthest we have reached is the main door.

(As told to Raksha Bharadia)

Pros And Cons Of Taking Time In A Relationship

The reason many people are afraid of taking time off in a relationship is that they worry that it will make them grow even more distant than before. While that is not necessarily true, it is still a possibility. For instance, if you are in a dead-end relationship that is on the verge of falling apart, taking some time off can speed up that process.

Whatever the dynamics of your relationship might be, here are a few general pros and cons of taking time away from each other in a relationship. In these, you will find the answers to questions like, “Why should you give your partner time?” “Does spending time apart have any real benefits for a relationship?”

1. It allows you to miss them: Yes, absence does make the heart grow fonder. When you miss the lovely things about them, you start to focus on the positives of your relationship. You might realize that you are in a healthy relationship after all1. You lose trust: With a lack of communication, it is possible that even more negative feelings might just fester inside of you. Because of those, you might develop trust issues with your partner and even find it hard to face them again
2. It enables you to think: What does time apart in a relationship mean? It is essentially a way to focus on yourself, think about your own wants and figure out your needs in the relationship2. They could start dating other people: Sadly, that is a very, very real possibility. What if they start going out with other people and find someone else in the process?
3. Helps you cool down the anger: Perhaps you’ve been very angry with them lately and every time you look at them, all you want to do is throw a vase at them. With some time off, you might just be able to help yourself become cooler and more collected3. It could just result in a permanent breakup: And as distressing as that is, it is possible that this breakup was coming for a long time and you just didn’t see it

Even though we have a first-person narrative that tells us why taking time apart in a relationship can be good, there is the other side of the coin as well. Now that you have read both, you can understand the possible consequences of doing such a thing. Take a breather, evaluate your relationship and carefully ponder what your next step should be.


1. How long is time apart in a relationship okay?

If it’s more than six months, you need to worry about your relationship.

2. Is it healthy to take space in a relationship?

Absolutely! Sometimes speaking with each other constantly and being in their presence can become stifling. Consider taking a break or having more space in the relationship so you get time and energy to work on yourself.

3. Does taking a break mean you are single?

While to some it may mean being happily single, that is not always the case. Before going on a break, make sure to discuss the terms of the same with your partner and ensure that you two are on the same page.

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