Unless you live under a rock, there is no way you have never heard of the phrase "absence makes the heart grow fonder."
But there is another twist to this adage. Instead of making the heart fonder, distance can make the heart wander.
Ever thought of that? No? Well, not many people have.
What exactly does distance do to a relationship?
Does it ruin or build a relationship? That's what we want to know.
The truth is a lot murkier.
Sure, absence can make you miss your lover. But there is a delicate balance between pining for your love interest and focusing your unmet need for attention on someone else.
When that line is crossed, the heart may decide it's time to move on. Or should I say, wander.
Absence has its benefits
In a budding relationship, you cannot get enough of each other. You want to spend every waking moment together, doing everything together, having a good time, and so forth.
Whenever distance comes between you, all you do is text and call each other.
But that is just a stage. Things cool down as time goes by. The infatuation fades and the love settles.
Then it suddenly hits you. There is more to life than obsessing over your partner round the clock.
You try to give a little more focus to your own life and your personal interests.
For the first time in a long time, you want some "me time."
As soon as that feeling fades, you want nothing more than to spend time with the love of your life.
You miss them so much and having time to be around them suddenly becomes a priority for you.
Space has its merits in a relationship
Don't get me wrong, it's perfectly fine to want to spend all the time you want with your lover. Nobody should deny you that chance.
However, after a while one of you will usually want some breathing space.
If that space is not given freely, the result will be withdrawal for the claustrophobic partner.
That will make the relationship a little more difficult because the other partner might get insecure and become even more clingy while the partner in need of some space tries to be even more distant in search of their much-needed space.
In other words, you create a frustrating vicious circle.
That is why space matters in any relationship, Your partner cannot be your whole life
Everyone needs a bit of space from time to time.
Individual growth is very important both for you and your partner.
The space you give each other will also make you more drawn to each other, and that will keep the love burning.
It is also during these moments that you think about the relationship and have a better understanding of where you are heading as a couple.
After a bit of time apart, you will also have more interesting things to worry about.
Can be too much absence make the heart wander?
As they say, too much of anything is bad. Similarly, while a bit of time from your partner can improve its quality, too much absence and distance from each other can put it to the test.
When you miss someone because they are apart and that desire is not met, over time, the longing will fade away.
Think of all those things you wanted so badly but after waiting for too long were never interested in them anymore.
It starts with frustration when you feel like you are sick from missing them too much. Resentment might even start to set in because missing the person makes you feel bad.
In the end, your heart might do what it does best and decide to focus on other interests.
So, what do you do if you have little control over the distance between you?
Relationships are built on two things: emotional and sexual intimacy. When either of these things lacks, the relationship will suffer once some distraction sets in.
To meet your emotional intimacy needs, communicate regularly. You also need to maintain a focus on your common plans and dreams.
Otherwise, doubts and insecurities will set in, and an unhealthy relationship likely to end in a breakup can form.
As far as sexual intimacy goes, you have to make an effort to meet every once in a while and enjoy each other's company.
Otherwise, temptations to cheat can hit the both of you.
Even partners living together have been known to cheat on each other. So, communication is what matters the most since it ensures that you don't turn into roommates who go about their personal lives with little concern for each other.
In fact, even with prolonged periods of absence, strong communication can keep you going.
The importance of proper communication is to ensure that no one feels ignored or taken for granted.
But, you have to deal with the insecurity of knowing that your partner might meet someone else and a romance might start brewing.
Luckily, this should not be a concern if you share a strong emotional connection.
Why absence makes the heart wander
You might know that cheating is wrong, and you might never do it to your partner. The thought will sometimes cross your mind. That's an unsettling fact of life.
That is why you will often enjoy romantic attention from someone other than your partner. The odds of going all the way are also higher when you are apart from each other.
So, what to do?
How do you ensure distance does not result in the death of your relationship?
Luckily, the answer is simple: keep the emotional and sexual intimacy alive, and avoid any absences that last for much longer than necessary whenever possible.
So, to answer our question. Distance makes the heart fonder. But it can also make it wander, if you let it.