Dating Games: I love you, now go away

Spending too much time together can be a blessing – or a curse.

Dating games 521 (photo credit: Pepe Fainberg)
Dating games 521
(photo credit: Pepe Fainberg)
When you’re at the beginning stages of a relationship, you tend to spend more time than normal together. Spending a lot of time together has its pluses and minuses.
On the one hand, you get to know each other really well very quickly and, because of that, the relationship can easily become really serious, really fast. Or you could get to know each other really well very quickly and, because of that, the relationship could easily end really badly really soon.
When you’re in the first phase of a relationship, all you want to do is hold hands, eat meals together, meet each other’s friends, talk all the time and simply don’t want to be apart. The time you would normally be on your best behavior falls victim to your true self and your worst habits, which is a blessing and a curse. The time you would take to open up and reveal information ends up being escalated, which again can be either a great thing or a catastrophe. The relationship could escalate to becoming boyfriend/girlfriend and swiftly bypassing the dating phase; or a relationship that may have been successful had you slowed down may be headed down disaster lane.
Spending so much time together can often mean that you start to get on each other’s nerves, annoying the other to no end and finding fault where there is none.
Spending too much time together also means taking away the mystery and not allowing the other person to miss you. It’s not about playing games, it’s about letting the other person have a chance to think about you without your constantly being around. When you’re next to, or in front of, each other 24/7, you take the person for granted and frankly can get sick of the other person when you should be fantasizing about your next date.
If you can’t remember what your best friends look like, you’re spending too much time with your new prospect.
A “No Girls Allowed Poker Night” or a “Ladies Only Night Out” is healthy, fun and, ironically, is even more necessary than when you were single. You need time to boast about your significant other, as well as vent.
Most couples make this mistake. My friends Laura and Lee were no exception. When they moved together to a new city, they relied on each other for everything: emotional support, companionship, friendship, even work.
Both of them were self-employed and thus had flexible schedules, so they found every excuse under the sun not to ever be apart. They were in a new city with no car and few friends, so they became everything to each other. It shouldn’t have been a surprise but it was, nonetheless, when Laura and Lee – who were always known as an easy-going, compatible couple – started bickering nonstop.
They were arguing about the most inane things, such as who left the light on in the bedroom; who forgot to grab the list on the way to the grocery store; and who forgot to rinse their coffee mug before putting it in the sink.
I told Laura that she needed some breathing room, whether it was with friends or even by herself. She was in denial about it because she didn’t want to admit that something could be wrong with their relationship.
Eventually she realized that something had to be fixed; and once they discovered what the root of their problem was, they made a concerted effort to spend more time apart so they could appreciate each other more when they were together.
They made a schedule of who was going to leave to work at a cafe each day and tried to make normal business hours that would benefit both their relationship and their work. Because they were going to a cafe each day, they were both able to make new friends separately and as a couple. Finally, they got a car to assist their new efforts in working outside the home, running errands alone and going to meet new friends. The bickering diminished almost instantly, and they looked forward to greeting each other when they arrived home each day.
They appreciated each other once again, and the petty annoyances that bothered them before weren’t such a big deal anymore.
If spending too much time together causes the demise of a promising relationship, it may be too late to resuscitate it because chances are that there are many other problems in the relationship. But if you notice the issue early enough, take what may seem like drastic measures immediately.
First, talk about the problem. Simply state that you’re concerned that you’re spending too much time together, and that by not having an opportunity to miss each other, you’re no longer appreciating each other. Rest assured that your relationship will strengthen as you tackle this predicament together. Make plans apart so you can look forward to spending time together. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, even if it’s just for six hours a day or a night away.