Spending Time Together

When you’re dating someone, the natural inclination is to spend as much time as possible with that person. After all, that’s the point, isn’t it? To spend enough time with someone in order to determine whether the relationship could move toward a healthy marriage?

It’s important to ask questions from the other end as well because it helps provide a well-rounded perspective. How much time is too much time to spend with your significant other? What is a healthy balance in dating, and how does that change if you’re dating long distance? I’ve been thinking about these questions this week and even posted them on Facebook to see what kind of responses I would get. I received a wide variety of answers from people in all different stages of relationships.

But the perspective was the same: Spend as much time together as possible as long as it doesn’t interfere with other responsibilities. One of my friends made an important observation, which was that the quality of time spent together can offset the quantity of time spent together.

While it is unhealthy for someone to make a significant other their entire world and spend every waking minute together, quality time together in person is important. Relationships grow in correlation with how much effort and work is put into them. The more time two people spend together, the better they learn to communicate and care for one another, and the more they discover how compatible they are and how well they work together.

You can’t do that through a screen or through no communication at all. It’s important to find a healthy balance, and every relationship is different. My boyfriend and I try to see each other every weekend as long as we don’t have prior obligations. We text throughout the day and try to Skype for an hour or so once or twice a week. Occasionally we make time for a short phone call or two. And that works for us.

The long distance helps me maintain a healthy balance. Since my boyfriend and I are limited to seeing each other only on weekends, we are able to carry on our own lives throughout the week. We don’t place unhealthy expectations on each other in terms of our social lives. We maintain our separate interests and commitments, and we still have space and time to invest in friendships.

It would certainly be nice to spend more time together, but our balance leaves us feeling involved enough in each other’s lives. We don’t feel ignored or lonely, but we don’t feel burdened either. I think that is key for any relationship.

You want to find a balance and a routine that allows you to feel involved in the other person’s life without being overly involved. You don’t want to act married when you’re not, but you don’t want to be in a relationship and act like you’re single either.

What balance have you found in your relationship that works? Or if you’re single, how would you maintain a healthy balance in future relationships based on your experiences and observations?