Whoever said that ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’ had obviously spent too many nights in front of the TV with their other half. Once you’ve got kids, a bond and stressful jobs, spending every second with your man can be disastrous. However, having time away from your loved one, whether it’s a night out or a girls’ holiday, could be just what you need to bring back the old spark.
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Space is sexy
‘When couples get too close, you can start to irritate each other,’ says relationship expert and author of How to Choose a Partner, Susan Quilliam (Pan Macmillan). ‘Your sex life may suffer as you become more like brother and sister or best friends.’ Having different interests and spending time apart will bring you closer. Not only does it give you new things to talk about, but it’s also proven to improve your love life because it increases the anticipation. Throw in some sexting when you’re apart and you will be dying to rip each other’s clothes off when you get home.
No, not bedrooms, but if you’re always on the couch squabbling over the remote, try creating separate areas where you can relax. Make a reading nook in a corner of a room, or turn the garage into a gym. ‘Kids put an end to our social life, so to stop us spending every evening together we built a small extension. He got his ‘man cave’ and I got my own private bathroom,’ says Caroline Morton, 38.
Have a holiday
Andy Murray says it’s good that his wife Kim doesn’t come to all of his international matches: ‘If you spend two or three weeks apart, when you do get to see each other, you appreciate it more.’ But before booking yourself on a month-long yoga retreat, be aware that too much time apart can also create problems by breeding unfamiliarity. The key is to miss each other just enough so you remember why you liked each other in the first place… not to get used to each other’s absence.
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Many of us only spend up to three nights a month with friends, yet almost a third of people think that bonding with their buddies makes them happier when they’re in a relationship. ‘Making the effort to see friends each week or to do something you love will help ensure that you don’t lose your identity,’ says psychotherapist Hilda Burke. ‘My husband and I work from home, so we try not to be together a few nights a week,’ says reader Karen Simpson, 37. ‘He’ll meet his friends in the pub or play five-a-side soccer while I have dinner with the girls or go to the gym. It makes nights in together more of a treat.’
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