Recently, and lets be honest, for a few months I have been feeling something close to a lull in my relationships. With my boyfriend, my friends and family. The hardest one is my relationship, this lull means I have started to feel disconnected. Like I am just going through the motions everyday. Like anyone of this generation I immediately turned to Google. I looked up everything I was feeling looking for the answers. This is what I found. There is a big difference between spending time with someone and spending quality time with someone.
Now through all the posts and blogs and pages and answers I read about this, one unfortunate reality stood out. They all meant for you to bring your A game to the time you spend with others. Especially your significant other. Now having an illness that affects energy makes this hard, honestly, impossible most days.
The other thing that really stood out to me was advice to make sure that you spend quality time away from each other. This was the big turning point.
K and I live and work together, with a roommate (my brother) in the mix. We both work nights, at the same company, the same shift and are always home with each other. We often feel like we don’t spend enough time together after spending all our time together, why? Because it is not quality time, it was just time. The only time we spent apart was when one of us takes a night off without the other. Or does some minor running around. We didn’t have a life outside of each other, and this was ruining our lives.
When all your time is spent with another person, they see all of you. The good the bad and the usually ugly. You spend days in your lazy clothes without makeup and no longer dress up for each other. You see more bad days together than good and do not spend enough time on yourselves. This is why self care and personal time are such a huge part of life. You can’t bring your best to your relationships if you have nothing left to give.
This is where the quality time alone makes for better quality time together. It was hard to start, when I decided to start going for coffee alone every Sunday morning after work. Either read or catch up on writing. It was followed with guilt and complaints that we don’t see each other enough. However when I get there and settle in with my favourite Hazelnut latte in a real mug. Grab a sandwich I didn’t have to make (and make a second for someone else) I feel it all melt away.
I read and smile and laugh to myself, I enjoy the time alone and in no time find myself missing my boyfriend. These trips never last more than half an hour to an hour with travel time but I never give myself a time limit, if I need an hour or two I’d stay. However with as little as 45 minutes I find myself happier and head home, once there I find I have the energy to do more, more chores, more responsibility without resenting anyone else their free time or happiness.
I find the time I spend with K when I get back means more, we are happier and I am reminded of how much I do enjoy being around him. Something that we so often forget when all we do is spend time together, when we are not spending quality time together. The second hardest part of all of this is finding a way to help K through it.
As I find myself resenting him less and finding myself and some comfort in our relationship he is continuing to feel like he does too much, has too much on his plate and that our time together is not what it used to be. He doesn’t get the quality alone time he needs to recharge and feel better before bringing it all back to the relationship, and in all honesty I don’t know how to help him. I want to, but fear this is something he has to come to on his own.
Till then, I’ll continue to do my best and not feel guilty that I am starting to feel happier and healthier by focusing on the importance of quality time.