**This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events that I have experienced firsthand; used with permission.
My former next-door neighbor would run out of the house and throw herself in front of her husband’s car whenever he was going somewhere without her. Whether he was going to work, run errands, or away on a business trip, inevitably, I would see her sprawled on the hood of his Volvo like a starfish.
When he managed to peel her off and drive away, she would chase the car for blocks, screaming. I often saw this scene play out from my living room window as I was getting ready for work in the morning. It always looked as though she was having some spaz attack.
I never understood why she felt the need to be so clingy and dependent on her husband. I would have found it suffocating if my partner acted like that. But for her, the thought of being apart from him was absolutely terrifying.
My neighbor’s impulsive behavior may seem like an extreme example, but it’s not unlike the feelings of insecurity and fear that many people experience in relationships. Spending time apart can be frightening, even if you’re not running after your partner’s car like my former neighbor.
Intimacy and vulnerability can be frightening.
Even in perfectly healthy relationships, being apart can be a little scary. Those feelings can be even more intense if you suffer from abandonment issues.
That’s because intimacy involves a certain level of vulnerability. When we open ourselves up to someone else, we’re exposing ourselves to the possibility of getting hurt.
Time apart can be healthy.
My partner and I spend part of the week together and the other time apart. We enjoy our time apart because it gives us a chance to miss each other and appreciate our time together. It works for us because we both have businesses and hobbies that keep us busy.
I know that some people might find this arrangement strange, but it works for us. And I believe that the time we spend apart strengthens our connection.
There’s a comfort in knowing that your partner is there for you. But there’s also something to be said for the excitement of coming back together after time away. Spending time apart can make your relationship stronger by giving you a chance to appreciate the goodness of being together.
So if the thought of being apart from your partner is making you a little anxious, don’t worry. It’s perfectly normal to feel that way. Just remember that time apart can also be a good thing.
As for my old neighbors, well, they eventually divorced. I’m not sure who initiated the split, but I suspect it had something to do with all that car chasing.