Distance in a relationship will show your partner's true colors

The principle of "together apart" is an important piece in all human relationships. Think of two cars on the same trip. They may adjust their route, monitor their speed and even pay their tolls as one, but they are also clearly separate, expending no effort to stay right by each other.

At the extreme of "together," there is likely to be an accident. At the extreme of "apart," they are likely to get lost. The success of following, and the success of any relationship, strikes this balance between aggressive clinging and careless neglect.

Many long-term couples have come together as a single unit. Without distance between them, there is no mystery, no struggle, no tension. Sleeping together, waking together, spending the day together - they are one. Eventually, one finds the courage to say, "I need some space," and from there, the relationship either ends or improves.

If this sentiment isn't spoken, it's acted upon, usually in unhealthy ways like flakiness, moodiness, or infidelity, all leading to the break-up line: "We're

drifting apart."

The best couples are two distinct people bound together by mutual attraction, respect and love. Leading separate lives, with separate passions and separate friends, they are clearly independent. They share plenty of common ground, but there is enough space between them that the tension, gravity and excitement are never lost.

They've built a sense of comfort and security, but they haven't lost touch with the space and the chase that they felt when they were merely flirting. They have struck a magical balance between being together and being apart.

The key to moving a good relationship into the long-term is staying in touch with the spark of attraction that created it in the first place. Don't confuse exclusivity with routine. Appreciate every moment. Do thoughtful things. Be unpredictable. Keep your dates interesting. Tease and play.

Don't wait for jealousy or heartbreak. Remember when and why you fell for this person, and notice that these details have not gone away. Let yourself be intoxicated again, even if the chemicals have changed.

Don't confuse exclusivity with ownership. You can share connection and love with another person without controlling them. The moment you try to take control, you begin to push that person away.

Live your life as fully as you did when you were single, and openly encourage the same independence in the one you're with. Then come together when you desire nothing more, when your attention will be undivided and your feelings undistracted. "Alone time" is important, but it is useless and destructive if it's time spent desiring something else.

Once you strike this balance, the time you spend apart will improve the time you spend together, and the time you spend together will improve the time you spend apart.

Feelings that he doesn't appreciate you will fade. Feelings that she is nagging you will fade. Drama itself will melt away from the relationship, which simply no longer holds room for it. The relationship will function as any good relationship should, adding value to each of your lives without monopolizing them.