I've come to realize a big mistake I've made in my relationships, including with my parents. I used to think that being present all the time was the key to making a relationship work. It was a logical checklist for me, but I've learned that emotions don't always follow logic.
Three principles stand out to me now:
- Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
- Familiarity breeds contempt.
- Always leave them wanting a little more.
My dad was the one who opened my eyes to this. He likes me more when he misses me. When I visit for a short time, we appreciate each other more. If I stay for two months, little issues start adding up, and they can breed contempt.
This lesson doesn't only apply to my family. It's true for romantic relationships too. At the beginning of dating, it's good to create a mystery. If you're long-distance, let them want to see you. Don't just be ever-present in their life. Don't overwhelm them with half-hearted phone calls multiple times a day.
Make the moments apart special, but also leave room for when you meet up in person. Make that time more special by not overwhelming them with your presence.
I've learned that even if I'm happy in a relationship and see a long-term future, I shouldn't look or be overly attached. Let the other person want more of you. Let them wonder and get excited when you communicate.
I, as a man, want the woman to initiate a convo with me a solid percentage of the time. It shouldn't feel like an obligation, but rather their choice.
Even if I'm comfortable in a relationship and see it going long term, I should never deprive the other person of the opportunity to want to be in that relationship. Never get too comfortable, never create an environment where they're deprived of this ability to choose.
In the end, it's about balance and understanding human nature more deeply. Too much presence can suffocate, while the right amount of absence can indeed make the heart grow fonder. It's about appreciating the time together and allowing for longing that makes the relationship richer and more meaningful.