Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder… Or Does It?

If you’ve ever heard the expression “absence makes the heart grow fonder,” you can probably attest to how true it feels. After all, how many times has breaking up with someone led to you pining for them for months? How much does it suck to be away from that new person you just started dating? If you’ve ever wondered whether this old saying is a bunch of BS or if there’s actually some truth to it, we’ve got the scoop.

What does this expression really mean?

In essence, “absence makes the heart grow fonder” implies that being away from someone will make you love, miss, and cherish them more. It’s an adage used by many couples when they have to be away from each other for a while or when they take a relationship break. While time apart can certainly give someone clarity in regard to how they feel about someone, it can also make your feelings for them much more intense.

Because we often take people for granted when we get complacent, it only makes sense that not having them there anymore would suddenly snap us back to reality. Perhaps, then, it’s better to say that you’re not becoming more fond of someone than you were previously. You’re just remembering the fondness that drew you to them in the first place. You suddenly appreciate what you once had. And now that you don’t have it anymore, you’re bereft.

Does absence really make the heart grow fonder?

Perhaps unsurprisingly, yes. As you’ve probably experienced yourself, absence creates a sense of longing that can feel overwhelming at times. It can get to the point where you’d do anything to have them back. That could be a parent, sibling, romantic partner, or friend.

Of course, it’s also an emotion that can’t always be trusted. While absence makes the heart grow fonder, it’s possible that it’s not the person you’re missing. Perhaps it’s the role they played in your life or the things they provided you. Or, you simply might dislike being on your own and you’re lonely. This can lead you to think you miss them when you’re really just lonely.

That being said, time and space away from a person you care about can be a great thing for your relationship. It can give you more perspective on the value they bring to your life. It can also remind you of the importance of showing them the proper love, respect, appreciation, and attention. In this way, the fondness is real and worth acknowledging.

Can distance make you less fond of someone?

Physical or emotional distance from someone isn’t always voluntary. Sometimes relationships of all kinds reach an impasse. You need time and space apart in order to reevaluate things and hopefully get them back on track. However, these breaks don’t always go the way you might hope. Instead of cementing your desire to have this person in your life, you may find it has the opposite effect.

When a relationship is toxic or simply isn’t working, distance can be a blessing. It can give you the opportunity to see what your life would be like without them. It’s not always easy at first. You may fight against the idea of letting them go. However, if you’re open to the experience and give it enough time, things will begin to change. You’ll start to realize that you’re freer, happier, and ultimately better off without them. It’s a painful realization, to be sure, but it’s one you need to have.

Bolde has been a source of dating and relationship advice for single women around the world since 2014. We combine scientific data, experiential wisdom, and personal anecdotes to provide help and encouragement to those frustrated by the journey to find love. Follow us on Instagram @bolde_media or on Facebook @BoldeMedia