Does Absence Really Make the Heart Grow Fonder?

Absence makes the heart grow fonder. So they say. I respectfully disagree. To me, absence is simply that – absence. To hold my attention, you need to show interest. In my mind, that means calling, text or email during the course of the day. The more time I spend with someone, the more I want to be with them. The reverse is also true for me. The less time I spend with someone, the less I want to be with them. Maybe that is backwards, but that is how my mind works.

I should not have to beg for attention – that does not make my heart grow fonder. It makes my heart grow resentful.

There are others that need (or want) less attention – and that is where conflict comes in. I do understand some people having a need for mystery. To be sure, no one wants to hear every detail of another person’s life. I do not want to tell you every detail about me either. Some things I need you to find out on your own. When I am starting a relationship with someone, I really like learning all about them. I don’t want a lot of mystery. I want time together.

There is one exception – my son.

I do not see my son for three days in a row. By the time he gets home, I miss him terribly. Even though I miss him, I know I will see him again. That is the problem with absence in a romantic relationship. If I can’t be certain that I will see you again, absence does not make my heart grow fonder, it makes me wonder what I am doing wrong. It makes me want to look for someone who will pay attention to me and who wants to see me.

What do you think? Does absence make the heart grow fonder? Or is it a recipe for disaster?

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19 thoughts on “Does Absence Really Make the Heart Grow Fonder?

  1. Disaster! When my husband travelled a lot I’d get in a routine without him. Then he’d come home and it was hard to regroup. Nevertheless, my heart hurt.
    When I look back at my single days I get those same feelings you describe. I listen as my single friends try to get into the minds of their almost-boyfriends. It’s so annoying that some people choose to be shy or passive when it comes to new relationships. I know it’s not easy, but now, at 50, I’d say walk away. Better yet, run! That’s what I tell them. Relationships are hard enough without adding poor communication to the mix. But I also say, tell him. You never know. Sometimes there’s a misunderstanding or reluctance to be vulnerable. Carpe diem, as they say!Then you can know you’ve got all the info to make the next decision.

    • I agree it is a disaster. I was in a long distance relationship a while ago (he was in California) and all I can say is – NEVER again! I like that “almost boyfriends” I gotta borrow that term Betsy! It wound up being an interesting conversation, so I wanted to see what everyone on the blog thought of this.

  2. hi Nancy,
    Agree~ absence does not make the heart grow, connection does. Distance can be felt when you are across the globe or sitting in the same room. I believe what you have with your son, and those you truly love, is an unconditional love.
    In that case, our heart knows how close we are no matter the space, and thus we are aware, fonder.

    • Hi Kara,

      “absence does not make the heart grow – connection does” Well said! I agree that the bond with my son is something totally different, and that is what makes his absence more felt.

      Have a wonderful day.

      Nancy

  3. Your honesty shines through again. Love your writing. Absence ? It is whatever we make it. It can be tough to do.

    I believe, if it’s meant to be, it will be.

    Good luck and have a GREAT-Ful day ! Big Hug !

    Al

    • Hi Al,

      I am just going to give you a big hug back my friend! Part of the conversation was about perception, and I suppose to some, contact all the time is too much. I say I think that too is how you look at things.

      It really is how we choose to see things right?

      Have a GREAT day!

      Nancy

  4. What you’re saying is a constant struggle. For me, it’s about balance. How can I balance my intensity in a relationship and not allow my mind to take over? I fight with my thoughts, analysis, wonder whether I’m doing something wrong and then lose confidence in what I’ve built.

    I have no answers, but I do agree — it’s easier with absence to regroup. This is the human conundrum.

    • I can be very intense too. I also need to balance my intensity with other people who may not be as intense as I am. It really is one of those questions that has no definitive answer, which I like.

      Glad to have you keep me company today Ms. Jayme

  5. When it comes to relationships, I always feel smothered when I get too much attention. I’m the independent type, but I’ve always attracted the needy, clingy types in the past, which drives me batty. I wouldn’t say absence makes my heart grow fonder, it just makes me NOT want to get the heck away from someone!

    I guess the trick is that each of us needs to find that someone who can understand and fulfill our unique needs.

    • interesting. That was a lot of what the other person said too. It keeps them interested to keep some distance. I can understand that. I don’t relate to it very well, but I do understand it.

  6. Up to a point and it depends on the circumstances. If you feel like you are doing all the reaching out and the absence is creating anxiety more than anything; then that is not fondness.

    If you know you will see them again then it can create ‘longing’ in your heart and subsequently fondness (or maybe you were already fond to begin with, huh).

    However, too much and then you start to seek that attention elsewhere which creates a whole different dynamic.

    So my vote is, it depends………..and that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

    • My vote is it depends too. It really depends on why a person is not around. Are they playing games? Then I don’t deal with that very well. You are right about who does the reaching out too. That can also apply to friendships. If I am doing all of the reaching out, that is no good either. It need to be both or it is not a friendship (or a relationship)

      Too much inattention leads to a person seeking attention elsewhere…how right you are.

      Hope you did not get to much damage with that hurricane.

  7. Disaster – when it is a love relationship…really! I have seen so many long distance relationships fail that I have lost hope really! :)

    But yes, with my nephew and niece, I live miles away; they live in California and I live all the way in the Middle East… and it becomes terrible to live apart that way!

    But if the distance is for a little time, then it is okay and depends on loads of things but then too much, too long is DISASTER!

    • I agree. When I was in a very long-distance relationship, the fact that we could not see each other that often became a huge issue. Had we been able to spend more time together, I think we would have realized how poorly matched we were far sooner.

      With family that connection is there and even though we are apart, there is that. I hate sometimes that my family is mostly in North Carolina. When we do see each other, we all just kind of pick up right where we left off. Isn’t that the odd thing about family?

      Hope you are having a great day Hajra.

      Nancy

  8. […] that I have often sort of wondered about on the periphery of my brain. There is the old saying, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” It’s counterpart is “Familiarity breeds contempt.” I have never 100% grasped these […]

  9. I am very late commenting on this blog as I was looking for a little guidance myself when coming here. My girlfriend and I of 2 yrs have recently separated, we were having a bad relationship 70% of the time and always threatened to leave each other and now she has left to go be with her son in Ga and its like i hate being away from her now shes gone but i cant tell how she feels. she says she really loves and misses me and wants us back together but i seem to be doing all the contacting and worrying about us not speaking for long periods through out the day, she SEEMS not so bothered or gives me excuse why she couldn’t talk,answer or call. I would like to know what you think :)

  10. I fully agree! I’m newly wed, (3 months) and my husband lives in another state right now, he left the day AFTER the wedding, and I’ve only seen him once since then . I’m bored out of my mind. I hate calling/texting too much! He’s more attached than I am right now, and I feel guilty…. But absence truly does not make my heart grow fonder! I need physicality, excitement, face to face interaction… Or I will occupy my time in ways that hardly involve you until that can happen.

    Ugh sounds selfish… But I just can’t help it!

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