ABSENCEMAKES THE HEART GROWFONDER
In plain English There’s nothing like being 3,000km away from someone to forget about their annoying habits. Origins It’s thought this was a common saying as early as the 17th century but the first time it appeared in print was probably in the lyrics for Isle of Beauty, Fare Thee Well, a 19th-century music hall song. It might be true Being away from someone you truly love is “likely to remind you of all the qualities about them you appreciate”, says Fadwa Lkorchy. Her theory is backed up by a 2013 study from Ontario’s Queen’s University and the University of Utah. This analysed more than 1,200 couples and found “greater distance apart actually predicted more intimacy, communication and satisfaction”. It might not be The same study also made clear that its conclusions were only true for strong, stable relationships. Distance is very rarely the cause for a break-up, it suggested, but it can exacerbate certain issues that lay unaddressed.
“For some couples, an absence can make them realise that they were not happy in the first place,” says Fadwa. “Being away can give them a chance to see all the underlying problems that already exist.” The verdict As the 17th-century French author François de La Rochefoucauld noted: “Absence diminishes small loves and increases great ones as the wind blows out the candle but fans the bonfire.”