There are several phrases that, when uttered in a relationship, can make your blood run cold. Like there is the much dreaded breakup, but there are also some more benign — but somehow scary! —The moment when your partner asks for some SPACE.
What is this space in a relationship?
When someone you are dating claims that he or she needs “space,” the recipient has no idea what this person means other than the fact that they aren’t going to see or talk to each other as much as they do usually.
“I need space” mostly always has a hidden meaning or intention. It is human nature to crave space. While sharing experiences and feelings can bring many wonderful things to a relationship, you need individual time as well.
In order for a relationship to be healthy, you should have your own hobbies, interests, and social life. Work on establishing firm boundaries. And, make the most of your alone time. Explore new hobbies and interests to get in touch with your own identity.
In other words, space in a relationship is a way to be together and still be two different individuals, it is the space where you can be yourself. As much as being together is important, so is to be you, maintaining the individuality makes a bond stronger. Relationships with too little space tend to get suffocating, while too much space leads to loosing connection with each other.
Here is what Leela and Virat had to share with our life coach, when they experienced a concern of space in relationship.
Married for around three years, Leela and Virat were a usual city couple who loved chilling out with their friends, went on trips and sought pleasure in simple things like sharing household chores.
However, things changed when Virat had to travel out of town for a week, every month for a new project at work. Though they missed the orderliness of their lives and physical presence, both started to feel the distance and this lead to small arguments in times when they needed to celebrate the togetherness.
Then Leela decided to meet our life coach. Leela discussed her insecurities that she felt when she experienced this distance in her relationship. She got worried when Virat did not pick his phone or revert back to her missed call. She kept thinking about the time they spent earlier and how close they were then. Leela, kept thinking and it only lead to her feeling stressed.
The life coach/Counselor made her realize, how everything is still the same just one thing has changed that is the distance. The life coach made them realize that how, space can be healthy and a way to get in touch with US again. Leela realized that it is just a temporary phase and the distance can help to get them closer- to themselves while being close to each other too.
Leela understood the importance of space and communicated the same to Virat. They both started using space to know themselves better and to explore their interests and hobbies. They both valued the time they now got for themselves.
Leela says, “Both of us are working professionals. During these small periods when we weren’t together, we understood that we were missing out on things that each of us loved to do individually while I pursued gardening and painting, Virat started writing, something that he always wanted to do.“
Both of them found it therapeutic and it had positive ramifications on their relationship. So much so that when Virat’s project got over, the couple decided to keep aside some ‘me-time’ for themselves.
Read on for some ways to do just that, so you two can maintain your healthy, happy relationship.
Giving space is necessary
There comes a time for couples, whether married or not when each person needs space to grow as an individual. Though the best memories are those that we share with our partners, too much togetherness can ruin a perfect bond.
Spending time away helps you enhance your personality with things like learning something new, meeting up with friends, spending time with other family members and developing hobbies
Don’t take it on you
When someone says that they need space it’s time to listen carefully. They are not asking for alone time to hurt you, or to purposefully make life difficult. It is just a genuine request for alone time with oneself. Being respectful of that and the fact they were brave enough to ask you, is the best reaction.
Don’t hit the panic button
It is natural to crave for space and feel the need for it. Both partners should understand that they are not rejecting each other. In fact, it is to grow and dedicate some time to other important things in life and to oneself.
Introspection is important as every person needs to nurture their emotional and spiritual aspects. Also remember by staying away from each other for short duration, one may start missing the other partner and this will actually increase the love between the two.
Balance it well
Once you are fine with the idea of giving each other space, learn to balance it well. The levels of togetherness may vary from individual to individual.
Chart out the tasks for which you will be utilizing your free time and have an open discussion with your partner about what she intends to do in that period. Share your ideas and encourage each other.
Decide the duration
This may vary couple to couple. Each partner can decide on the amount of time or number of days that they are comfortable staying away. It might just be post-dinner time that you might want to relax individually or it can be the weekend. Decide a time frame mutually and enjoy the process of rejuvenation.
Do your own thing
One of the most vital elements of happiness according to positive psychology is having a solid identity. It is no secret that being in a relationship blurs those lines. So use this time to go out, take a class, read, try something new — anything that will put you back in touch with yourself.
Be true to your feelings
Does giving to your partner space make you feel really stressed? Be honest with yourself. Provide yourself the room to feel all of those panicky feelings. But remember do not act on them, but feel them, be a witness to them happening inside you and respect them without self-judgment. It’s better than needlessly suppressing things down.
You can write down how you feel and share when you meet with each other, let each other know how you felt with the gap, all good and bad experience. Sharing how you felt makes the communication transparent and relationship stronger.
Make it fun
Make it fun by texting your partner, keeping him/her updated about what you are doing and sharing your experiences. It will just make the getting back together more exciting.
However, do not get upset if your partner does not reply immediately or if you have set guidelines on not being too much in touch with each other since regular communication might eat up on the ‘me time’.
Figure Out What This Means to You
Healthy couples give each other space to have hobbies, friendships, and a life outside the relationship. Unhealthy couples, on the other hand, are often just pushing each other away.
If you feel that the latter part is what is happening in your relationship, you may go ahead and have a chat on this. Remember to communicate feeling objectively.
Here is an article that you can go through to communicate your feeling better.
There is no perfect formula here. But the idea is simple, spend as much time as you want with your partner and let your partner do the same. But at the same time, ask yourself what you have done by yourself during the week. As long as your own individuality is there in the relationship you do not need your partner around all the time to help you or keep you occupied.
By learning how to give space in a relationship, you will learn to keep the excitement alive by becoming a better individual with your own special qualities and memories. And as long as you have something new to share with your lover, your relationship will stay happy and exciting!