Spending all or most of your time with your partner may come naturally at the beginning of a relationship.
When love sparks, it’s easy to give up much-needed personal time just for a few more moments with your flame.
As the newness of the relationship wears off, though, you may begin to realize just how valuable your personal time was. Finding yourself needing space, it’s not uncommon to stumble over your words while trying to communicate this to your partner.
Take heart in knowing that your intentions for needing space are good, and there is a healthy way to let your partner know.
Acknowledge Both of Your Needs
In a relationship, it’s about the two of you together, so before you fulfill your need for personal space, take time to focus on your partner.
Make it a point to recognize their needs, doing what you can to meet them.
Express to your partner that you love them and want them to feel loved, doing all that you can to make that happen.
When you feel the need for space, it can be difficult to direct your focus elsewhere. But this pre-space ritual will pay off when the two of you feel emotionally closer, even when you’re physically apart.
Be Clear on Your Intentions
Any time spent apart from your partner should be well-laid out. In other words, your partner needs to know what to expect from your absence.
This isn’t a hovering move or an intention to smother and control. Rather, it’s effective communication at its best.
Needing your space is perfectly natural to refuel or feel reinvigorated. But, needing your space isn’t the same as shutting your partner out.
To get the space you need without alienating your partner, clearly define your intentions.
Even something as simple as, “Honey, I’m going to play my guitar in the basement for a couple hours” will suffice.
Stress How Space Will Improve Your Relationship
Along the same lines of not shutting your partner out, it’s vital that your partner knows how your alone time will affect the relationship.
Basically, personal space allows you to be a better partner. While each person needs and gets something different from alone time, the ultimate goal is to become your best self.
Communicate to your partner that you need space to focus on you. That your goal is to be a better partner. Then, let the alone time revitalization do the talking for you.
A common misperception is that needing space is a sign the relationship is broken and needs to be “fixed.” More than anything, it’s a sign that the relationship is maturing.
Communicate Renewal Rather than Blame
Your partner probably knows you pretty well at this point, but perhaps not well enough to understand how you emotionally refuel.
Especially for partners of introverts, this can be a tough pill to swallow.
During the intense love phase, you may have spent every waking moment together.
Now, you need space? Your partner is going to want to know why.
And the simple answer is that your relationship has come to a certain depth where you can truly be yourself around each other. For you, that means refueling the way you did before you were bitten by the love bug.
Take the first step…
If you’re ready to take a step toward a healthier relationship, I would like to help. Please contact me by phone or email so we can discuss how we might work together to achieve your therapeutic goals as quickly and effectively as possible.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Linda K. Laffey, MFT