When it comes to phrases you do not want to hear from your partner, "I need some space" might take its place in the top 5. The connotation may feel like your partner is saying they've gotten tired of spending so much time with you, and in turn, want some time WITHOUT you. What we're here to remind you is that, while every situation is different, you could be taking it completely wrong.
Sometimes, when someone needs space, that does not mean that they are tired of their partner. It could mean that they are simply hungry for some alone time. It could mean that they need to spend some time buried in their own thoughts. It could mean that they simply are craving some independence to reconnect with who they are/were/want to be. The most important thing to remember is that these are not bad things. It is healthy for every person to connect with themselves before they can connect with others. Letting your partner explore their own mind without any distraction can benefit both sides of the relationship. So, now let's talk about some healthy ways to give your partner that space they're looking for.
1. ENCOURAGE Them To Explore Their Own Interests, On Their Own
Remind your partner that it's okay to be the only person interested in something. Encourage them to take that pottery class they've always dreamt of but didn't want to do alone. Tell them you think they should feed that interest they've always had in volunteering. Share with them the reasons you think they should try something all by themselves.
Sometimes when we're in a relationship, we get caught up in thinking that we have to do everything together all the time. It's important to encourage each other to try new things without being scared that the other person isn't interested.
2. Even If You Feel Offended, Try To Embrace It
While you may naturally feel left out or offended by your partner exploring an interest without you, remember that personal time is crucial for self-development. Take this time to find a new hobby of your own! Think of it as an opportunity to spend time doing something you've forgotten you loved.
3. Agree On A Schedule
If your partner wants some space for themselves, talk about what kind of timeframe this means. If they just want one night per week to do their own thing, agree on a night. If they're in need of something more lengthy, understand the importance of a deadline in this situation. Ask them what timeframe makes them comfortable, and then ask yourself if you're comfortable too. It's important to make sure you're both on the same page with what is going on.
4. Share Your Feelings
Let him or her know exactly what you're feeling. In a judgement-free zone, explain to each other exactly what you're feeling in order to remain transparent about all of this. There is absolutely nothing wrong with feeling emotion... you are human. And they are too. So remind each other to practice honesty and never bottle up negative energy in fear that your partner will be upset. If they are angry with you for having feelings, you may want to take a deeper look into why you're in the relationship in the first place.
5. Respect Boundaries
If your S.O. asks for some time to themselves, be it an hour or a week, let them be alone. Don't ask if you can join in, don't randomly show up. Let them have the time they need to recollect and then the two of you can reconvene after your timeframe is complete.
6. Find A Way To Distract Yourself
One important thing to make sure of is that you're not obsessing over it during the time off. If your partner is having me-time, have YOU-time! Read a book, watch that show on Neflix he/she never had interest in. Go shopping at that little boutique you drive by every day. Distract yourself with new and exciting things so that when your timeframe is over, you have something to talk about too.
7. Enjoy The Reunion
Play, laugh and enjoy the fact that absence really does make the heart grow fonder. Talk to each other about what you did when you were on your own and take advantage of how happy you are to be together again. Whether you live together and he/she takes a night with their friends or your partner is taking a more extended time alone, embrace the moment you are finally back together again. Enjoy the small moments.
8. Talk About The Future
Talk with each other about how you can build a healthy amount of alone time into your relationships. Respect each other when it comes to personal needs and try your best to understand where they are coming from. Remember that in order for a relationship to work, both people need to be happy. Work together to come up with a balanced lifestyle that works for both of you.
Healthy couples have lives separate from their life together. They have friends and hobbies that may not include their S.O. and recognize the importance of self-fulfillment. Work together to make your relationship the best it can be and don't worry about anyone else around you. This is your relationship to nourish, not theirs.