“I need some space”.
Depending on your attachment style, hearing these words from your partner can put you into panic mode.
What happened? One moment you’re in love and can’t get enough of each other, and the next thing you know he or she “needs some space”?
Your mind is racing. “Did I do something wrong?” “Is s/he mad?” “Why does s/he want to leave me?” These are just a few things that would come to mind.
While it’s only natural to be worried, it’s often quite easy to see that giving each other space is a good thing. Spending some time apart can be incredibly healthy for any relationship.
It’s only when things get too much that you should start to think twice.
Watch out for warning signs when it comes to mental health and the health of a relationship. If the time away is indefinite or too long to the point that one is already suffering, it should be addressed.
When something like this happens, you’ll want to talk about it ASAP, while also being open to understanding each other, and honouring requests for a little more space.
Here are some ways to do just that, so you two can maintain a healthy, happy relationship.
- Remember This As A Positive Thing
Spending time apart may sound easy but it is not always the case. So keep in mind that time apart is actually a good thing. Doing this helps both of you maintain interest with one another. It is healthy to have some separate activities and interest.
- Don’t Take It Personally
When your partner tells you that s/he needs something, take time to listen carefully. They are not asking this to hurt you or make the relationship difficult. Instead, they do this because they need some alone time. Respecting this is the best action, be brave enough to allow this to happen.
- Do Your Own Thing
The most critical element of happiness is a solid identity. It’s no secret that being in a relationship blurs those lines, so use this time to your advantage. Spend the time on anything that will put you back in touch with yourself.
- Have An Agreed Upon Timeframe
Does your partner need an hour, a day, a few days? Be upfront with how much time you expect to spend apart. Be on the same page to prevent your feelings from getting hurt, while also allowing your partner enough time to recharge.
- Let Yourself Feel Feelings
Be honest with what you feel about this space request. Feel all of those panicky feelings. Fell them, don’t act on them. Witness them happening and respect them without self-judgment. Don’t ignore these feelings.
- Tell Your Partner How You Feel
Respecting your partner’s need for space, in return, they should respect your feelings as well. It is okay to tell your partner how you feel in an honest and direct way. Don’t play the blame game. Instead of starting your sentences with “you” (always leave me alone), start your sentence with “I” (feel scared when you want to spend time apart).
- Respect The Rules
If your partner needs space, give them space. If they don’t want to text, don’t text. Respect the space they have asked and avoid ignoring the agreements you made. If you feel that the rules are unfair, then this needs to be addressed.
- Be As Encouraging As Possible
Wear a brave face on the outside even if you are torn up inside. It is important for a partner to encourage others to make space for activity, socialization, and activities that lead to meaning and purpose. The more solid a person’s identity is, the more likely they will be happy in a relationship.
- Distract Thyself
Having some “me” time is also beneficial for you. Remind yourself of your own identity. It is normal to worry about loneliness. In moments when you are lonely be especially kind to yourself, pamper yourself, and spend time with your friends. Take a long run or a hot bath, call a friend, watch a movie, eat something good for you. Treat yourself with great kindness.
- Have Fun When You’re Reunited
Yes, it may be annoying when your partner asks for space. But, give [them] the space to miss you and then make the time you have together positive and high quality.
- Figure Out What This Means To You
Giving each other space to having hobbies and a life outside the relationship, keeps the relationship healthy. The key here is to not push each other away. Be on the same page on how much time away from each other would be healthy and enjoy all the benefits together.
Be on the same page with your partner. Spend a healthy amount of time apart and cherish each other as you get reunited again.