Here’s How To Ask For More Space In Your Relationship, Because It's Not Always A Bad Thing
Showing someone how much you love them is so important to the success of a relationship. But loving your partner and smothering your partner in that love are two totally different things. It's pretty safe to say that everyone needs space once in awhile, and knowing how to ask for more space in your relationship is a useful skill to have — particularly if you don't want to hurt your SO's feelings.
"It is natural to need space in a relationship," sex and intimacy coach Irene Fehr tells Elite Daily. "We have two competing needs that collide in a relationship: the need to be individuals and the need to be in relationship or connection with another human being; to be ourselves and to belong," she explains. "Both nourish and feed each other. When we're supported by partners, we feel safe to be ourselves. And when we're ourselves and have our individual needs met, we're better partners. It's natural to need space to meet our individual needs — moreover, it's critical to a healthy and thriving relationship."
So, how can you approach this topic with your significant other without hurting them? Well, there are definitely some effective ways to go about it. Here's what relationship experts recommend.
1. Be open and honest.
Needing space might seem like an intimidating topic to bring up to your partner, but it's important to be as transparent as possible so that they truly understand what you need. "It has to be a vulnerable conversation," Fehr says. "Asking for what you need is truly vulnerable and assumes trust. Go into the conversation knowing what you need, why it's important and what it will provide for you. And know that your partner might feel disappointed or hurt or angry — and that's OK. Be willing to share and also to listen. That is a natural part of negotiating our needs and having them be met in a relationship."
If you speak with kindness and vulnerability, your partner will likely understand where you're coming from, Fehr says.
2. Be clear that you don't want to break up.
"Needing space and taking space can be really healthy if it's not being used as manipulation in a relationship," Diana Dorell, intuitive dating coach and author of The Dating Mirror: Trust Again, Love Again, tells Elite Daily. "Expressing that, in order to feel safe to go deeper in the relationship, taking some space is needed, can let the other person know that you aren't bailing — you are just taking some time to regroup."
But, that doesn't mean you should just ask for a break a lá Friends Season 3 Rachel and Ross. "There is a difference between taking space within a relationship, saying, 'I'd like to spend this weekend with myself' vs 'I need to take space away from the relationship for like one month to see other people'," Dorell explains.
Make sure your partner knows you don't want to end things, you just want to be with yourself for a while.
3. Remind them that you love them.
Finally, let your partner know that you seriously love them, and that you needing space isn't any indication of how you feel about them. "Space is a great thing, and should be applauded, not guilted," Alessandra Contico, matchmaker and dating expert, and co-founder and executive matchmaker of Matchmakers In The City, tells Elite Daily. "If you want to explain to your partner that you want space without hurting their feelings, let them know that while you love and cherish spending time with them, you are an independent person and need time to do different things by yourself," she adds. "You want to keep things exciting and fresh, and if you are together all of the time, it can grow too familiar and grating."
Having some space in any relationship can be a good thing, and it's natural to feel the need to be alone once in awhile, but communicating that to your partner in a kind way is crucial. You deserve to be comfortable in your relationship, and if that means getting some space, then don't be afraid to ask for it.