If You Need Space From Your Partner During Finals Week, Here's How To Tell Them Politely

by Annie Foskett

My favorite trick during finals week in college was to round up my roomies (all six of us), find an empty lecture hall, spread out over the desks, and study together. Between snack runs, BBM, and AIM, we rarely got anything done. Spending a time with friends or a partner during finals week is the heavenly respite we all deserve, until that hanging out gets in the way of actually getting work done.

Asking for space from anyone, especially your partner, is a tricky thing to navigate. We're all so sensitive when it comes to being told to go away! It's because we're human. Think about it — has your partner ever asked you for space? No matter how legitimate their request is ("I need to prep for a class/interview/funeral"), it's really hard not to be super self-involved and get one percent offended. "But why can't you do all that with me there too!?" or "I can help you!"

If you are in the thick of finals and find yourself a little suffocated by your partner, it's OK to let them know. They love you, they want you to succeed, and ideally, they'll be understanding of your need to study. However, because we all know how hard it is to be told to "go away," you'll probably want to use a little extra care to let them know.

Let Them Know You're Stressed... In Person

Sending a text that says "I need alone time" is actually a thing that I do in relationships, and I appreciate the partners who will understand that ask and let me have space. However, if you're less of a butthead than I am, the best way to explain to your partner that you need a week off to focus on your work is just to say it in person. Be clear and transparent about why you need space, and your partner should understand. It's finals week!

Plus, in-person communication always goes over better than communication via text. First off, you can hug and kiss them, and let them know that while you're off to hibernate in the library, you're still their girlfriend. (Though, again, this should all be totally normal in a healthy relationship.) They'll also be able to see how seriously intent on committing to your studies you are — and probably empathize with the stress that you feel.

Make A Plan For The Two Of You When Finals Are Over

Again, bae should understand that you getting a 4.0 is more important that date night this week, but if you want to offer a consolation prize that helps mitigate any hurt feelings, commit to a special date night once your hellish week is over.

Make it clear that you're going to be at the library with your headphones in every night, but you want to spend time together when finals are over. If you plan a special date night and your partner still has a meltdown about you needing time to study, maybe it's time to reevaluate your relationship... especially if they seem insecure about you putting your priorities first.

It's also nice to remind your partner that technology exists, and there are plenty of ways for you to stay in touch without spending entire chunks of time in person together. Texts are fun, and DM-ing memes about finals week is even better.

Here's the deal: you know when you need space to study, you know how to communicate politely, and you know that a good partner will understand if you're very clear about why you need to study rather than cuddle with them on the couch. Trust your gut, and be upfront. It's much better than ditching last minute, or resenting your partner when your grades come back lower than expected. Just say it!