When you start a new relationship, you're usually aware that it may end in one of three ways: A life partnership, a friendship, or a breakup. But what about the weird, scary, blurry period of time if and when a partner asks you for "space"? Are you together? Are you broken up? Should you talk to your partner if they need space? Turns out, it's not too complicated. If your partner asks for space, it's because, well, they need space. But that isn't to say you need to cut each other out completely.
"If your partner tells you they need their space, generally speaking, give your partner space," Frank Kermit, dating and relationship coach, tells Elite Daily. "The reason they need their space could have nothing to do with you, and they just need time to themselves. If you are unable to give them space, that may be a sign of one of the reasons (among possible others) that your partner needs space."
When it comes to how often you should reach out to your partner during your period of time apart, Kermit says you shouldn't reach out to them in any case other than an emergency or a check-in if that's already been decided upon. Space is space, and if someone needs it, give it to them.
If your partner needs space, and that makes you uncomfortable, you might need to do some evaluating. There are a lot of scenarios out there that could constitute a need for space, but not all of them necessarily mean something bad for your relationship.
Every situation is different, and if you and your partner are married or have kids, then them needing space might be a bigger issue. However, Kermit maintains that if the relationship isn't too serious, then needing space is perfectly normal. Still, talk to them if their need for space is freaking you out. "If you are just dating casually, on the verge of a making a commitment, and 'space' means being away with no contact for undetermined periods of days/weeks, and this is something you do not enjoy, then it is a sign to re-evaluate why you are dating in the first place," Kermit says.
Don't stress if your partner tells you they need space. As Kermit says, it might not even have anything to do with you and could instead be "an emotional need," as he describes. "They need the time to process whatever it is going on inside. For those that have this emotional need, when it is addressed, it can create feelings of bonding and a desire to commit." Who knows? Maybe after your significant other takes some time away, they'll come back ready to commit, or be a better partner. Time apart can actually be a good thing, Kermit says.
Most importantly, don't panic. Needing space is common in most relationships, and even if it makes you feel uneasy, your partner probably just wants what's best for both of you. "If you are a person that cannot handle when your partner needs their space, then either you need to work on yourself, or you need to find another partner," he says. "There is no middle of the road."
If you aren't OK with your partner taking some space, sit down with them and have a conversation. Perhaps you need the kind of partner who doesn't need space at all, ever, and that's OK. But it is always important to evaluate the why behind the time apart. Remember: It's not always a bad thing, and some time apart could actually be good for your relationship.
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