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Telling Your Casual Partner You Need Space Doesn’t Have To Be Awk

The best thing about being in a causal relationship is that it gives you plenty of time to just do you with no pressure. You can just take things at a leisurely pace, with all the personal time to recharge that you require. But even when you’re seemingly on the same page as the person you're dating, there can still be times when they want more than you’re comfortable giving. In that case, knowing how to create some boundaries by telling your casual partner you need space is not only healthy for you, but the relationship as well. That’s because nothing puts a damper on a nice chill dating situation more quickly than like feeling like you're being smothered.

If that’s resonating for you right now, it may be time to have a talk with your casual partner and let them know how you're feeling and reassess the situation. But conversations like that can be tricky and even stressful, which makes them tempting to avoid. However, by ignoring the problem and not honoring your needs, you’re putting the continued relationship at risk. Not to mention your own happiness. With that in mind, here’s how the experts say to let your casual partner know you need some more "me time," aka space.

Be Honest With Yourself About What You Need.

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First things first, Connell Barrett, Dating Transformation founder and dating coach with The League, says you need to get honest about what you’re feeling and why. “If you need space, make sure you’re clear about why you need space. Do you need space from your partner, which can often be the first step toward a break-up? What’s more often the case is that you need space for yourself, as a way to recharge. These secondary reasons can be part of a healthy relationship because, if you get the space you need, that can be a win-win for you and your partner,” he explains to Elite Daily.

Eric Resnick, an online dating coach, adds that it's OK to own how you’re feeling. The alternative may result in an unnecessary breakup, or lead the person you’re dating on. “If you don't make sure that you have the space you need, you’ll probably get sick of them, too. Worse, it could give your partner the impression that you’re looking for something a lot more serious than they are,” he tells Elite Daily.

How To Communicate Your Needs To Your Casual Partner.

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Once you know what you do and don’t want, it's time to talk to your partner about what you’re feeling. “No one is a mind reader. I’ve seen more relationships break down because one person expects the other to know what they’re thinking,” says Resnick. “For all you know, they feel the same way and the only thing stopping you from fixing the problem is a conversation.”

As for how to approach the subject, Barrett says to do so gently, but honestly. “Make it about you, not them,” he says. “If you’re looking to recharge so that you can be an even better, more present partner, tell them that. It will make them feel better because asking for ‘space’ can create anxiety in your partner, and make them feel rejected.” This approach should help your partner understand where you’re coming from, but there’s always the risk of hurt feelings. In that case, Barrett says it's important to hear your casual partner out while maintaining your need for boundaries. “If someone gets upset because you’ve asked for time apart, tell them that you appreciate how they feel, so they feel heard. Also, let them know that it’s in their interest for you to have some space. If they see you having space as something that can improve the relationship — because you’re happier and better company when you’re together — that can alleviate some of their bad feelings,” he suggests.

Having these sorts of conversations can be challenging, whether it's with a casual partner or a fully committed one. But by speaking up about what you need, you're not only taking care of your emotional well-being, but that of the relationship and your partner as well. In this case, it’s the kindest course of action. So, when you're ready, go for it, because you’ve got this.

Expert cited:

Connell Barrett, Dating Transformation founder and dating coach with The League

Eric Resnick, an online dating coach