Movies and pop culture often present an idealized version of how dating and relationships look like. Some struggle when they realize that the experience of real life can be quite different. The truth is that almost everyone in a relationship needs a little personal space and even time away. But how can you get a breather while still maintaining your relationship? Here are some reasons why space is important and also ways to create boundaries and still keep your connection strong
1. Tune In To Your Feelings
Acknowledging your emotions that you need a little space in your relationship is the first step. Maybe you’re feeling a bit cut off from other people or are even feeling a bit smothered. Some may be inclined to ignore such feelings or consider them “bad,” but instead express to yourself if you are wanting a bit of a breather from your significant other.
2. Communicate About Your Needs
It may be a bit tricky, but tactfully communicate that you would like to branch out a bit—maybe by going out with your friends twice a month or having some alone time. Be careful to let the other person know that you are not ending the relationship, but just want to find ways to enrich your life and experience and encourage your partner to do the same. Relationships are enriched and stronger when both individuals communicate their needs. When your ready, express how you are feeling, and listen to your love’s response; it’s possible that he/ she is wanting the same thing!
3. Pursue Your Individual Passions
Take time to “get to know yourself” and do something that you enjoy (but perhaps have been neglecting). Go ahead and sign up for that Zumba class, or recommit yourself to going back to school if that’s your goal. Encourage the other person to likewise engage in activities that he/ she likes.
4. Nourish Your Friendships
Although your spouse or significant other is likely your “number one,” remember that no single person can fulfill all of your needs. We as humans are wired to connect, and we have something to learn from different people in our lives. Moreover, there is likely someone in your circle of influence who needs you, so take a break for a day or two and spend an evening with a friend.
5. Come Back Together Stronger Than Before
If you need some space and give yourself permission to take it, you’re practicing self-care and can become even closer to your significant other. Famed German psychologist Erik Erikson explained that “identity precedes intimacy.” Paradoxically, your relationship can be strengthened by developing your self and then creating and maintaining space!
Relationships need a lot to thrive: time, love, honesty, and connection. But each person taking time for him/ herself is an important (and sometimes overlooked) component in creating and maintaining a strong and healthy relationship. Tune in to your feelings, communicate, spend time with your friends and doing what you like, and come back together stronger than before.