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4 min read

How To Develop Personal Space in Relationships

When a couple begins spending time together, often the question of personal space doesn't come up. They're so excited to have someone that how much space to give or take isn't a priority; they're just glad to be together. But a healthy relationship requires some designated alone time to explore one's own interests and protect mental health. In this article, we'll explore why personal space is important as well as tips on giving personal space in a healthy way.

Why is personal space important for couples?

There are several reasons why allowing personal space in relationships is essential. Here are some of the most important.

Enables Individuality

It can be important to pull together as a team in a healthy relationship, but just as important is giving yourself personal space to evolve as your own person. Personal growth requires a person to have a sense of their own identity. With no alone time for pursuing individual hobbies and individual interests, it becomes difficult to fulfil your own needs and grow to become the person you want to be. You may even lose your sense of self over time.

Prevents Suffocation Of Partners In The Relationship

When you spend time together all the time, your romantic relationship can become stifling. Personal space helps keep things fresh and interesting. Creating clear boundaries for your own self-care activities and personal calendar will allow for a healthier relationship and prevent codependency. Distance makes for more enthusiasm when you spend time with your partner as well.

Improves Communication

Better communication starts with knowing what you want. It can be difficult to know what you want if you spend too much time with your partner, as your needs and their needs can become intertwined. A stronger bond is forged when you can speak your mind and maintain healthy boundaries. It can be a red flag when your partner doesn't show respect for your personal space.

Setting Boundaries: How to Communicate Your Need for Personal Space

Wanting space in a relationship is both normal and healthy. A fulfilling relationship leaves space for both partners to have quality time on their own and a mutual understanding that alone time is equally important to spending time together.

How much personal space a person needs depends on the individual. Some independent types may enjoy pursuing their own interests to a level that feels like too much space for a romantic relationship. Others may truly enjoy more time together. Establishing what you need early on and communicating this to your partner can be a big step in creating a healthy space in a relationship.

To set these boundaries, you will need to communicate openly and honestly with your partner. You may find that your ideas of personal space may not be compatible with certain relationships. It's better to know this early on. You may try saying something like, "I truly enjoy spending time with you and have so much fun when we're together. But I do require time for myself and personal space." You can then lay down specifics, such as having a certain number of days that you need to have time with your friends or to pursue a hobby or interest.

Overcoming Insecurities: Trusting Your Partner's Need for Personal Space

The other side of the coin in creating personal space in relationships is recognizing your partner's need for personal space and how much space they may need. Sometimes, this can be difficult, especially for someone with low self-esteem or an anxious attachment. However, it's important to realize that a healthy relationship needs a healthy amount of personal space.

If you find that you have difficulty allowing your partner space, then you may want to talk to a licensed therapist about how you can work on your own personal growth and self-esteem in a way that allows you to create space for others.

How Lack of Personal Space Can Lead to Relationship Problems

A lack of personal space (emotional space or physical space) from one partner or both can lead to codependency. This unhealthy relationship dynamic occurs when one partner takes on a caregiver role, shouldering all of the emotional support, and the other becomes dependent. The dependent partner often loses their sense of self-worth. Personal space fosters independence and is an important aspect of a healthy relationship.

Not respecting personal space can also lead to a breakdown in communication, as one or both partners begin to feel that they spend too much time together. If no established boundaries have been communicated, they may feel uncomfortable talking about it and try to maintain the relationship by not saying anything. They may even start to drift apart without conflict resolution, and doing their own thing without being on the same page can lead to misunderstandings.

Finding a Healthy Balance Between Time Together and Time Alone

All this is to say that while you don't want to spend all your time together, there is such a thing as too much individual space. A happy relationship involves a delicate balance of respecting your partner's need for enough space and actually mutually enjoying activities and quiet time together.

To protect your well-being and your relationship, take some time to decide what your own needs are. What do you need to maintain a strong connection with your friends, indulge in self-care activities, and create a feeling of balance in your relationships? Talk to your partner about these needs, and if they don't respect your needing space, then this may be an indication of where your relationship stands.

You Can Strike A Balance With Professional Help

If you have created a dynamic in your relationship that you don't feel is working regarding personal space and individual interests, then couples therapy with a licensed professional can help. Working with a couples therapist can get you into a better mindset, help you maintain a sense of individual growth in your relationship, and get past any defense mechanisms that might get in the way of communication.

Don't let a lack of personal space continue to impede fulfillment in yourself and in your relationships. Schedule time with a couples therapist at Williamsburg Therapy Group to work on creating the space you need with your partner.

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