It is true that a relationship means giving up certain freedoms, but that does not mean completely neglecting your needs. Sometimes we need space to take care of ourselves or focus on personal growth, and there is nothing wrong with that. This, of course, does not mean that your relationship is doomed.
If you are at a stage where you need a little more time, there is no need to cut things off entirely. You just need to express your needs in a way that communicates to your partner that there is nothing personal about it and that you don’t care.
So, how to maintain a delicate balance of interests and independence without harming the other person? It’s not always easy to take care of other people’s feelings by trying to nurture your own, but it can be done.
Here are 7 tips for telling someone you need space without ruining your relationship.
1. Make hints.
If you can avoid it, don’t drop the news right away. It will seem that there will be much less swallowing if your significant other receives information in small portions. Whenever you feel the need for space, offer short-term solutions, such as spending a weekend with friends or watching a solo movie. Then see how your partner handles it. You may be surprised to find that he or she is open to this idea, and the big separation talk may not be happening at all.
2. Start a conversation sooner rather than later.
Don’t let small feelings build up and turn into resentment. The person you are dating deserves a fair chance and transparency. If you start to feel like you need a little rest, say so. Otherwise, these feelings may not manifest in the way they were intended. If you allow negative feelings to build up inside, you can end up ruining the relationship with an explosion that could have been avoided if you had opened up first.
3. Be attentive when communicating.
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The last thing you need to do is make the person you care about feel rejected. Avoid this by carefully explaining your need for space. Make sure they understand why you need this place and that they haven’t done anything wrong. Let them ask questions and get as much clarity as they need. Help them feel safe about your request by encouraging open and honest dialogue.
4. Sweeten the deal.
While headspace may seem like a bad thing in a relationship, there are benefits to both parties. Try to reveal them together. For example, your partner may have time to pursue hobbies that he gave up when you got together. Explain how free space can positively affect relationships and how good it is for both of you in the long run. Don’t leave your partner with a bad taste in your mouth: show him or her the bright side.
5. Give your partner something to expect.
Most of the time, you take the time to work on yourself, get better, and therefore improve your relationship. Explain this to your significant other. Give your partner something to look forward to at the end of this time so that he or she understands that things will only get better as a result.
6. Understand what you want.
Make the most of your time away from home by setting a goal for what you want to achieve. This time can be extremely valuable to you in your relationship, so know what you want out of it. List one or two things that you neglected and try to solve them. Your main goal is to get back into the relationship refreshed, energized and ready for more.
7. Know that this is not all or nothing.
You are not limited to one “I need space” conversation for each relationship. You shouldn’t see this as the only time you have time for yourself. Instead, space can become a regular part of your relationship. You can still choose one night per week or one weekend per month, which you take on without worrying about it. The good news is that once you create a precedent that personal time can be beneficial to your relationship, both you and your partner will be open to the idea.
We often forget that we have the power to direct the course of our relationship because we are trying so hard to adjust to the other person. Remember, taking a break is a way to strengthen your partnership and become a better person. Space can be helpful, just remember to maintain an open and honest communication so that both parties can reap the benefits.