We need to give each other the space to grow, to be ourselves, to exercise our diversity. We need to give each other space so that we may both give and receive such beautiful things as ideas, openness, dignity, joy, healing, and inclusion. ~ Max de Pree
Paradoxically, relationships that seem perfect and in which the couple does everything together are at great risk of failing.It is human nature to end up feeling imprisoned by the sense of being permanently glued together and always having to rely on one another for a source of fulfillment in everyday life. To be whole, it is important for all of us to feel autonomous as well as attached. To avoid this “benign” trap of habit that leads to over-reliance on one person, it is important to recognize the over-attachment and to talk honestly and supportively with one another about practical and positive solutions that will allow both of you the room to grow individually within a partnership.
“Let there be spaces in your togetherness. Love one another but make not a bond of love. And stand together, yet not too near together. For the pillars of the temple stand apart. And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.” ~ Khalil Gibran
Having adequate boundaries without being too reclusive makes a relationship healthy and comfortable. But this is a thin line of balance. Maintaining some distance in a relationship does not mean you are losing out on the emotional connect. It just means you are working for yourself and giving yourself some time to connect with your ‘self’.Every relationship is composed of two or more individuals. Each individual has his own identity. If they fuse and work without boundaries that identity seems to dissolve and later can create dissatisfaction.
To make a relationship work, two individuals need to first work on themselves and feel happy from within. If you are able to do things that interest you the most, only then you can willingly do the things that interest your partner.
According to Christopher Knippers, author of Cultivating Confidence,Physical and emotional space is a basic human need,”But when two people assume all their needs are going to be fulfilled through each other, the relationship is set up for disappointment, and ultimately failure,”. Having a variety of friends is a route toward developing—personally, socially, and spiritually. Participating in a variety of activities makes you well-rounded, and gives you more to talk about with your partner.
But how does striving for these ideals play out in real life? Negotiating time together and apart can be tricky business, triggering a host of negative feelings: rejection, insecurity, jealousy, mistrust, and resentment. Solutions come when couples recognize each other’s needs and create workable compromises.Compromising about time can be difficult, but negotiating physical affection is touchier still. We expect some autonomy over our own personal space. And even if you love your partner, hugging, kissing, or other contact when you’re not in the mood can feel intrusive rather than loving.According to Kathryn Alice, author of the forthcoming Love Will Find You, “There’s a fine line between being affectionate and being needy,”.”Neediness actually pushes people away.”
If you need more space, choose your words—and your timing—carefully.
- Reassure your partner that this isn’t a rejection but something you need to do for yourself to be the person they fell in love with.
- Be specific about your needs and goals. Talk not in terms of what your partner is doing wrong but rather in terms of what you need.
- When you are spending time together, give your partner the undivided attention they crave
- Check that you are not involved in a relationship of codependency. Codependent relationships are not much fun. In fact, they are about intensity, perfectionism and taking oneself and one’s relationship too seriously.
- Talk it over. Bake some cookies and make a cup of tea or coffee. Sit down together somewhere peaceful and tell your partner you need to have a positive heart-to-heart chat. Use a calm voice and be very friendly. Start the discussion with your partner by telling them how much you love them and how grateful you are for this person being in your life. Then proceed to discuss in a kind but frank fashion that you believe that the healthiness of your relationship is dependent on both of you being able to grow as independent people as well as together in a couple. Basically, you are suggesting that the happiness of both you requires letting a little air into each other’s lives in ways that can only enhance your loving relationship.
- Try defining what you mean by “space”. This can alleviate a lot of the potential for fear and resentment if your partner understands what you mean by giving each other space. Knowing what type of space is sought means that it can more readily be accommodated and is less likely to result in friction. For you, space might be (among other things):
- Leisure time
- Quiet time
- Working space
- Emotional space
- Financial space
Ask that you be soulmates and not cellmates. Both of you need to work on inner fears that might arise concerning rejection, insecurity, fear of loss, resentment and mistrust – reassure your partner that you are committed to them and that you are simply asking for them to be committed to the evolution of your relationship into a stronger and more sound place than you feel it is now. And both of you must work together to reach compromises that work both ways.