Relationships can be confusing. Sometimes they need a lot of togetherness. And at some other times, relationships need space to grow. Knowing how to give space in a relationship and stay together is an art that every couple should learn.
That old saying, “If you love someone set them free, and if it was meant to be, they will come back,” sucks. Not because it isn’t true, but because it sounds so damn easy.
If you want to know how to give someone space without losing them, the answer is mind over manner. For those of us who have a harder time with the inner voices that create anxiety, it can be torture.
Rationally, what you already know, and we don’t have to tell you, is that you can’t control anyone’s actions but your own. But, sometimes that doesn’t help.
Fear, especially in love, is one of the hardest things to overcome. The problem is if you don’t create space, and let them figure out what they want and need, your smothering leads to them pushing you away anyway.
Why relationships need space
The best moments of our lives are the ones we’ve shared with someone special. Some of the happiest memories you may have usually involve a loved one. Life is always great if you have a special someone to share it with.
But then again, too much togetherness can ruin a perfect relationship too. Keeping a relationship alive needs memories and special moments just as much as you need individual memories and special moments too.
To keep a relationship fresh and exciting, you need to experience things separately and together. This can certainly make you relish your togetherness more.
Everybody needs space, and you need to know how to give and accept space in a relationship. You can’t be locked in a kiss forever. You have to come up for air. Love needs space to grow.
Even saplings have to be planted with adequate space between them if they take a firm root and grow strong. And when they grow, their branches may intermingle to provide shade and beauty, but their roots still need space.
Does your relationship need more space?
To have a healthy relationship with your partner, you both need to understand how to give space in a relationship.
By doing that, you avoid the pain of having to hear your loved one say the words that seem to ring like the death knell to your relationship, “I want my space!”
But even if you’ve your partner say that, don’t press the panic button yet. “I want some time alone,” or “I need some space,” or “I need to focus on my career” are normal and valid cries for help and not cries of rejection.
Your partner may be screaming for space in a relationship, even if they don’t say it out loud. Does your partner enjoy doing things by themselves, or do they prefer doing something together with you? That could reveal a lot about your partner’s personality and how independent they are. [Read: Regain your sense of self outside your relationship]
How to give space in a relationship
If you are in a relationship where both of your needs for intimacy are at different levels, you’ve got some serious balancing to do. Don’t worry, it isn’t as hard as you might think.
Increasing intimacy in the relationship is necessary, but when a man and a woman come together in a relationship and start a life together, they give up their single lives. They start a new life where they are no more separate but one in the eyes of everyone, including the law.
During the honeymoon period, the couple can insulate themselves from the world and cozy up together. But they have to come back to the real world and deal with their own issues and lives eventually. That adjustment can be hard.
Knowing how to give space may be extremely difficult, especially at the beginning. But considering the stakes and what you may stand to lose, you should train yourself to become adept at this art.
If this is not balanced out, one person becomes uncaring or unemotional, and the other becomes needy or clingy.
1. Stop texting
Texting is about the worst thing for any relationship. Unless it is for fun at first, quick messages, or sexting, texting can be a cancer in your relationship. There was a time when you couldn’t get to someone, and that is just the way it was.
Learning to cut the umbilical cord was easier without such easy access. If you want to give someone space, stop texting them, like all together. When they are ready, they reach out to you.
Don’t try to insert yourself into their day, just let them have their space by going radio silent. [Read: 16 commonly accepted relationship tips that ruin your love life]
2. Don’t ask questions all the time
If you feel as if they need space, then you probably feel like something is wrong, they pull away, or you know something is changing. You ask them a question a minute, but until they are ready to let you in, they aren’t going to answer you.
They might not even know what they want or how they feel. All the questions do is to make them shut down and shut you out, which is a self-fulfilling prophecy of what you don’t want.
3. Do your own thing
If someone either tells you they need space or you just feel it, then something is going on in your relationship.
Instead of worrying about giving them space and losing them, take the time apart to focus on what you want out of your relationship. Do all the things you gave up since you started your relationship.
You just might find you likewise need some space and time to do your own thing. You may have lost yourself in clinging to your partner. Being too close and not having separate lives is a recipe to lose yourself.
4. Stop asking for permission
If you worry about losing someone, then chances are good that you constantly wait on them before you make decisions for yourself. You don’t take any initiative to be your own person. In a relationship, you should want someone around, but not need them.
If you worry that you’ll lose someone if you give them space, then I don’t want to be the bearer of bad news, but you never had them to begin with. Insecurity is not a sign of love, it is a sign of unsure feelings.
5. Make decisions for yourself
Instead of worrying about losing someone else, make some decisions all on your own. One of the best feelings when you suddenly find yourself standing on your own two feet or having your own space is that you get to make decisions for yourself without worrying about repercussions or what the other person is going to think or say.
It is all you, baby! Decision-making is very powerful, and it might give you the courage to walk away and let them come crawling back.
6. Find out what makes you happy
If you worry about losing them, then you aren’t thinking about yourself, you think about all you are going to lose when they are gone. A significant other should be an extension of yourself, not a substitute.
Stop worrying about what happens if you let them go. Start thinking of all the potential things you do to find happiness all by yourself.
7. Recognize you can’t control their decisions
If you truly want to know how to give someone space without losing them, you have to let go. You don’t have a choice in the matter.
You can’t hold onto someone who doesn’t want to be held onto. If you look at it as a decision, then you put a lot of the onus on you and blame yourself for giving up.
You aren’t giving up, and you don’t have a choice. You can’t make someone stay. Giving them space isn’t what you are doing, let them decide for themselves what they need while you find what you need. The answer might surprise you.
8. If they choose not to come back, it will hurt, but you will survive
A broken heart hasn’t killed anyone. Well, unless you read about those old couples who die days apart. But, you aren’t 90, and you haven’t lived a lifetime together.
Yes, it hurts like hell. In fact, it might be the hardest thing you have ever experienced. But, whatever happens, the sun shines again, and you will find your new normal with someone who acts and behaves as if they want to be with you, not like they need space.
This is one of the most important lessons you’ll ever learn, and certainly a huge part of how to give space in a relationship.
9. If they don’t come back, as hard as it is to see, they’ve done you a favor
“Everything happens for a reason.” The truth is that if you don’t give them space now, it eventually happens the way that it is supposed to. They make their decision whether you back off and give them space or not.
And, God forbid, you let it go on until you end up old, angry, and hurt beyond repair. If it isn’t right and they know it, they do you both a favor by letting you know now instead of being a coward and not cutting the cord.
10. Is this the way you want the relationship to be?
Limbo is hell, not the kind where you are bending under the stick, although wait… that is hell too. Do you want to be in a relationship with someone where you don’t know if they want you, they seem irritated with you, and you generally just know that something isn’t right?
The person you are with should love you unconditionally, treat you like they are happy to have you, and cherish every moment with you because life is too short.
Okay, times aren’t always going to be good. If you think they need space, then either they tell you something is wrong, or you know it in your own heart. Either way, you deserve to feel loved and appreciated, not anxiety-ridden and confused.
11. Immerse yourself in something
The best medicine for a broken heart is a distraction. Find a new hobby, get a puppy *okay, maybe not really*, or join a social club.
If you sit around thinking about them all day, then it isn’t going to do anything but let the anxiety churn and predispose you to pick up your phone to make contact. Giving them space means no contact. So, find something else to tear your mind away, if only for now.
12. Reconnect with friends
When it comes to knowing how to give someone space without losing them, friends are the best distraction ever.
Just don’t pick the misery-loves-company group. No, misery doesn’t love sitting around crying and rehashing. Misery loves Vegas with friends and being in your element by not letting it break you.
13. Make it clear you’re giving them space
Be sure to tell your partner that you feel they need space and that this is what you are doing. If you don’t make it clear that you back off for a reason, then they might misinterpret your cooling off and think it is something you want.
Giving them space is only good if you let them know that they have it, not that you are pissed. They should leave for now knowing where you are at and where they are at with you, not that you are cold and aloof for no reason.
14. Turn off your social media for a while
There are days when we are convinced that social media is going to destroy the world. It is so anxiety-provoking. It is a wonder that we aren’t all walking around like crazy people.
If you want to know how not to worry about losing someone and give them space, it is about getting off of social media and not creating scenarios in your mind.
You’ll be looking for signs everywhere of what they are doing, what they are thinking, and whether they are going to choose you or not. You don’t need the additional anxiety of seeing other girls or guys liking or following the one you set free.
15. Leave your phone behind
Back in the day, when we let each other have space, we left the house. We didn’t sit and wait for the phone to ring. Now, you just take the anxiety and carry it in your pocket.
If you want to give them space and not worry about it, then leave your cell phone behind. The constant reminder it isn’t ringing or you aren’t getting a message from them isn’t doing your brain any good. Leave it at home.
Giving space and living better lives
We love spending time with our partners, but as we’ve discussed, there are always times in every relationship when we need to give some space to help each other grow as individuals.
As close as you may be, sometimes too much of a good thing isn’t such a great thing. The first step in learning to step back is to remind ourselves what we stand to lose, our own individuality. Knowing how to give space in a relationship can help you balance your time together and your own individuality.
Spending all the time together can bring both of you close, but can damage your individuality. By sharing all the activities, you don’t really know what you or your partner enjoys doing, nor can you both evolve in your own paths as better lovers and people. You may not be trapped in love, but you’d stagnate and have nothing new to offer.
True love is blind, some say, but true love too can get boring over the years if neither of the partners has anything new or unique to share. You can spend every day with your lover, but by sparing a few hours a day for yourself you can maintain your independence. [Read: How to become a better person in your relationship]
Giving too much space in a relationship
Can there be something like giving too much space in relationships? Definitely!
The dangers of too much space cannot be highlighted enough. Too much space would entail both or one partner filling their lives to the brim with other things and not maintaining a sense of connection.
This is a relationship that would soon be devoid of emotional intimacy, or this would leave one partner with feelings of being taken for granted and not cherished enough.
By understanding how to give space, beware of doing things that will destroy the relationship, like forgetting important dates, coming home late often, or ignoring your partner’s plea to spend time and hold the relationship together.
What’s the perfect balance?
There is no perfect formula here. The amount of space a relationship needs depends on the specific couple.
But the idea is simple, spend as much time as you want with your partner and let your partner do the same. But at the same time, ask yourself what you’ve done by yourself during the week.
As long as you still have your own individuality and don’t need your partner around all the time to help you or keep you occupied, life is good.
Let go of that tightening hold on your partner, who may be gasping for space in the relationship, and focus on strengthening yourself. Learn to find your happiness within yourself because, ultimately, you are responsible for finding your own happiness.
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