Why Hello There,
Last week I discussed with my female cousin about giving my boyfriend breathing room. He and I hadn’t yet crossed into our first month of duo delight together, and I was already concerned that I might be smothering him. Admittedly, I love spending every moment I can with him, but I worried about giving him enough space to still be him. She and I conversed long enough about it for me to wonder two things: Why is space important in a relationship? And how much should be given?
I read an Elle (Canada issue) article dishing advice on why emotional and physical space is a positive thing. Here are a few reasons it’s important:
1. It keeps your personal life on track. Typically, in a romantic relationship, our interests and hobbies are often pushed aside. Creating space allows you to take time for yourself and your personal pursuits. Whether it’s revisiting that novel collecting dust on your nightstand, hitting a Zumba class, or picking up a new hobby, having time without your partner attached to your hip lets you keep on track with other things that make you feel fulfilled.
2. There’s more time for maintaining friendships. By creating time and space away from your significant other, you have more opportunities to connect with friends. Use the time to plan a night out with your friends, or if you have a close friend that lives far away, you can plan a Skype session. When you dedicate time to spend by yourself, you foster friendships with renewed vigor. After all, having a network of supportive friends is just as important as having a significant other.
3. There’s room to indulge your secret single habits. You know those secret single habits that you would rather do in your own company than with someone else in close proximity? Things like plucking your eyebrows, eating nachos for dinner, dancing around to Justin Bieber and/or drink straight from the milk carton all belong in this category. Without having someone around all the time, you can still partake in your secret habits without feeling like you have to stop altogether. This space allows us to indulge in these habits and be ourselves, while still loving and maintaining a healthy, balanced relationship with our loved ones.
4. You will appreciate your partner more. When you both have outside interests, you’re forced to respect the other person’s schedule and commitments instead of taking their time for granted. It’s more likely that you will arrange special dates and activities instead of just flaking out on the couch after work. Certainly, spending time apart will enhance intimacy and allows a deeper bond to develop. It’s human nature to be attracted to someone who has a variety of interests and friends – it keeps you alert.
And to answer the question of how much space should be given, that varies with every relationship. With my boyfriend, I’m secure enough in our relationship that can he can plan events with friends and alone time accordingly. I don’t feel the need to give him a certain amount of time to himself because we communicate our needs and wants effectively. There are moments where I want to hang with my writers group or catch up on my DVR’d shows alone, and he’s cool with that.
Even though my relationship is still in very green, I’m vigilant of not losing myself or suffocating my partner. I look at relationships a lot differently now than when I was in my 20s, especially now that I’m seeking a long-term commitment. After taking a long, hard look at my past relationships and how I operated in them, I decided that I had to change my tactics if I wanted something worthwhile. Learned lesson: a little space never hurt anyone.
Follow Anita on Twitter: @Emranija