How To Give Someone Space And Why It Is Important

Updated September 2, 2022 by BetterHelp Editorial Team

A close relationship with a healthy space can be a beautiful thing. When you’re deeply involved with someone, you can give each other companionship and support as you each face life’s challenges. But you also need to provide them with space at times. Giving your loved one space to breathe in a relationship can sometimes bring you closer together in the long run. Here are some ways to give your partner some space and why it’s so important. Online therapy services can help you work on techniques to strengthen your relationships. 

Giving Space Can Improve Relationships

15 Healthy Ways To Fulfill The Need For Space

Even if you realized that your partner needs space, you might not know where to start. You might be wondering when someone says they need space, how long should you wait? It might help to think about specific ways to give a partner space in your relationship, especially if you're in a new relationship. Whether you are a woman, a guy, or just a person that wishes to be around people all the time, the state of having to do an activity or make a decision alone might cause you to panic. But you can learn how to be alone-- for instance, reading a book or an article that interests you no matter the topic, ignoring texts for awhile and being with no one but yourself, going outside to get fresh air for a bit, writing a post card home, looking at your favorite image or photo book of people you love, taking the long way home, acting like a writer as you note down a favorite story, or even thinking of becoming a founder of some invention can all be great ways to spark your creativity while having alone time.

Although these tips are geared towards a romantic relationship to give your partner space, they could also apply to friendships as well. Here are fifteen ways of relationship advice you can improve the balance between alone time and couple time and check in with your partner and their emotional space. 

  1. Ask How Much Time They Need To Themselves

Begin by asking your partner how much time they need away from you. It’s helpful to have a specific amount of time that you need to step back and give them space. Being aware that they only need space for a while can help you feel more comfortable in giving it, knowing that you won’t have to be apart forever.

  1. Find Out What They Mean By Having Space

Another helpful thing is to find out precisely what they mean by needing space. Do they want to be in another room or another location entirely - limiting communication overall? Do they want to stop having in person conversations or stop texting? What is the time frame? Do they want to pursue their own goals without your help? Or, do they mean that they want to talk about the relationship less often? Knowing what they are going for needed space gives you the information you need about how to give your partner space.

  1. Avoid Asking Them To Defend Their Reasons For Needing Space

Sometimes when your significant other asks for space, you might feel hurt or rejected. It might feel like interest and fun time with your best friend and partner or over. You might feel inclined to ask them to explain why they need space from you. And that’s not surprising, because you probably want to be as close as possible to them. But demanding to know why they need time alone or with others might make them feel defensive or smothered. If they choose to tell you why you can listen nonjudgmentally. But if they don’t want to explain, don’t press for one.

  1. Thank Your Partner For Letting You Know What They Need

Thank your partner for letting you know about how much space they need. By showing you’re grateful for their honesty, you can encourage them to do what they need to do to meet their own needs like practicing self care, follow their personal goals, and pursue their interests.

  1. Give Them Opportunities To Spend Time With Their Friends

Another way to give them space is to encourage them to meet with and spend time with their friends. Remind them how much they enjoy being with their friends. You could even suggest times they could see them when you’ll be doing something else.

  1. Suggest Events And Activities They Might Enjoy

Maybe they haven’t spent time away from you because they don’t know what to do on their own. In that case, you could give them space by suggesting events and activities that they would enjoy. Instead of thinking of what you would like, think of things that seem better suited to their interests.

  1. Honor Their Requests For Space

When your partner asks for space, do you give them space generously? Maybe they need time away and to not talk at all. Avoid texting them the occasional text, and let them reach out to you when ready. You can improve your relationship more if you honor their requests whenever possible. Show you value them as an individual and respect needing space. Then, they can feel assured that your relationship will be fine even if they take time away from it.

  1. Encourage Your Partner To Do Their Favorite Things

If you haven’t been giving your loved one's space for a while, take a moment to think of their favorite activities and fun things you do together. They might have stopped doing the things they enjoy most if you don’t enjoy doing them with them. After you’ve thought of an interest they’ve put on the back burner, ask them if they’d like to do it again. Then, encourage them to revisit that past pleasure.

  1. Limit The Time You Spend Calling And Texting

Modern conveniences, like smartphones and messaging, can give you many opportunities to connect with your loved ones throughout the day. But too much texting and calling can intrude on their time and thoughts when they need space. So, before you pick up that phone to message him, think about how often you’ve called or texted them lately. If you realize you’ve been too quick to contact that person, back off a little and do it less often.

  1. Do Something You Enjoy Doing On Your Own

Sometimes, people get so involved in their relationships that they neglect their interests. Think of something you enjoyed before you were with your partner as a person. Then, take some time to participate in it again. By doing your own thing, you open up space for them to enjoy time on their own, too.

  1. Spend More Time With Your Friends and Family

While your significant other might be a great source of comfort and pleasure for you as a person, your friends and family can be just as supportive and enjoyable at times. Spend more time with the other people in your life, and you might feel less lonely when they’re away. Your free time can be spent in a variety of ways. 

  1. Get Involved In Something Challenging

Sometimes the best solution, when someone needs space, is to get involved in something that’s challenging for you as a person. Maybe it’s a project at work, a volunteer opportunity, an online course, or reading the classics. Find something you’d love to accomplish and get started toward your goals.

  1. Let Them Know You’re Available And Trust Them To Reach Out

If you’re always asking your partner whether they need your help or presence in life, they might feel crowded in the relationship. It’s good to offer your help and let them know you’re there for them. But after they know you’re available, trust them to reach out to you and talk to you if they need you.

  1. Meet Your Own Needs When You Can

Sometimes in a close relationship, people get so used to their partner meeting their needs that they stop trying to take care of themselves as much. Whenever you can meet your own needs, from the practical to the emotional, you give them the space they need for themselves.

  1. Connect Before You Disconnect

It’s usually helpful to spend some time together and talk before you give them space and spend time apart. Take at least a few moments to talk with them or do something you both enjoy. Then, when they go off to do their own thing, you’ll have that pleasant time fresh in your memory while they’re away.

Does Your Relationship Need Space?

Things To Remember When Giving Someone Space

Although you might understand your partner needing space, you probably want to feel good about it, too. Here are some things to remember that might make the process of allowing someone space easier for you.

When You Give Them Space, Your Relationship Can Improve

A relationship between two independent people is often stronger and more enduring than one where one partner depends too much on the other’s company. By spending time apart, you give your relationship the chance to grow and develop.

Needing Space Doesn’t Mean the Relationship Is Over

Many people fear providing space in their relationship because they think it means the relationship is going badly. But a healthy relationship gets even better when each person has the opportunity to pursue their passions and develop as an individual. Far from being the end of the relationship, when you give them space, it might be the beginning of an even closer bond.

It’s Okay To Have Feelings When You Give Them Space

As you consider your partner’s need for space, you might think that you shouldn’t feel bad when letting them have it. Yet, it doesn’t help to try not to have feelings about it. Allow yourself to experience emotions like hurt, anger, or sadness. It’s okay to express your feelings inappropriate ways.

It’s Not Just For Them – It’s For You, Too

One excellent thing about giving someone space is that you get space for yourself at the same time. Enjoy the time to yourself and spend some time with the people outside the relationship who are important to you. Relish the next goal you accomplish. Your life can be much better because you chose to give them space.

Why It’s Important To Think About Giving Your Loved One Space

It isn’t always easy to know how to give space in a relationship. You might feel worried that too much space will drive the two of you apart. But, for many reasons, giving your partner more space can make the relationship even stronger. And it can help your partner in several ways, too.

Clingy Relationship Can Be Distressing

When you don’t give them space and cling too tightly, you might create a distressing situation for yourself and your loved one. Instead of taking care of your own emotional needs, you wait for someone else to do it. And sometimes, that might not happen. Then, you’re left feeling upset and neglected when you could have taken care of your needs in another way. One research study showed that people who have clingy attachment styles were more stressed and lonelier than those who had secure attachment styles.

how to give a person space

Giving Space Can Improve Relationships

Not Giving A Person Room Can Be A Sign of Mental Health Issues

If you find it very hard to give your partner space, there may be underlying reasons. For example, researchers found that people with dependent personalities often seek care compulsively from people they form attachments. Other factors that might lead you to avoid giving space include depression and anxiety.

Sometimes it takes patience when giving others their freedom and distance. Everything on social media tells us that we should always be doing everything with our partners, when in reality boundaries are extremely healthy when finding our own hobbies, lives, and perspective. Nothing can make it so you never breakup or guarantee you live your entire lives together, but it is important to have space in your love life so you can focus on your own confidence, curiosity, behavior, and interactions. Many women express fears that someone needing space is them starting to move on or push them away. In reality, not getting space can lead to resentment, loss of attention, and a lower sense of self. 

Getting Help For Your Mental Health

Are you having a hard time letting go? Feeling extreme worry, stress, or sadness at the thought of giving space? Or are you concerned that you might have a mental health issue that’s behind your feelings that you need to hold on to so tightly? Maybe you just need help developing a stronger relationship. If you have any of these concerns, a mental health counselor can help you assess your situation and learn how to become stronger and build a better relationship.

Studies show that online therapy can benefit couples who are having difficulty communicating or experiencing attachment issues. One study, published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy, found that online therapy was a useful method of helping both distressed and satisfied couples improve their relationship. In the report, researchers noted that couples often forego in-person therapy because of common barriers, such as cost and perceived stigma. Online therapy, they conclude, is a way of circumventing those barriers and providing helpful, personalized care to couples. The study also mentions that online therapy can benefit couples by treating the individual mental health concerns that may also be negatively affecting a relationship.

With BetterHelp, you can contact your therapist any time, day or night. If something happens in your relationship, and you don’t want to have to wait until your session to discuss or remember it, you can simply send your therapist a message and they will get back to you as soon as possible. The mental health professionals at BetterHelp know how to help you and your partner get your relationship back on track. Read below for counselor reviews, from those who have experienced similar issues.

BetterHelp Therapist Reviews

“Nicole has helped me thus far to build a toolbox of skills to work through my relationship. She always listens without judgment and is very helpful and offers things to think about. I always leave my sessions with her feeling positive.”

"Wonderful, insightful, delightful! Kelly has been a great help in solving my mental health issues. She was very easy to talk to, she listened effectively and asked some very thought-provoking questions, which helped me challenge my negative thinking. Also, she has given me practical advice which I have applied to my life, with much success, and plan to use the techniques in the future. I highly recommend Kelly if you need someone to help you through those dark times."

Conclusion

It might be hard when your partner asks you for some space, and even harder giving it to them. In the long run, though, it can be beneficial for both of you. If you’re ready to work on your relationship on a deeper level, getting professional help can be the best first step. Learning to work through decisions and ideas together while getting to practice anything you want on your own helps instill confidence not only in yourself but in your relationship as a whole.

Below are some commonly asked questions on this topic:

1. When he asks for space how long should you wait?
2. How do you give someone space without losing them?
3. Does need space mean break up?
4. How long should you give space in a relationship?
5. Should I text him after he asked for space?
6. Does giving space mean no contact?
7. How do you respond to I need space?
8. How do you give him space but still show you care?
9. Can space help a relationship?
10. Does space mean it’s over?

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