How To Give Someone Space And Why It’s Important
Updated January 15, 2021
Medically Reviewed By: Ann-Marie Duncan
A close relationship 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.
15 Ways To Give Them Space
Even if you realized that your partner needs space, you might not know where to start. It might help to think about specific ways to give them space. Here are fifteen ways you can improve the balance between alone time and couple time.
- 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.
- 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? 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 gives you the information you need about how to give your partner space.
- Avoid Asking Them To Defend Their Reasons For Needing Space
Sometimes when your significant other asks for space, you might feel hurt or rejected. 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 give an explanation, don’t press for one.
- Thank Your Partner For Letting You Know What They Need
Thank your partner for letting you know about needing space. By showing you’re grateful for their honesty, you can encourage them to do what they need to do to meet their own needs, follow their personal goals, and pursue their own interests.
- 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.
- 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.
- Honor Their Requests For Space
When your partner asks for space, do you give them space generously? 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.
- Encourage Your Partner To Do Their Favorite Things
If you haven’t been giving your loved one space for a while, take a moment to think of their favorite activities. 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.
- Limit The Time You Spend Calling And Texting
Modern conveniences, like smartphones and messaging, can give you many opportunities to connect with your loved one 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 them, back off a little and do it less often.
- Do Something You Enjoy Doing On Your Own
Sometimes, people get so involved in their relationship that they neglect their own interests. Think of something you enjoyed before you were with your partner. 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.
- Spend More Time With Your Friends and Family
While your significant other might be a great source of comfort and pleasure for you, 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.
- Get Involved In Something Challenging
Sometimes the best solution, when someone needs space, is to get involved in something that’s challenging for you. 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.
- 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, 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 if they need you.
- 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.
- Connect Before You Disconnect
It’s usually helpful to spend some time together 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.
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 own 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 in appropriate 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.
Not Giving Someone Space Can Be A Sign of Mental Health Issues
If you find it very hard to give your partner space, you may have an underlying mental disorder. For example, researchers found that people with dependent personalities often seek care compulsively from people they form attachments with. Other mental disorders that might lead you to avoid giving space include depression and anxiety. If you do have a mental disorder, it’s not your fault. And you can get help to cope with the symptoms of any mental disorder you might have.
Getting Help With Your Relationship And Your Own 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 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.
“Nicole has really helped me thus far to build a toolbox of skills to work through my relationship. She always listens without judgement and is very helpful and offering things to think about. I always leave my sessions with her feeling positive.”
“Jeanne has been beyond amazing! She is helping me with my relationship struggles, learning to love myself and stay away from negative thoughts as well as overthinking. She is respectful and kind. I also appreciate her quick responses to my messages when I’m needing help in the moment she is fantastic. Thank you Jeanne!”
It might be hard when your partner asks you for some space, and even harder actually 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 the best first step.
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