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How to Nicely Ask a Partner for Space

by Karen Kleinschmidt, studioD

Even the closest of couples needs personal space to grow as individuals. Asking your partner for personal space can be a touchy subject. In the early stages of a relationship when everything is new and you are romantically head over heels for each other, spending all your time together may be perfectly fine for the two of you. But over time, it can feel stifling. And the longing to be alone, to pursue interests separate from your partner or to spend time with friends can become a source of stress and irritation.

Acknowledge that your partner is not a mind reader. You may find yourself holding your thoughts and feelings in until you snap. Communicate to your partner your need for space. Kindly let her know what you mean by that, whether it be time alone to read a book, 20 minutes to regroup after work or a night out uninterrupted with friends.

Reassure your partner that everything is fine between the two of you. Asking for personal space can provoke feelings of jealousy in him. Kathryn Alice, author of "Love Will Find You," advises that you avoid overreacting to any insecurities that may surface. Empathize with his possible feelings of mistrust, rejection and resentment should they arise. Continue to keep the lines of communication open.

Share openly what your plans are when you are doing something that doesn't include her. It is not the time apart that should be focused on but rather the enjoyment of doing something on your own that can later be talked about and shared as a couple. In time, your enthusiasm for your activity will likely bring a smile to her face as well. She will feel secure knowing you are happy and thriving from your personal time. This also gives her time to have her own personal space.

Use body language if words aren't enough. For example, don't respond if your partner follows you into another room. If he hugs you from behind, avoid reacting. If he questions why you are behaving differently, bring up the issue of personal space again.

Use "I" statements when communicating your need for personal space with your partner. State your needs and desires in a direct manner. Set boundaries for yourself and stick to them. You may have to be firm until your partner understands your needs, but it will be healthier for your relationship in the long run.


About the Author

Karen Kleinschmidt has been writing since 2007. Her short stories and articles have appeared in "Grandma's Choice," "Treasure Box" and "Simple Joy." She has worked with children with ADHD, sensory issues and behavioral problems, as well as adults with chronic mental illness. Kleinschmidt holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Montclair State University.

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