You've noticed that the girl you are dating doesn't seem to respond to your embraces the way she once did, or she seems overly irritated when you text her while she's out shopping with her friends. Maybe she just needs some space. Jessica DuLong in a January 2007 "Psychology Today" article states that the most common complaints from couples about space issues involve how much physical affection each partner needs and how much time to spend with each other. Giving your partner the right amount of space may be hit or miss at first, but balance can be achieved.
Step back and recognize the girl you are dating for the person she is. Make a mental list of the characteristics that attracted you to her. For example, if she meets you at your house energized, full of joy and eager to share all the details of her afternoon horseback ride, you will be connecting with her through her conversation, not by sharing the actual activity with her.
Learn to read her body language. According to Patricia Farrell, author of "How to Be Your Own Therapist," the time invested in doing so is well worth it. Facial expressions, tone of voice and the way she stands can all send a message as to whether she is open to affection or communication in the moment. For example, learning to read her cues as to when she wants to cuddle can benefit the both of you. You will save yourself possible feelings of rejection while she is less likely to feel annoyed or stifled.
Encourage the girl you are dating to set boundaries, and then respect them. She may have difficulty expressing her needs to you and is acting them out instead by taking longer to return your calls or texts, making excuses to spend less time with you or being noticeably less intimate. Use "I" statements and let her know any change in behavior you have noticed and how it made you feel. For example, "I noticed you didn't answer my texts last night. I missed not hearing from you. Would you rather I not text you when you are out with your friends?" Listen to her answer without interruption. This will open up the lines of communication. If she tells you she wants to spend uninterrupted time with her friends, resist the urge to call or text her and spend time with your friends instead.
Avoid appearing needy even if you feel it. Kathryn Alice, author of "Love Will Find You," advises that appearing needy will push your partner away. It is understandable to have feelings of rejection, insecurity or sadness when you want to spend more time or be more involved with her than she may want or need at the time.
- Psychology Today: Suffocating in a Relationship?
- How to Be Your Own Therapist: A Step by Step Guide to Taking Back Your Life: Patricia Farrell
- Love Will Find You: 9 Magnets to Bring You and Your Soulmate Together; Kathryn Alice
- Realize that space issues can wax and wane. Sometimes more closeness is wanted or needed by one or both of you and sometimes less.
- Seek professional help if you feel you have control issues that are threatening the safety and boundaries of your relationship.
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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