Giving your partner personal space isn't all that difficult. David Finch, "New York Times" best-selling humorist, essayist, public speaker and author of "The Journal of Best Practices," speaks about his issues with personal space in his marriage. Diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, he states that most of the issues regarding personal space that challenge him and his wife also challenge other couples to varying degrees. Couples who need different degrees of alone time can make it work as long as they keep the lines of communication open and respect each other's wishes. Problems arise when one is not able or willing to accommodate the need for personal space.
Space Creates Harmony
Acknowledge that your partner may think you are a mind reader. If you notice your partner is snapping at you, she may be holding in her feelings of suffocation until she bursts. Ask your partner if there is something bothering her. Let her know she can communicate her need for space to you.
Realize that you don't have to do everything together. Couples thrive on doing activities separately from each other; it gives them things to talk about when they are together and it adds to the depth of each person's individuality. Kathryn Alice, author of "Love Will Find You," encourages partners to avoid appearing needy even if they feel it. This will push your partner away. It's understandable that jealousy, insecurity, rejection, resentment and mistrust can arise when your partner wants space.
Read her body language. When you hug her from behind, is she receptive? If you follow her into the next room, does she acknowledge you? This may be subtle hints that she is craving some personal space. According to Patricia Farrell, author of "How to Be Your Own Therapist," learning to read each other's body language can take time, but it's worth it.
Encourage your partner to set boundaries and respect them. Encourage her to state her needs and desires in a direct way. Patty Brisben, CEO and founder of Pure Romance, recommends using I-statements to communicate to your partner the need for personal space.
Learn to identify personal space issues in your partner and adhere to any special circumstances that may come up. For example, if you know that your partner is likely to be stressed after being away on a business trip, give her more than enough personal space when she returns. This will strengthen your relationship as it shows compassion and understanding.
- The Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome and One Man's Quest to Be a Better Husband; David Finch
- Psychology Today: Suffocating in a Relationship?; Jessica DuLong
- Hitched: How to Stop a Smothering Spouse; Patty Brisben
- 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
- If you notice your partner is taking more and more alone time, it may be a sign that your relationship is going through an issue other than personal space.
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