What Is Space In A Relationship And How Much Is Normal?

Every individual needs space in a relationship to be oneself while caring for the partner. “A little space is what a relationship needs to bloom at its best.” During the initial stages of love, you may want to spend every second with your partner and fantasize about holding hands forever. However, it is important to have some alone time to be yourself. A healthy romantic relationship has space for both partners to retain their personalities. Personal space between partners’ needs and expectations (of a relationship) is required for pursuing individual goals. Read on to know the importance of space between partners for the growth of the relationship.

In This Article

Why Do You Need Space In A Relationship? 

It’s normal to want personal space even when in a healthy relationship. When partners don’t give each other enough space, it can lead to animosity. There may even come a point when your partner feels compelled to ask for some space. If you feel the tension building in your relationship, you can ask your partner to share their problem. If they do, then it’s pretty easy to comprehend why they need space. But if they are hesitant or don’t want to, then don’t be persistent. If your bond is strong and you know your partner well, there’s nothing to worry about them wanting some space. However, here are some reasons why space is important:

  • Personal development: If you sense a lag in certain areas of personal growth, it’s reasonable to desire some personal space. Each person in a relationship has goals, dreams, and a personal development journey. Allowing space allows individuals to pursue their interests, passions, and self-improvement without feeling stifled.
  • Emotional and mental well-being: Creating space in a relationship offers individuals a chance to rejuvenate and prioritize their emotional and mental health. Having space contributes to moments of contemplation, self-reflection, and tending to individual needs, ultimately leading to the overall well-being and strength of the relationship.
  • Avoiding codependency: A healthy relationship is built on interdependence, where both partners support each other while maintaining their identities. Without space, relationships can become codependent, where individuals rely too heavily on each other for emotional support, which can be detrimental to both parties.

Ava Williams, a blogger, shares how identifying and maintaining space in her relationship has significantly deepened her connection with her partner. She says, “When I first met my partner, we were inseparable. We spent every waking moment together, from eating, sleeping, working, studying, and playing to traveling. We thought we were the perfect match until we started to feel suffocated by each other’s presence, leading to some unhealthy habits. We started to argue over trivial things, such as what movie to watch or what restaurant to go to. We started to lose interest in each other’s hobbies and passions. We started to feel bored and restless in our relationship. That’s when we realized we needed personal space in our relationship. We decided to give each other time and freedom to do our things occasionally.

“The result was fantastic. We felt more relaxed and happy on our own and more excited and loving when we were together. We discovered new things about ourselves and each other and learned to respect and appreciate our differences (i).”

protip_icon Do remember
While you might think keeping in touch constantly with your partner makes them feel loved, they might find it overwhelming. An honest, open conversation will help you achieve a balance.

What Is Giving Space In A Relationship? 

‘Me time’ is an important component of space in relationship

Image: IStock

You and your partner might be destined to be together, but don’t forget you are two different individuals. Retaining your personalities and respecting each other’s interests, hobbies, and some ‘me time’ is all about giving space in a relationship.

Without space, the relationship could become suffocating and may lead to disagreements. Space in a relationship can be anything such as spending time with family, going to a movie alone, or going on a vacation with friends. Some alone time can also let you pursue your recreations, process thoughts, and fulfill certain responsibilities.

But, some thoughts like – ‘what if he leaves me?’ ‘what if she doesn’t love me anymore?’ ‘what if he forgets me if I let go?’ ‘what if she doesn’t respect me?’, and so on could be troubling you.

Read on to get answers to all your questions.

Space In A Relationship: Good Or Bad?

Some people comprehend space as a negative element in a relationship. For instance, asking for physical or emotional space could upset your partner or make them consider it a contempt of the relationship. Despite their perceptions, space is good.

A little space between partners gives freedom, instills confidence in each other, and strengthens the relationship. Support each other and provide some room to relax to see how your bond gets stronger with time. You will grow as individuals, while your relationship also blooms.

As they say, too much of anything can be bad. The same goes for the concept of space in relationships. Read further to know about it.

protip_icon Quick tip
When you want to talk with your partner, using “I” statements could help more than “you” statements. For example, “I would like you to give me some space” will work better than “you don’t give me any space!”

How Much Space Is Normal In A Relationship? 

Balance in space is necessary

Image: IStock

Too less and too much space between partners could be unhealthy. A perfect balance is all that is required. Space between each other doesn’t mean you need to keep a distance. You and your significant other should be connected and have a strong base so that you do not drift apart. So, how do you do it right? Communication is the answer.

Give them space, have faith in your relationship, and focus on yourself. That’s the right way to address space issues in a healthy and loving relationship. This can help prevent alienation between yourself and your partner.

Benefits Of Space In A Relationship 

Here are a few benefits that partners and the relationship can reap by giving importance to personal space.

1. Preserves your identity 

Healthy space preserves identity and makes you happy

Image: Shutterstock

You may understand that a breath of fresh air is necessary even when you are in a relationship or it may cause a feeling of estrangement for your partner. And, you, as a person, could be lost. Spend a day alone at home or tend to your interests without tagging your significant other. At the same time, let your partner do what they want to do. This way, both of you can retain your identity.

2. Releases pressure

Being together can build expectations and impose pressure on the partners. Some personal space could relax these expectations and let you destress. It lets you know that you can have a good time even when you are apart. Enjoying some personal space can give you some time off from the responsibilities of a relationship.

3. Keeps you both happy

Personal space keeps you in contact with yourself, and when the couple is in contact with themselves, they can contribute better in their relationship. Without space, your success in the relationship may always depend on each other, which is unhealthy for a person and can get toxic for the relationship in the long term. Giving each other space can keep you from developing disaffection for your partner.

protip_icon Did you know?
It is a common misconception that only romantic relationships need space. In fact, all relationships, including friendships and familial ones, require space to remain strong.

4. Strengthens the relationship

Having your independence outside the relationship can make your bond stronger. When you come home to your partner and share your routine or important stuff, your trust becomes irrevocable, laying yet another strong layer in your romantic relationship.

5. Builds a respectful connection

Respect in a relationship is about recognizing your significant other as a unique personality. Isn’t that the very reason you fell in love? Interdependence in a relationship by giving space and mutual support to each other lets the partners appreciate and respect each other for their unique attributes.

6. Rekindles the spark

Just as they say, ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder.’ The space created will help individuals idealize each other, miss each other often, and come back together, both emotionally and physically, with an abundance of feelings. Interactions could become exciting and profound, while the relationship gains freshness.

How To Ask For Space In A Relationship? 

Let them know you love them and address their fears

Image: IStock

Couples, even in the healthiest relationships, require personal space. But, you need to convey the same to your partner in a subtle way.

  • Let them know you love them. Explain to your partner clearly why you need space, what you want to do alone, and how a little space helps your relationship. While doing so, make sure you are not hurting their feelings.
  • Justify the reasons for having space. Make your significant other understand that space in a relationship is right for you both and your relationship.
  • Address your partner’s fears. Once you ask for space, your partner might be concerned. Let them share their anxieties. Listen to them, don’t be negative, and address their doubts.
  • Clarify that it’s not over. Asking for space doesn’t mean that it’s a breakup call. Let your partner know it’s not the end, and there’s no need to panic over it.

How To Use Space In Relationships? 

Maintain your interests and hobbies

Image: IStock

Here are some practical ways to enjoy your alone time while also letting your partner get the most out of their time away.

1. Focus on yourself 

Self-love is an essential part of one’s personality. Don’t neglect it even when you fall in love. Your relationship is a part of your existence, and not the other way round. Do spend time for yourself, don’t lose your friends and family, maintain your interests and hobbies, and let your partner do the same without any apprehensions.

2. Respect their space 

You may feel tempted to know what your partner is up to during their time away. Trust your love and have faith in the relationship. Do not try to know what they are up to by checking their mobiles or finding their whereabouts. That’s not how you give and take space in a relationship.

3. Encourage and appreciate 

Motivate your partner to do what they want to. Appreciate their talent, be supportive, and let them know you are always there for them when they are back. It is an excellent way to enjoy healthy independence in a relationship.

4. Don’t stop communication

Communication is the backbone of any relationship. Too much space could damage your bond. Make sure you share your feelings, discuss your problems, and be transparent with expectations. You can talk over the phone, keep meeting, and keep doing something to keep the love intact.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Does space mean breakup?

Space does not mean breakup. It means taking time off to reflect on the relationship and work on yourself. Space can improve your relationship greatly and prepare you to face challenges together..

2. Does space mean no contact?

No, space doesn’t mean no contact. Space, here signifies, freedom to let each other be themselves. It also means not putting any restrictions and understand what your partner needs from you.

3. Why is space good after a breakup?

The space helps you and your ex adjust to life without each other. It also helps straighten out the rough edges of your emotions if you want to get back together with your ex.

Everyone needs personal space in relationships while loving and caring for others. Personal space is an important factor that helps create peace and avoid grudges and prevent separation. This helps maintain the individuality in a relationship and often allows one to pay attention to self needs. People can feel uncomfortable and unwanted even if their life partner tries to invade their personal space and can cause a rift between them. Partners should have clear boundaries and understanding of each other’s personal space to have a successful relationship.

Infographic: Repercussions Of Giving Too Much Space To Your Partner

Freedom and space are good for a relationship. Nevertheless, excess of it may not be reasonable as well. It’s essential to know the unwanted and awkward results of giving too much space to each other in a relationship. Scroll through this infographic to know these consequences.

how too much space can lead to distance (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Key Pointers

  • Respecting differences and letting your partner pursue their interests gives them space.
  • Having space offers each partner freedom and builds a respectful connection.
  • Some may feel giving space could damage their relationship.
  • However, addressing your partner’s fears and explaining the need for space are a few ways to enjoy healthy space in a relationship.
Space in relationship_illustration

Image: Dalle E/MomJunction Design Team

In this enlightening video, unravel the true meaning behind “I Need Space” in relationships. Gain valuable insights and the practical steps to navigate this crucial juncture with grace and understanding.

Personal Experience: Source

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Dr. Carlos Juan Carmona-Goyena
Dr. Carlos Juan Carmona-GoyenaPhD (Counseling Psychology)
Dr. Carlos Juan Carmona-Goyena is a board licensed therapist in the USA and Puerto Rico with a specialty in couples, families, and relationships. Dr. Carlos possesses a PhD in Counseling Psychology granted at the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico.

Read full bio of Dr. Carlos Juan Carmona-Goyena