Creating Space in a Relationship: 3 Signs to Watch For
"Every relationship is a balance of time spent together and time spent alone," says psychologist Debby Herbenick Ph.D., M.P.H. (1) "We have a lot of time on the planet. We have a lot of time in our days. And one of our very human tasks is figuring out how to spend our time, especially in partnership with friends, family, and relationship partners."
Herbenick warns that if we aren't aware of how much time we like to spend alone or with our partner, or if we don't articulate and communicate our needs between us and those we're in relationship with, it can manifest into various problems.
So how do you know if you need more alone time and should focus on carving out some space within your relationship? Here are the three signs to watch for.
Important Signs You Need a Little More Space in Your Relationship
1. You’ve Lost Your Identity
This is often one of the first signs you may notice, and also one of the most important clues to observe. For many people, if they spend too much time in partnership with their lover, their spouse or their friends, they start to lose some of their identity.
You may feel lost when you’re alone, or unsure of how to assert yourself or chase your desires in independence of your partner. You may even find yourself compromising your values or needs in order to make the other person happy, and over time you’re a shell of your former self.
This is a big warning sign that you need some space to reconnect with your own inner self. Your partner may also need this space to re-evaluate, find themselves and reconnect with their own self. When you are both feeling empowered and fully yourselves, you will come back to the context of relationship feeling more self-assured and more content, which in turn strengthens your relationship.
2. You Fight About Things That Don’t Matter
Every couple has disagreements, and working through a conflict can bring you and your partner closer together and add clarity to your life and your relationships.
But if you find that you and your partner are fighting and arguing about things that don’t really matter, it may be a sign that you both need some space to recalibrate and refocus on the goals and requirements of life that are actually important.
Common examples of fighting over inconsequential things include fights over dishes, folding laundry, etc. When you and your partner spend too much time together, these small things can loom large in your field of vision, and thus your reactions can become disproportionate to the actual importance of the task.
3. You Feel Disconnected From the Rest of the World
Social support and social connection is one of the bedrocks of a healthy, long-lasting relationship. While you may absolutely love your partner, it’s important to remember that your partner isn’t able to fully meet and satisfy everything you desire. Expecting that to happen will crush your partner under the burden of your high expectations, which can turn a relationship toxic.
Maintaining strong friendships and connections outside of the relationship is actually a sign of relationship health and functionality. Your friends can speak truth into your life, add new perspectives, and fill any gaps in your life that your partner isn’t able to fill. This allows you to see your partner as what he or she truly is: Someone who unconditionally loves you, but who is also a human just like you.
If you've found this topic helpful, but still need direction to apply it into your life; then click here to get a FREE 45-Minute Call with a coaching consultant at Achieve Today. They'll walk you through your goals, help you understand why you might be stuck, and give you some solid solutions to your problems.