How much space should we give ourselves in our relationships? This isn’t always an easy question to answer. We may not always know exactly what the right balance is. The coronavirus pandemic has made space in relationships even more difficult to come by. While couples are spending more of their time at home this year, it’s still important to maintain healthy boundaries and give each other space. In this post, we give our tips for how to get creative and give each other much needed space… when we’re stuck in the same space.
Why Space is Essential
Every healthy relationship needs space from time to time. Giving ourselves space that is separate from our relationship allows us to still maintain individuality. Having physical space or uninterrupted time to ourselves allows us to pay closer attention to our emotions. Sometimes space is necessary to realize what our needs are and how we can best take care of ourselves, separate from our relationships. By giving ourselves space to think and process our emotions, we also reduce the likelihood of lashing out at our partners or using other poor communication methods. Overall, space provides emotional clarity, the opportunity to take care of our specific needs and a sense of individuality that we all can benefit from.
How to Maintain Space in Your Relationship
Maintaining space is extra challenging during the pandemic. Here are some ways that we can still prioritize our individual space within our relationships:
Communicate With Your Partner
In order to create space in your relationship, you will need to openly communicate with your partner. Discuss with them when, how and why you may needs periods of time to yourself. By being honest and upfront about your needs, your partner will know how they can accommodate for you. This may serve as a great opportunity for them to communicate the space they also need with you too.
Communicating that you may need space doesn’t mean that you don’t enjoy spending time with one another or that something is “wrong” in your relationship. It’s healthy to be able to recognize and respect that everyone needs space from time to time, and that includes your partner and yourself.
Schedule Time for Self-Care
While spending quality time with your partner is important, it’s equally important to spend quality time with yourself. Consider how you can take part in self-care on your own, in a way that is fulfilling and rejuvenating for you. Perhaps you want to find time in the mornings to go on solo walks and practice mindfulness. Or maybe you want to devote some nights to yourself to journal or read at night, instead of always watching tv shows with your partner. Scheduling time for self-care means that you are prioritizing your wellbeing, so that you can also be a better partner in your relationship. It’s not selfish; it’s actually necessary.
Part of what makes up a healthy relationship is setting boundaries with your partner. There are many different types of boundaries we can set, but an important one is deciding on when you may need space from one another. Talk openly with your partner about boundaries you want to set for time to yourself, to focus on important things like work or self-care.
Find Small Ways to Create Space
Even if you can’t create a lot of physical space from your partner, due to the pandemic and living together, there are small ways to designate space to yourself. Maybe you decide to put in headphones if you need to focus on yourself or work. Perhaps you go on some drives by yourself to get out of the house or run errands. Or if you both just want to do something different with your time, like watching a show or cooking a meal while your partner is doing another activity, that’s okay too.
Broaden Your Support System
While we may not be able to see our friends or other family members in person right now, it’s still important to maintain those relationships too. Reach out to your friends and continue to nurture those connections separate from your relationships. Broadening our support system is important because we may need different people in our lives to talk about different things and form different bonds with them.