The Benefits of Space in a Relationship

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Some couples seem joined at the hip, others appear to live separate lives. Which is better?

While each scenario has its advantages, the benefits of space in a relationship are often disparaged in favor of togetherness and His & Hers…well, everything. If you are feeling the strain of too much togetherness, Contact Caree Brown for marriage therapy in Walnut Creek.

Taking time for yourself is a completely normal part of a healthy relationship. It has nothing to do with how your relationship is going. “Rather than being a sign that your relationship is at the breaking point, it can keep your relationship from getting to breaking point.”

Here are some of the biggest benefits of making space for yourself while in a relationship.

You Maintain Your Individuality

Psychology Today reported on a study that found some people simply have more “agency”- the desire to pursue activities without their partner to “confirm the self as an independent and capable individual.” This means that some of us – men and women alike – need to affirm our individual identities more to feel powerful and unique.

“There is no need to lose your identity – whether you are dating, in a long-term relationship, or married,” says Erika Martinez, Psy.D., licensed psychologist from Envision Wellness. By engaging in activities outside the relationship, you bring diverse experiences to the relationship. This gives you more to talk about when you are together; it also motivates each of you to engage more outside of the relationship.

You Don’t Make One Person your “Everything”

Spending 100% of your time with your partner or spouse puts a tremendous amount of pressure on them, too. Remember, no one person can be everything you need in life.

“When your happiness is tanking because you’re depending on just one person, that’s frightening and discouraging for them,” says Patty Newbold, author of the award-winning marriage blog Assume Love.  Newbold says the typical pattern is that they begin to fear you will leave them if they can’t make you happy, but their fear disables them from truly helping you.

Spending time with other friends and family members helps get your needs met by a wider range of people. This allows your partner to focus on his or her role: being your partner, not being your everything. To work on not making your partner your everything, Contact Caree Brown for Marriage Therapy in Walnut Creek.

You Get Some ‘Me’ Time

Regularly spending time alone gives people time to process their thoughts and relax without always being responsible to others. ‘Me’ Time is a vital component of self-care and should be incorporated on a regular basis. Just take the time to do something you enjoy, without your partner.

Many people feel the strain of not having enough ‘Me’ Time but don’t know how to fit it into a busy schedule. Here are some tips for planning ‘Me’ Time from Terri Orbuch, author of Finding Love Again: 6 Simple Steps to a New and Happy Relationship:

  • Try not to use the phrase “I need space.” Instead, tell your partner why getting some time to yourself would make you happy.
  • Don’t keep secrets from your partner. Talk to them about where you went and what you did as much as possible.
  • Pick up a new hobby or interest. It will make you more interesting, plus you can bring it back to your relationship/ your partner (if you want to.)
  • Enjoy having time to yourself- don’t feel guilty. Taking time-out has little to do with your relationship or how much you love your partner.

To learn more about creating healthy space in your relationship, Contact Caree Brown, LCSW. Caree Brown employs a collaborative approach to couples therapy in Walnut Creek. She holds herself to a high standard of excellence in her work, tailoring each session to the unique client.