When uttered within a romantic relationship, the words “I need space” are usually not followed by anything good. But what if more space is just what we need for happier, healthier relationships?
In fact, almost a third of us wish we had more of it: Terri Orbuch, a psychologist and research professor at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research, has been studying 373 married couples for the past 25 years. When she asked the couples if they felt they had enough “privacy or time for self,”, 29% of them said no. And of those participants who said they were unhappy in their marriages, 11.5% said the reason for their unhappiness was lack of privacy or time for themselves.
Of course, just like anything else in a relationship, any two people’s needs for space are sometimes mismatched, leading to hurt feelings. But Vondie Lozano, a marriage and family therapist in California, tells the Wall Street Journal that it’s not personal—people have different needs, but “underneath, both individuals want love.” Not only that, but leaving time for your own friends, interests, and hobbies means you bring novelty and excitement into the routine of a relationship—always a good thing.
So how do you give yourself more space and privacy without distancing yourself from the relationship? Try this:
More Relationship Reboots:
Relationship Reboot: Get Curious
Relationship Reboot: 5 Ways to Shake Up Your Weekday Routine
Relationship Reboot: Unplug and Unwind
Relationship Reboot: Recreate the First Date
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