Personal Space In Relationship – Why Do We Need It?

Because individual growth is equally important for a relationship to be healthy

Reviewed by Rodolfo Parlati, Professional Life Coach Rodolfo Parlati Rodolfo ParlatiProfessional Life Coach facebook_iconlinkedin_iconyoutube_iconinsta_icon
Written by , Integrated MA, Certified Relationship Coach Sneha Tete Integrated MA, Certified Relationship Coach Experience: 4 years
Edited by , BSc Shatabdi Bhattacharya BSc linkedin_icon Experience: 2.5 years
Fact-checked by , MA Sangita Goel MA

Personal space in relationships is often misinterpreted as trying to get away. But, it is one of the most important factors that determine the success and health of a relationship. Couples need to understand that wanting personal space has got nothing to do with wanting to break up. It is about giving your body and mind rest on your own terms. It is about celebrating love without losing your individuality. In fact, this ‘me time’ can be used to reflect and rejuvenate, which is essential for any human being to function. This post dives deep and helps you understand what personal space in a relationship actually means, and why every relationship needs individual space. Keep reading!

Why Do We Need Space In A Relationship?

An individual brings their uniqueness and individuality to the relationship, which helps the relationship grow and sustain. It is normal for couples to become dependent on each other as time goes by, but losing yourself in the relationship or being together every second of the day can harm the relationship.

protip_icon Quick Tip
Having personal space helps take time off for yourself and choose things that you enjoy doing. It also puts you in a better mindset to take care of your relationship.

Giving each other ample space has many benefits for the partners individually and for the relationship. Having personal space helps people discover and learn more about themselves. This can be helpful for the relationship in the long run, when each other’s experiences and knowledge can make a difference, especially during difficult times when hard decisions need to be made.

Some benefits of space in a relationship are:

1. Allows You To Think About Your Interests

Being alone gives the individual time to think about themselves – what makes them happy, process their thoughts, deal with what is troubling them, and relax without thinking about responsibilities.

2. Prevents Clinginess In A Relationship

It fosters independence within the relationship, with neither of the partners being too clingy.

3. Enables Individuality

Being able to do your own thing gives you a sense of fulfillment because, after all, we are all individuals. Maintaining this individuality in any relationship helps in creating a sense of happiness.

4. Prevents Suffocation Of Partners In The Relationship

Relationships that lack space often witness a suffocated partner. Being overly involved or interfering in the day-to-day life of your significant other can squeeze the pleasure and happiness from a relationship to the extent where it becomes irritating or annoying for one partner. Too much smothering can lead to the death of a relationship, making it imperative for couples to understand the importance of space.

5. Improves Communication

Fostering your individuality in a relationship brings about good communication between partners and helps keep the spark alive. Think about this – why would a person want to be in love with someone who has no sense of self or identity?

6. Avoids Codependency In A Relationship

Spending too much time together or being dependent on each other to have a good time is unhealthy. This leads to a co-dependent relationship that can turn toxic soon.

7. Strengthens The Relationship

Being two distinct individuals strengthens a relationship by keeping the communication channels open and building trust. It also prevents boredom from setting in and keeps things interesting between you two.

Read the next section to check out the signs that you should give your partner some space.

Signs You Should Give Your Partner Space

Many couples cannot figure out if there is enough space in their relationship. If you are thinking about whether you need to give your partner space, here are some signs that will help you make that call:

1. Constant Bickering

Couples who spend too much together may bicker constantly and have frequent fights. If you and your partner are always annoyed with each other, even over small things, it is time to give each other some much-needed space.

2. You Need Permission From Your Partner

Are you taking permission from your partner for everything you do? Does your partner raise their eyebrows when you do something without informing or asking them? If you answered ’yes’ to both these questions, it is a strong indication that your relationship needs space. It is also a sign of a controlling partner, and you should have a serious conversation about it with them to address this issue.

3. You Are Not Attracted To Your Partner Anymore

If your partner’s actions or quirks do not seem cute or fun to you anymore, it is a strong indication that you are spending way too much time together and that both of you need some space.

4. Spending Time Together Is Not Enjoyable

A relationship stands on many pillars, the basic one being that the couple enjoys spending time together. If you notice that spending time with your partner is not as fun as it used to be, take a step back and evaluate the current space in your relationship.

5. You Are Embarrassed To Invite Your Partner Out With Your Friends

If the thought of inviting your partner with your friends for a movie or taking them along for a party makes you anxious or embarrassed, you need space in your relationship.

6. Spending Time With Your Partner Is Stressful

Does the thought of spending time with your partner stress you out? This is a common sign among couples who have very little or no space in their relationship. This underlying stress can result in frequent friction between the couple.

7. You Are Exhausted

Feeling tired or having relationship fatigue is a classic sign that not all is hunky-dory in your relationship. Couples who do not give each other enough space in their relationship are often exhausted and crave some “me time” to rejuvenate themselves.

8. It Has Been A Long Time Since You Caught Up With Your Folks

If you have been ignoring your friends and family who have always had your back until you found your partner, it is time to take a break and assess your relationship. Your romantic relationship is just one part of your life, and it must not overshadow other aspects of your life. If this sounds like your life, you need a break to re-assess the space in your relationship.

9. Increased Co-dependency

If you and your partner do not make any decisions independently or require permission from each other before doing just about anything in life, you are overly co-dependent on each other. While some people believe this is love, it is actually a clear lack of space in your relationship. Co-dependency is not healthy for any relationship.

10. You Are Bored In Your Relationship

If your routine with your partner seems boring even though you love each other, all your relationship needs is a little space. With the mundane lives that we live today, this is a common problem faced by many couples.

Now, let’s talk about how you can create some healthy space in your relationship.

How can you create more healthy personal space in a relationship
Image: Shutterstock

How To Create More (Healthy) Space In Your Relationship?

Now that the importance of space has been widely accepted, how does one create healthy space in their relationship? Here are some tips that you can use to build a nourishing and happy relationship with your partner:

1. Communicate

If you believe your relationship needs space, the best way to go about it is to let your partner know this. Communication is essential in any healthy relationship, and asking for space is no different. Explain to your partner why you need space, what it is you would like to do in your alone time, and answer their questions to not hurt them.

An important aspect of communicating about your need for space in the relationship is keeping your partner in the loop about your activities so that the trust factor remains intact as you adjust to the slightly increased space.

2. Avoid Excessive Interrogation

If your partner feels the need for space in your relationship, do not take it the wrong way. The first thing you need to do is to avoid interrogating them. The fact that your partner requested space is actually a healthy sign that they want it to work out and make your relationship a healthy one.

3. Avoid Peeking Into Your Partner’s Personal Items

Woman peeks at her partner's phone
Image: Shutterstock

One of the basic ways to create space in your relationship is by avoiding peeking into your partner’s phone, wallet, laptop, and social media accounts.

4. Encourage Them To Meet Their Friends And Friends

While your partner may be taken aback by your need for space, encourage them to spend time with their friends or family to whom they haven’t been giving much attention.

5. Seek Your “Me Time”

A great way to create space in your relationship is to spend some “me time.” At the same time, address the fears and anxiety of your partner that surround your need for space and ensure there is no loss of trust from your side.

Now, let’s answer the most important question.

Is Space Apart Good For A Relationship?

Living together but apart is the new normal. Many couples voluntarily avoid co-inhabiting to give their relationship the space it needs. While the success of such relationships depends on the delicate balance between independence and emotional commitment, some time apart from each other occasionally is healthy for every relationship. Here is why space apart is actually good for a relationship:

1. It Helps The Partners Maintain Their Individuality

Co-habiting couples tend to become co-dependent, wherein one or both partners begin losing their individuality. This can lead to conflicts and constant bickering. However, space apart in a relationship allows both partners to maintain their individuality and bring their unique flavor to the relationship. This makes a romantic relationship a healthy one.

2. Increased Positivity In The Relationship

With both partners spending an adequate amount of quality time with each other, there is less chance of things going south. Partners who live apart bring freshness and positivity that can help build trust, love, and mutual admiration.

3. Improves A Relationship

When partners have the independence to do things their way in their lives, they tend to become better partners. Having time to spend doing things you love will make you feel more content as a person, and this shows through in your relationship. This is possible when couples have space apart in their relationship.

4. You Can Strike A Balance Between Your Relationship And Friends

Woman spending a good time with her folks
Image: Shutterstock

Having space apart in your relationship also gives you ample time to catch up with your family and friends. Partners who have a good social circle and spend a good amount of time with their folks tend to be more stable in relationships. This comes from the fact that they can maintain strong bonds with their loved ones who came before the relationship. Also, knowing that one has a strong support group of friends also creates a sense of security in the individual, which shows through in how they handle a romantic relationship.

5. You Appreciate Your Partner More

Distance makes the heart grow fonder. This is indeed true. When partners live together, there is a chance that they start taking the other for granted. However, having space apart in a relationship will make you appreciate your partner a bit more. Spending time apart is also said to increase intimacy and help partners foster a stronger, deeper bond with each other.

So, how much space is healthy? Find out in the next section!

How Much Space In A Relationship Is Normal?

Even though having space in a relationship is highly recommended, too much or too little of it can be bad too. Here is when the space in your relationship can signal all is not well:

1. Focussing Too Much On Your Goals

While it is good to have goals and dreams as individuals in a relationship, focussing only on these goals and dreams is a sign that there is too much space in a relationship. If two people are not moving toward the same future with your goals, it is difficult to expect them to be in a relationship in the future.

2. Too Much Time For Yourselves

African woman relaxing and listening to music
Image: Shutterstock

If you or your partner enjoy having the extra time for yourselves and hesitate to compromise on this time, your relationship has an excessive amount of space. In a relationship, people should want to be together and not feel the need to spend all their time apart. This speaks volumes about the status of the relationship.

3. You Are Scared To Take The Next Step In Your Relationship

Any healthy relationship has a good amount of space that makes the couple want to be a part of it and take it to the next level. But, if one or both partners in a relationship are scared to take the next step of commitment, there is either too less or too much space in the relationship.

4. Not Talking Or Meeting For Days Together Is Okay

This is a classic sign that the relationship has way too much space. When partners are absolutely okay not talking or meeting for days on end, it is a sign that their relationship has excessive space and that they might be living in two different worlds.

5. You Prefer Your Friends Over Your Partner

If you prefer to hang out with your buddies rather than catch a movie or go on a date with your partner, you need to re-think the status of your relationship. Wanting to spend more time with your friends rather than your partner is a sign that the relationship has too much space.

6. You Miss Your Partner Too Much

In a healthy relationship, partners spend adequate amounts of quality time together, at the end of which both are satisfied. However, if you end up missing your partner too often, this could mean that you are being too clingy and not giving them enough space, which is making them go away from you. This could also mean that there is way too much space in your relationship and you long to be with your partner.

7. There Is A Clear Disconnect In Your Conversations

Ever felt that there is some disconnect when you converse with your partner? This may be a clear sign that you and your partner have allowed too much space to creep in between you both.

8. You Do Not Feel The Need To Have A Partner

The woman feels she doesn't need her partner because of the vast amount of space in the relationship
Image: Shutterstock

Even though you are in a relationship, you feel like you don’t need your partner. This is a sign that you are way too independent and there is excessive space in your relationship, which is not healthy.

Rachel Hardy, a blogger, shares how she believes personal space plays an important role in relationships. She explains, “Going to him feels like coming home. But some days, he drives me absolutely bonkers. There’s no way around it (i).” She adds, “It’s okay to want some space. It’s okay to long for the days when all you had was peace and quiet.”

protip_icon Quick Tip
If your partner has a history of cheating or lying, asking for personal space might just be another way of gaslighting or manipulating you. Hence, be alert in such cases.

Infographic: Benefits Of Having Personal Space In Your Relationship

Having personal space is key to a happy, balanced relationship. While regular communication and being aware of your partner’s life is important, excess interaction may strain the relationship. If that sounds hard to believe, we understand. But having personal space in the relationship is one way of reducing the risk of boredom. This approach can offer several important benefits. Learn more from the infographic below.

benefits of having personal space in your relationship (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Just like spending time together is important to help build a relationship, giving personal space in a relationship is also crucial to sustain it. And it is absolutely okay if you or your partner prioritize your comfort and ask for privacy and personal space. It helps you improve your individual capacities, potentials, and hobbies and be a better version of yourself for your partner. Moreover, giving each other space can provide you with emotional safety and help foster a deeper and stronger bond. That way, you would ultimately be able to give more of yourself to the relationship as well.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do married couples need personal space?

Yes. Maintaining your sense of self, identity, and independence as an individual in your marriage requires that you create personal space for yourself.

What is considered a violation of personal space?

Violating other people’s personal space may include not paying respect to their boundaries, asking invasive questions, or interfering in every aspect of their lives.

What can affect personal space?

Not leaving someone alone and letting them spend some “me time” can affect their personal space.

Why do some people have personal space issues?

Some people lack an understanding of personal space and have different cultural or social backgrounds that view personal space differently or identify boundaries in different ways, which can cause personal space issues.

How does personal space affect mental health?

Invasion of personal space may lead to increased stress levels or make you anxious and put you on edge. Maintaining appropriate boundaries is necessary for your mental well-being.

Key Takeaways

  • Ensuring personal space is an ideal way to rejuvenate you and allow both partners to maintain their individual identities.
  • If you are constantly bickering and spending too much time together, it is time to give your partner some space.
  • Openly communicating your need for space and encouraging your partner to spend time with their family and friends are some of the best ways to create some space in the relationship.
  • Spending some time apart improves your relationship and makes you appreciate your partner more.
personal space in relationship

Image: Dall·E/StyleCraze Design Team

In need of relationship advice about giving space? Worry not! Take a look at this video to understand why needing space in a relationship actually helps it!

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Rodolfo Parlati

Rodolfo ParlatiProfessional Life Coach

After having graduated in Business Administration, Rodolfo decided to follow his passion for supporting others by becoming a professional coach. Today, his mission is to help people be happy and successful by discovering their potential and finding together the right way to fully exploit it.   His clients experience improvements in their communication skills, relationships, work-life balance, productivity, conflict resolution, full bio

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