Being in a serious relationship leads to developing a very close bond with your partner. No matter how tight, close, and totally open with each other you’d like to be, there will always be a need for some extent of distance between you and your partner. This space is scary for some people.
When some people give their partner space, or at least their idea of what space should be, they start to feel negative feelings and regret. They feel paranoid, at a loss of control, and suspicious. These negative emotions actually create distance, but of a very different kind. This distance encourages the lack of empathy, love, and kindness that genuine closeness facilitates. In order to create the right kind of distance and maintain true closeness, partners must be able to give each other space.
What Is Space?
Different partners require different levels of space and freedom. This freedom does not mean that your partner will cheat on you or do anything to threaten your relationship. Instead, this freedom is intended to allow your partner to invest their time in prospects besides your direct relationships.
Your partner needs their own hobbies, friends, interests, and alone time because they need to take care of themselves in order to be able to function in a relationship.
You also need to take care of yourself and find different people and projects to invest your own time and attention into- do not let your relationship take over your life.
Although your relationship may be the best thing in your life, it can not be the only thing you live for. Learn to enjoy other people’s company, your own company, and the company of a few hobbies and interests that make you feel happy.
The Negative Feelings
Usually, when a partner is hesitant to give their partner space, it is due to feelings of suspicion and paranoia. These all arise from a lack of trust between partners and a lack of security with the self.
If you think your partner will cheat on you, you either are willingly in a relationship with someone who is a proven cheater and/or shows interest in acts of infidelity or you just don’t trust the person.
Telling the difference is key. If your partner expresses disinterest in you and interest in other people, ask your partner about it. Tell your partner you feel neglected and share your feelings. Listen to your partner’s response. If your partner does not care, then stop choosing to be in that relationship.
If you think your partner is going to cheat or do something stupid while you two are apart, examine your distrust. Does your partner participate in activities that you thoroughly disapprove of? Does your partner spend time with people you really don’t like?
Why do you disapprove of your partner’s friends and hobbies?
Do you disapprove because those friends and hobbies are dangerous and harmful, or do you disapprove because you are jealous that your partner is giving his or her time and attention to people and acitivities other than you?
If you disapprove because those friends and hobbies are dangerous or a bad influence, you should communicate those worries to your partner and listen to their response. If your partner does not see the harm and continues to do the same things and spend time with the same people, you can either choose to stay and compromise or you can choose to leave and rid yourself of the stress. Decide whether most of that stress comes from a place of insecurity and jealousy, or of an actual place of disharmony. If you really feel like your partner is engaging his time in what will lead to a negative, destructive path, you do not have to stay. You may tell him that you apprehend a negative future, but it is ultimately your choice whether you want to stay and see it through the hardships or if you want to leave and be done with issues you do not have to deal with.
If you suspect your partner of cheating or on the path to cheating, evaluate your comfort level regarding the amount of time your partner spends with people you consider “competition.” If you honestly feel like you have to fight and compete to keep your partner’s attention, you are probably in the wrong relationship and/or suffering from deep personal insecurities. Explore the possibility of deep insecurities and work through them with your partner. If your partner acts in a way that fulfills enough of the mutual understanding and nurturing you need in a relationship, then you two can probably work through it. If you consistently feel neglected in those aspects of your relationship, remember that you are choosing to stay. Expecting things to change when they have consistently stayed the same regardless of your efforts will only disappoint you.
Try not to complicate the reality of your situation.
If your partner respects you and makes an effort to make you feel more comfortable, your partner is compromising and giving extra attention and consideration for the sake of your relationship. Try to match that level of attention and consideration by looking within yourself to remove self-made insecurities and blockages. The more of these inner conflicts you resolve, the more love and attention you can give to yourself and your partner.
If you are still unhappy and stressed out despite increased communication and compromise between you and your partner with the addition of thoughtful introspection and honest self evaluation, learn to accept the possibility that the relationship might not be the best for you. Do not expect the relationship or your partner to change and bend to your will. If you are truly unhappy, you always have the choice to end the relationship and spend more of your time and effort on loving yourself and finding out what you want.
The more you love yourself and the more deeply and often you love and appreciate what makes you happy, the better you will find and attract a relationship that only adds to that joy.