Want More Freedom in Your Relationship? How to Have the “I Need Space” Talk
Everyone has different personalities in relationships, and depending on how you match up with your partner, you two may be close to exactly alike … or on opposite sides of the spectrum.
It’s sort of like best friends—You might have a best friend who is almost exactly like you. Or you might have a best friend who is nothing like you.
Both can work.
And both have their flaws …
But here, we’re going to be talking about one of the biggest differences that partners face: How much “space” each of you wants in the relationship.
Introverts Vs. Extroverts
Needing space doesn’t always come down to introverts vs. extroverts, but it commonly does.
That’s because the main difference between these two types of personalities is how energy is recharged.
Introverts recharge their energy when alone. This means that they need alone time each day (the amount of time will vary from person to person) in order to calm down, relax and “recharge their batteries.”
Introverts may spend this alone time reading, sleeping, surfing the net, watching movies or TV, cooking, shopping alone, working on a project or any other number of things. They just need to be alone.
Extroverts on the other hand, need “together time” in order to recharge. They can’t fathom the idea of wanting to be alone in order to feel more grounded and whole. They want to be around others, talking, laughing or just hanging out. Being alone makes them feel, well, lonely and sometimes even depressed.
Now, it’s possible for extroverts to need to have the “I need space talk” just as much as it’s possible for introverts, but it’s more likely that if you feel the need to express this feeling to your partner … you’re an introvert. Either way, follow the guide below.
The Problem with the “I Need Space” Talk
Before we get to exactly how to have this discussion, let’s go over what not to do.
If you’ve never approached your significant other with the idea that you “need space,” be warned: Don’t just blurt out “I need more space.”
Sounds oddly counterintuitive, right?
But you’ve got to look at it from the other’s perspective. Being told that essentially your significant other wants to spend more time apart from you doesn’t feel good. It wouldn’t feel good to anyone.
To them, they might hear what you’re saying more like:
“I don’t enjoy spending time with you.”
“I’m planning to slowly move away from you, then break up with you.
“You’re boring and not fun to be around.”
“I don’t love you.”
So Why Do You Need Space? Do You Know?
So those things aren’t true, and you need to tread lightly. Got it.
To help in this, as you gear up to have a discussion with your partner, it will be of benefit if you have a true understanding of why you feel you need more space.
This will help you explain yourself better. In your head, you probably see quite clearly the cause for the extra needed space. But you’ll need to be able to explain this to your significant other in an easy to understand way because if you don’t explain well and they don’t understand … chances are this will be difficult for them deal with without feeling wholly offended.
For many people, needing space happens for the following reasons:
- You’re an introvert who needs more time alone to “reenergize.”
- You find that you’re not spending enough time with other important people in your life: Family or friends.
- You need more time to work on your career, personal projects, etc. Or yourself: Exercise, religious or spiritual activities, etc.
- Even though you deeply love your partner, they tend to be intense and a bit extreme and being constantly with them is too much.
- You literally have no space! For example, you … need a room or a desk or something. A literal space of your own.
- You don’t like feeling “fused” with your partner. You want to feel more independent. (This is okay to feel!)
- You’ve been getting in fights with your partner often, and you think it’s because you’ve just been spending too much time together.
Having the Talk
Okay, you have your reasons down, and now you’re ready to speak with your partner about them. This is what you should keep in mind.
- Be Reassuring: Make sure they know you love them.
- Have Your Reasons for Feeling This Way Ready: Don’t just spout off, have concrete ideas about why you hope to alter the way you spend time together and apart.
- Have a Plan in Place: Maybe you ask to have the house to yourself Wednesday nights or you say you’re planning to bow out of a few things that you usually do together or with friend groups.
Finally, remember: It may seem like this “guide” is a bit intense for a small conversation such as needing more space, but two things:
- First, don’t just blow it off because you think the fact that you need more space is small and silly. Often, the person who needs this in a relationship is the one who never speaks up about anything. If you need space, you need space! And you should get it.
- Second, this is going to make your relationship a lot better, and you should both be into that.
So use these ideas. Figure out what you want to say, and remember: Always be kind and loving to your partner. If you treat them with respect, they will understand where you’re coming from and honor your request. This will all lead to a much better relationship overall.