I love you, but get out of my face.
Maybe you’re feeling suffocated, or maybe you’re just the type of person who needs some alone time away from your partner. Either way, it’s an issue you can’t ignore in relationships. And facing it can be tricky.
How can you, essentially, tell someone, “I want to see less of you” without hurting their feelings? Well, it’s all about finding the right balance for the both of you, especially if you’re set on making sure you and your partner don’t find yourselves in a codependent relationship.
The truth is, it’s completely normal to need some space from time to time. Or, your partner might be the sort of person who’s very attached and co-dependent, while you aren’t.
How do you tell your partner you need some space? This relationship advice is not only a step-by-step guide to open communication, but also improving your bond.
1. First things first, be upfront about what you want.
If you want your partner to become paranoid that you don’t like/love them anymore, then by all means, start making up excuses for why you can’t hang out as often. It’s a hard topic to talk about because you’re worried they’ll take it the wrong way.
But dodging the issue is the one way to guarantee they’ll take it the absolute worst way possible. They will notice that you aren’t seeing each other as much, and they will try to figure out what’s wrong. Don’t make your partner think you’re ghosting them.
2. Don’t turn it into a fight.
It can be stressful when someone doesn’t give you room to breathe. I get it. But this doesn’t need to blow up into an argument. It’s just two people who have different expectations in the relationship.
No one is at fault and that’s the most important thing to remember.
3. Be clear about your needs.
Nothing is more frustrating than not knowing what your partner wants. You may not know at first how much space you need or for how long, but don’t leave them dangling.
When you figure it out and get a handle on it, communicate that with them so you can both be on the same page.
4. Give them a chance to weigh in with their concerns.
Nothing in a relationship should be a one-way street. If you’re asking for something from your partner, you should expect to understand their point of view and needs as well. They might be a little taken aback and feel that you’re pulling away.
5. Actually address their worries.
It’s one thing to hear your partner out; it’s another to act on their concerns. Assure them this isn’t a sign you want to break up with them, but just a relationship need, like fidelity and trust.
6. Like any good relationship, compromise.
If you need to see less of your partner in person, throw them a bone every once in a while. Surprise them with a visit on a day you may not normally see each other. Send them a goodnight text even if you didn’t talk all day.
Remember that they’re sacrificing a little bit to give you the freedom you need. The least you can do is return the favor sometimes to make them know their effort is recognized and appreciated.
Bob Alaburda is a former contributor to YourTango.