Close this search box.

Importance of “Space” in a Relationship

Estimated Reading Time
Importance of Space 1
Share Button

“Space”, is a term which is often viewed negatively when used in the context of relationships. However, this is a much needed element in our modern relationships, wherein more and more couples are coming in for relationship counselling due to a difficulty in navigating their personal space within their intimate relationship.

Very often, I end up working with clients who have difficulty understanding their partner’s need for personal space within a romantic relationship, be it dating or marriage. Unfortunately, when our partner’s emphasize on their need for space, or some “me” time in a relationship, it is viewed by the other partner, as having a host of negative connotations. The interpretations range from, “My partner doesn’t find me interesting enough anymore”, to “My partner is seeing someone else”. The need to always be in control of our partner’s daily life, leads to severe miscommunication and negative conclusions about the partner’s intent on doing something by themselves.

Research has time and again pointed out that couples need their space in a relationship. Having interests, friends, hobbies, etc., which are not exactly the same as one’s partners’ is a boon for the health on one’s relationship. It allows the couples to have some time to themselves, individually, and maintains freshness in the relationship. Space in a relationship, fosters creativity, independence, & makes couples also look forward to spending quality time together. Relationships where couples don’t get some time off each other, have a higher chance of failure than the ones, where the couples do get a chance to spend some time without their partners.

As a psychologist, I cannot help but say that to some extent we all have a much idealized romantic notion of what relationships and our spouses should be like. I have had clients equate love with being presented with flowers every day; talking late into the night on phone; and the like, and when this doesn’t happen for a couple of days, they start questioning the validity of their relationship. Relationships do not work like that. Even the daily schedule which sets in, as part of our everyday life with our spouses, is very much an expression of love.

It’s important that we understand as couples, that it’s ok for each partner in a relationship to have separate interests. Pursuing separate interests doesn’t mean that one has to completely avoid being with each other. As couples we must learn to enjoy certain things together and at the same time, enjoy doing things by ourselves. For instance, you may be a diehard Bollywood fan, but your spouse absolutely cannot tolerate the cheesiness of Indian cinema. What would you do in such a situation? Perhaps argue with your partner before every movie about how your interests are not valued, drag them for the movie with a sour taste in your mind, and have them be grumpy about their time being wasted? Or would you rather prefer watching the movie with a friend or another family member who shares your interests? 

To conclude, understand that having your space within a relationship, avoids emotional & physical over-dependency on one person, even when that one person is your spouse. More importantly, it gives you the space to grow and pursue your interests. All of this in turn, will make you an overall happy person, and thus, contribute to the happiness quotient of your relationship as well.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Also Read