We all need the space and time to process our thoughts and feelings, especially in times of stress and uncertainty. Unlike robots, we can't soldier on non-stop and it's normal — and important — that we take those moments to stop, reflect and reconnect with ourselves as individuals.
With much of the UK entering Tier 4 in the early hours of Boxing Day, after an unusual Christmas which — for many of us — might have felt rather intense, now more than ever, it's important to know when and how to ask for space in a relationship.
Sometimes taking some space within a relationship can help shift your feeling towards it as a whole and, further down the line, allowing it to bend somewhat might save you from a clean break.
The tricky thing is, headspace has got a bit of a bad rep and can make your partner feel insecure, uncomfortable or confused — especially if they don't need as much of it —and this puts unnecessary pressure on a relationship.
So, to help us navigate the minefield of asking for space in a relationship, we spoke to Lily Walford, a relationship coach at Love With Intelligence.
Here are Lily's 5 tips for asking for space in your relationship — without upsetting your partner.
5 ways to get space in a relationship
Schedule it into your routine
When we are confined to the same living space 24/7, then it’s going to be important to create a routine that suits you and your partner. Sit down together and talk through what you feel would be the best routine to balance headspace, quality time together and work time.
Talk through each other's needs
It’s always good to see what each other's needs are when it comes to space. Some people prefer a walk, others enjoy cooking or working out alone. When you both know what each of you need – and how long you’ll need it for – you know how to be considerate and supportive of each other. Far better than guesswork!
Have a word for immediate headspace
When things get heated – and you know you are both in that place where the argument is going nowhere – that’s a perfect time for both of you to have some headspace alone. So have a time out word where you can both have an hour alone, process what is going on and reconnect once things have settled down.
Balance alone time with quality couple time
Some partners can feel insecure when their partner wants alone time, but there is invariably one partner who needs more headspace than the other, so be clear on expectations of headspace. Make sure you also have quality couple time planned too.
Have headspace together as well as alone
There’s something very peaceful when you are both sitting there in companionable silence and enjoying your own thoughts, whilst still in your partners company. Try doing a meditation together, or enjoying a few songs together while you let your minds wander into their own worlds of thought, with no pressure to verbalise anything. A refreshing reset if ever there was one!
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