How much personal space do you need in a relationship? The concept of personal space in a relationship is an important concept, and at the same time it is not a very easy one to figure out at times. While considering how much personal space you need in your relationship with your partner, you need to first examine the security of your emotional bond with your partner, and then consider the balance between time spent for yourself and time spent together.
Many psychologists believe that an adult love relationship is a version of the bond between mother and child. Based on attachment theory by John Bowlby, we form bonds with our caregivers as soon as we are born and in an adult love relationship we have the same needs for being cared for emotionally. A safe and secure attachment between the mother and the baby allows the baby to have a secure base from which she/he can explore the world. In the same manner a securely attached couple can maintain their personal space and pursue their passions,while having a satisfying emotional connection. If you feel that you cling to your partner to the point that it is hard for you to give them their space or if you feel that you avoid emotional connection with your partner and constantly maintain a distance, your attachment might be an insecure type. These two kinds of insecure attachment are called anxious and avoidant attachment.
Securely attached couples can enjoy the time spent together and pursue other activities with peace of mind when they are apart from their partner. However, insecurely attached couples demonstrate behaviors of clinging or avoiding. If you feel that it is hard for you to give your partner space, this could be a sign that you are anxiously attached to your partner. If that is the case, look for the feelings that are underneath this pursuing behavior and see what your fears are. Are you afraid of losing your partner? Are you afraid of being abandoned by your partner? Do you feel jealous a lot?
On the other hand, if you find that it is very difficult to be emotionally close to your partner, and find other ways to soothe yourself, instead of turning to your partner when you need comfort, again look deeper inside and see what feelings lie beneath the avoiding behavior. Do you feel that your partner is incapable of comforting you? Are you afraid of showing your true feelings to him/her? These could be signs of avoid ant attachment.
If you find any signs of an insecure attachment it is recommended that you seek therapy and uncover what goes on for each of you when you get stuck in repetitive behaviors.
However, if you can not identify any signs of insecure attachment, there is still a chance that you do not have enough time to spend for yourself. If you have a secure relationship, you can communicate your feelings clearly, and you will be able to come up with a solution to restore balance.
You may start by looking for your passion and what truly moves you. See if you like to create something or learn something new. Spend more time building your support network and nourish your friendships. Give yourself permission to spend time apart from your partner if you need it and be open to discuss your feelings with one another.
Secure attachment is the root of healthy independence, and the health of your relationship depends on a secure attachment as well as a good balance between time spent for yourself and time spent with your loved one.
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