How To Keep Your Personal Space (In All Your Relationships)

While spending time together is good for strengthening a relationship, partners giving each other personal space is equally important.

Personal space is the physical area around a person that they believe to have psychological ownership of. Most people value their personal space and are irritated, upset, or anxious when it is violated without permission.

Giving personal space to a person does not mean rejecting them to loneliness. Rather, it is building a mutually agreed-upon social boundary.

Invading someone else’s personal space is downright rude, if not also creepy. While in public, getting too close to a stranger may quickly land you in trouble.

For mutual peace and respect, we must preserve personal space in each of our interactions, no matter how close the relationship. Click To Tweet

So, how do we maintain personal space without feeling abandoned or appearing to be a threat? But first, you must understand why it is important.

Personal space in relationships

Why Is Personal Space Important

“We need to talk” and “I need my personal space” are phrases that can send chills down the spines of partners in a relationship.

Sadly, some people do not value other people’s personal space. They completely steamroll over their partner’s feelings and keep a foot permanently in their personal space, implying that they do not respect their boundaries.

Smothering your loved ones with your presence and invading their personal space is never a nice way to show your affection. Abusing the personal space of a new romantic partner you just met on a dating site is a potential recipe for a breakup. The same applies to them as well.

On the flip side, letting each other spend some quiet time apart is an excellent way to allow self-care and maintain a healthy relationship. In fact, giving personal space is as essential in relationships as forgiveness and empathy.

While spending time together is good for strengthening your relationship, giving each other space is also important. Spending too much time together can easily become toxic and suffocating. While spending quiet time away from each other is a good way to relax and catch a mental break.

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Having an inviolable personal space is also vital for reducing conflicts in relationships. It helps improve the mental health of the partners, since they use their time apart for personal comfort and self-care.

If your partner asks for some time off, try to get them to clarify the following points:

1. Why Do They Need Personal Space?

Talk to your partner and ask them why they need the space.

Don’t be defensive or judgmental towards them – remember that personal space is a normal and reasonable request to ask for. Your partner may be going through something at work or in their personal lives that is having a negative impact on their mental health.

Whatever the situation, the best thing for you to do is to be a supportive partner to them.

2. How Much Space Is Enough For Them?

Get them to reveal how much space they need to rejuvenate their minds.

Anything reasonable, like spending time alone in a personal comfort zone, going to the gym, or engaging in hobbies, is perfectly acceptable.

However, requests for a long time apart, especially for married couples and with small children, is a red flag that needs deeper investigation.

3. Will They Allow You To Check Up On Them?

Ask your partner if you are allowed to check up on them from time to time.

If they decide that having personal space means spending time absolutely apart, ask your partner how you might keep in touch without becoming too suffocating. Let your partner know that, while it is important to spend time apart, you also have physical and emotional needs that they should address.

Insist that you must be able to check in on them at specified times for your mental peace.

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4. What Does It Mean For Your Relationship?

Most requests for personal space are totally normal, but they majorly apply to trustworthy individuals.

If your partner has a history of cheating, lying, and being non-committal to the relationship, then asking for space should get you suspicious.

Conversely, partners in a healthy relationship who trust each other will not think twice about granting their significant other personal space and time.

How Do You Maintain Personal Space In A Relationship

Now that you have understood why individual space is important, you need to know how to maintain it for a healthy relationship.

Here are some effective ways to maintain personal space in relationships:

1. Communicate With Your Significant Other

Communication is very important in avoiding misunderstandings concerning individual space.

Ensure you tell your partner why, when, and how you need to spend time apart. Being honest with each other about personal space makes you free to tell each other about your deepest concerns. And, it eradicates doubts from your partner.

Explaining the need for space makes them understand that you are doing it for your own good and not because you don’t appreciate their company.

2. Create Time To Be In Your Personal Space

According to Wikipedia, personal space is defined as the area around a person that they consider to be psychologically theirs. Agreed, spending time with your partner is essential for strengthening your bond.

Spending time alone, on the other hand, is crucial since it rejuvenates your mind and gives you a sense of fulfillment.

So, make time for self-care and indulge in personal comfort activities for your well-being. You could, for example, read a book, watch a movie, or spend a pleasant day at the spa.

Stay in your personal comfort zone as long as you feel necessary.

3. Set Relationship Boundaries

Every healthy relationship should have these six boundaries between the partners.

Setting boundaries boils down to this: healthy, respectful, and timely communication. Tell your partner what you like or dislike, including your preferred personal distance zones.

When you set up healthy boundaries, both you and your partner will automatically know when to let each other be in your personal space.

4. Be Creative In Setting Up Personal Space

When you are living together, especially in this era of the Covid pandemic, it can be difficult to create a lot of physical distance between you. Find small ways to relish in your individual space, including putting on headphones or running errands by yourself.

You might also try a different activity by yourself, such as locking yourself away in your garage to finish a painting while your partner is doing something else.

5. Have a Solid Support System

Let your partner not be your only social contact. Maintain healthy relationships with your friends and family too. Reach out to them and nurture your relations with them separately from your romantic relationship. That way, you won’t smother your partner with too much presence.

Final Words

Personal space is very important to maintain a healthy relationship with you and your partner. You don’t need to be around each other or do things together all the time.

Sometimes, setting individual space to engage in your favorite hobbies or relaxing by yourself gives you a healthy mental state. By utilizing your personal space zones, you are more likely to cohabit peacefully with each other.

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Author Bio: Written by Rebecca Shinn—a freelance writer and dating and relationship expert with a psychology degree. She started writing 2 years ago to inspire and help people to have a better dating life, healthy relationships, or find a way to keep a marriage strong for long years.
Edited by Sandip Roy—a medical doctor, psychology writer, and happiness researcher. Founder and Chief Editor of The Happiness Blog. Writes on mental health, happiness, positive psychology, and philosophy (especially Stoicism)

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