Over the past year, I have observed a new type of stress couples have felt within their relationship. As a result of working from home, one party quitting their job, and overall tendencies to stay at home for activities, I am hearing more couples say: "I need space..."
Note: space is not the same as a breakup
The pandemic has inadvertently caused some individuals in relationships to be more accommodating to the other person, which leads to the experience of feeling lost and personal difficulty in maintaining mental & physical health.
Initially, the increase in time to connect is seen as a way to catch up, reconnect, and find more time and opportunity for intimacy. Over the course of time, (just as anything new) the excitement fades. Suddenly being in a relationship is viewed as another task and chore rather than pleasure and fulfillment.
1. Relationships need a balance of individuality as well as emotional bonding.
2. There is never a "right time" to ask for space.
So how do you ask for space?
Be honest, respectful, and assertive with your request.
Discuss a plan on when you both will give each other space, as well as what days and times you will prioritize for each other. Keep each other aware of the activities, as well as company you may be with during the time.
Have a plan to reconnect after your time apart.
Support each other in self care.
Exercising space in a relationship provides the opportunity for freshness, each person to keep a sense of identity, and cultivates strength in a relationship. It takes away the sense of feeling overwhelmed during the pandemic, as well as interrupts a cycle of co-dependency and obligation to entertain each other. Of course - if these steps become difficult, seeking the support of a therapist may be the most useful step. As I offer free, 15 - minute consultations, I would glad to speak with you regarding any questions to filer through to determine if therapy is the best step for you and your relationship.