This post was updated on Feb 20, 2023
Intimacy and personal space can seem like two separate categories that are somewhat at odds to some people. While there are people who fear intimacy, especially because they see it as a threat to their own privacy and individuality, others might see it as a sign of selfishness and immaturity. Either way, things might not be so simple when you’re dealing with intimacy in marriage and trying to negotiate your personal time and space.
In healthy relationships, both partners achieve a fine balance between their own time and their time together. Generally, if you both care for yourselves, you’ll be more likely to have a fulfilling relationship.
Find out how you may further improve your intimacy in marriage without sacrificing your boundaries. One of the options is to consider attending an intensive workshop or individual coaching. You’ll also find useful advice in this article.
Should There Be Personal Space Between Spouses?
Many people fear that this will further lead to distance or emotional disconnect. However, this isn’t typically the case. Spending time apart or keeping certain things to yourself doesn’t have to lead to detachment and emotional neglect. On the contrary, it can be a healthy outlet, which helps you appreciate your partner and relationship even more.
What Does Personal Space Mean?
There are several ways to describe personal space:
- Literally, it describes your immediate physical surroundings, your body, and whatever touches your skin.
- It can also mean the time and activities that you do on your own. For example, this can be you reading a book, fishing, or riding a bike in a nearby park.
- It may mean an actual physical space where you can relax, work on a project, meditate, or reflect. For example, you can set up your home office, studio, or a small nook where you relax or work on your ideas.
- It can be used to mean the interests you had before your current relationship, especially if you don’t share them with your partner. For instance, this can be a time for sports, some retail therapy, or another hobby.
Is It Wrong To Want Personal Space In A Relationship?
Feeling like you need to step back and take care of yourself can be perfectly normal in many circumstances. However, if you feel like you’re drifting apart from your partner and don’t want to spend time with them anymore, it might be useful to determine your attachment style and whether your relationship is built on a healthy foundation.
What Is The Importance Of Personal Space?
The importance and benefits of personal space might feel familiar to you from your early teenage years when you tried to negotiate it with your parents. However, it might seem challenging to actually understand what it means as an adult. Once you enter a committed relationship, you might need to make adjustments and feel like you have to reclaim some personal space for yourself. For some people, it might seem impossible because they may worry that this will jeopardize their relationship.
Here’s just a glimpse of why personal space is important:
For You As An Individual:
- It may preserve your sense of independence.
- It may reaffirm your boundaries and self-esteem.
- It may give you reassurance during difficult times.
- It may give you an opportunity to have creative thoughts and outlets that can bring interesting conversations and experiences to share with your partner later. Keeps it interesting!
For You As A Couple:
- You may realize that the boundaries are there to keep you safely connected.
- Your time for yourself may give you better insight into the value of your relationship.
- You may come up with new perspectives and work together to improve your relationship.
- You might be more eager to spend time with each other.
How Do You Maintain Personal Space In A Relationship?
Many couples start to question their relationship when it enters a more complicated phase and begins to feel like a bumpy ride. Creating personal space may help to take a step back and take time to yourself.
Having a time of day or week when you can devote it to yourself might feel like a luxury, especially when you’re juggling parenting, your career, and other daily responsibilities.
Maintaining valuable time for yourself is essential. And, it can be achieved if you and your partner are willing to work together and take responsibility to make sure it happens.
How Do You Give Space In A Relationship Without Drifting Apart?
While some married couples face no issues in trusting each other and setting aside enough time for individual activities and interests, you may feel uneasy letting go. If you feel like allowing your partner to have their own time and space is going to cause a breakup, you might need to work on your own past wounds that are causing this level of control in the relationship.
If you find it challenging at first, it might be worthwhile to try some thought experiments. Instead of going down every negative scenario that might occur, you could come up with some strategies to cope with what you find potentially threatening. You may want to talk with your partner and a relationship coach to work actively on a solution.
There are some strategies that you may try out:
- Try to map out the boundaries. Setting clear boundaries between your personal, social, and intimate space is key to keeping your relationship healthy and growing.
- Learn how to respect each other. Respecting each other and your differences can be crucial in preventing the feeling of enmeshment. It can also dispel your worries that you’re secretly feeling resentment toward each other.
- Be decisive. If your spouse is being very apprehensive about your personal time, try to make a decisive move and demonstrate that it’s not something to worry about.
- Make a schedule for time with your kids, your friends, your spouse, and yourself. Although it might seem like a purely technical thing to do, writing a schedule will leave you feeling less guilty about missing out, or not spending enough time with your partner. It may give you better control of your time and insight into your needs. Also, it might give you the opportunity to rediscover the excitement in your relationship.
- Keep the communication open and honest. You may discuss your fears, anxieties, and insecurities about your relationship. When you decide to speak out about unspoken disagreements and start being frank about how you feel without playing the blame game, you may come closer to reclaiming your space. This can improve the quality of your relationship.
Where Can I Find Experience-Based Relationship Coaching And Retreat For Individuals?
Whether you struggle with setting firm boundaries with your spouse or finding a way to further strengthen your bond, you can get great help from experienced relationship advocates at PIVOT. You can try out intensive couple-based retreats in our Glass House and work on further enhancing your relationship, or choose to work individually on your attachment issues and emotional struggles. Feel free to contact us today!