Where the “Us” Ends and “I” Starts – 4 Tips for Getting Space in Your Relationship

Some people consider a “healthy” relationship to be one in which both partners seem to be joined at the hip all the time.

It may seem as if these couples are very close and connected. Indeed, you may have heard of couples who have been like this for decades and are completely happy.

Yet, is this really healthy for most couples?

The answer is: not always.

The truth is that it is OK for you to be in a relationship and still have your own space and individual identity. This often means doing things you like to do that don’t have to involve your partner.

Consider some tips to help you create space.

1. Forging Your Own Career Path

In this day and age, it’s common for both partners to be working, and each has their own careers. Work helps you to get space as it allows you to focus on something that is outside of the scope of your relationship.

Also, work is a space where you create other relationships with coworkers and professionals in your industry. This helps you to create variety in the types of relationships that you have with other people.

2. Volunteering Your Time

Another way to create space in your relationship is to volunteer with an organization in your community.

For instance, let’s say that you are really passionate about bikes and bicycling. So, you decide to volunteer with a community group that refurbishes old bicycles to donate to kids. Great! Your partner, on the other hand, would prefer to spend their time tutoring and mentoring young people. That’s OK too!

You each are finding ways to contribute that define your own interests.

3. Working Out

You like to lift weights while your partner is a long-distance runner. Both are great ways to stay fit. Neither of you has to like the same kind of exercise, as long as you both find something that you enjoy doing. Of course, you both don’t have to work out together. But it can be rewarding to share stories later on about your accomplishments.

Also, exercising is a great way to “zone out” and hyper-focus on what you are doing in the moment. Thus, you are mentally making space, not just physically.

4. Pursuing Your Hobbies

Each of you can create space from one another through pursuing your hobbies. It’s perfectly fine for each of you to have your own interests. These are the things you enjoy doing in your free time that you couldn’t imagine not doing at all.

For example, you both might like to pursue outdoor activities. Yet, you really enjoy rock climbing while your partner is passionate about fishing. Just because you are in a relationship together doesn’t mean that you should not do the things you love.

Finding Support for Creating Space

Sometimes it’s not easy to be able to make space for yourself. There may be issues that cause one or both of you to resist the desires of the other to create some space and pursue their own interests.

If you believe this is the case in your relationship, consider talking to a therapist who understands these relationship issues. Together you and your partner can learn how to balance the needs of the relationship while also honoring each of you as individuals.

Having space in a relationship can be just as important as what you do together as a couple. You can allow both of you to be your own person while also honoring the relationship as well. If you are having trouble either creating space or finding this balance, please contact us.

Author
Joshua Howell, MS, LPC, NCC, AADC, ICAADC, SAP, SAE

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