- Gender and Relationships»
- Relationship Problems & Advice
In a Relationship Do We Need Distance to get Close?
I need space
It is not uncommon to find couples who have issues with the amount of time spent with or away from a partner. In many relationships, one person complains about not having enough time with their partner, while the other complains about needing space. We hear things like: “He’s not here for me”, “We don’t spend enough time together” and “She’s too needy”, “He’s too clingy”.
Couples who do not have strong, spiritually connected inner beings usually tear themselves apart with arguments because one is emotionally dependent and the other is emotionally distant. People in a relationship need to adjust the amount of time spent with each other on a regular basis. People can be too close to each other and not give each other breathing space. They can also become too far away from each other, losing touch with each other. When distance between a couple become choking one partner usually cries out “I need space”. This might mean to the other partner that the relationship is over.
“I need some space” is especially very confusing for people who grew up in an unstable environment. They get easily bothered by sudden changes and the ‘not knowing’ what’s going to happen next overwhelms, frustrates and depresses them. Most times in a bid to win back affection they overwhelm their partner with their desperation, neediness and anger, hence forcing him/her to actually think of quitting the relationship.
“I need some space” doesn’t necessarily mean that I am no longer attracted to you or that the relationship is over. Sometimes it only means that I am losing touch with myself as an individual. I am losing myself in you and I want myself back. I want to get back time to read a book, to hang out with my friends, to watch my favourite TV programme and most importantly to reassess my feelings for you so that I know why I am beginning to get easily irritated by little things you do.
Couples need to continually assess, and if necessary adjust their distance to each other emotionally, socially and often physically. People in a caring relationship need to recognize and care for their own needs as a person.
If John used to enjoy playing tennis before meeting Jane, and, then, he loses himself in her—he goes to her family reunions, attends her parties, watches her kind of films just to make her happy, but John still desires but no longer plays tennis. In the long run he might become frustrated and start picking on Jane. In a relationship a partner maybe a lover, a companion, someone to share a house with, a business partner, a friend, confidante, someone to holiday with or play cards with. But people sometimes become so wrapped up in one role that the other roles or relationship responsibilities get forgotten. Partners should learn to bask in each others individual personalities. Suppressing a mate’s sense of humor, doggedness or mischievousness only serves to mould him or her into a replica of you. When gaps in relationships get too far apart partners find that there’s only one side of the person they know. Jane may know that John is a good business man but doesn’t know that he’s a fantastic tennis player and so to her he becomes a boring and uninteresting topic. The spark she had for him at the start of the relationship begins to ebb. When gaps in relationships get too close possessiveness, jealousy, fault-finding and irritation becomes the order of the day.
What then needs to be done about setting appropriate distances in relationships?
It is important to note what works. When does one partner need more distance? When does a partner want to be close and supported emotionally? This issue should be discussed openly between partners. Let each partner make clear the amount of time he is willing to put in the relationship and why he might not be around at other times.
If there’s already an ‘I need some space’ demand don’t take it personally, the best thing is to grant the request. Note that granting the request doesn’t mean no contact. Maintain limited, no-pressing contact. When you do get back with him/her try to give him/her some space within the relationship.