Are you feeling suffocated?

not enough space in relationship

Dealing With A Suffocating Relationship

While Lucy was busy preparing dinner in the kitchen, Tony swooped in and hugged her from behind. Her face flushing with irritation . Lucy snapped “Give me some space, would you!”  Stunned and flabbergasted, Tony withdrew.

Are you feeling suffocated by the love of your significant other? This situation is quite common in couples. Space issues arise between partners some time or the other in their relationship. The most common reason for such a suffocating relationship is the difference in what both of them feel is right.  Regardless of the root cause of the dispute, the question that rests at the very nucleus of such issues is “Where does ‘Us’ end and ‘I’ begin?” Relationship experts believe that couples need to strike a balance between individuality and togetherness.

Living Apart-Together

When you stay apart, you actually inch closer to each other. Each partner should make efforts to retain individuality and be a healthy contributor to the relationship. When a person gets space, he or she develops a sense of ‘self’ thereby becoming a more responsible and self reliant person. Like the person the partner fell in love with in the first place.

Christopher Knippers, author of Cultivating Confidence says that one of the very basic human needs is space; both physical as well as emotional. When two people concur on the fact that both of them are sufficient to fulfill each other’s needs, they are certain to meet utter disappointment. The way to develop socially, spiritually and personally is to have a lot of friends and interact with a variety of people.

While this picture may appear ideal, it is difficult to find time for being together and apart. Such negotiations on time can result in resentments, jealousy, mistrust and other such negative feelings. The ideal way to strike a balance between the two is by recognizing each other’s needs and going for workable solutions.

Pick Your Words Wisely

Be as direct and honest as possible. Talking things out is a great way to arrive at a solution. While seeking some private time away from your partner, it is wise to reassure an anxious partner by explaining that your demand is not due to some fault of theirs but because of the way you are made. It is also a good idea to make “private time” a part of your routine so that your partner takes it as a routine activity.

While it may be tough to negotiate on ‘private time’ and ‘together time’, it may be tougher to strike a deal with physical affection in such a case. All of us wish to have some autonomy over our physical space and that is precisely the reason why touching, kissing and hugging may not appeal to you at certain times when you are not up for them. Affection borders with neediness and you rarely come to know when you cross the border. While affection may be welcome in certain cases, neediness pushes people away.

If you are the one who gets irritated with your partner’s show of affection, it is advised that you take a gentle, constructive and non critical approach to convey your feelings to your partner.

Remember that you are a couple not clones

It is wrong to believe that just because you are a couple and have been together for so long, both of you will have the same needs. It is necessary that couples recognize each other as separate individuals with different needs and aspirations in life. Think of paddling your boats along side each others, rather than trying to steer from the same canoe.

Patricia Farell who has authored “How to Be Your Own Therapist” suggests that partners must learn to understand what the other does not say in words. Understanding each other’s body language may not be easy but once you start getting a knack of it, you will avoid misunderstandings and put downs.

When you tend to ignore your partner’s reluctance to physical touch, you are being inconsiderate. In situations where you realize that your closeness to your partner is not something that he or she wants, it is best to back off to let the matter remain respectful.

Push-Pull Dynamics

Weiner Davis, author of Divorce Remedy says that the more of one thing that a partner does, the less of it will the other partner do. This effectively translates into the fact that if you give more space to your partner, the more he or she will reach out to you. This is called the push- pull dynamics.

It is in the best interest of your relationship to weigh your words before you throw them at your partner. Wait till the time you get calm and then carefully pick your words to convey your resentment towards encroachment of your private space.

Space Jockey

If you are the less affectionate partner in the relationship who craves for space:

· Reassure your partner with the fact that your need of private space is not rejection but something that you need in order to become the same person they fell in love with.

· Do not talk about what your partner is doing wrong but about what you need to set things right.

· Whatever time you spend together, give your entire attention to your partner.

If you are the person who seeks more closeness, do not forget to respect your partners private space. Besides this:

· Learn to read your partner’s body language to know if they are ready to receive and return affection.

· If you sense that they are not ready for it, it is wise to pull back.

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