In Western countries, the concept of personal space is very well defined, and no one violates it, even in the closest of relationships. But in India, the lines are often blurred between familiarity and intrusion. Personal space in a relationship, especially for the generation before us, was a foreign concept that Indian culture had no room for.
However, the importance of personal space in relationships isn’t up for debate. A bit of freedom, or rather ‘me time’, within your relationships is what keeps it interesting and ever-changing. Despite how in love you might be, there will come a time when you’d want to spend at least a day away from your partner.
With a few examples of modern-day relationships, let’s take a look at how important it is to give space in a relationship. Who knows, maybe once you do give each other some much-needed personal space, the marriage will start feeling a lot more fulfilling!
Personal Space In A Relationship: Nukul And Aparna’s Story
Nakul and Aparna’s marriage survives because they have learned the golden rules of balance.
Shared interests are not this marriage’s strong point. Nakul is an avid sports enthusiast, while Aparna enjoys theatre and the arts.
Initially, both tried to convert the other. A typical conversation went: “Nakul, do you have to doze off at such interesting plays? Why don’t you try to enjoy the nuances, the performances?” Nakul would retaliate, “And who incessantly chats through those super league matches? Can’t you even take the trouble to follow them?” Sulking and grumpiness on both sides would ensue.
They soon realized that they were too individualistic and different. So they wisely started going solo. Nakul has a group of football buddies and they play religiously every weekend. Aparna goes to painting exhibitions with her son, or often with her own circle of friends. She makes it a point to watch a play every fortnight, whether alone or with her pals. This way each partner gets the breathing space he/she needs. You know what they say, opposites attract.
Together, they enjoy watching movies and throwing parties for their common friends and taking vacations with their children. “Show me where it says that couples have to do everything together! The space we give each other nurtures our marriage and our personalities.” Nakul makes this very clear.
Related Reading: How Much Space In A Relationship Is Normal? Balance Is Key!
Personal Space In A Relationship: Sonia And Rohit’s Story
Sonia is a successful PR professional and has to socialize a lot and throw parties at the drop of a hat. She enjoys this kind of lifestyle, whereas Rohit is an introverted computer programmer who enjoys his quiet me-time and the company of his books. Sometimes he resents the incessant stream of visitors, and the endless socializing and networking. Rather than crib or sulk, Rohit accepts that Sonia needs her space and he needs his.
Recently Sonia threw a party for her colleagues and clients. Many common friends enquired after Rohit. Initially, Sonia tried to laugh it off, but the queries became persistent. Some people also commented about how Rohit never attended Sonia’s parties and there was trouble brewing in their marriage.
Sonia let it slide for some time, but once the questions kept pouring in, she did something unexpected. She took the mic and announced, “Breaking news! Rohit has been reported missing and some of my friends here are desperately on the lookout for him! Rumors are flying thick and fast. So I thought I should announce once and for all, that he’s comfortably settled in his armchair at home, reading the latest Amitava Ghosh offering. And our marriage is not on the rocks, as I’m totally okay with it.”
The announcement was greeted with laughter and applause. Sonia has the maturity and sense not to take Rohit’s absence as a personal offense, which a lot of insecure partners would do.
Personal Space In A Relationship: Meera And Vinay’s Story
Denying space to your spouse involves trust issues as well.
A couple of years into their marriage, Meera wanted to know everything her husband did, who he met, where he went, how many female colleagues he had, etc. She believed that men couldn’t be trusted and need to be continuously kept “in check”. She loved her husband, but her trust in him was conditional on his telling her everything.
She’d check her husband’s emails and messages secretly, and track his activities. The day Vinay got wind of this, he put his foot down and gave her an ultimatum. She could either give up snooping immediately, or he would call it quits in their marriage.
Vinay had had enough of her smothering love and wanted a break. He still loved her, but he couldn’t tolerate her constant encroachment on his space. He locked his phone with a password and avoided her calls. Meera couldn’t take this and after some bitter quarrels and arguments, left for her parents’ house. It took a lot of professional counseling to make Meera understand the problems, and for Vinay to work again on their relationship.
This is an extreme case of violation of personal space and trust in relationships, but most Indian couples deny each other space on a fairly regular basis and many opt out of marriage because they feel stifled by the lack of freedom and space. Allowing your spouse space is just a baby step in respecting their freedom and nurturing a long-term relationship.
Related Reading: Space, Spouses And Successful Marriages
Through the stories we saw, it’s clear that relationships need space to thrive. Let’s take a deeper look at just what giving each other space can accomplish and why it’s so important
Why Space Is Important In A Relationship
As you saw in the case of Meera and Vinay, holding a relationship too tight will just smother it. Giving it room to breathe is what makes a relationship flourish. Personal space in relationships makes sure both of you maintain your own, individual personalities outside of the relationship, so you can’t just be defined as someone’s spouse.
While spending time together is absolutely okay, the fact that too much of anything is bad for you holds true for relationships as well. Every now and then, you’ve got to spend time with yourself as well. Let’s go a little deeper into why giving space in relationship might just turn out to be its saving grace
1. You’ll be able to maintain your individuality
While in a relationship, couples start looking alike and acting alike. It may seem cute for the first two weeks, but once the cuteness subsides, it becomes mildly infuriating to always be with the person you’ve started acting like as well. It’s like you two are morphing into the same person, which isn’t cute.
Once you understand that giving space in a relationship will help you sustain your personality and individuality, it’ll be a welcome change from completing each other’s sentences, all the time. Go out with your friends, find a viewpoint outside of your spouse’s as well. It isn’t healthy to be spending all your time with one person.
2. You’ll start appreciating each other more
Once relationship space has been given to you and you now do things without your partner, you’ll actually be able to appreciate the time spent with your partner a lot more. Imagine this, if due to work, one of you had to be away from home for 6 months, wouldn’t the rest of the 6 months seem like pure bliss?
Quite a stark change from your relationship currently, where you’re fighting to hog up the quilt. Once you give each other space in a relationship, you’ll start appreciating your partner more.
3. You need time to miss each other as well
Absence makes the heart grow fonder; personal space in a relationship makes you realize just how true those words are. Be it a solo trip or a day out, you’ll soon realize how much you miss your partner once they’re not around. If you’re always at each other’s beck and call, you might just end up taking each other for granted.
4. Avoid the petty fights by giving each other space
The rude remarks will be flying about, the dishes will all be broken and emotions will be hurt before you realize you’re both fighting over something as stupid as a wet towel on the bed. When you spend too much time in close proximity with someone, it’s entirely possible that the pent-up aggressions lead you two to indulge in harmful petty fights.
By giving each other space, you’ll prevent this from happening. If it has happened already, space in a relationship will do just the trick to get you two to calm down.
Related Reading: 5 Reasons Why Space In A Relationship is not An Ominous Sign
5. The sexual compatibility will increase
Ask any couple who’s been married and joint at the hip for at least 5 years how many times they have sex in a week. We’re pretty sure the answer isn’t going to be too exciting. That’s if it’s a quantifiable number at all. By spending some time away from your partner, it will give you time to build up the excitement that should surround sex.
On a work trip, away from your partner? Talk dirty to each other. Have phone sex. You’ll eventually start yearning to be with your partner sexually, thus leading to more sexual compatibility. Who knew space in a relationship would lead to a better sex life?
Spending some time apart can make sure you two are brought closer together. However, spending a whole year apart might just do the opposite. It’s important to find the right balance, which should come to you naturally since you’ll realize you’re now missing your partner after a couple of days away from them! “I need some space” shouldn’t incite panic, making you worried that you did something wrong. Allow each other the appropriate amount of personal space in a relationship and you’ll see it thrive.
Yes, personal space is absolutely required in a relationship. Without giving space to each other in a relationship, you’ll only be smothering the bond you have by not giving it any room to breathe. It’s Important to maintain individuality and friends outside of your spouse so that there’s always something to explore about each other.
Yes, by giving space to your partner in your relationship, you will be making your relationship healthier than it was before. By giving space in a relationship, you’re making sure you both get time to miss each other and find yourself outside of the relationship as well.
Ask for it! By asking for personal space in a relationship, you can make sure your partner knows your needs. Take some time off, go out with a couple of friends, go to the gym alone, go on a solo trip or with friends, or just go sleep in another room. Creating personal space n a relationship is that simple.