Both of us have lived in intentional communities and one of the rules in both of them (in different countries and languages) was that each member would have to have their own room. Even back then, we were aware of the need for personal space, especially when living with others.
Since those days, our understanding of what this means and what its importance is to a successful relationship has greatly expanded. We all need personal space to grow and develop and to be able to let others into our internal world without feeling a loss of individuality or the need to protect it.
What is personal space and how can we build it into our relationships? #relationships #blog #dating Click To TweetWhat is personal space and how can we build it into our relationships? Personal space is not dependent on an area in the outer world, as much as this helps when available. It is about going inside yourself, for refreshing your spirit, and for not interacting directly with others. This is a place where we review our separate thoughts, needs, and feelings and make contact with our inner life. It is when the relationship you are busy with is the one with yourself. This personal space is critical to functioning well in this busy world, and it is a necessary part of being in an intimate relationship. Only when you are spending time in this manner, can you really be open and free to also connect fully with another.
It’s important to understand that you are not always dependent on having enough physical space to create needed personal space. Yes, it really is helpful if you have enough room in your living quarters for each person to have personal and private space. Both of us are fortunate enough to be able to arrange this in our home and it provides that much needed possibility of time away from the interactions with our partner, or anyone else for that matter. Several of the couples we interviewed for How Two: Have a Successful Relationship maintain two separate residences, although they usually sleep in one regularly.
Q: How about space in the relationship? You two maintain separate spaces, don’t you?
Jacqueline: Yes, I think to keep it always fresh, it’s important that the man and woman have their own space, and have their work, their responsibilities; and then when they get together, the time is dedicated to being there exclusively for each other. We don’t live together right now, although we plan to. I work at home, he works at home, which would make it even more dif?cult; when you see each other all the time, for me it would be asphyxiating. I need my space, I need to go away, I don’t need to see him all the time, believe me, I have plenty of things to do on my own and I love my own company, I don’t need him. I’m not a needy person. That’s one thing that people should try to avoid, the neediness of that other person. Because that’s no good. And it’s not healthy.
Interview from How Two: Have a Successful Relationship
We are familiar with couples who have been very creative, even in a very small space, for instance by using furniture to create personal areas. Maude once used a high roll top desk to block off an area of the living room as her own.
However, if this is not available or physically possible, there are many alternatives. Local libraries are often a great option; going for a walk or to a coffee shop can be just what you need. Even participating in a class or activity that is just for you and away from the regular experiences of your relationship can give you that necessary personal space.
We have often noted that we never feel separated when we are apart. We think it is because we are very careful to each have enough personal space, and oddly, as a result we don’t feel our connection is ever gone, even when we aren’t together. This is an interesting paradox of intimacy and separateness.
Be creative together in finding ways to maintain these all important spaces. No matter what solution you find, you will notice that when you are both able to delve into your own individuality without your partner being involved, that you will be freer and more relaxed in sharing without fear and defensiveness.