“You’re smothering me.”

“What do you mean?”

“I can’t even get into the bathtub without you finding six things you need to talk to me about. You’re always texting me when I’m out with my friends, wondering when I’ll be home. There’s always some emergency that I have to go home right now and clean up. I feel like I can’t breathe!”

“I just want to be around you. Is that such a horrible thing?”

“No…but we need some time apart, too. There’s such a thing as too much.”

Does this sound familiar? If it does, then this article is for you!

Personal space is a necessity, not a luxury. Being with your partner is great, but neither side should feel the need to be “joined at the hip,” either. Understanding how and why personal space is important is a key to creating a happy, balanced relationship. Here are 6 reasons for you to make room for personal space in your relationship that will help you achieve that balance you crave.

Individuality is important to happiness.

No matter how much you resemble your mother, father, identical cousin twice removed, or anyone else, you are an individual. Being an individual and being able to “do your own thing” means being a happier and more fully realized person in your own right.

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Being together all the time can suffocate a relationship.

Everyone needs time to themselves, and to be themselves. We usually try harder to be something “more” than we are when our significant other/spouse is present. While this seems like a good thing, spending too much time together without having outside interests and desires can be the kiss of death for a relationship. Keeping the spark going in your romance means not smothering it by spending too much time together.

Personal space is vital to being oneself.

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Being able to engage in outside interests is a good way to develop a stronger sense of self, which leads to the discovery of one’s desires and dreams. This is important because it fosters trust and communication between partners.

Too much of a good thing is a bad thing.

It’s not healthy to spend too much time together. If you’re constantly worrying about whether you (or your partner) is about to say or do something embarrassing with your friends or elsewhere, this is a sure sign that you’re spending too much time together. Another warning sign is feeling like you can’t trust your partner to fend for him or herself without you for an hour. This is a warning sign of a co-dependent relationship, and such relationships can turn toxic very quickly.

Separating yourself from your relationship is healthy.

You didn’t spring into being fully formed. You were a person before you met your significant other. No matter how much you love that person, you owe it to yourself to be an individual now that you’re with them as well. The worst mistake anyone can make in a relationship is to define oneself solely in terms of the relationship. Remember, your parents gave you a name, but you made yourself who and what you are to a large degree. Honor yourself by keeping your own sense of identity within your relationship. “Significant other” is not a name, and it certainly doesn’t relay everything there is to know about you!

Being individuals will make you both a stronger couple.

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Having outside interests and friends is an important part of strengthening your relationship. As long as you’re both coming home to be with each other, you should be free to cultivate your own life beyond the relationship as well as within it. If you’re together all the time, what is there to talk about? You can play the “remember when?” game, but that gets old quickly. It’s much more fun to hear what your significant other/spouse did today, and tell them what you did as well. This keeps communication open and builds a stronger, more loving and trusting relationship.

Remember that everyone is different.

You don’t automatically have to enjoy the same things your significant other does. In fact, trying to force yourself to do so is committing treason against your own person. Don’t be afraid to tell your lover, “I’d really rather not sit through Les Mis again, and I know you don’t enjoy my reading club. So while I’m at the reading club, why don’t you have [insert friend's name here] over and you can watch it?” This is a reasonable and mature way of reconciling two interests that don’t mesh, so both of you get what you want.

Having personal space is the key to a successful relationship, and not having it can doom a relationship faster than anything. Remember to give both yourself and your chosen mate time and space to be who and what you are without the other. It may be the greatest gift you can offer one another.

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