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Love is an emotion that's hard to describe. You feel it deep within, but you can't put your finger on it. Your heart races, you're bubbling with joy, but these are emotions you can't touch. Love can be a wonderful feeling, until you hear something unexpected like, “I need my space.”
Those four little words can feel enormously confusing. How, if you love someone, can you want time away from them? How can the person you feel so strongly about be asking for time apart? Believe it or not, separation brings appreciation. Time away from your partner can actually bring you closer together. Here's why.
What does it mean to give someone space?
When two people are together all the time, it can be monotonous. Couples need to spend time away from each other so the relationship can grow. You need time to hang out with your family and friends. And don't forget, they need you too.
The key is learning how to spend time away from your partner without guilt or shame. It's about balance. Space can be a positive factor in a relationship (even in a friendship). To give someone space doesn't mean they're never coming back. It simply means they are their own person and they have a life outside of their significant other.
Love is not a prison
Perfection only happens on television and in fairy tales. It is not about a perfect life, but simply a life worth living. So let's say you find your soulmate, what decisions will you make? Will you lock them away in a dungeon, confined to darkness? Definitely not. Will you put them high in a tower with a tiny window? That's not realistic either. Loving someone doesn't mean imprisoning them and not “allowing” a loved one their freedom will almost certainly lead to the end of your relationship. Love is nothing without trust. You must trust your partner enough to know that they will return.
Credit Thanh Long
Love is a tree
Time spent with the people who love us are some of the best times ever. Life is more enjoyable when you have someone special to share it with. But you can't spend every waking moment with them.
Think of it like a tree. When you plant a seed, there are specific instructions to help it grow, ideal conditions like how much space, water and sunlight it needs. Give it too much water and the seed will drown. Or too little space and there won't be room for it to take root. But with the right conditions, the seed will eventually grow healthy and strong.
It's the same with people. If you want a relationship to flourish, you need to give your partner the right conditions and enough space.
What to do when you're apart
So what do you do when you're apart? Take up a hobby. Sign up for a class. Pick a night to hang out with family or friends. Volunteer to read to children at the local library or to spend time with the elderly. Start a book club or even write a book. Whatever you decide to do, make sure it strengthens you as a person and feeds your soul.
Use the time wisely. After all, having a life outside of your relationship will give you more to talk about! And these conversations can be fun as you both discover things about each other, and about yourselves, that you never knew.
When times are tough...
In reality, no relationship runs smoothly all the time. Sometimes, it's wise to put a little distance between you and your partner during a relationship crisis, but, this doesn't necessarily mean it's the end of the relationship itself.
When things heat up, instead of arguing, maybe one person can go out and get some fresh air to calm down and give the other person space. After all, there's no sense in talking when nobody is listening and nobody's listening when two people are yelling at each other. You can't solve anything in the heat of the moment. Allow your partner space and time to think, even if it means letting them walk out the door.
It's tough, but don't feel threatened. Besides, trying to prevent them from leaving could make matters worse. Let go. Have faith. Take the time to gather your thoughts. Think of what's best for you both with as little emotion as possible. Turn it over to the universe. Remember the plant, its roots will bring it back to where it's meant to be. Not too much water. Just enough love.
The article was written with the help of a dating and relationship expert and chief editor of Flirt.com Blog Alex Reddle