Have you ever had your partner or a past partner say to you, "Give me some space." Or "I need some space in this relationship please."? Sometimes we haven't been paying attention to what our parner has tried to say to us and it ends up being too late. They can be announcing their coming departure or announcing the beginning of a trial separation.
Why do you often not hear what the other person is saying when they state their needs and feelings about how they want the relationship to be? Two basic reasons.
First, they are not very clear about what it is they want or expect and you do not get the point. At least you do not understand enough to invite a conversation about the topic of personal space in a relationship. Always ask for an explanation when somebody is not clear! Always!
Second, you choose not to hear it. And when they ask you what you think about that statement, "I need more space in this relationship. I feel choked", you avoid engaging in a discussion about it, perhaps.
Why does one do that? Why sometimes choose not to hear it or discuss it? Fear!
You, I, all of us, are afraid at some level.
Perhaps our partner has really said it is over. Finito! Major fear! Or there is the fear of not knowing how to talk about it with our partner, to engage in a meaningful discussion about giving each other enough space. There is also the fear of failure. You think; "Oh my god, I haven't done this right. It is my fault and my partner is unhappy with me." Panic and sweat.
Attack and defend. The opportunity to learn is drowned in a rush of overcharged emotion.
We lose our focus and are full of those shitty feelings of being out of control and misunderstood. Maybe we choose instead to counter attack and blame our partner.
Wonderful. I am going to pull my blanket over my head and not come out for two weeks!
Stop! Put on the brakes and take a deep slow breath, and then another and so on until you have chilled out. Ask for a "Time out" with a promise to come back to the issue and discuss it in a few minutes, for example.
While you are chilling I want to share something with you. Wanting enough personal space is totally natural and very important. When somebody says I need more space, you have not failed. Since you haven't even discussed the issue of "wanting more space" you do not really understand what is being said. Perhaps this is a wonderful opportunity for the two of you to grow into a bigger, more spacious and better relationship.
When you go back to your partner, talk about the issue of creating enough space. Ask for an explanation of what they mean and want? Summarize that back to them so that you know and they know you have understood. Explain how you feel and ask if it is possible that the two of you find a solution. Allow yourselves to grow. Get some life coaching.
Relax, you can do this together.
Breathing in, I create more space for us. Breathing out, I relax into that space.
Be mindful and have a communicating week, Bob and Marianne®
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