All romantic relationships kick off with a natural desire to be together 24/7/365. But slowly, the passion ‘settles,’ creating a little breathing space, so essential for true and lasting companionship.
Nitya Sinha, a jewellery designer who recently celebrated her 27th wedding anniversary, puts it beautifully, “The secret of a lasting relationship, I think, is the ability to give each other space. That happens when you have the faith that you are there for each other. My husband and I are hardly together during the day, and sometimes we are not even in the same room or doing the same things, but I know he is there for me and he knows I’m there for him.”
Are You Soulmates or Cellmates?
Is your partner/spouse/friend always asking where you are going and when you’ll be back? Are you doing the same to him/her?
Do you always enjoy doing the same things together, or do you often feel the need to go off on your own and explore a new place or activity?
Do you find yourself wanting to share your time and feelings with someone else? Do you suspect the same thing is happening with your partner?
Do you get upset when he watches cricket? Does he get restless when you’re on the phone for too long?
If you’ve answered ‘Yes’ to one or more, the signs are clear: one of you is taking up too much ‘emotional space,’ in the relationship. And it’s not just your spouse or partner with whom you’ll face space issues. Your endless devotion and attention can make your kids start feeling suffocated, too.
Hey, It’s Okay To…➢ Want to spend some time alone.➢ Go out with your friends once in a while. Friendships need nurturing, too!➢ Let your spouse say ‘No’ if he doesn’t want to go out for a movie with you or have peoople over for dinner.➢ Let him enjoy a guilt-free evening out with his own friends
Give Each Other Space➢ Don’t always be judgemental about your partner’s friends, opinions and personal preferences.➢ Don’t take it personally when he wants some ‘time and space’ to himself. It’s a natural, totally human need. Look within: there are times when you need it, too.➢ Discuss, don’t dictate. Or be dictated to.
Remember, if you find yourself wishing he were with you when you’re away, it’s a healthy sign that you are giving each other adequate space. If the opposite happens, time to run—in opposite directions, for a while at least!
How Lack of Space Suffocates
Kristin Armstrong, wife of Lance Armstrong, the celebrated Texas biker who fought and defeated testicular cancer, divorced him because she felt she was losing a part of herself in the marriage. Visibly happier after her split, she said, “If you ask me today what I truly love, I can easily tell you I love God, my family, my friends, fireworks displays, a good red wine, staying up late with a mystery novel, a sweaty run, painting abstract art, indulging my organizational compulsions, laughing until no sound comes out and taking my time. If you had asked me when I was married what I loved, I would have automatically told you the things that I loved about my husband: the confident, easy way he traveled between countries adapting to cultures and languages…or the little-known fact that he is a good photographer. I forgot my own list.”
Countless break-ups happen for this same reason: somewhere along the line, women lose a sense of space and self.
Space-Starved Souls in the Movies
Meryl Streep in ‘The Bridges of Madison County.”
Manisha Koirala in ‘Agnisakshi.’
Julia Roberts in ‘Sleeping with the Enemy.’
How to Be An Adult in Relationships: The Five Keys to Mindful Loving (David Richo). This sensitive book outlines five essential elements of mature love: Attention, acceptance, appreciation, affection and allowance.
Advice from a ‘Love Guru’
Rinetta Paries, an American Psychiatric Association certified Relationship Coach, says, “Create a vacuum, so that your partner has something to step into. This means you stop trying to create the connection, stop trying to be the center of attention. Step off the relationship stage. Let it be empty for a bit. It will feel strange and uncomfortable, but it is necessary discomfort. If you do not do this, your partner may look for more connection elsewhere.”
Words To Love By
Let there be spaces in your togetherness
…And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together, yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.
Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet, on Marriage
On A Lighter Note
Giving a man space is like giving a dog a computer. Chances are, he will not use it wisely!