We tend to strive for the "honeymoon phase" in relationships, where everything is wonderful and we just can't get enough of our partner. And while that phase can feel as great as we make it out to be, it's also exactly what we call it: a phase. Not every relationship will be sunshine and rainbows every second of every day. A relationship is built up of at least two people, and those people have individual needs, and sometimes those needs include being alone. But how exactly do you know if you need space from your partner?
"If you can’t make it an hour or two without checking in or asking a question of your partner, you need a break," April Masini, New York based relationship expert and author, tells Bustle.
It's completely normal to need space in a relationship. You might be an introvert that needs alone time to rest or you might just like spending time by yourself every once in a while. Needing some time apart doesn't mean you don't love your partner; it just means you need time to take care of yourself and recharge. If you're wondering if you need some time away from your partner, here are seven signs that you need space in your relationship.
1. You're Always Bickering With One Another
If you're constantly arguing over little things, it might be time to take a break. "Sometimes simply breaking the pattern of spending so much time together can break the cycle of bickering," Masini says.
Try spending a weekend apart with your other loved ones. "[It's] good for the relationship and good for the bickering that is a symptom that you need a break," Masini says.
2. You Don't Do Anything Without Telling Your Partner First
If you're feeling like you can't even go buy milk without giving your partner a heads-up, it's probably a sign you need some space. A huge sign you need space in a relationship is when "you’re codependent and can’t do anything without letting your partner know or getting your partner’s approval," Masini says.
Start out small by taking a break from calling, texting or emailing each other. "Chances are you’re texting, calling and emailing a dozen times a day. Don’t. Wait until you see each other in person at the end of the day," Masini says. "Sometimes the 8-hour workday apart is enough. Other times you need more."
3. Their Quirks Are No Longer Quirky
If all the cute little things your partner does are no longer cute to you, then it's probably a good idea to spend some time apart. Rhonda Milrad, a relationship therapist and founder and CEO of relationship app Relationup, tells Bustle that a sign you need some space from your partner is if "how they dress, or eat their food, or tell a story is like fingers on a chalkboard to you." If every little thing is bugging you, it's definitely time for a break.
4. Spending Time Together Isn't As Fun As It Used To Be
If you aren't having fun in your relationship, some alone time may be necessary. If you're feeling drained after spending time together, it's time for some time apart. Milrad says you likely need some space if "your relationship is going through a rough patch and it feels like every interaction results in a really difficult and painful discussion." Being together shouldn't be difficult, but if being together isn't smooth-sailing, a little time away from each other might be exactly what you and your partner need.
5. You Don't Want To Invite Your Partner Anywhere
Does the thought of inviting your partner to run errands with you make you cringe? It's likely a sign you need some space. "The thought of them joining you for the day is so unappealing that you downplay what you’re doing or don’t disclose the things that might interest them," Milrad says. "Keeping your plans under the radar is your passive attempt to steal alone time." Don't be passive; let your partner know you need some space. It's likely that they need it too.
6. You Feel Stressed Out
If anything is stressing you out, it's probably a good idea to spend some time alone – even if the stressor isn't coming from your relationship. "Sometimes underlying stress or tension can make being together feel like friction," Shannon McFarlin, a therapist at Talkspace, tells Bustle. "So it's helpful to check in with yourself and think about whether it's coming from external stressors like work or family, or if there is something you are wanting in the relationship but not necessarily getting."
7. You Don't Feel Like Yourself
Needing time alone is never a bad thing. A major sign that you need some downtime from your partner is if you're feeling exhausted, irritable, or simply just not yourself. Your partner will understand if you need some time to take care of yourself and your mental health. "Make this a regular part of your life so that you have a good balance of time alone and time with others," McFarlin says.
Needing space from your partner doesn't mean there's anything innately wrong with your relationship. It's always OK to need some time to yourself in order to rest, relax, or spend time with other people that you love.
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