1. If your partner is stressed, why might giving them some space be helpful? Is it always the correct reaction, or does it depend on the person?

We want to feel respected in any relationship we are in. Sometimes that means putting distance between ourselves and our partner, especially if they are asking for it. Providing your partner with space shows them that you respect their boundaries, and allows them to feel safe in the relationship. How much space a person needs will depend on the individual. If you’re not sure how best to support your partner, ask them.

2. What are your tips for giving a stressed-out partner some space?

Time – if you and your partner live together, especially after a long day, the last thing your partner may want is to have a conversation about your day, or theirs, the second they walk through the door. They may have had a rough day in the office, maybe had a long commute in traffic, and getting accosted at the front door may be the last thing they need or want. Sometimes having a general rule of thumb that each of you get 20 or 30 minutes to yourselves before getting into a conversation about the day can be the difference between a productive conversation and an argument.

Physical space – even if the house is quiet, sometimes a partner may just need a few minutes to themselves in a physical space that is their own. Think – man cave. Or she-shed. Having a safe space to relax and unwind for a few minutes can be immensely therapeutic especially after a stressful day. Allowing your partner that space provides non-verbal feedback that you support them and understand that they need some time to themselves before they are ready to interact with you.

3. What should you do if a partner asking for space hurts your feelings? Is it easy to take a request for space personally?

It’s easy to see a request for space as a personal attack. If it bothers you, say so. But also let your partner explain how they feel so you both can come to an understanding as to why the need for space is so important. If your partner is asking you for space, it is likely not because they don’t want to be around you. It’s more likely that they want to be their best when they do interact with you, and in order to do that they want to spend time decompressing from their day so they don’t take their frustration or anger out on you.

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