How to Say You Need Space Without Hurting Her Feelings
How to Say You Need More Space in the Relationship
Every relationship operates differently. Some couples like to text all day long, while others prefer to talk on the phone once a day. Some people are super clingy, and others can go days without even seeing their partner. Unfortunately, people’s preferred relationship styles often clash, leading to miscommunication and hurt feelings.
Does your girlfriend require more time and energy than you’re comfortable giving? Is she always texting you, staying at your place every night while you long for some alone time? This conversation is not an easy one to have as it has the potential to hurt your partner. But if you’re dating someone who wants to spend more time together than you do, read on for some helpful tips on how to tell her (gently!) that you need more space in a relationship.
1. Identify What’s Bothering You
First, decipher what’s stressing you out. You need to pinpoint it before you talk to her. Is she at your place too much? Does she expect you to reply to a million texts immediately after they’re sent? Does she insert herself into all your friendships? You might be feeling suffocated in the general sense, but if there’s more to it, you’ll need to locate the cause before you speak to her.
When you do, bring up the specific behaviors rather than the general problem (that you need more space), as that’ll only come off vague and unhelpful.
You: Babe, I’m not used to having someone over all the time. I generally need lots of alone time. I don’t know if we’ve discussed this before, but I wanted to be upfront with you so it doesn’t cause any issues down the line.
There are plenty of gentle, sweet ways to ask for what you want without having to argue! Be warm, present, and engaged so that she doesn’t freak out at what you’re saying. Bluntness will only make things worse..
2. Don’t Judge Her Behavior
You: So I’ve noticed that you’re quite needy, while I’m more normal and chill in a relationship–
Her: What do you mean, I’m needy?
You can already tell this conversation is going nowhere good. Don’t position yourself as the superior one because you aren’t a fan of her habits. Don’t use words like “clingy” and “needy” either, as they suggest that something is wrong with the way she approaches the relationship. Instead, bring it up in a casual, non-judgmental fashion. You’re both different people with different needs, and that’s worth acknowledging.
You: Here’s the thing. I feel like we are slightly different when it comes to communication styles. I’m not the best at texting – I prefer talking in person, for instance.
Explain the difference without putting blame on either party. That’s the best way to ensure this conversation has a productive conclusion.
3. Tell Her It’s Not a Reflection on Her
Pulling back a little can be interpreted as disinterest, so she might worry that you’re about to break up with her. Be sure to emphasize that this has to do with your personality, not a lack of romantic interest. If you can, point to examples where you’ve felt as you do currently.
You: I’ve never had a relationship where I’ve met the other person every day. I generally need lots of space in relationships, but it doesn’t mean I don’t like you! I do, so much. I think you’re amazing, and I want to keep seeing you for the foreseeable future. I wish I were more like you in relationships because then we wouldn’t clash at all.
Also, be sure to apologize, and prepare for any hurt reactions. Telling your girlfriend that you need more space is not the easiest thing to hear. How would you feel if it happened to you? A graceful apology can go a long way to assuaging hurt feelings.
On the other hand, you need to be prepared if what you’re propositioning is a deal breaker to her. Remain patient and choose your next words carefully. You asked her for space, and now it’s your turn to give her some in return.
4. Try to Find a Compromise
Good relationships require compromises from both sides. You may feel uncomfortable with her being in your space 24/7, but that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. It’s important to try and find a middle ground. Make it clear that there’s room to discuss future needs and expectations.
You: Let’s figure out a way to handle this. Maybe you can stay over four nights a week, instead of every night? But I want to be a better boyfriend, too. I promise to be better about texting and checking in. I don’t want you to ever feel neglected or distant from me.
Reassure her that you’re not going to be withdrawn just because you won’t be seeing each other as much.
Ask her what you can do to make her feel more supported. It’s a bonus if those are things that don’t involve constant communication/closeness, but that may be something unique for you to decide as a couple. With luck, this talk will only help your relationship grow stronger from here on out.
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