“I’m fairly sure that my cute next door neighbor thinks I’m a stalker. She wrote it on Facebook, Twitter, and even in both of her diaries.” unknown
Personal space is personal for a reason. Aside from a brief period when a relationship first starts (remember sharing a chair, or eating off the same plate?), most people have a set space requirement that will revert to normal in time. There are however some very large differences between people and in a LTR these differences can either have a partner feeling suffocated or abandoned.
It’s important to understand that personal space is a very subjective subject that has very few hard rules. There are especially big differences between cultures and there are also differences between genders. So unless you are in same sex relationship with someone from an identical culture, don’t be alarmed.
While it’s more common to associate this factor with a stalker girlfriend, the truth is that men are just as guilty of ignoring the obvious. The reason why this factor affects both genders equally is that the root cause is a very human condition known as insecurity.
Relationships that have insecurity issues will often have partners acting more like cell mates than soul mates. While it’s great to have a tight bond, invisible handcuffs are not sexy. There are however a number of approaches and ways to address this issue that will make a difference.
The best solution is to not get in this tight spot to begin with. That starts with making sure friends and hobbies are retained when a relationship begins. Lacking sources outside the relationship for approval or feedback is the same as putting all your eggs in one basket.
There are however times when outside events can make diversity impossible. If you or your partner have just moved either for a job to be with one another it will take time to make new connections or develop new hobbies (it’s hard to surf in Omaha).
It’s also important to shake up the time you and your partner do spend together, don’t confuse quantity of time with quality. Staying at home watching TV together on the couch every night is great but the trough you are creating on the couch is going to create a rut in your relationship. Do some new things together, visit friends, take a walk, try a new sport; the point is to do something different or your relationship is going to be associated with watching paint dry.
It’s not wrong to desire a close relationship but even between couples there are limits on how much an individuals personal space can be invaded. The video below provides a good manner to view the world we share with others.
There’s two quizzes this time. The first will see how your relationship compares to others and the second can help you better understand your personal space requirements and how to best interact with your partner.
For additional information check out the links below:
Suffocating in a Relationship? start by not making it worse
The Nightmare what every man fears, be afraid, be very afraid
Relationship Personal Space Quiz
Everybody is capable of all three styles shown further below, but there will be a dominant style. Some of your attachment style is hard-wired, but the rest of it is learned behavior.
Answer the questions below as true or false.
1. I show love clearly and regularly to the people I care for.
2. I openly accept the love and care of others.
3. I ask for help freely and often.
4. I have at least three people I trust and confide in regularly.
5. I feel calm and secure on a daily basis.
6. I am known for my patience and tolerance.
7. People see me as available for intimacy.
8. I am open with my feelings.
9. My lifestyle shows that relationships are a priority.
10. I initiate and maintain contact with people in my life.
11. I generally take care of others better than I take care of myself.
12. I need a lot of contact time with my close relationships.
13. I get anxious when separated from the people I love.
14. I am the one who initiates most contact in relationships.
15. I sometimes come across as critical or pushy.
16. People see me as impatient.
17. I can be demanding in relationships.
18. I have had several relationship disappointments.
19. I can be pretty intense in relationships.
20. Much of my thinking involves close relationships.
21. I often lose myself in work or projects.
22. I tend to be quiet or uncomfortable in social situations.
23. I am generally a private person.
24. I tend to be quite self-sufficient.
25. I get uncomfortable with extended periods of closeness.
26. I think too much is made of relationships and closeness.
27. My partner has complained about my distancing behaviors.
28. People sometimes see me as over-involved in work.
29. At times I consciously avoid contact with others.
30. I can be withdrawn in relationships.
The more true answers you have in each category, the more you display characteristics of the corresponding attachment style.
Questions 1-10: Secure
Individuals with this style can freely show and receive love; are sensual, sexual, and have high self-esteem; can ask for help and offer it to others; get upset but get over it; do not hold grudges; forgive; are comfortable with closeness as well as distance; enjoy time alone and with others.
Questions 11-20: Pursuer
Individuals with this style expect a great deal of contact and closeness; usually want more time and attention than their partner does; are sensitive to rejection; get anxious when separated from their partner; want more information than their partner gives; focus more on what they don’t have than what they do; are often perceived as needy; are better at giving love than receiving it; get upset easily; hold grudges; are hyper-vigilant about their partner’s behavior.
Questions 21-30: Avoider
Individuals with this style want and need a lot of time alone; are often less talkative than the partner; are sensitive to any form of control; are often quite self-sufficient; give little information; withdraw when upset; have difficulty expressing their feelings; are often very involved in their work.
Does attachment style vary with a particular romantic relationship?
It does. With two pursuers, it’s great in the beginning, but ultimately you’re going to have to come up for air. If you have two avoiders, one will have to shift or you’ll never have contact. The goal is to get the pursuer to shut up, and the avoider to show up.The goal is to get the pursuer to shut up, and the avoider to show up.
More women are pursuers when it comes to verbal intimacy, and more men are pursuers when it comes to sexual intimacy. A pursuer in the living room can be an avoider in the bedroom.
How can you have a healthy relationship if you aren’t securely attached?
If you’re a pursuer, when those magic moments of connection happen, breathe it in. Practice the art of daily appreciation. “Thank you’s” remind you that you got something. That’s what’s missing with the pursuers — they think they don’t have anything.
If you’re an avoider, recognize your own need for connection. Understand that you can communicate in nonverbal ways: You can write a letter, send an email, leave a rose on your partner’s pillow, initiate touch. Daily acts of initiation will reap great rewards.
The big mistake is to think that the avoider doesn’t want closeness, or that the overbearing pursuer wants to push you away. Fights usually happen when one person is asked to take on a style that doesn’t work for them.