When a couple moves in together, concessions about personal space are made. At first, you enjoy every snuggly moment of relationship bliss and think nothing could be better. You cook together, watch TV together, fall asleep holding one another and wake side by side, but before long you notice you’re in each other’s space. Suddenly you’re bumping into each other in the bathroom while you both rush to get ready for work, or he’s borrowing your razor because he used his last one and has an important meeting today, or maybe on the way out the door you find yourself digging through a pile of his mail trying to find your insurance card that arrived last week. Understanding the need for privacy in your relationship and how to achieve it will help you both feel respected and make you a stronger couple.
Create Your Own Space.
Each person in a relationship needs their own physical space. A space that is yours and yours alone. You may not live in a house large enough to afford you each an actual room of your own. You may not get the art room you hoped for, he may not get his man-cave. Yet, you can still find a way to create your own space. Maybe your space is a favorite chair that becomes the reading nook only you use or a desk you can keep as messy or as organized as you please. Having a space of our own allows us to be creative and allows us to relax in a way that we can’t while in someone else’s presence, even in the adoring presence of our loved one.
Create Your Own Time.
Having your own time means having time alone to do something you don’t want to share, maybe a bubble bath while eating a pint of ice cream and listening to your favorite ‘80’s rock band or binge-watching Gossip Girl in your worn out, but oh-so-comfy, sweats. Having your own time also means time away from your partner hanging out with friends, shopping with your sister or catching up with a colleague over lunch. Time apart allows us to grow and develop. It gives us the chance to be excited to share news of our separate experiences once we’re together again. Couples who spend all of their time together and only make shared interests a priority can become stagnant. You each need the opportunity to continue exploring new interests. Doing so will enrich both of your lives.
Open and honest communication is the cornerstone of any relationship advice you will ever read. For you and your partner to navigate the issue of privacy, communication is critical. Yes, if you’re not comfortable sharing time in the bathroom, say so! Being able to communicate your boundaries will also mean talking about your fears and reservations. Let’s say your partner understands you need a night to yourself once in a while to binge on your favorite show without enduring his good-natured eye rolls and jokes about your favorite character. He decides to spend those evenings at a local pub with his buddies. Suddenly, you can’t enjoy your show because you can’t stop thinking about how your ex cheated on you with a waitress and you wonder if your partner is flirting with anyone tonight. This is something you and your partner will need to discuss and figure out how you can both have the time you need without causing mistrust. It is worth noting the difference between privacy and secrecy. Privacy is about respect- respect for yourself and respect for your partner. Secrecy is about hiding something.
Finding privacy in your relationship will not be a one-size fits all remedy. It is up to you and your partner to figure out what works best for you as a couple. Over time you may find as you grow more comfortable and trusting of each other, you need less privacy. There may even be a day that you no longer think twice about receiving an “I’m headed out, have a nice day” kiss while you’re on the toilet.
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