I need my space – How much freedom can a relationship tolerate

There are people who wish for a lot of closeness in a relationship – and who actually need it. And there are people who like to take plenty of me-time. In dating, the different needs for closeness and distance are not that important. In a solid partnership, on the other hand, they are essential.

The need for intimacy is different for everyone. While living a single life you are not really aware of it. However, as soon as you find yourself in a relationship, you suddenly realize how different the desire for spending time together as well as physical and emotional closeness can be.

The good news: It does not have to be a problem for partners if the need for closeness on the one hand and distance on the other differ. Many couples who have different needs in terms of closeness get along just fine. In these relationships open communication is key! You must empathetically respond to the needs of your partner and vice versa.

Fear of attachment and loss: One clings, one does not

A typical situation you may find in an everyday relationship looks like this: One partner would like to spend time with his/her loved one, the other one resists.

The “clinging” part soon feels rejected. He or she longs for nearness, acknowledgement, and affection. The other part doesn’t comprehend the problem. In scenarios like these, the role allocation can change in a heartbeat. The reason is obvious: The fear of loss on the person who seeks closeness can soon turn into a fear of commitment.

Fear of loss therefore causes fear of commitment. And that is a great risk. It might happen that the partner in need of closeness suddenly questions the sincerity of the relationship and secretly starts looking for other attractive singles and new dates.

It all comes down to one question: How much freedom is good for a healthy relationship? There is no one-size-fits-all solution here. It’s a given, however, that a firm bond always builds upon the ongoing dialogue between the partners. Consider this as a constant renegotiation of your relationship model. You don’t have to follow any outlines or specific, common relationship models. Rather, it is about finding a common ground on which you may establish a healthy balance between closeness and distance within your relationship.

By the way: If you put some work into it the need for closeness does not automatically need to turn into clinginess. This count just as well for any couple relationship as it does in a friendship or in a family environment. The first step is recognizing the emotional dependence. It is equally important to understand the needs of the non-clinging partner. Clinginess can be suffocating and even perceived as a compulsive need to control. But how can you hold on to your partner without smothering him or her?

The answer: Just give some breathing space. This video offers some great insights into this topic:

When the needs for closeness and distance are too far apart

Communication and finding solutions are the glue, which bonds any relationship. But sometimes even a constructive exchange is not enough to hold a relationship together. If there is no more common ground, it’s time to end the relationship. Otherwise, the person who seeks closeness is very likely to become unhappy. Or the more distant partner will suffer from feeling overburdened.

Regardless of which type of person you are: Within a non-committal romance, you avoid the proximity-distance problem. You enjoy physical intimacy as well as recognition at the same time. A casual dating platform like TALEJA could help you live your individual need for closeness and distance without hurting the feelings of other singles. Just give it a try.