Especially when you're still in the honeymoon phase of your relationship, it can be tempting to want to spend every waking second with your partner, but experts agree that personal space and time apart is key to ensuring a healthy and long-lasting union. "Even the best-matched couple will have different interests and friends coming into the relationship, and it is important that neither partner feels that they have to give up too much in order to be with their partner," explains Charlynn Ruan, Ph.D., a licensed clinical psychologist and the founder of Thrive Psychology. "This can lead to resentment. If there is no disagreement whatsoever in a relationship, it is likely one person is not fully expressing their needs."
Not only will time spent apart allow you to focus on the things—both big and small—that you should be doing for yourself to boost your own happiness, but it will also allow you to miss each other, which will only enhance the time you spend together. Here, experts share their best-kept tips for respecting your partner's personal space.
Ask your partner what their idea of personal space is and what it means to them.
While, at first, this might sound like a silly conversation, it's an important one, according to Amy McManus, LMFT, relationship therapist and owner of Thrive Therapy, Inc. "This will give you a good idea of how your partner views personal space, and it may help you adjust the way you present your own feelings about this in a way they can better understand."
Create spaces in your home that's your own.
Even if you live in a tiny studio apartment, allotting a certain area to yourself for yoga or meditation, for example, and a certain area for your partner to do whatever it is that he or she likes to do alone is all you need. A reading nook or separate offices are nice options if you have a larger home, but it's important to note that you don't need to carve out a ton of room to feel like you have your own retreat.
Honor your partner's things.
"If your partner has their certain things that they prefer to be theirs only, be it a special shampoo or favorite drink in the fridge, don't take it," says Dr. Ruan. "It is disheartening and can feel invalidating to go grab something you been looking forward to and find out your partner took it."
Cultivate separate hobbies.
If you already have your own hobbies, such as playing basketball or playing cards with friends, good for you! Continue to participate in these hobbies that make you happy and give you some time and space away from your partner, suggests Dr. Ruan.
Don't complain about your partner's friends.
If one or more of your partner's friends are not to your liking, try not to complain or gossip about them. "You don't have to hang out with that friend, but try not to cast judgement," says Dr. Ruan. "Trust your partner's judgment, even when you don't understand their choices."