We’ve all seen the lovey dovey couple that are joined at the hip and can’t get enough of each other. Some of us are envious of them and others feel nauseous at the mere sight of them holding hands.

Unfortunately, chick flicks, romance novels and Disney movies have made it an expectation and a requisite that once you’re in love, you must want to spend all your time together.

But is that healthy? Is it normal to be around your partner all day every day with no time to yourself?

I don’t think so! A little space in any relationship–no matter how solid–is the key to success. Distance REALLY does make the heart grow fonder!

Having space isn’t about separation, but about making sure you know how to function by yourself and perhaps most importantly, making sure you have time for YOURSELF.

Couple having issues

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Here are a few tips on how you can give your relationship space:

A. Never neglect your friends

Maintaining your friendships is an easy, foolproof way for your relationship to have space because you’ll be obligated to spend time with people other than your partner.

One of my best friends manages to forget all her friends once she has a boyfriend. She gets so consumed in HIS life and HIS friends that she forgets she had any of her own.

By making sure you don’t neglect your friends, you’re proactively making sure your relationships are being taken care of and finding good use of your spare time that doesn’t involve your partner.

Plus, the last thing you want to do is neglect your friendships so you have no one to fall back on when or IF your relationship doesn’t work out. You will always need your friends as a support system whether you are going through a breakup or a fight, it’s always nice to be able to call on a friend when you need them.

If you neglect your friends, you will have no one but yourself to confide in.

B. Spend one evening a week or every two weeks by yourself or with your friends

Guys call it “poker night” or a day out to play golf. Girls can call it “girls night out.” Whatever you call it, this kind of space is a great healthy way to do things without your significant other!

But you don’t have to include your friends to get some time apart; why not stay in one night (instead of spending the night at your partner’s dorm) at your own place and hang out with your roommates or by yourself?

Pop in a DVD, pop some popcorn and get comfortable in bed or on the couch. Not into movies or television? Try relaxing to some music, reading a book, or even catching up on school work you may have missed.

C. Don’t hesitate to set “ME” time

It’s totally normal and healthy to want “me” time. What’s me time? It varies by individual. For me, it’s a couple of hours every now and then when I can stay in bed, read magazines, watch TV shows and eat pizza without being disturbed by phone calls, texts, or any living being.

For my friend Jacob, “me” time is when he can bake brownies from scratch without being disturbed, ridiculed for baking or condemned for eating the entire batch.

So order in that take-out food you have been craving, go get a massage or pedicure, hit the gym by yourself and work up a sweat, pop in a load of laundry that you have been meaning to do, or try cleaning up your dorm or apartment.

Take home message: Wanting space in your relationship doesn’t mean your relationship is doomed!

Having space and time for yourself in your relationship is a healthy way to maintain your relationship, not wreck it! If you never spend time apart, neglect your friends or yourself, your relationship may not last very long at all.

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