How much space should we have in our relationships? How close is too close? And how much space is too much?
Murray Bowen, the creator of “Family Systems Theory”, highlights that, in relationships, there is a desire for closeness and intimacy, but also the need for space in order to save our individuality. These two forces are in constant conflict, creating tension. On one hand, the warmth of closeness brings us safety and comfort. On the other hand, too much of it can be drowning, feeling like you’re losing your sense of self. In order to cultivate a healthy relationship with your partner, it’s necessary that you both learn to balance these two forces.
Balancing Closeness and Space in Relationship
It’s important to grow together but you need to also tend to yourself. Think of it as your relationship garden that both of you need to take care of. In your garden, there is a space of togetherness, where you invest your time and emotions, you work on it to make it nice, clean, and beautiful. But there are also two other parts – your and your partner’s individuality. Those are parts of the garden that each of you has for themselves. In order to make your part of the garden bloom, you have to focus on growing different aspects of your life – mental, physical, spiritual, cultural, financial, career. If you forget to water any part of your garden, whether it be togetherness or individuality, the other part dries and slowly dies. In a healthy relationship, these two parts are equally important and can’t live one without other.
So, keep balancing. Don’t do everything possible with your partner and don’t forget your own needs and dreams. You need some time for yourself; you need to grow and develop. But also, don’t get too preoccupied with your own life that you forget about your partner. Grow your garden together. If you balance it right, it will bloom.