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Love Happy: The case for space

Welcome to Love Happy, where we help you successfully navigate the ups and downs of relationship life and share simple tips for keeping love fun, fresh and on track. In this installment, we look at how having your own space can actually improve your relationship.

I love you, but…

I love my boyfriend, but sometimes I need my own space. He’s cute, he makes me laugh and he always knows what to say to make me feel better, but that doesn’t mean I don’t need a BF break now and again. We also live together, which means that we’re around each other a lot. On one hand I have instant access to back rubs and cuddles, someone around whenever I need to reach things on top shelves (I’m short so this happens a lot) and someone willing to listen to my many long-winded stories. But on the other hand, there are times I just want to have the place to myself.

The girl cave

Sometime a girl just needs to fly solo. Maybe I don’t want to watch basketball or hear about how there’s no way that team is going beat this one in the playoffs (because seriously, I don’t care). To avoid getting frustrated with my guy just for making conversation, I decided the best course of action was to eke out some space that was just for me, so I could do my own thing sans sports talk. This meant taking a corner of our unusually large bedroom and using a decorative dividing screen to turn it into a home office/no-boys-allowed area. Or girl cave as I like to call it.

What’s in the girl cave: Desk, comfy chair, laptop, headphones, books, fashion magazines and usually a cup of tea (or a glass of Merlot depending on the time of day). Oh, and no boys!!

Why space is so important

It took me a long time to realize that being in a relationship didn’t have to mean spending every waking minute with my BF, and that needing alone time was perfectly OK. So when we moved into our current place, which is basically open-concept with essentially nowhere to close yourself off from the world (other than maybe the bathroom), I came to the conclusion that having a place where I could go to get work done uninterrupted (and where I could go to leave my guy alone) was just going to make our relationship stronger. Now if he starts talking about this team or that team I can just smile and nod and duck into my “office.” Or girl cave.

Other alone-time tips

  • See other people: No, not other guys, but do go out with your own friends and encourage him to do the same, at least once or twice a month.
  • Give each other space: Each pick one night a month where you plan to come home late – go to the gym, have dinner with your mom, go see a movie – so the other person has the place to themselves for an evening.
  • Take a class: Doing something that’s just yours (i.e. that your partner isn’t involved in) can be a great relationship booster. You get alone time learning something new and you have something new to talk to your guy about as you tell him all about your latest efforts learning Spanish or how you managed to turn a lump of clay into a vase.



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