How To Tell Someone You Need Space Without Being Hurtful

I love you, but get out of my face.

couple that needs space getty images

Have you ever wondered how to tell someone you need space in a relationship? Maybe you’re feeling suffocated, or maybe you just need some alone time; some “me” time.

Either way, it’s an issue you can’t ignore in a relationship, but facing it can be tricky because your partner could wind up with hurt feelings or misunderstand your request.

How can you essentially tell someone, "I want to see less of you," without hurting their feelings?


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Is it really OK to need some time away from your partner and ask for space in a relationship? Yes!

When it comes to needing time or distance in a relationship, different people will have different needs. So Is there really a way to ask for that space without upsetting the balance of your relationship? After all, what you're really saying is, "I want to be left alone for a while."


Everyone needs a balance of quality partner time and quality alone time. And sometimes finding the right balance of spending time together in a relationship can leave you feeling like you don't have any room to breathe. Between your obligations, social media, and your family life, you may feel like there's no space in there for you to just be your uninhibited self.

If you can learn how to ask for what you need in a relationship — even if it's personal space — you'll ultimately improve the bond with your partner and learn better communication skills.

Here are 6 ways to tell someone you need space without being hurtful or losing them:

1. Be upfront about what you want.

If you want your partner to become paranoid that you don't like/love them anymore, then by all means, start making up excuses for why you can't hang out as often.

Asking for space is a hard topic to talk about because you're worried they'll take it the wrong way. But dodging the issue and simply attempting to dro hints is the one way to guarantee they'll take it the absolute worst way possible.


They will notice that you aren't seeing each other as much, and they will try to figure out what's wrong. Don't make your partner think you're ghosting them.

2. Choose your words carefully.

It can be stressful when someone doesn't give you room to breathe. I get it. But this doesn't need to blow up into an argument. It's just two people who have different expectations in the relationship.

No one is at fault, and that's the most important thing to remember. No one inherently knows how to give someone space without losing them, and it might be a sore topic because that's what your partner thinks is happening: they're losing you.

Make sure you don't let tempers get out of control. Take breaks as needed and only discuss this with cool heads at the forefront.


3. Be clear about your needs.

Nothing is more frustrating than not knowing what your partner wants. You may not know at first how much space you need or for how long, but don't leave them hanging.

When you figure it out and get a handle on it, communicate that with them so you can both be on the same page. This means you'll need to determine beforehand how much space/time you need.

If you just need a few days to recharge, tell your partner that. If you have something deeper in your thoughts and think it might be closer to weeks or more, you need to be upfront with them and be realistic.

They may perceive this as you trying to abandon them, so being honest about why it's so important to you can help mitigate those worries.


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4. Let them weigh in with their concerns.

Nothing in a relationship should be a one-way street. If you're asking for something from your partner, you should expect to understand their point of view and needs as well.

They might be a little taken aback and feel that you're pulling away, and you need to take the time to reassure them.

5. Address their worries.

It's one thing to hear your partner out; it's another to act on their concerns. Assure them this isn't a sign you want to break up with them, but just something you need from a relationship, like fidelity and trust.

Again, be honest. Don't tell your partner you need space if you're really planning on ghosting them and moving on. This is a time for you to get your own personal space needs; not to lead someone else on.


6. Be willing to compromise.

If you need to see less of your partner in person, throw them a bone every once in a while. Surprise them with a visit on a day you may not normally see each other. Send them a goodnight text even if you didn't talk all day.

Remember that they're sacrificing a little bit to give you the freedom you need. The least you can do is return the favor sometimes to make them know their effort is recognized and appreciated.

It's OK to ask for space — as long as you do it with empathy.


In the end, you must decide what's healthiest for you in life and love, and if asking for space is what you need to have a healthy relationship, then work with your partner to honor those feelings.

It's OK for you to ask for space in a relationship. Just remember to be open and honest and respect your partner's feelings and work through any issues that might arise if they aren't prepared to deal with.

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Bob Alaburda is a former contributor to YourTango.