Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Relationships: Space


One of my male best friends sent me a loaded text message yesterday:

“Soooo is it bad that I’m tired of seeing my girlfriend every day?”

I had two reactions to his text message. Seeing as though I’m a female, the first is expected.

1) Emotional: “Oh my God, do men tire of us this quickly? Is this what my boyfriend asks his female friends about me?”

2) Rational: “Well, how much time together is too much time? How much time apart is necessary?”

Payton, my best friend’s name for this post, insisted he needed his space. He said he was ready to spend a night in his bed alone for once and needed the lack of femininity every once in a while. He asked if he should tell her or just start to ignore her.  I sat and pondered my best friend’s notions and tried to determine if his annoyance was birthed in the fact that he owned a twin sized bed or had a super glued girlfriend. I couldn’t decide.

There is absolutely no book on my shelf that I could refer to for this information. There are absolutely no females, that I know, that would have a well thought out answer that wasn’t solely based on a bad relationship. So I decided to go straight to the source….men.

I first turned to a close friend, we’ll call him Dante, and told him my dilemma. He was against my best friend’s stance. Dante believes that if you choose to be in a committed relationship, you should be able to see yourself, one day, marrying that person. He’s also convinced that the only difference between dating and marriage is expressing your love in front of a room full of people. Dante agrees that space, every once in a while, is mandatory in a relationship. However, he feels that Payton’s rationale is borderline disrespectful.

“If we’re married, can I kick you out of our bed? Can I stay away for a couple of days because I’m annoyed with you? Sure I can, but I won’t because it’s bad taste. He’s annoyed because he’s not ready to be in a real relationship. For the girl, she’s in too deep with someone who doesn’t always want her around. I don’t put time restraints on the people I love.”

Jadon, another pseudonym friend of mine, used a comparison of two of his relationships:

“I was with this one girl, who I kind of liked, and she was crazy clingy.”

Define clingy:

“She was always up under me and wanted to have nicknames for each other. That was weird.”

Sounds like she was just in love with you to me.

“Nah man, that wasn’t love. I’ve only been in love with one person. I’ve only had one real relationship. She was cool to be around. I had to be around that girl everyday.”

Hmmm, interesting.

Within our short conversation, Jadon proved Dante right. The girl who seemed to be clingy, was one who he sort of liked. The love of his life, who was around just as much as Ms. Clingy, was excused because she was…well….the love of his life. Also known as, someone he enjoyed having around EVERYDAY.

Lastly, my female friend Cara interjected her thoughts into my pending blog:

“My husband and I annoy each other a lot. Sometimes we just need space and time to kick back without one another. Sometimes I even go to a hotel for a few nights.”

Really? A hotel? You two share a beautiful matrimonial bed, home rather, and you’d prefer the comfort of a rented room? Scary.

Eh, I think it’s time for MY opinion.

First off, I don’t think anyone knows the definition of a healthy functional relationship anymore. My boyfriend and I discussed this the other day and we both agreed that it’s a union in which both parties are capable of accomplishing tasks separately and are still able to function as a pair. A lot of couples are afraid of stepping out of the “honeymoon phase”—or perhaps just one party in the relationship—and they slack on their own responsibilities and often neglect other loved ones.

During the honeymoon phase everyone receives texts/phone calls that have this kind of ring to it, “WHERE THE HELL HAVE YOU BEEN?!”

This may seem alarming, but in actuality it’s quite alright. The first three months of a good relationship feel like both people have found the only other person in the world. Tasks will go unfinished, phones will go unanswered, and hurricanes will blitz about outside and neither of you will notice. This is expected.

After those three months, in order to maintain your healthy relationship, you have to find an equilibrium. Both parties must be willing and ready to go about their real lives and reunite whenever they find the time. No one person can fulfill an entire person’s life—this is why we have family, friends and associates.

So I’m stuck somewhere in the middle:

Yes, clingy girls/guys do exist. They are stuck in the honeymoon phase or riddled with fear that their relationship is coming to an end. In order to appease their flawed notions, they grasp their partner’s with death grip and never let go. If you find yourself on either side of this situation, you’re either:

1) Crazy as hell.

2) Not into the person as much as you thought you were.

If you’re option two, you should reassess your interest in your “significant” other and decide if a committed relationship is where you really want to be. Because yes, this person will ALWAYS be around.

For Payton and other questioning gentlemen:

To save your lives and your relationships—never tell a girl you need “space”. Unless of course you’re taking a long separation to “think things through” or “see other people.” If you need said space, take it. If your girl is an understanding and rational human being, she’ll just give it to you. The next time she calls and says I’m coming over don’t hesitate to tell her that you’re hanging with the boys tonight. The next time she wants to go another chick flick don’t hesitate to tell her you’d rather study tonight. (Even if it’s a little white lie. I know you’ll really be home watching Thor on Blu-Ray or bootleg. Perhaps you just didn’t have the money for the flick.)

Payton’s rationale for space—an empty bed to sprawl out on and lack of femininity—will likely get him slapped and dumped. Cara’s runaways to her hotel will likely end up in matrimonial divorce.

If you’re feeling too crowded, take your space. If you’re having an issue with your partner,(circles pointer finger around ear and makes coo-coo sound) have a conversation about it.

Equality in a relationship lies within the ability to inform your partner about the divisiveness in your duality. Anything else is separate and unequal.




Leslie Colleen said...

WEll, as a new member of the "relationship party" let me say that my guy and I both have some really independent tendencies. ANd while it is important to retains one's identity in a relationship, the couple should be really particular about making sure they know each other. He and I are both workaholics. As such, we appreciate the breathing room, but also have to be very intentional about making time for one another, or else we wont... Couples need to be very honest about what they need from each other in terms of quality time. And nobody's way is THE way for you (the proverbial 'you')if you dont want it to be.

That is my comment.

Danielle Renee said...

Love it!!!

I agree with most, and it's also circumstantial...I think, if you are up under each other all of the time in the beginning, that may set the tone for the rest of the relationship. The expectation of time spent is greater, and when one party "needs space,” it sends off the wrong signal. On the other hand, relationships inevitable go through phases/seasons (i.e. cuffing season). When that happens, if the relationship is not stable enough to stand the “spring fever,” then the two will part ways...if it wasn’t meant to be.

Christina said...

As a four year veteran, I have to say that I know that my guy and I both have issues with space and dependency, but over the years (through some fussing, fighting, and making up of course), we can wear our individuality and duality comfortably because we took the time to talk and work it out. If the biggest issue in your relationship is space, think about relationships that are unequal, disrespectful, and abusive. Buck it up and don't sweat the small stuff! Blimps in a healthy relationship are fixable. If a couple wants to make it work, they will make it work.

It's great that you took the time to blog about this Riva. Someone is going to come across this and will be throwing flowers at your feet for this advice because some people just don't know!

dparrish2003 said...

First of all let me say I enjoyed the read as always! Now this post hits homes as it talks about space and stages of the relationship. Me and mines are well past that first stage (the honeymoon stage). Now what it seems to me is that Payton and his girl are stuck in that second stage of relationships (which for a lack of better works I like to call the 'F*** You' Stage). This stage is exactly like its says. One (in some cases both) of the parties are easily irritated by the other and beg to get away! It is this stage that people never want to deal with and it seems to last forever. I believe my girlfriend and I were stuck in this stage for about 6-9 months! It was was truly trying and I looked for time away from her ever now and then. Its sounds like Payton is in the same stage. You might wanna find out how many times they have fall outs. If and when they move past this stage and on to the next stage (the real stage) they will be able to communicated a hell of alot better. Then you only require a lil absence from each other. Just like the famous quote goes "Absence makes the heart goes founder" (but only in moderation)

K.Matt said...

Perhaps my experience is a bit jaded. But first I will agree that when its the love of your life you really won't get tired of them and it should never feel like they are clingy.

As far as a man telling his girl that he needs space...it will almost never work. No offensive but the average woman is not rational especially in a relationship. Love in itself isn't a rational act and for a woman to be in love and the man is not, there is no way to explain to her why space is needed.

The one who is in love (male or female) will not understand.

Lyrik Marie Simmons said...

Clingy-ness is often attributed with some type of insecurity, or fear. If a female is becoming too clingy, and it bothers you, there is usually 2 explanations, (as far as I know), why she is becoming too clingy and why her clingy-ness is bother your :

1. you aren't really in love with her as she is with you. This being your primary reasoning behind why you are annoyed with her "clingy-ness".. Because really and truly, if this was someone you really loved, her being clingy wouldn't bother you so much.. you wouldn't mind it.

2. second reasoning behind her clingy behavior, she feels like she's loosing you. We females have a tendency to grip harder when we feel like we're loosing you.. Clingy behavior attributes a lot to esteem issues as well..

Everyone needs space. Its mandate. However relationships (monogamous ones) are very much similar to marriage. Re-iterating what was mentioned earlier: you can not tell your wife/husband that you're getting tired of them. You have to stick it through and deal with it. However, in response to your friend, I honestly believe that he isn't in love with this female. Because if he was, he would never want to have this supposed space. There would be no need to "breathe"

Good post Riv!!!

stephxyoung said...

I love that!!!!!!!

Yeah im single but i could imagine what its like to be around a person everyday that youre in a relationship. One could get tired of the other... i have a question for you. When youre in the honey moin stage and everything that seems exciting isnt exciting anymore after youve been with the person for a few months. Why is that? Is does seem like guys get bored easily and us women have to do what we can to spice up the relationship... why is that?? Most of the time females do most of the relationship building work but once a guy gets bored its hard to keep things together. But reading this made me think about how guys function... its like they just say what theyre thinking without thinking about it whether its bad or good. This makes a LOT of sense!!!!!!!! Love your posts Riv!!!!

jendayi said...

I just happened upon your blog today and if I'm this far back in your history of posts, I guess you can say I'm hooked. I'm sure you've heard this many times over, but your prose is like water.

You're 24 you say? How are you this wise?! 5 years ago, I wouldn't have been able to deduce what you just did.

In admiration...

riva. said...

Oh wow. I feel so honored by your comment. Thank you. I'm glad you're enjoying the site!

I've done a lot in these twenty-four years. With experience comes a bit of wisdom, but I've got so much more to learn.

Checking out your "Zuri She Wrote" page now! :)