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Supporting a partner who needs space

Community Member


My partner and I both deal very differently with anxiety and depressive episodes. While I prefer to keep my support circle very close when I am going through a rough patch, my partner prefers to take time and space away from everyone. Sometimes my partner also asks to take an (indefinite) break from the relationship. When my partner does this, I tend to get very anxious and insecure about our relationship.

As much as I know to and try to respect my partner’s space, I find myself trying to get in contact every second day or so (to help ease my own anxiety about the relationship). When I do, I try to do so in ways that communicate I am still there for support should my partner need it and am not expecting a reply. For example, I text ‘thinking of you today, stay safe and well’. However, sometimes my partner expresses my acts of reaching out make them feel guilty (about pushing me away) and worsen the episode.

Upon asking how my partner would like to be supported (when there is no current episode), they often reject the conversation and it seems I have upset them. So, from people who have experienced this from either my partner’s side or my own; I would like some advice on how I can appropriately show my support.

Additionally, how can I better cope with the time my partner needs away? It really hurts me when they do this and I feel I can’t express that for fear of feeding into their guilt.

Thank you.
smol one

2 Replies 2

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi smol one,

Welcome to the forums and thank you for your post. I hope that you'll find some support in these forums.

Gosh, this is a really tricky one. I can relate very much; when I'm depressed often I just need a hug, where as my partner too prefers space and distance.

One thing that I've learned through this is that it's possible to both give him space as well as honouring your own feelings and having them met. What is it that you need to feel more secure about your relationship during this time? What does your partner need in terms of space and how much space?

Perhaps you could try setting up some guidelines beforehand - maybe that looks like taking a few days without contact and then him texting you, or a call once a week. The feeling of being 'pushed away' can often happen when things are really unexpected and random but knowing that that structure is there can help remind you both that you are in this together, even if you both cope very differently. {It's also so important to have this conversation when you are both in a good headspace}

With coping, I'm kind of thinking of self-care, in finding time and space for just you. Are there things that you really enjoy, where you can lose track of time? Journalling is one for me and I also like gaming - both of those are just little things that I enjoy and help me cope that I can do alone. Other options might be getting out of the house- usually I would suggest lunch/coffee with friends but in this time perhaps just a walk or a phone call! Whatever you choose, just finding little ways to care for you and allow yourself to have all of those fears and feelings.

I hope this helps


Thank you for your reply RT!

Good ideas. I shall have to have a brainstorm (alone and with my partner) about how my need for reassurance can be met while they need time and space.

In the mean time, I have been leaving my phone in the other room or at home when I game or go for exercise. That way I don’t find myself constantly checking for messages from them. And I try to zoom call my friends when I feel the need for interpersonal closeness. I guess it’s following all the remedies I usually would when in my own depressive episodes, but excluding my partner from the equation.

Thanks again for your response. It’s put in perspective that any sadness, whether triggered by my own issues or others, requires similar remedies.