August 2nd, 2017

Space and Relationships

byMich Manaras
Blog

Too much of anything isn’t a good thing, right?

I know it’s pretty obvious, and so clearly applies when it comes to food, partying, tv, social media, sex, work, the list goes on… But what wasn’t as obvious to me was how people apply to this too.

The company I keep is pretty limited, but it’s extremely close; I see and talk to the same people almost every day. However it’s always been in my nature to just want to disappear for a few days and not see anyone at all. My self-professed lonerism just stemmed from the idea I needed time to myself, because without it I felt like I was losing my mind.

I always felt like I needed a refresher, whether it was a couple of days in solitude or a quick trip somewhere just to gain perspective. It’s like the routine would get to me, and after a while I couldn’t be productive or even be at peace. But it was a normal thing and my friends and family weren’t at all phased because I was always like that.

But just recently, after getting into a pretty big argument with someone very close to me, and not speaking for about 10 days, I’m starting to hone in on the heart of my need for solitude.

Like I said earlier, too much of anything isn’t a good thing, and I truly feel I spend too much time with the same people. This has nothing to do with a lack of love or appreciation, quite in fact the opposite. I think there’s a sweet spot in terms of time spent where people can truly benefit from each other’s company, and too much can be toxic.

When I reignited the conversation after 10 days, there was no bad blood whatsoever, and it dawned on me space was all we needed.

Did I need to disappear every couple of weeks because there was something innately wrong with me, or did I just overdose on my relationship? If I averaged things out with the “off-grid” time, it probably would give me a healthy window, that sweet spot of suggested time spent.

It seems I just got lost in the self-imposed routine and created a schedule I just couldn’t keep to, so I’d just burn out. Doing it so often gave me the impression the person on the other side was expecting my presence, when in fact it wasn’t so. Regardless the feeling of commitment made me feel trapped and I can now understand why I needed to disappear or skip town.

But the routine was no one’s fault but my own; I created it.

The more I’m conscious about the importance of space, the more I and the ones closest to me actually benefit. When I’m not so entrenched in the lives of others they consequently aren’t so entrenched in mine. When the conversation or the company is too consistent, it’s almost like a unintentional symbiotic co-dependency manifests itself.

I find myself making decisions or saying things with the other person in mind, completely unaware of it, rather than myself. And that’s when the feelings of frustration and hostility towards the other person set in, and vice versa.

My solution of getting away never really fixed the problem, because I’d only return to fall into the exact same routine. So I’d pretty much be spinning in a big wheel, chasing my tail and inevitably returning to that same place of resentment. But it wasn’t until the last big blowout where I realized space was my answer.

There’s been a very big correlation between space and appreciation for me recently. My brother’s been on the road for months now, and I feel like we’re both in the healthiest mind sets we’ve been in a long time. When we worked closely every single day we weren’t very productive or particularly excited about anything. Now it’s like the freedom from each other has propelled us in exciting new directions and every minute I spend with him now is so much more appreciated.

The same goes with my mom or my friends; when we’re together too much it’s like we all get sucked into quicksand. Only when we space things out do we each get more excited about doing our own things. And when we do come together we actually have something to talk about, rather than just being spiteful.

I’ve only just tapped into figuring this out, but I feel like it makes a lot of sense for me. Does disappearing from the world every couple of weeks solve anything? While it’s definitely nice to get away, it’s not solving the problem. And my problem, as usual, is simply too much.

Spacing things out, not holding myself to routines or schedules created in my own mind will prevent me from falling into that trap. I really feel like I’ll preserve my sanity and I won’t impose these routines on anyone else, because not only does nobody like them, but they create resentment, prevent productivity and dwindle appreciation for one another.

This is a very fresh concept to me but I can anticipate the very positive effects it’ll have on my view of relationships, and how space isn’t a break, but a consistent, spaced-out approach to appreciating the ones we love.

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