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The Heart Beat The Heart Beat blog

Why Do Wives Need More Space Than Their Husbands?

Honey, I love you. But you're in my bubble.

By Kristin Wong Jun 26, 2012 4:47PM

Photo: Fabrice LEROUGE/Getty ImagesAs much as you love your spouse and your family, chances are, occasionally, you need your alone time. Distancing yourself from the pack helps you to regain your identity, and as the cliché goes, absence makes the heart grow fonder.

But despite everything you've heard about 'man caves,' a recent study shows that women may need that distance more often than men.

Terri Orbuch is a psychologist and research professor at the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research, and for the past 25 years, she's been studying 373 married couples.  According to the Wall Street Journal, 29 percent of people in Dr. Orbuch's study reported that they didn't have enough "privacy or time for self" in their relationship. She recently analyzed some data from her study and found that more wives than husbands reported not having enough space.

So why do women need more alone time? According to Dr. Orbuch, it's simply because women have less time to spend with themselves than men. She points out that women, even when they have full time jobs, are often the primary caregivers of children and/or aging parents. They also tend to have more friends than men; therefore, they have more social obligations.

Take all that into consideration and yes, that could leave wives very little time to spend with their thoughts.

Dr. Orbuch also asked her participants if they were unhappy in their marriages. Of those who said yes, 11.5 percent said it was because they had little privacy. That percentage was even greater than those who said they were unhappy because they were displeased with their sex lives (6 percent).

Dr. Orbuch says it's all about having an identity outside of the relationship.

"When individuals have their own friends, their own set of interests, when they are able to define themselves not by their spouse or relationship, that makes them happier and less bored," Dr. Orbuch tells the Wall Street Journal. "Space brings excitement and novelty."

And if you still aren't taking the importance of space seriously, it could have harmful consequences on your relationship. Dr. Vondie Lozano, a licensed marriage therapist, tells the Wall Street Journal:

"If you don't give [your spouse] their physical space, they will take emotional space."

What do you think? Do you have enough space in your marriage or relationship? Does your spouse complain about needing more time alone?

Photo: Fabrice LEROUGE/Getty Images

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1Comment
Jun 26, 2012 9:08PM
avatar
And here I thought they were talking about closet space.  lol
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