a thought from katherine: taking the fangs out of taking space

earlier this week i was having my regular friend convo with my friend katherine and she said something that felt really powerful. i’m paraphrasing a bit (and i hope someday soon she’ll write/audio about this so i can cite her instead of my paraphase 😜) but here goes:

what would it be like if we took the fangs out of taking space? what if we didn’t see it as a failure that one partner chose to sleep on the couch? what if we saw it as a strategic use of the resource of making room so that we (each person) can get the space they need to ground and settle their nervous system so we have the best chance at having the conversation(s) we need to have from a good place? — katherine evering-rowe

and i immediately felt huge resonance (and significance). i don’t know how common of a reframe what she said is but i know i hadn’t heard it and it sparked several thoughts (based on me and david having completed our first week of cohabex).

first, i really resonated with the shifting of taking space as a failure. i know that in the popular media i’ve seen, someone sleeping on the couch is definitely framed as failure. i think the implication is “we couldn’t work out our conflict fast enough so now someone needs to sleep out of the shared bed and one (or both parties) need to suffer the consequences of that inability.

but i love the idea of seeing it as a tactic to give two people a better chance at having a conversation with grounded nervous systems.

and david and i move through cohabex, one of my questions is: how much space do we need to spend as much time together as we want? that has both square footage implications and emotional implications. i have heard from several couples thereapists that a frequent relationship killer is people not having enough physical space from each other (and that can manifest in many different problems which i will skip sharing for now but maybe in another post or i’ll find a link). and i have learned while living in my first solo apartment that having my entire living space to myself allows me what feels like infinite emotional processing room. compared to previous living arrangement, these days i almost always show up to social or work events with a grounded nervous system. that means i can hold so much more space, grace, and compassion for whatever i’m walking into. and that has come from having physical space which gives me emotional space.

ok dang, i have to stop writing now to to get to the rest of my morning routine but i have at least one more thoughts about this regarding the part about giving each other the best chance to have the conversation that’s needed (which is having the conversation from a grounded place) and what happens when you have hard conversations from a place of one or both people being triggered and/or unable to self-regulate… but that’s for my next writing time! to be continue…

links that include both reasonable and ridiculous ideas about this practice:

words / writing / post-processing
453w / 15min / 7min