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Q: My wife and I are both self-employed, and we live in a small apartment. I often leave to meet clients or work at a coffee shop, but she never seems to leave. I’m finding that I don’t get time alone to do my work at home, and we get no space from each other. I am also finding this interferes with our “personal time,” as I don’t often miss her during the day. When we do have time away from each other, it creates a spark at night. How do I ask for space in the apartment without hurting her feelings or disturbing her work process? -Marshall, 46

Dr. Anna: It shows a lot of sensitivity on your part to try to find the right way to express your needs to her. Your question itself implies that you care deeply about the relationship and want to preserve it. Time apart is healthy for good relationships, and—like you pointed out—necessary to keep that spark going. So, start there. Make sure to tell her that you love her and want to keep your relationship healthy. Tell her you feel more spark and attraction with some time apart. Ask her whether you might time-share your apartment in the work day. Or maybe there is cheap office space one of you can rent nearby one or two days a week. Maybe there are some self-employed meetups near you that she would be interested in joining. Collaborate together on a solution that works for both of you.

 
 
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help. Read her complete bio!
 
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward. Read her complete bio!
 
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults. Read her complete bio!
 
NOTE: The information contained herein is provided for information purposes, and not intended as a substitute for advice or treatment that may or should be prescribed by your physician or recommended by your therapist.
 
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