When asking for space is asking for trouble

Couple in conflict

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“I need space.” Those three little words that usually signify an imminent breakup. But sometimes it’s just one partner needing more alone time than the other.

A Wall Street Journal article about recent research into attachment styles and communication says that people who are more aloof tend to seek out those who are more warm and inviting – leading to a mismatch between how much time each partner wants to spend with the other. One would think we could use personality tests or games when we’re looking for dates, to find people who are more compatible.

Here are some tips for when one partner wants more “me time” than the other:

  • Be specific. Say, ‘I need the afternoon to myself.’ Simply saying ‘I need space’ sends confusing signals.
  • Explain why more space makes you happy, so your partner knows it’s not about him or her.
  • Enjoy the space you take. Guilt defeats the purpose, says Barbara F. Okun, counseling psychology professor at Northeastern University.
  • No secrets. Tell your spouse what you did and with whom when you were away.
  • Don’t get carried away. Too much space weakens your connection.
  • Don’t forget to schedule couple time and family time, too.
 Naturally, the comments turned into a fetid sexist swamp, but do you think men need more time alone than women?

Are you an “Ivy League” dater?

Two graduates kissing

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When two former Goldman Sachs investment bankers started a dating service for Harvard-educated professionals, it was considered a way to hook up with sugar daddies.

But after a pivot, HarvardDate has become IvyDate, and there’s no longer a requirement to have an expensive degree hanging on your wall in order to join:

Anyone can register for free on the site, no matter if or where they went to school. The catch is that the IvyDate team runs users through an admissions process, creating a community that’s “as selective as the Ivy League, without being limited to the Ivy League,” as Meric states.


So what kinds of qualities are IvyDaters looking for? Intellectual curiosity, love of learning, drive and determination, according to their FAQ.

While you can’t browse profiles, the IvyDate staff will send you five “hand selected” matches a week. It’s free to sign up, respond to messages, and send “Smiles”, but if you want to send substantive messages to any of your matches, you’ll have to pony up to the tune of $30 to $50 per month, depending on the length of your subscription.

IvyDate is focusing on New York City, Boston, and Los Angeles by holding events in these cities for their 30,000 members.

Would you pay for a dating site where you didn’t get to see who’s available beforehand? And would you limit yourself to only the ambitious types that IvyDate is seeking to aggregate?

Is it REALLY so hard to pay attention to tone?

I know this is meant to be satire, but it brings up something serious – how hard it can be to learn the nuances of communicating with your partner.

While it should always be the responsibility of the speaker to make her – or his – feelings known, sometimes it’s hard to be perfectly frank and ask your boyfriend, say, to stay home. It makes me feel insecure and demanding to have to ask, and it’s disappointing to think that the person you’re with doesn’t want to spend time with you.

Do you wish you had a translator to understand what your partner wants?

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