Space and happiness go hand-in-hand

Tom smiled wide as he reached twenty feet on the layered minerals of rock beneath him at The Circuit Bouldering Gym in Portland, Ore. He had found a new hobby. His girlfriend, Holly, stood below him, cheering him on. Holly found she wasn’t cut out for her boyfriend’s hobby. She tried climbing a few different times but after falling, she realized that she wasn’t physically strong enough to keep up. Even though she wanted to do things with Tom, it was clear that she just wasn’t meant to do everything with him.

“We each have our own hobbies and even though we often try to share them with each other, we find that having our own thing makes it a lot easier to be comfortable with ourselves,” Holly said. “Tom does a lot of rock climbing, and I’ve tried it, but it’s not really my thing so when he gets to have that alone time to go climbing, it allows him to have time away from the responsibility of taking care of me.”

Holly and Tom’s relationship is not unique, though. According to psychologist Mary Anne Fitzpatrick, there are a variety of couple-types. Each couple-type’s attitudes and beliefs toward their partner and relationship hold particular implications for how they deal with conflict. Fitzpatrick developed general relationship clusters to categorize couples into three categories: independent, traditional and separate.

Independent couple-types value both connection and personal autonomy. They actively discuss many aspects of their relationship and hold nontraditional beliefs about relationships. In these couples, there is an open sharing of love and caring and the tendency to communicate a wide range and intensity of feelings. These relational partners tend to seek new friends and experiences. As for space, these couples like to take their own vacations and each has their own private space. They can also go long periods of time without spending much time together.

Some examples of this may be a couple where one of them is in the army and is away for months at a time, or has a job where they travel a lot and aren’t home much. These kinds of couples do fine with space and it doesn’t affect their relationship in any certain way.

The second couple-type is traditional. The men and women in these relationships are highly interdependent and like to do things together versus alone. Since this type is traditional, they tend to hold gender role beliefs, such as the woman taking the man’s last name when they get married. These couples also use positive communication behaviors during conflict, such as discussing issues instead of threatening with issues, and they tend to not argue over petty things.

An example of this is if a couple took up certain hobbies together or if they had to choose between a night out with friends or a movie night together, they might choose to be with each other instead.

The third couple-type is separate.  These relationships tend to avoid not only conflict, but interaction as well. Inevitably, couples are going to have to have disagreements in their relationships. The way they resolve these differences, however, range from totally avoiding conflict to actively engaging in it. Couples vary as to their willingness to engage in conflict and their degree of assertiveness with one another.

An example of these couples may be ones who ask each other what is wrong and the one that is upset responds with “nothing” just to avoid having a fight over what he or she really wants to discuss, therefore furthering the problem.

Alesia Woszidlo, an interpersonal communication scholar at the University of Kansas, said that each couple deals with space in a relationship in its own ways.

“Space is important, but it functions differently for different couples,” Woszidlo said. “Some couples place more value on sharing space with one another while others prefer more separate space.”

Having enough privacy and space in a relationship is more beneficial to the survival of that relationship than having a good sex life, according to Terri Orbuch, a psychologist and research professor at the University of Michigan.

During her research, Orbuch found that 29 percent of spouses said that they did not have enough space and out of those who reported that they were unhappy, 12 percent said the reason was due to the lack of time for themselves.

Holly also said that by giving each other space, she and her boyfriend build trust in their relationship.

“Tom and I have zero trust issues because we are away from each other so often and are really open and honest about what we are doing, and we have to be, because the only thing you have to go on is the other person’s word when you’re not together,” Holly said. “It’s super easy to love someone who is an individual, knows where they stand, and has the same respect and hopes for you, and I think space facilitates all of those things.”


The following audio is about how two college girls deal with space in their own relationships.

Wisdom: Space and individuality both play a key role in a relationship between two significant others. Kelsey Clothier, a sophomore at the University of Kansas says that she thinks the space between her boyfriend and her is what has kept their relationship stable for so long.

Clothier: My boyfriend, Blake, lives in Wichita and I live in Lawrence so obviously we don’t see each other very much. I would say that the whole space thing is good for our relationship because my major is pre-pharmacy so it’s pretty hard and I keep myself busy with that a lot. So it’s kind of good because when I’m not with him I can focus on studying and it helps a lot with our relationship in that way because he’s really supportive of the time that I spend studying and that kind of adds to the strength of our relationship because it means more to me that he’s more supportive of the time that I take away from him to study and he respects that so it’s kind of, it’s a bonus.

Wisdom: Katie Krim, a junior at the University of Kansas realizes that space is what makes her time with her boyfriend so much more meaningful when they’re together.

Krim: My boyfriend Josh and I usually see each other about five times a week. The thing is that we’re best friends so it’s really easy to tell him, hey, I need to do homework, I can’t have you distracting me, or I really need you to just stay at your house because I need my own space or just alone time and I think that we both have had relationships where the other person is too demanding and suffocating our lives and we have both learned through those types of relationships how to let that other person have their own space because once they’ve had their own space, they tend to come back and be more loving and are refreshed and it becomes a more healthy relationship because we aren’t always in each other’s presence even though we do spend a lot of time together. That also has a lot to do with the fact that we both have the same really close friends, but we still have that mutual ground of knowing, hey I need my space and it’s fine I mean, it works out great, we’ve been dating for over two years and we’ve found a really great way to make that common ground.

Wisdom: This is Jordan Wisdom at collegeloveadvice, thanks for listening.



The graphic above shows a surveyed group of 136 middle-class Americans’ satisfactions and dissatisfactions in a relationship and how they’re broken down.

Source: Between Husbands & Wives: Communication in Marriage (1988)


Emergency contraception should be made available to teenage girls over the counter without a doctor’s visit

  • Emergency contraception is trying to be made available to teenage girls over the counter without a doctor’s visit. With the guidelines of Obama’s birth control mandate in effect, momentum is building to make contraception affordable and available for all American women.
  • Secretary of State Hillary Clinton provided a game plan for achieving a global “AIDS-free generation” committing the United States to rapidly scaling up medical interventions that are beating back this so-called unconquerable disease.
  • The time in which a girl gets her period is found to indicate how likely you are to develop cardiovascular disease later in life, according to a new study. The study found that women who got their periods early on were more likely to have a higher BMI, a larger waist circumference and greater overall body fat.

Physical attractiveness and individual preferences are shown to be the first judgments during speed dating

  • Physical attractiveness and a person’s individual preferences are shown to be the first judgments many people make during speed dating, according to researchers at the California Institute of Technology. The study is one of the first to look at what happens in the brain when people make rapid-judgment decisions that carry real social consequences.
  • The amount of abortions in the U.S. drops five percent during the recession, with the biggest one-year decrease in a decade, probably because women are more careful to use birth control when times are hard, researchers say. The decline came in 2009, the most recent year the statistics are available. Both the number of abortions and the abortion rate dropped by the same percentage.
  • Men in committed relationships choose to keep greater distance between themselves and other women when given the hormone Oxytocin, according to new research. The findings suggest that Oxytocin may help promote fidelity in monogamous relationships.

Nearly 56 percent of LA voters voted in favor of Measure B which requires pornstars to wear condoms during filming

  • Nearly 56 percent of Los Angeles voters voted in favor of Measure B which requires all porn actors to wear a condom and producers to get a permit to shoot raunchy scenes, according to the LA County Registrar’s Office.
  • An effort to develop a birth control “vital sign” measure could get doctors to document women’s use of contraception, but it doesn’t make them anymore likely to include family planning counseling during these visits. This proposed “vital sign” would contain questions about contraception and pregnancy.
  • About half of patients with HIV on antiretroviral therapy skipped their medications whenever they were drinking alcohol, which could then lead to higher viral loads, according to a new report. Lapses in pill-taking could be due to forgetfulness but a widespread belief that mixing alcohol and HIV drugs can be toxic, appears to play a role.

Having space in a relationship is shown to be more beneficial than a good sex life

Having enough privacy and space in a relationship is more beneficial to the survival of that relationship than having a good sex life, according to Dr. Terri Orbuch, a psychologist and research professor at the University of Michigan.

During her research, Orbuch found that 29 percent of spouses said that they did not have enough space and out of those who reported that they were unhappy, 12 percent said the reason was due to the lack of time for themselves.

People often think that keeping a good sex life in their relationships, as well as the more physical things, will keep their relationship strong. Such as going out, buying things for each other or even spending a lot of time together is what will benefit them the most. But in reality, this isn’t always the case.  In fact, more research is showing that partners need more time apart to be able to reflect, rekindle relationships with their friends and family and maintain their sense of identity, while still being a couple.

Jennifer Stolte, junior at the University of Kansas, has been in a relationship with her boyfriend for the past five years and has recently been struggling with not feeling like she has enough space or time apart from him.

“Space definitely benefits relationships. It gives you the opportunity to miss the other person. And when you do get to see your partner, the time you spend together is quality because you do not see them all day, every day,” Stolte said. “You know that my problem was not enough space. Now that we have been working on that, we are much happier when we are together. Having space gives you the opportunity to be your own person.”

Many people find that spending time alone gives them an opportunity to finally focus on themselves and gather some independence and strength rather than clinginess. One of the big factors that can influence a need for space in a relationship can also have to do with your upbringing. If your parents were constantly warm and nurturing to you, then you are likely to have a “secure attachment” and can cope with being together and being apart from a loved one. If you were raised by parents who were more rejecting and not as nurturing, you may tend to have more problems with clinginess and needing space from a partner.

Holly Prevou, junior at the University of Portland, knows exactly what it’s like to have space in a relationship, having to be apart from her boyfriend for months over the summer while she comes back to Kansas and he stays in Oregon.

“It’s hard being away from each other for a long time, but attitude is what really makes it. If we start realizing that the space is tearing us apart, making us nitpicky at each other or getting annoyed because we haven’t really been able to connect without being together, that’s the hardest thing to get through,” Prevou said. “But, if we both work hard to always have a good attitude about being apart, then it’s never a problem.”

According to Orbuch, some couples pursue different hobbies or engage in different sports and activities while others may go out with friends or join clubs to devote time for themselves. If couples don’t want to physically take the time or money to find activities to do outside of the house,  they can still find space for themselves in their own home to think, process their thoughts and relax.

Prevou agrees that sometimes people just need time to themselves to unwind. She said that when she asks her parents what makes their relationship last, they both said it was space. Her parents both liked to travel and her mom used her marathon traveling as a means of getting away in order to appreciate what her dad does when he is around. Her dad likes when her mom is gone from time to time so that he can eat KFC and fall asleep on the couch without anyone nagging him.

“No one wants to live their entire life in that ‘fantasy land’ that we all have,” Prevou said. “We need something grounded and usually our partner is what keeps us grounded, but an escape from reality every once in a while is definitely a treat.”

There are many different reasons as to why relationships and marriages do not end up working in the end. The following bar graph shows the top reasons broken down as to why many marriages end; cheating and abuse with the highest numbers among them all.


Hookups may not actually be replacing romantic relationships on college campuses

  • “Hooking up” has become such a trend on college campuses that some people believe that these casual sexual encounters may be replacing romantic relationships. In a new study, though, romantic relationships are still the most common context for sexual behavior.
  • Teens who own a smartphone may be more likely to engage in sexual activity among their peers. According to the study, teens who had access to the Internet on their cellphones were more than twice as likely to engage in sex with a person they met online compared with those without access to the Internet on their phones.
  • The way in which a person’s pupil’s dilate when they see a person is shown to be an effective way to assess sexual orientation, according to a new study. Previous studies have shown that people’s pupils widen in response to seeing others who they find attractive; the new study showed that a person’s sexuality is evident in their pupils’ responses.

Probability of Reporting Premarital Sex

The following bar graph shows the predicted probabilities of reporting premarital sex for married people by religious affiliation. This ties into the fact that Muslims and Hindus have a lower rate of premarital sex compared to Christians and Jews. Some of the reasons for this may be because of the society they are in, their religious values and also their own morals from their culture.

Probability of Reporting Premarital Sex

Source – SAGE Journal: Religion and Sexual Behaviors

Having enough space and privacy in a relationship is more important for a couple’s happiness than having a good sex life

  • Having enough space or privacy in a relationship is more important for a couple’s happiness than having a good sex life, according to a research professor at the University of Michigan. During her research, Orbuch found that 29 percent of spouses said they did not have enough “privacy or time for self” in their relationship, with more wives than husbands reporting not having enough space.
  • People are more passive when sexually harassed and don’t stand up for themselves the way that they think they will, a new study shows. When confronted with sexual harassment, people condemn others who are passive in the face of sexual harassment.
  • A newer version of birth control pill may carry a slightly higher blood clot risk than older pills, but it’s still a small risk. Yasmin, Yaz, Beyaz, and Safyral are among these pills.

Influence of sexual behavior tied closely to religious affiliation

Hindus and Muslims are less likely to have premarital sex than Christians and Jews, according to a study on premarital and sexual behaviors in over 30 developing countries around the world. This research shows that Muslims’ lower likelihood of premarital sex is related to their commitment and support for strict religious tenants who permit sex within marriage.

Amy Adamczyk and Brittany Hayes, socialogists who published the American Sociological Review, analyzed data from over 30 developing countries. Their data includes countries that are predominantly Muslim as well as countries with a religious variation, which allows them to find whether differences in sexual behavior are based on national-legal contexts, religious values or both.

Jacquelene Brinton, Assistant Professor of Middle East Studies at The University of Kansas, says that a reason Muslims may be having less premarital sex could be due to their family ties until marriage.

“For Muslims, it’s really going to depend on what society they live in and what sort of family structure they have,” Brinton said. “Part of it may be that people have very close-knit families and that girls tend to live at home until they get married, but it’s gonna depend on which society you’re looking at and which place people are living.”

The level of premarital sex between Muslims and Hindus seems to be significantly lower than those of Christians and Jews because of the culture and society they live in. Research has found that 94 percent of Jews and 79 percent of Christians reported having premarital sex compared to 43 percent of Muslims and 19 percent of Hindus. Amy Adamczyk, sociologist, claims that in many Muslim countries, there is much less interaction between the sexes which leads to less romantic relationships.

Religion is also firmly pushed upon the Muslim community and any form of zinna, fornication or adultery, is prohibited. The Muslims are constantly reminded about being modest people and are taught sexual concepts and morals at a very early age.

Many Muslim women who wear their traditional outfits feel that the western way of dressing isn’t respectful to women and they don’t want to be looked at a certain way by the men in their society.

“It’s a sense of protecting yourself and keeping yourself out of the eyes of men which may have something to do with the fact that they don’t want to be sexualized,” Brinton said. “Maybe as a personal choice when you make a choice like that or you believe something like that, you might be less likely as an individual to want to have sex outside of marriage.”

And then there is the western society, where shows like “Teen Mom” and “16 and pregnant” are entertainment for teenagers to watch. These shows tend to open the door for the acceptance of sex before marriage and ensure that even though sex may not necessarily be a good thing, everyone is doing it anyway and it will continue to be accepted in the western culture.

Jacquelene Brinton gives a closer look on society as an influence on sexual behavior.

Brinton: In America, you have so much diversity but I would imagine that because the families stay closer and the girls stay closer to home when they’re married and still kind of abide by cultural rules; that might be one of the reasons. It might also have something to do in America with the way in which immigrants, when they come to America, they tend to hold onto their cultures maybe for the first and second generation then the cultural norms start to loosen a little and people take on more American normative behavior. I know in a country like Egypt, contrary to the idea that girls actually get married young, people are getting married much later because a lot of it has to do with economics, so, because people are very poor and it’s very difficult for young people to find jobs, they’re actually marrying later. And they have this practice in Egypt in which they take on called temporary marriage, where people marry secretly, young boys and girls marry secretly and don’t tell their families and it’s become a real problem in that society because they can’t marry later.

Hindus and Muslims are less likely than Christians and Jews to have premarital sex

  • Hindus and Muslims are less likely than Christians and Jews to have premarital sex and Muslims are least likely among these religions to have extramarital sex, according to a new study. The study analyzed sexual behaviors in over 30 developing countries around the world.
  • Young women who use birth control often stop using condoms, but if they stop using hormonal contraceptives, they tend to not use condoms either. These behaviors may lead to unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections.
  • Testosterone, which is commonly thought as a male sex hormone, promotes honesty, according to a recent study. Researchers say that testosterone may increase pride and can even develop a positive self-image.