When your significant other says he needs some space, or he starts to distance himself to make some, you dread the worst. You fear that “space” means he’s had enough of your relationship and wants out. You fear that all he wants is to break up with you.
But sometimes the only reason why men need space in a relationship and why men pull away in the first place is that they need a chance to make some room for themselves while still being with someone else.
That’s perfectly normal. Two people in a relationship need to hold on to their individuality and their own life that they have outside of the relationship, not only the one they’re creating together.
It may sound abstract, but granting space and freedom – aka spending time apart in a relationship – pulls you closer.
The downside of needing space is that men and women perceive it differently.
Women have a hard time accepting it and that’s why when men say they need space. On the other hand, women assume the worst and go into this state of confusion and sadness, while the men had no intention of making them feel that way.
To make things a bit more clear, let’s look at the possible reasons why men say they need space.
Not only that: here are also the ways to deal with it- successful ways that will increase your chances of saving your relationship and creating an even firmer bond. So, let’s get started!
Why Do Guys Ask For Space In A Relationship?
There is more than one reason why men need space. Some ask for it because they need it to figure things out, some are avoidants who are scared of getting too attached while in some cases, your needy behavior is the reason.
Either way, the most important thing for you to understand is that this is perfectly normal. Just because your partner wants some time and space for himself- it doesn’t mean he wants out of the relationship.
It’s natural that we all want some privacy and that’s all he’s asking for. But let’s check every possible reason why guys need space, to make things a bit clearer for everyone out there wondering.
Some women become clingy without even being aware of it. It’s like a natural reflex.
This kind of behavior is nothing uncommon. It’s natural for you to be as close as possible to your loved ones.
You feel for this guy and now you want to spend every second of your free time with him. You just can’t get enough of him and you’re not realizing that you’re actually suffocating him.
Or your clinginess sources back to your insecurities. This is also something many women do.
When a relationship starts feeling a bit more serious, they hold onto their partner more tightly because they’re scared of things not working out.
So they unintentionally suffocate the relationship by obsessing and overanalyzing every situation, insisting on being in constant contact (especially via texting), spending as much time as humanly possible with their partner, and not giving him any room to breathe.
Sadly, in most cases, they get the opposite result: they end up chasing the guy away. If you are guilty of this, let me tell you a little secret: your man will get tired of you if you’re available 24/7.
Besides, the harsh truth could be that he feels trapped and caged. Without even being aware of that, you’re taking away his freedom.
You’re trying to wipe off the life he had before you- like his only role in life is to be your boyfriend.
I know this is a hard pill to swallow but if you wonder why men need space- your clinginess might be the answer.
What to do about it?
The most important thing to do here is to be able to admit to yourself that you are clingy and see what you can do to overcome it. Your fears are probably unfounded and there is no need to put that kind of pressure on your partner.
So if this is the case and he says he needs space, grant him that space.
Occupy your mind with yourself, work on something you are passionate about. Focus on your own needs and on your own well-being instead of just obsessing over him.
Create; discover; don’t let your feelings and fears be what ruins your relationship. Because if space is really the only thing he needs, your relationship will prosper – there’s no doubt about it.
Things are moving too fast
The main reason a man fears commitment is the fact he believes if things are more serious, he will lose his freedom.
They all have that one friend or a few of them who “stopped being themselves” after being in a committed relationship – they never have time to hang out, they don’t do things they like, and their girlfriend calls every few minutes to check-in.
He doesn’t want to share their fate, so he pulls away and looks for some space.
What to do about it?
The worst thing to do here is to not grant him that space. In that case, you’ll just show him that his fears are reasonable.
Do the opposite. Show him that you won’t do anything to cancel his independence.
Encourage him to hang out with his friends, be supportive when he has a new goal, give him some time for himself when he asks, don’t text him often.
Trust him. If you give him space, he will come to you in his own time; he just needs to feel free to do the things he likes.
You see, understanding men is all about thinking about what men want and what they need.
And what they want and need is some emotional space that will help them deal with their feelings and whatever issues they might be going through at the end of the day.
And if you don’t make sure to give your man that, he’ll pull back. And when a man pulls back, it means hiding in his “man cave” and ignoring all of your text messages and whatnot.
Now, I know it’s hard to stay indifferent to your feelings and I know it might sound counterintuitive to you, but it’s of crucial importance that you stop holding him back and rather start encouraging him to be himself. Remember that he needs space!
He has to feel that a relationship doesn’t equate to putting chains on somebody.
By giving him enough room, you will make him miss you when you aren’t around. (Trust me, it’s one of the best bits of relationship advice I’ve ever received!)
See also: 5 Things To Do When He Pulls Away
He needs time to deal with his own issues
When men are stressed, overworked, sad, or generally feeling lousy, they will seek some solitude.
They’ll create some distance. That “rule” applies to all men on earth and all types of relationships – high school romances, serious relationships, almost relationships, you name it.
And no, it won’t be because they lost all their feelings for you or have any intention of hurting you. The only reason why men need space and why they pull back is because they are programmed that way.
The main culprit for misunderstanding here is gender differences. While a woman would immediately talk to somebody and pour her heart out in a bad situation, a man does the opposite: he withdraws and excludes everyone around him. He doesn’t want to talk about it or even deal with it.
What to do about it?
Try to understand where he’s coming from. Don’t try and force things out of him.
Observe him, as maybe you already know why he is acting weird and distant all of a sudden.
The main reason he doesn’t come to talk to you openly about his problems is that he doesn’t want to appear weak in your eyes. Give him as much space and time as he needs to come around and talk to you because, trust me, that’s exactly what your guy needs!
Keep in mind that it probably has nothing to do with you or anything concerning your love life, he’s just dealing with his own issues in his own way.
And once you give him some space, he’ll feel the need to talk to you the next day, the day after that, or in a few days for sure.
Misunderstanding or problems in the relationship
The same behavioral pattern as to when he has his own issues to deal with will arise when a relationship goes through some problems or obstacles. Instead of talking about it, he’ll stay silent and change his behavior.
He won’t say that he feels like you don’t understand him or that something is not working right, because these aren’t “manly” things to say.
What to do about it?
The only solution he’ll see is to take a step back and figure out where everything is heading.
This is the time when you have to speak up. If you are under the impression that things aren’t right between you, you have to find a way to deal with it.
Ask him what the problem might be. Ask him why he no longer tells you “I love you” or why he no longer texts first, or whatever the case may be. And whatever he tells you, don’t overreact or go into defense mode.
You will achieve so much more by listening and trying to see things from his perspective.
If you can understand him, then you can find a solution and work on the problem, and avoid making even bigger ones by ignoring them and sweeping them under the rug. They are bound to come out – it’s just a matter of time.
Whatever his reason for needing space might be, you have to remember that 95% of the time it doesn’t have anything to do with you and everything to do with him.
Men and women are just wired differently and they have different ways of dealing with certain situations.
That’s why they hit rough patches and at times fail to communicate that easily.
Questioning the relationship
I’ll be honest with you here: even though, in most cases, asking for some room is not a red flag, sometimes it really can be alarming.
Every relationship expert will tell you the same: there is a possibility that your BF wants some alone time because he is actually looking for a chance to think your relationship through.
I’m not talking about the issues you two might have here only. Instead, I’m telling you he wants to take a break from you so he can figure out whether you’re the one or not.
This scenario is most likely to happen when your relationship reaches certain crossroads.
It can happen after a few months of your new relationship. You guys are done with casual dating, you have been together for a couple of months and it’s time to see where things are going.
Will you become exclusive? Is this a serious relationship? Or you’re not cut for each other and it’s best to split ways.
You might be sure that you want the guy next to you as your boyfriend but hey, that doesn’t make him so certain.
I know that this realization will probably ruin your self-esteem but some people need more time to make up their minds.
The same goes for long-term relationships. After so many years of being together, he is wondering whether he really wants to spend the rest of his life with you.
I’m not saying that you’re necessarily pressuring him to get married. It’s just that he wants to think things through. Are you his happily ever after or not?
What to do about it?
As much as these sorts of things can kill your self-esteem and make you question your own worth, please don’t look at everything so negatively. Let’s be realistic. Turn off your heart for just a moment and realize that you’re actually dealing with a mature man here.
He probably didn’t choose the best way to deal with his dilemmas but hey, don’t we all have them? This doesn’t mean that he doesn’t love you.
It’s just that he’s aware that sometimes love isn’t enough. He wants to think about your future together and about whether you’re compatible or not.
Also, he wants to see if he can live without you. Well, if your man wants space- that’ exactly what he’ll get.
Trust me, before you know it, he’ll start missing you like hell. Don’t chase after him, no matter what.
You have to grant his wishes. Let him see how terrible his life would be without you in it.
Fear of commitment
What if your man is actually head over heels for you but has trouble showing it? What if he is scared of how much he likes you?
No, this is not just some bullshit guys tell girls to have their own way- sometimes it really is the truth.
You see, this guy is a commitment-phobe. But he isn’t actually scared of letting a girl in- he’s scared of heartbreak.
At the same time, he knows that the only certain way to avoid getting hurt is not to get too attached emotionally.
Nevertheless, he didn’t count on loving you this much. Now that he’s become aware of his emotions, he wants to distance himself.
On the other hand, he is too much in love with you to leave you just like that. So he finds a compromise: he still wants you in his life but doesn’t want to become emotionally dependent on you.
I know what you must be thinking: you love this guy and he loves you back. So why can’t you just have a healthy relationship without all of this drama?
Well, wouldn’t life be easier that way? Sadly, sometimes you run into obstacles, and here is one of them.
What to do about it?
You’re dealing with a man who was emotionally unavailable until he met you. Congrats for breaking down his walls, without even trying to do so.
What he has to understand is that you won’t break his heart. Don’t pressure him into anything he doesn’t feel ready for.
But at the same time, make sure he knows he’s safe around you. Find a way to show him that you’re trustworthy and that you won’t use his vulnerabilities against him.
Once your guy sees a best friend in you and once he realizes he can get emotionally naked in front of you- he’s all yours.
A way towards the break-up
This one is the toughest. It’s something you’ve feared the most: your BF is looking for a way to break up with you.
He doesn’t have the courage to really do it. Instead, he tells you he wants to take a break.
Of course, he doesn’t give you a valid reason for his change of heart. He just tells you that he wants to focus on his own needs and his own well-being for a while and that your relationship is taking too much of his energy and time.
Before you know it, your best friend sees him with another girl. Of course, he doesn’t post anything about his new relationship on social media because he is hiding the real truth from you.
Why? Well, besides being a coward, this man is also keeping you as his backup plan. He doesn’t want to technically dump you so he can come back if nothing else works out.
In the meantime, he’ll be living a life of a bachelor. How convenient, isn’t it?
What to do about it?
Your first step here is to be sure about his intentions. Remember that this is not always the answer to the question of why men need space.
Once you confirm your doubts and realize that this is just an excuse for a breakup, don’t give him space only- dump this guy ASAP!
Beat him in his own game and show him that he can’t play with you the way he wants.
Tell him that you’re the one who’s been craving space for some time now but you didn’t want to break his heart. You’re so happy he needs space because that’s exactly what you want too.
I know this might be difficult to pull off but trust me- it’s the way to give him a taste of his own medicine. This man will eat himself alive once he sees how everything backfired on him.
Does Giving A Man Space Work?
Giving him space is not always easy but sometimes, it’s the best thing you can do for your relationship. In fact, taking a break from your relationship can broaden both of your perspectives.
First of all, it will give you a chance to see whether you want to live without each other. It will make you realize which one is true: “Distance makes the heart fonder” or “Out of sight, out of mind”.
Of course, you don’t have to stop seeing each other completely for this arrangement to work. You can just reduce the number of your dates, phone calls, or texts.
Or you can pretend that you’re in a long-distance relationship for a while- until you both figure things out.
Do Guys Come Back After Needing Space?
Your man is the one who asked for space but ironically, he’ll start to miss you once you grant his wishes. Let him go and see what happens- it’s likely that he’ll come back sooner than you expect him to.
But even if he doesn’t, it’s just proof that he never deserved you in the first place. You know what they say: If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, it’s yours forever. If it doesn’t, then it was never meant to be.
The most common reason why men need space is because they are just wired that way and it’s in their nature.
He will need some actual space for himself, but that doesn’t have to be something awful.
He’ll still be around and attentive, but maybe the intensity will be reduced, which is quite normal when relationships get a bit more serious.
You might miss the quantity of time you spend together, but the quality will be so much greater.
Some room to breathe will give you a chance to miss each other, and new interests and activities you do in your alone time will make your conversational topics broader and more interesting.
So when you really think about it, granting each other space might be just the thing you needed all along.