Does he need space or is it over?
Having worked with singles for a past few years, I’ve come to realise that the trickiest part about dating isn’t meeting other singles. It’s making a relationship last. For some it could mean passing relationship ‘probation’ (the three month mark) and for others, it could be going from dating to getting engaged. That said, there’s nothing worse than having a guy tell you he needs space to ‘think’ or sort his sH*( out.
There are a few issues with this request:
1. The idea of space and time for him to work things out isn’t well defined. It often doesn’t come with a timeline. And it’s hard to tell whether the other person has had enough space and time to figure things out.
2. It leaves the relationship and you in limbo. What are you meant to do when he’s thinking over things? Is it acceptable to date? No one has written a set of rules for those who are on break. You’ll have to work out what those rules are.
3. You’re left thinking if this is just a drawn out way of breaking up. Because at the end of his self discovery could come a break up. And for some, taking a break is the perfect transition because it gives the guy a feel for what life would be without you.
So does he really need space or is it over?
Here are some questions you need to ask yourself. And don’t worry, we’ll go through steps you can take to navigate this tricky situation.
- What’s his reasoning for needing space?
Some common reasons a guy may need space:
- the relationship is going too fast, his feelings are developing quickly and he doesn’t know what to make of it
- the relationship is about to his another milestone i.e. he’s thinking of proposing and wondering if you’re the ‘one’
- his life is a mess and he needs to sort himself out before he can be in a relationship, many women I’ve coached have said ‘but if he really liked me, nothing else would matter’. This isn’t always true. Many guys want to sort themselves out, get all their ducks in a row before they feel they can bring their A game into a relationship.
2. Is this the first time he’s asked for space?
It’s normal to have doubts about your relationship sometimes, especially when things are rough. But if a guy is always bailing when things get rough, or when he wants to be single for the summer, he’s showing that he may not be the most reliable partner. Asking for space shouldn’t be a regular occurence.
3. Has he let you know how much time or space he needs?
The idea space and time is different for every person. Perhaps he just needs a weekend of ‘me’ time or a few days to focus on his work. If your guy hasn’t given you a timeframe, ask for it. Don’t be afraid to ask.
He’s asked you for space? Now what?
Once your relationship ‘break’ commences, you may not be able to get hold of your guy. Before that happens, here are a few questions you might want answers to:
- How much space and time does he need?
- What are the rules of engagement while you’re apart?
- Are you both single and allowed to date?
- Are you enforcing a no contact rule?
- What happens if you live together? What will the living arrangements be like?
3. When is the deadline for the break? At some point, you’ll have to get together and decided
whether your relationship is back on or off.
Your relationship isn’t doomed just because a guy says he wants space
A guy may just need to get a breather to get some perspective, especially if a relationship is going through a transition.
What you can do while on a relationship break
- give him space, lean right back
- take the time to reflect on your relationship, is it healthy? are you happy?
- fill your calendar so you’re not overthinking every social post he uploads
- stay off social media altogether, your imagination will just run wild when he may just be home on a Friday night chilling with his dog.
What you need to know is, just because a guy wants a break, it doesn’t mean your relationship is doomed. But if your relationship is always on and off, you may need to rethink if that’s the kind of relationship you really want.
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Iona is a Wellness Coach specialising in relationships and dating. She works with single women to write their own love stories.