Every relationship no matter how loving requires partners to be by themselves every now and then. This is not only important for them to recharge their personal selves but also to help them grow as individuals. However having your boyfriend say outright that he needs some space can be quite scary and leave you wondering about what went wrong. Here are few tips on what he may mean and what you can do about it.
When your boyfriend talks about needing some space, listen carefully and calmly to what he has to say. If he has not clearly spelled out what made him take the decision, you may find important clues in his words. There are several reasons why men sometimes wish to draw back and re-evaluate their relationship and none of these may have to do breaking up.
The worst possible you can react to this development is to break out in tears and tantrums. It is understandable for you to be taken by surprise and hurt at his decision and you would probably be tempted to plead or threaten him into staying. This will not only make you come across as too desperate but also make him feel justified in moving away from you.
If you find your boyfriend determined to put things on hold for now try and clear up certain aspects. For instance what exactly he means by wanting some space – does it mean that you both will simply stop going on dates but keep in touch by phone or email. Or does it indicate that there will be no contact between you two at all. Yet another aspect of the break you need to clarify with your boyfriend is whether during this period either of you are allowed to see other people. And to what extend could “seeing” go – casual dating, meeting for a coffee or taking it further ahead. Also enquire gently how long he needs to stay away – a couple of weeks or a couple of months. It is a bad idea to leave questions hanging in the air as it may keep either of you hopeful of a quick return. Also suggest a meeting after he has thought things through so that you both know where the relationship stands.
Don’t go on a rebound
When your boyfriend says he needs to find his space, you may be tempted to start seeing other men immediately, just to make him realize that there are other fish in the sea. However if you start dating too soon, especially a particular guy, your boyfriend may assume that you are already over him and there is no point in coming back. On the other hand, you don’t want him to get the impression that you have nothing better to do than sit at home and mope about the pause. So go out shopping with friends or join an adventure sports club. You will be able to take your mind off the hiccup in your relationship without hurting your chances of being together again.
If you are living together
When your live-in boyfriend says he needs some space, it does not mean that either of you have to move out immediately. He could be merely asking for a little more me-time to do the things he wants to, like reading a magazine or listening to the kind of music he likes which is not necessarily your favorite. The best thing to do in this situation is to ensure that he has ample personal time in your daily routine, despite there being chores to do around the house and bills to pay. Don’t make a sour face when he wishes to go out with the guys or play his favorite sport without you. Another great idea would be for your boyfriend to have a room of his own or at least a portion of the house which can be his den. Here he can get as messy as he likes without worrying about what you may have to say. All these steps will go a long way to making your boyfriend feel that you respect his personal space and are not the dependent type.
Stick to a no-contact rule
If you have been spending every evening or even weekend together, going on picnics, movies or long drives, perhaps your boyfriend is feeling overwhelmed with your company. So for the time make sure that you completely stop seeing each other. If he really needs some time by himself, you need to lay off from other means of contact too. Neither of you will be able to re-evaluate your priorities if you are calling up or mailing each other ten times a day.
Do some thinking
Use the time-out to reflect on what and how much this relationship means to you. Consider your past behavior and see what you may have done to make your boyfriend feel hedged in and in need of space. Or if there has been a specific action that hurt him in some way so as to make him want to draw back. See if there is a mismatch in expectations from the relationship. Perhaps you want a higher level of commitment from your boyfriend than he is prepared to give now. Alternately it could be that he doesn’t approve of your socializing with other guys; this may make him feel neglected and which is why he wants some time to figure out things. Think about all aspects of your relationship and towards the end of the cooling-off period see how you feel about you both being together.
All individuals need to have some space where they are free to do their own thing. So if your boyfriend says the same thing, don’t be alarmed right-away. Use the time to bring about self-growth and self-confidence. Being on his own for a while will help your boyfriend to see things in perspective; if he truly loves you, he will surely come back. On the other hand if he wants to make the break a permanent thing, consider that it is better it came sooner than later.