Why Your Boyfriend Wants Space & Exactly What You Should Do Next

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Heartbreak

The words "I need space" are dreaded by women everywhere.

Wondering why men pull away when things seemed really good can leave anyone feeling confused, panicked, and rejected.

The first thing you should know is that understanding men can be complicated, however, this "space" concept isn't necessarily a bad thing when you're dating a guy, and it doesn't even have to mean he's losing interest in you or falling out of love.

In fact, if your boyfriend wants space, it can actually be an opportunity to bring you closer together as a couple. 

What does it mean when a guy says he wants space?

In a new relationship, when a guy says he wants space, he might not be ready for a relationship just yet or maybe the relationship you are building is progressing too fast.

The worst-case scenario would be that he wants to break up, however, that would be only accurate if he is losing interest in you.

In an established relationship, needing space is all about reevaluating where the relationship is and seeing if the two of you need time apart to know what that is, which might mean taking a break for a bit.

However, it also might mean he realized he never actually did fall in love with you and for that reason, he might break up with you if he feels like he can't get there with you. 

As a relationship expert, I see this quite often. People occasionally need some time by themselves to investigate and figure out their deepest feelings and thoughts.

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It's normal for guys to need space.

When a man says he needs his space, there are usually two things happening simultaneously inside his head. He may be aspects of the relationship and/or his life that are making him doubt whether or not he wants to stay involved with you and red flags may be going up for him.

At the same time, there are aspects of your relationship and thinks about you that he loves enough to make him say he needs space instead of simply saying goodbye and ending things.

Sadly, too often men don't feel comfortable feeling two dueling emotions at once, so they may need a little space to process it all.

One mistake women make too often is assuming this means the relationship is over, and dumping him or retreating in fear.

But there is something you can do when a guy says he needs space or starts pulling away.

When your partner wants space, you'll feel a number of conflicting feelings, however, by following my advice below and what I call my "Love Him, Letter Him, Let Him Go" technique, you can make him think twice about wanting space and leaving you. 

Here's what to do when your boyfriend wants space.

1. Get a handle on your feelings.

When you're used to spending a lot of time with a man and feel extremely emotionally connected to him and then he tells you he wants distance, a myriad of uncontrollable emotions can unleash inside you. You can feel panic and extreme anxiety. You can feel deep sadness and strong anger.

All these feelings are valid and healthy reactions to a loved one pulling back.

However, you should honor his needs and give the guy space. And this is really hard to do when your feelings are so strong, you don't know how to get them in check.

You want to beg him, question him, continue to call him. You want to maybe scream at him or cry tears of desperation and confusion while asking him, "Why?" and worry about who he spends time with.

If I had a boyfriend who told me he needed space, I would feel the same! I would want to drive to his house in the middle of the night in a state of sheer panic, so I totally understand that.

But it's important to pause, reflect and make a plan.

Panicking when hearing that your boyfriend wants space is normal for a woman who is in touch with her feelings and in love with a man.

It's normal to feel like you are fighting for your life and that you are being ripped from someone very important to your existence. So don't judge yourself for your feelings, thoughts, and actions when a man seems to be losing interest or asks for space. 

Once your negative fear-based feelings are out in the open, try to informally meditate. Light candles, take a warm or bath shower beforehand, and put on some soothing music. Take deep breaths and go inside yourself, taking inventory of your body. Try to stretch and loosen up tense areas and then once you feel like your body is responding to your attention and movements to ease it.

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2. Begin thinking lovingly and positively about your man.

Think about his face, his smell, his house, his laugh, and more. Think about all the things that define him and make you love him. Feel your heart warm over with love for him and deep care for him as a person. Think about the long-term joy. 

Then open your eyes. Get a piece of paper and with loving feelings flowing through your heart, make two lists: a list of all the things you love about him, and one of all the things you think he loves about you.

Take a look at these lists and circle three things on each list that you feel are the most important things you two love about each other.

3. Send him an email or write him a letter.

Unless he's established a strict no-contact rule that includes no texts or emails, it's good to try to reconnect with him in a way that he can deal with on his own time, in his own way. Writing a letter or email accomplishes this, and puts the ball in his court. 

Please keep in mind that a text or call, even a DM on social media, is not the same as an email or a letter. There's a certain urgency and expectation to text messages and DMs that may feel too high-pressure for your boyfriend when he is trying to get some space. So keep it to something less urgent.

In this email or letter, you're going to mention those three things you love about him and three memories that correlate to those three things you know he loves about you. You'll also mention the following.

First, tell him you respect his need to give him space and will honor it. Second, mention your feelings about his request for space. Third, tell him that you care enough about your relationship to wait for him as long as you can wait. Fourth, tell him you will honor and respect any decision he makes. Lastly, the fifth thing you do is reassure him that you will be okay no matter what.

You aren't going to have any pulling energy in the email. This means you are not going to tell him anything that makes him feel smothered, controlled, guilty, or fearful of losing you. Anything that's about pulling him back to you instead of surrendering to his need for space should be erased or deleted from this letter before it is sent.

Your letter is a gift of love to him, not a manipulation to leave him feeling like he has to be with you or else he is a total jerk to abandon you and reject you.

You aren't going to threaten not to be there when he gets back. You aren't going to tell him how you are not eating and how you cry on the floor of the shower for hours. You aren't going to tell him you want to spend the rest of your life with him and have his babies, and know he is the one to be buried next to for eternity. You aren't going to beg or plead.

Here is an example of such an email:

Dear John,

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I respect your need for space and want you to know I will honor your request for as long as you need. I also want you to know that I am angry, hurt, and confused right now but those feelings will pass and I won't allow them to cloud my love for you.

I really do love and care for you deeply. Your smile brightens my day. The way you bring me medicine when I am sick lifts my spirits faster than Airborne works on my congestion. And your kind texts every morning when I wake up are like a tiny bird singing to me to join the day.

I too will think about us during this break. Mostly, though, I will think about the good memories you have left me with. The time we spontaneously went to the movies in our PJs and laughed the whole time in the empty theater. The time you cried at how good my spaghetti was. The night our sex was so amazing, we named it.

Love, I want you to take your time and whatever you decide, I want you not to worry about me because I will be okay in the end. I respect you enough to be patient and to honor your decision about our love.

All my heart,

Sarah

If you write this letter, you will leave him with good taste and show him that you care about his wishes.

You will be reminding him of the goodness in your relationship, and you will be reassuring him that he makes a difference in your life (men need this to feel like a relationship is working for them).

You will also be freeing him up not to feel guilty and worried about you. Guilt actually makes a man want to run because it creates pressure, making him think that if he stays and it doesn't work out in the future, he will destroy your life.

Don't go on and on in your letter and squeeze in every moment of every memory, and don't get into detail about all your feelings about him and his need for space. Too many words will feel draining and overwhelming for him.

Once he does take his space, have a friend on hand who you can call when you are jonesing to contact him and make sure this friend is positive and calming. Tell her that you only need her strength and patience, not her fears and opinions. A good friend will understand what you mean and will be available to you at this hard time.

Resist the need to rehash everything with friends and family and question his love a thousand times.

Meditate, focus on things you love, don't do things you don't love to do, and give yourself permission to feel your feelings without marinating in them too long.

In the end, if he comes back, let him guide the pace of things because you love him and are willing to surrender control over the unknown and control over the relationship.

In love, we invite, we surrender, we risk. And remember, sometimes it takes space to close a gap.

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Kristina Marchant is a relationship expert and dating coach who helps women gain confidence and learn to connect with men on a soulful, honest, safe, and sexy level. If you want to learn how to unclench your death grip and keep your man in love with you, sign up for her Goddess Advice Newsletter.