“My boyfriend said he wants space. I freaked out. He told me calmly that he needs some space and I didn’t know what to do. I tried to talk him through this, I begged him not to leave me because I’m afraid he will leave me for another woman”.
The anxiety of a man needing space. It’s enough to make many women feel her stomach suddenly drop 1,000 miles through the floor.
It can make you feel blinded by fear of the worst.
Unfortunately and fortunately, this dizzy time of worry and stress is so important for the future of your relationship with this man.
What To Do When Your Boyfriend Wants Space?
When your boyfriend wants space, it can also potentially be your ‘make-or-break’ moment in a relationship.
Don’t get me wrong, women need space too – men can definitely be smothering to a woman; making her want to ask him to give her space.
First of all, I want to say that this article is for women who are already in a relationship.
If for any reason you’re not in a relationship and your man has pulled away, please read this article to understand the reason why men pull away.
How most women respond to their boyfriend when he wants space
If you are in an at least somewhat healthy relationship and your boyfriend asks for space, there’s lots of things you can do.
However, most women revert to two main (popular) responses.
Here are the most common (and easy) responses:
1: She pulls away too. You got to make you that you ‘fade’ away first, right? After all, it’s all about who has more “power” in the relationship, correct? (Hint: no!)
2: Do what the poor lady did above and act from fear or desperation.
First let me ask you, are any of these above responses ideal for building a successful, thriving and emotionally intimate relationship with a man?
What do you think?
The answer is absolutely not.
Any dating advice that’s trying to tell you that you must “pull away first”, “disappear” and “not engage with him” in order to make him chase you, is advice that’s based in retaliation and fear.
And there’s one thing I know for sure: if you retaliate or act from fear, all you’re doing is staying small.
Ask me how I know! (Hint: I’ve done it before. And I came out the other side only to feel more chained to my fears, more resentful and less esteemed.)
But what if he intends to HURT You?
I get it. you may be scared. You may be wondering BUT what if he’s trying to control you more by wanting space and pulling away?
What if he’s the one playing power games?
The answer is, if you truly believe in your heart of heart that this man intends to hurt you, damage you, make you feel abandoned, unloved or small, then fine.
You can pull away too.
But make sure that you’re doing it truly because you believe and know in your heart that this man intends the worst for you.
You shouldn’t date someone who is that toxic that they want the worst for you in the first place.
If you don’t truly believe that he intends to hurt you, then this is a whole other matter altogether.
See, if you know he doesn’t intend to hurt you, and you reacting to him wanting space out of fear, then there’s a problem.
That problem is that you’ll have some (perhaps unintended) consequences to meet on the other side. You may unintentionally just push him away or hurt him.
If you retaliate when he wants space, it doesn’t improve your relationship quality
If you choose to react by retaliating, then you don’t get to improve the quality of your relationship.
If you simply pull away too, just because you want to have more control, then what you get is disengagement. You essentially pre-emptively pull away to “stay safe” and comfortable.
When your boyfriend wants space, choose the high road
This article on what to do when your boyfriend needs space is not going to focus on responses based in fear.
This article will help you actually become a high value woman.
As the intelligent D.Shen once said, the least wonderful thing you can do for yourself and for a man, is to build a relationship based on power trips.
Nothing wrong with power trips…except for one important thing:
“It doesn’t make a relationship intimate, it doesn’t make it close, you don’t get that warm feeling that someone has your back… because it’s always about what I’m getting.”D.Shen
If your boyfriend actively communicated to you that he wants space, and you respond from a place of fear, resentment, hatred, or even just feeling threatened – you will pay the price.
That price is that you don’t get to add value to your relationship. Instead, you strip value and act small.
You also don’t get to show up as a high value woman. Or worse – you don’t get that lovely feeling of being an esteemed, classy lady who has the skills to connect with and attract a man, let alone bring a man closer emotionally.
Don’t lose the opportunity to save a perfectly viable relationship
If your boyfriend says he wants space, yet you don’t take the opportunity to offer value to him or the relationship, then you could lose the opportunity to save a perfectly viable relationship.
(Before we get into the one perfect thing you can say to a man when he says he needs space, you may want to bookmark and read this article on understanding men. It will help you be able to say this ‘one perfect thing’ with authenticity and care.)
Why would your boyfriend suddenly start saying he wants space?
Sometimes, a man doesn’t just ‘suddenly’ ask for space – sometimes, it’s been a long time coming.
In other words, he has had life stressors outside of your relationship together and he cannot cope with all of that plus your relationship at once.
I am not excusing a man’s choice to ask for space. After all, it would be nicer if he could stay put in the relationship and stay present with you.
The unfortunate thing about life is that we can’t always have what we want, and sometimes he just is (painfully) not ready to be there for you. For now.
This is by no means a permanent thing. So don’t think a man could never be there for you. It could just mean that the unique combination of things that have already happened in your relationship have lead you both to this point.
But don’t lose hope. The best thing you can do is take the high road. And that will make you the happiest in the long run.
Why does he REALLY ask for space?
Sometimes he needs space because he feels like the woman can’t let down her guard and feel. Therefore there is no heart or depth of connection in the relationship with a woman who is not connected to life.
There’s no fun for men in being in a relationship alone, with an unresponsive woman who is numb and untrusting.
Although, you have every right to feel numb and untrusting.
It’s just that if a man feels that he cannot get his woman to (gradually) trust him and surrender to him, he won’t feel good in the relationship. The relationship isn’t going to feel as erotic and alive.
It also won’t feel like it is worth his time as the attraction and connection are just not there.
And Attraction and Connection is what makes a relationship strong and lasting.
You know, it’s hard for me to say all this to you because I know numbness and distrust serves a purpose.
I’ve been there. I still can go there – rarely, but I can.
The world can be a dark, scary and suspicious place at times, and if you come from a hurtful, unstable background, then yes – numbness and a lack of trust probably permeate every fabric of your life.
It’s just that doing the opposite of that is often what works with the good men. In other words, activating your (gradual) and progressive surrender to life and to a man – are all necessary for a man to want to dive in and make you his very own, forever.
What other reasons might my boyfriend want space?
Sometimes a man asks for space because he feels like a woman is taking too much from him without giving back.
And you know what? Every man is going to feel that way about his woman at some point in time.
Remember that as a man and a woman, your relationship timeline is different. Not only that, your inherent biases as a feminine woman and a masculine man are also very different.
These simple factors can influence the natural feeling that men and women have about each other in long-term relationships. Especially when both of their emotional, psychological and biological needs clash.
Of course, you and I will also feel the same way about our man at some point in time.
We may feel like he’s taking too much at some point, and we are getting too tired. It’s just how it is.
It’s how it is meant to be. Doesn’t mean it is right that a man wants space. And it doesn’t mean that we should settle for that feeling in a relationship.
It just means that we should respect this as an important part of the evolution of every relationship.
What does “I need space” mean?
“I need space.”
What does this even mean?
It means, don’t feel blamed.
Don’t blame yourself, and don’t blame him.
He may just need to feel like himself again. He may just want to feel empty instead of ‘connected’ all the time, so he can connect with his masculinity and his own equilibrium again.
Sometimes, being with a woman for a long time can feel like it’s draining his own masculine energy, and that’s true of women spending a lot of time with men as well! It can drain a woman’s feminine energy.
Women & men can’t always “resonate” well with each other
You see, women and men often have sex well together, and raise children together well, but they don’t always resonate well with each other.
This is due their hugely different motivations that stem from evolution and biology.
I’m referring to natural biological, emotional and psychological differences between men and women. I’m sure you know what I mean.
Since we don’t always resonate so well with each other, it can feel draining to be together for long periods of time.
Could your man feel like you are taking too much?
Sometimes, a man may just feel like the woman in his life is taking more value than she is giving back.
Could this be the case?
Perhaps ask yourself: “does he feel like I take (or want) too much?”
Even if the answer is yes, don’t despair. It’s OK!
You should’ve seen how much of a needy person I was (without meaning to be) to my man in the beginning. (Thank goodness I learned how to outgrow that!)
Unfortunately, evolution kind of designed men and women to feel like they are taking too much from each other – at some point.
Huh? Yes, evolution designed men and women this way. Let me explain…
Often, men’s goals and wants will be the complete opposite of what his woman wants. Simply because of biology.
And because of that, his woman’s desires and requests will feel like total value taking. It will sometimes feel like the relationship is too much work to him.
But no feeling is permanent and there is something you can do about this.
Even a man and woman who fall madly in love will at some point feel like their partner is taking too much.
It’s normal for it to be this way, especially when intertwining our lives with a human who is the opposite of us. (But secretly, it’s also these opposites that attracted us to each other in the first place!)
If I give him space, will he EVER come back?
You know what? Sometimes men just ask for space – and there’s not a damn thing you could have done that could have changed the course of things.
You already know that you cannot control a man. Right?
We all know that.
At best we can only influence a man. And as a vulnerable feminine woman, we can influence him well. Beyond our wildest dreams, in fact.
However, we can never control a man. Or anyone.
Sometimes, things are just bigger than us! We cannot control everything, and maybe that could be the lesson you’re about to learn for yourself.
Our task – if we want to be high value, is this. To learn to offer so much value to him and his life, that he naturally becomes eager to be there for you, love you and cherish you for life.
But even then – and make sure you listen to this – even then, sometimes it is just not meant to be.
And by the way – it may sound like I’m asking you to be his butt licker when I suggest offering so much value that he naturally becomes eager to be there for you and to love you and cherish you.
(…And in this article I’m about to share with you the ONE perfect thing to say to your boyfriend that will allow you to add value to him.)
That’s far from the truth. I’m actually not asking you to be nice. I’m asking you to be the best version of you.
See this article on The Nice Version of You Versus The Best Version of You.
What IS the ONE perfect thing to say to him when he says he needs space?
The one perfect thing to say is this:
“Ok, I understand.”
And it is the most important thing you will say to him.
When a man comes to you and he says “I need some space”, your most important response is to say “Ok, I understand.”
Now, we can go further and add more words to this, but the essence of it is that you are communicating from a resourceful and mature place.
Being resourceful is (almost) always better than reacting through fear.
Try to say it with a true desire to be mature, high value and give to him.
Say it with love and generosity.
Think about where he is at in his life and feel exactly the truth of how he can’t be there for you right this minute. He just needs some space.
Know where he’s at. Hear what he’s saying. He means what he says. He needs space.
“OK. I understand.”
Remember, ‘words’ only count for so much
Remember that the specific words I just gave you are a starting point.
Everything else I’m suggesting to you here makes up for the whole ‘package’ of showing up high value when he wants space.
So, in giving you this one perfect thing to say, it is just a starting point to get you on the high road. Words alone won’t fix everything!
Body language and actually caring about the connection truly matter most.
Also, your true understanding of the value in giving him space, will make up the rest of it.
If I say this ONE thing, won’t I just be a pleaser?
If you say this….doesn’t this make you a people pleaser?
Some women might be shocked reading my one perfect thing to say.
You might be surprised that I didn’t suggest that you say: ‘go to hell’ or ‘fine, enjoy your space but I won’t be here when you get back’ to a man.
I wouldn’t suggest that. Again, like I said above, I wouldn’t suggest reacting this way, unless you’re sure he’s just out to get you.
…..And here is why.
I don’t suggest that you make your relationship about evening the playing ground – I aim to help you connect with a man.
Connection is the true desire of all of us deep down, and more importantly – connection is what strengthens the relationship – not having a power play.
When your boyfriend wants space, try not to exert more “power” over him
If we choose to be immature, and focus on a man wanting space as a sign that he is “behaving badly”, then we are weakening ourselves rather than strengthening ourselves.
This is not about revenge. We only want revenge on people who deliberately want to damage our livelihood or take something valuable away from us.
So why shouldn’t we act as if he is “behaving badly”?
Because if we do this, we are just trying to make a last-ditch effort to exert power over him. showing power over a man isn’t exactly desirable.
It’s also not a sign that we are a mature woman capable of putting connection first.
(By the way, I want to teach you 5 secrets to having your man fall deeply in love with you and beg you to be his one and only. These 5 secrets are inside of my new program. Click HERE to get yourself a copy!)
focus on who you are becoming as a woman
This all just means that the reason I want you to learn to give lots of value, is not just so you can just catch any man and keep him.
The reason I want you to learn to give so much value is because at the end of it all, all of this is really about who you become.
It’s not always about getting what you want at the moment. I believe the true reward in life is who you become. Even if you and your boyfriend do break up!
You get to walk away knowing you took the high road
See, even if your current relationship never works out, at least you can walk away knowing that you took the high road.
When you take the high road, you are the one who gets to walk away with esteem for yourself. You actually add value to yourself.
Much better than reacting in fear and just retaliating against a man who didn’t intend to hurt you, right?
There’s no better feeling than having earned high self esteem because you truly gave value as best you could. Not to mention that you had to get outside of your own self to do so.
Your confidence is everything when it comes to relationships.
What to do with your anxiousness when your boyfriend says he needs space
Now for the topic of us getting anxious when a man needs his space
Let us stop and think. What is really happening when a man tells you he needs space? Is it you being a terrible partner?
Are you in the wrong? Are you the problem? Or actually, is HE the problem?
One thing is for sure – you are not in the wrong.
This is not a you problem. This is a human problem.
It is a universal problem. This anxiety and the neediness that you feel when a man pulls away is just how things go in relationships. Women (and men too) get needy. It is a basic law of how humans work in relationships.
This doesn’t make neediness right. It doesn’t make neediness good, either.
It IS high value to respond generously to a man needing space rather than to react out of fear.
Why do we get needy when our boyfriend wants space
As a general rule, women become needy when they feel un-resourceful.
They feel needy when they feel like there isn’t enough resources for them (attention from men, commitment from men, money).
We get needy because we are imperfect.
We get needy because there’s actually a lot at stake for us.
Because of the threat of loss of resources – mainly emotional resources. We want a man to be romantically and emotionally all ours.
Because scared. It’s just all a bit scary. And that’s okay. It’s okay to feel all that is scary.
Why else do we get needy? Because for millions of years, women have been vulnerable enough just by being women.
Women who need men’s protection, presence and love in order to survive long enough to give birth to and nurture a baby.
Above all, we can become needy when we want to avoid feeling pain.
It is okay. We are all living organisms that want to survive, and protecting yourself is a part of the deal.
There’s something much worse than being needy…
But do you know what is much worse than being needy?
Being a sociopathic value-extractor.
When you are too lazy, or too resistant to life to care about adding value back to a man, that is a problem.
If you would rather get revenge on a man who has generally treated you well, that’s a problem.
When you’re too insensitive to give anything to others (especially giving emotionally), then you truly do have a problem!
When you want to extract value everywhere you go and you feel entitled to a man’s resources just because you exist, that is a problem. Moreso it’s a problem for yourself – it is lonely to be a taker.
Simple neediness because you became scared to lose a man, is a simple problem that can be worked through; and that is what I am here for.
If you want to go deeper and have a world class understanding of men, then it’s important that you join our Understanding Men membership area).
And here’s is an amazing article on The 5 Things Every Woman Ought to Know About Men.
What more can you say to a man who is asking for space?
Now we can think about other possible things to say to a boyfriend who wants space, after you’ve said: “I understand”.
The key is that you remain in a state where you care enough to connect.
You can say: “I’m going to miss you. Yet, it’s ok, I understand.”
Give a little touch on the arm, or something gentle that communicates that you care.
As long as you care…as long as you have good intentions and you’ve connected with him, you’ve officially done the best thing you could have done in that moment.
It’s easy and understandable to act from fear when men want space – but if you need to, simply say ‘that’s ok, I understand.”
Then proceed to find a place where you can be alone, sit down, breathe, and breathe again, and just keep breathing.
Breathe in all the uncertainty that you are experiencing. Breathe in all the fear and the heavy sense of loss you desperately resist feeling. Breathe it all in, and if it happens, let yourself cry and process your feelings.
Why is it good to say “I understand”?
Why is it good to say “I understand”?
Isn’t it fake?
It only feels fake because you’re not used to meeting a man on the same page.
That’s ok, many women aren’t used to it. Many women would much rather ensure that they always get the long end of the stick with men, simply because they are female.
Yet have a think…
When you say “I understand”, aren’t you at least attempting to meet him where he is at? Aren’t you attempting to be a value giver?
You are doing one high value, evolved thing: connecting with what HE wants. And respecting where he is at.
See, imagine a business owner trying to sell you on something.
He opens his sales pitch by telling you: “you should buy THIS today!”
Contrast that this opening: “I know you’re busy…”
Don’t these two openings feel different to you? The second one meets you where you’re at.
The first one just…well, the first one is just ignorant.
You don’t HAVE to “get” him fully in order to add value
Even IF you do not fully understand where he is at, it does not matter. What matters is that what you say, adds value to him. It helps your relationship progress, and it allows you to continue on as a high value woman.
Remember back to a time where you felt all alone, like nobody cared.
When your boyfriend says he wants space, try to remember back to an emotionally difficult time – maybe when you were a child and you felt abandoned.
What is the one thing that would have basically set you free? What is the one thing somebody could have given you that would have been a godsend?
It is validation for what you are feeling. It is somebody understanding you, and what you felt, with no strings attached.
This is what you’d be doing for a man if he needs space.
You’re simply being an evolved, high value human being.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t feel like screaming inside after saying “I understand.”
But it means that you need to take all those feelings and at least let yourself feel and process them. You should process them before you act out and irreparably damage the connection you have with a man.
But am I allowed a meltdown?
You may be wondering….but what about a meltdown?
Am I allowed to have my own feelings?
My boyfriend telling me that he wants space actually scares me/makes me angry!
You may be thinking…I may tell him that I understand, but inside I feel like I’m about to vomit and I want to beg him to stay and never leave me.
Newsflash: men don’t always plan to abandon you when they ask for space (even though that’s what we instantly fear).
When a man is asking you for space it is often a test.
It is also often simply that he needs space and that is all.
It’s really a test of how much you care about the relationship, or about him, beyond your own needs.
But more than that – sometimes men ask for space because you were never their one and only to begin with.
If that is the case, then thank goodness he’s giving you space. Thank goodness, because now you get to finally process everything enough to move forward in the way that is best for you.
You also get to stop wasting time.
Final words about a man asking for space.
The challenge when a man asks for space is how evolution may have wired fear into us – we are wired to fear abandonment.
Our primitive brain acts like he’s about to do the world’s worst thing. For example; go and screw our best friend.
Or put his online dating profile up again and find someone new to chase. But that’s not always the case.
Horrible things do happen but they are not bigger than you
And yes, horrible things do happen in this world. I’m not here to tell you that everything is always going to be okay.
Everything is not always going to be okay. However, with regards to men, even if you get hurt, rest assured that the hurt is not bigger than you.
That’s right. The hurt is not bigger than you.
But isn’t it always better to walk away knowing you took the high road?
Here’s a comprehensive guide on Why Men Pull Away and How to Deal With It.
To help you understand whether your current relationship is really worth your time and energy, I wrote an article on the 10 Ultimate Signs of A Healthy relationship.
Also, I hope that you enjoyed this post. I really look forward to reading your thoughts. Do you have any worries, or are you confused about anything? Please share your thoughts below.
If you want to be supported by a warm community of high value feminine women, then join our Facebook Group. (It’s free and so incredibly valuable!) CLICK HERE TO join thousands of other women in our “High Value Feminine Women” Community.
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Renee is the founder of The Feminine Woman & co-founder of Shen Wade Media where we teach women how to show up as a high value high status woman whom easily inspires a deep sense of emotional commitment from her chosen man. Together with her husband D. Shen at Commitment Triggers blog, they have positively influenced the lives of over 15 million women through their free articles and videos as well as 10’s of thousands through paid programs through the Shen Wade Media platform.
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