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What if your man or boyfriend is needing space in the relationship?
Article updated 2020
“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 their 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. 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 an exclusive relationship. If you are in an at least somewhat healthy relationship and a man asks for space, yet you don’t take the opportunity to offer value to him, 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, we need a deeper understanding of men so that you can say this ‘perfect thing’ with authenticity and care.
See how to stay high value when he pulls away…
What to say to him when he asks for space?
The one perfect thing to say to a man when he needs space is a starting point.
Remember that the specific words I am about to give you are only 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!
This is why, in this article, I go through the mindset, I go through how to deal with the feelings that you will inevitably feel when a man asks for space (anger, hurt, shock, fear), and give you the correct perspective to have to go along with the ‘one perfect thing to say to a man when he needs space.’
Again, words are only a starting point. Body language, actually caring for a man, and your true understanding of the value in giving him space, will make up the rest of it.
(What is the ONE thing you can say to ANY man that will capture his attention, trigger his curiosity and make him hang onto every word you say! Click here to find out right now…)
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 – it would be nicer if he could stay put in the relationship and stay present with you, but we can’t always have what we want, and sometimes he just is (painfully) not ready to be there for you.
Sometimes men ask 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; because this is the natural feeling that men and women have about each other in long-term relationships, when their psychological and biological needs clash.
And you and I will also feel that way about our man at some point in time – it’s just how it is. It’s how it is meant to be. Doesn’t mean it is right and 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?
What does this 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 (because 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!)
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, because of 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. Because we don’t always resonate so well with each other, it can feel draining to be together for long periods of time.
Sometimes, a man may just feel like the woman in his life is taking more value than she is giving back, and unfortunately, evolution kind of designed men and women to feel this way, when intertwining our lives with a human who is the opposite of us.
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. Because of what we are built to seek out and want from life.
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.
If I give him space, will he come back?
Our task – if we want to be high status, high value, is to learn to offer so much value to him and his life, that he naturally becomes eager to be there for you and to love you and cherish you. 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. 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.
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 (because you will be able to as a high value high status woman).
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. It’s not in what you ‘get’ from a man or a relationship.
Because, even if your current relationship never works out – at least you can walk away a higher value woman – when you have super high value, you can connect with any man you want anyway. So at least you get to walk away, knowing you took the high road, and there’s no better feeling than that. There’s no better feeling than having earned high self esteem because you truly gave value as best you could – and got outside of your own self to do so.
Your confidence is everything when it comes to relationships.
What other reasons might my boyfriend wants space?
Sometimes he needs space because he feels like the woman can’t let down her guard and feel – and 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 unresponsive women who are 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 as deeply as he wishes – 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 – activating your (gradual) and progressive surrender to life, surrender to attraction and to a man – are all necessary for a man to want to dive in and make you his very own, forever.
Does he need space or is it over?
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. 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.
There could be many reasons a man asks for space…but if we want to get to the core of the issue, usually the reason men want space from the relationship has to do with value – ie: the relationship is not adding enough value to his life at this time (and for time leading up to it).
It’s not actually your fault or his fault! It’s just that the timing of your relationship could be wrong, or the stars don’t align right now. Sometimes he just doesn’t perceive value in a committed relationship.
Yet one thing is for sure: It’s all about value. Human beings enter relationships that provide value for them, and leave relationships that don’t provide value for them. I know this makes it all sounds shallow and like we just want people for what they can offer us – but that’s not always true.
What humans need is “signals” or “proof” of value from each other – especially in today’s society where we often start off as complete strangers and it’s bloody hard work to get any kind of relationship going, and to build trust and love and attraction (but worth it).
Back when we lived in tribes of 100-200 people, we would already know each other’s value from the extensive history of being familiar with each other. That’s not the case nowadays – we need to signal value (both men and women have this responsibility, whether they want to own that responsibility is another story).
Sometimes, a man feels smothered by a woman who has been “over functioning” in the relationship.
Sometimes, we just get needy (totally normal for any woman, or even man) and he gets angry and frustrated because he perceives that the neediness is a burden on his life.
(Yes, I know, a man is more spiritual and higher value if he can handle a woman’s neediness and stay present with her, telling her that ‘all will be okay’ and that he will be here for her. But it doesn’t always work that way, does it? Sometimes, the actual experience is much harder and more heartbreaking for us than that isn’t it?)
What to do with your anxiousness when a man says he needs space
Now back to 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 definitely high value to learn and practice not coming across as needy. (the best way to do that is to not act from a place of fear, but we’ll get into that more in our programs)
It IS high value to respond generously to a man needing space rather than to react out of fear.
But there is no need to obsess over your actions in the past. It is all okay because we have all made huge mistakes and there is very good reason why women (or men) get needy.
Why do we as women get needy?
As a general rule, women become needy when they feel unresourceful. They feel needy when they feel like there are enough resources for them (attention from men, commitment from men, money), and we can get needy when men signal that they are going to pull away…
Because we are imperfect.
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 that they needed men’s protection, presence and love in order to survive long enough to give birth to a baby (and continue to nurture that baby).
(Unless of course, a woman has enough resources within her own family that having a man is just a bonus).
Why else do we get needy? To protect ourselves; to look out for ourselves…to secure resources for ourselves.
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…
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, then that is 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. It is my privilege to be able to deliver information to you, and I hope it helps you. (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 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 mature place, not from fear. Try to say it with a true desire to be mature, high value and give to him and say it with love.
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….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 evening the playing ground or having a power play.
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. Why? Because we are just trying to make a last-ditch effort to exert power over him, rather than exhibit a sign that we are a mature woman capable of putting connection first, not power.
(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 brand new DVD, and right now it’s FREE. Click HERE to get yourself a copy before they run out!)
What more can you say to a man who is asking for space?
Now we can think about other possible things to say 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 so much. 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.
How to have the right mindset when a man needs space
Deciding how to react – and much less so, deciding what to ‘say’ when a man needs space is a serious matter. As I mentioned previously, it is a make-or-break moment!
What does that mean?
It means that the intent you have behind your words, and the understanding that you show when a man needs space is potentially the last time you will get a chance to build a positive association in the relationship – positive enough that he will want to come back to you for more, time and time again.
And for that reason – it is important that you respect the seriousness of this make-or-break moment. Especially for yourself. 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.” and 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.
When you’ve taken the time to feel (which could take a while), it’s important to remember this:
When a man is communicating to you – he is communicating one of either two things (sometimes both):
1: They are communicating a cry for help
2: They are giving you a loving communication.
As much as you want to protect yourself by asking him for more or getting combative with him, as much as you want to secure the relationship for yourself, you need to say to him that you understand.
And as the conversation progresses, you could consider doing your best to speak and act from a giving place – not from a fearful place. You can’t give when you are in a place of fear for what you might lose. (this is why it is important to practice being emotionally resourceful).
Why is it good to say “I understand”?
Why is it good to say “I understand”?
Because when you say “I understand”, you are being a value giver. You are doing one high value, evolved thing: connecting with what HE wants. And respecting where he is at.
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, and helps your relationship progress.
Remember back to a time where you felt all alone, like nobody cared. 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 and confident 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 them.
But am I allowed a meltdown?
You may be wondering….but what about a meltdown? Am I allowed to have my own feelings? 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.
We are wired to fear abandonment…
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 go on tinder and find someone new to chase. But that’s not always the case.
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 you are strong enough to get through to the other side.
And many times, the truth is that even though you feel anxious – things really are okay, and your primitive brain has just had a freak out. Your mind will often have worry and anxiety. But remind yourself that it is okay, and you now have permission to risk being high value – to risk giving value, and getting outside of yourself – to give more than feels comfortable.
A lot of people only want the best for themselves and they will not do what is necessary beyond their comfort zone, to make a relationship work – don’t let that be you. You risk too much.
Just because a man needs space does not necessarily mean he’s about to cheat on you. It means he needs space – and it means that if you can communicate lovingly to him in response to his request for space, then you get a chance to show your value to him in a way many other women would not.
Here’s a comprehensive guide on Why Men Pull Away and How to Deal With It.
And here… on how to stay high value when he does pull away…
And hey, if your worst nightmare does happen…then I want you to know that I am very sorry and that you don’t deserve that kind of pain. But I also know that one day you will find a way to see that that very pain will give you a strength that you couldn’t have had before.
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.
P.S. I hope that you enjoyed this post. I really look forward to reading your thoughts. Do you have any questions or opinions you could add? Please share them below.
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How the Fear of Abandonment Can Make You More Beautiful…
What Should You Do When Your Man Pulls Away?