When it comes to relationships, we’re all very different.
Some of us want to spend all our available time with the one we love…
…and some of us crave space.
That doesn’t mean that we love our partners any less or that the relationship is any less healthy; it is just a part of who we are.
It’s something we all have to accept about ourselves, and about the people we love.
Often, someone who does need their space will end up in a relationship with someone who doesn’t.
Relationships like these can thrive, as long as both partners are willing to compromise and adapt their expectations and behavior to ensure the other person feels loved but not claustrophobic.
Needing space in a relationship isn’t a gender-specific trait. There are both women and men out there who find they need significant breathing space when they’re in a relationship.
On the flip side, there are both men and women who struggle to understand the concept of giving space. They can’t imagine needing any space from their partner.
They might have been in a previous relationship with a partner who didn’t feel the need to have much time apart at all, and so they find it tough to adjust to a new dynamic they’ve never experienced before.
Negotiating the initial phase of a committed relationship, when the highs and lows and thrills of the first few months have started to settle into something more secure, can be tricky.
You’re both feeling each other out and trying to figure out what makes the other person tick, and what they feel comfortable with.
Establishing how much space you both need and what you’re both willing to compromise on is an important part of this phase.
This article is written mainly with women in mind. It’s for any women out there who have found themselves in a committed relationship with a man, and have realized that, in order for said relationship to flourish, they’re going to have to give them plenty of room to breathe.
But, the suggestions here can be applied to both men and women, regardless of their sexual orientation.
Hopefully, they will help if this is a situation you’ve found yourself in, no matter who you love.
The points below should help you to figure out how to give your man the space he needs, whilst not compromising your own happiness in the process.
8 Things To Do When Giving A Man Space
1. Revel in your own space.
Much as it might not seem like it when you want to spend ALL your time with the person you love, taking time apart from each other could be excellent news for you too.
Deep down, don’t you think it’d be nice to spend a little time on your own now and again?
Don’t you think it might be a good idea to put some energy into interests that are just yours?
Don’t you think that, as in love as you might be with them, you might get a little bit sick of them eventually if you don’t have some time apart?
So, focus on that.
Focus on all the reasons why space is positive for you, and well as for them.
And enjoy that space. Make the most of it. Spoil yourself. Treat yourself.
Do all of the things you don’t normally do when you’re spending time together, because he doesn’t really like them, or they’re not really two-person activities.
Take a bath. Watch that series he doesn’t like. Cook your favorite food.
Revel in your solitude, or in the time you spend with other people.
Then, when you come back together, you’ll have lots of interesting things to talk about.
2. Cultivate your other relationships.
Both of you need to make sure that you’re not neglecting the other important people in your lives in favor of your partner.
So, if you think your man needs some space, start making plans with the other people you love.
Visit your family. Go on a weekend away with your best friend. Don’t spend time apart just for the sake of it, but enjoy it.
3. Make the time you spend together quality time.
If you’re both making the most of the time you spend away from each other, you’re more likely to make the most of the time you do spend together too.
Make plans together. Go on dates. Organize adventures. Try some hobbies for couples. Fully focus on one another, and be present.
When the time you spend together is quality time, you won’t be so upset when you aren’t together.
4. Tone down your digital contact.
If the two of you tend to be in constant text contact during the day, consider reining it in.
If you’re constantly speaking to each other, then neither of you really has a chance to focus on what you’ve got going on.
Even digital communication can make it feel like you haven’t genuinely had some time away from one another.
Texts can also be tricky because it’s easy to misinterpret them. So if it’s clear that they need space, try to keep text contact to a healthier level, and have the important chats about things when you actually see them.
5. Make your own decisions.
When you’re in a serious relationship, it’s easy to start relying on your partner to help you make all your decisions, whether big or small.
Making decisions on your own can help you feel less dependent on them, and reassure them that you’re not overly reliant on them.
6. Have your next meeting lined up.
Whilst he may need some space, it’s good not to give him indefinite time away from you.
How long should you leave it? That’s something you can discuss together.
He might feel like he needs a week off from staying round each other’s houses on work nights, so perhaps you suggest plans for the following weekend.
Or maybe he wants a weekend to himself, in which case you can schedule a date night for the following week.
Whatever you do, get some sort of firm commitment from him in terms of when you will next see each other.
It’s much better to have it sorted out now than when you are apart and face-to-face communication isn’t possible.
7. Encourage his hobbies.
Sometimes space can be as little as encouraging your man to pursue the hobbies and passions he had before the two of you met.
A relationship will inevitably change a person’s routine, and this can occasionally mean having fewer opportunities to express oneself by doing the things one likes to do.
By telling him to get back into the things you know he enjoys, you are not just giving him space, you are reminding him that your relationship and him having his own life are not mutually exclusive.
You will also show him just what a great partner you are. He will love you all the more for understanding that certain things mean a lot to him.
8. Talk to him about it.
Listen, you’re entitled to try to understand why he feels he needs some space every now and then.
So it’s perfectly acceptable to ask him about it. But it’s important to go about it in the right way.
Sit him down and say something non-inflammatory such as, “Let me get inside that lovely head of yours. I’m totally down with you having some time and space to yourself, but I’d love to understand what you’re thinking and feeling right now.”
This sort of statement is unlikely to make him defensive. It simply shows that you want to get to know him better – which is a good thing if the relationship is to make it in the long run.
Don’t say something like, “Why are you being like this? Is it something I did? Don’t you love me anymore?”
This line of questioning will make him defensive. He might think you’re needy and insecure and it may make him question whether or not he’ll be able to get the space he enjoys on a regular basis without facing the Spanish Inquisition every time.
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6 Things NOT To Do When Giving A Man Space
1. Resent them for it.
The fact that your man needs space from you does not mean that they don’t love you.
It’s just something you need to accept, and you need to quickly quell any resentment that threatens to rear its head. It’ll only make both of you unhappy.
2. Obsess over it.
This one is easier said than done, but there’s absolutely no point in you spending your time apart worrying about the fact that he needs time away from you.
Fill your days with other things and other people. Stimulate your mind. Don’t obsess about what he’s doing – focus on what you’re doing.
3. Take it personally.
Much as it might feel like it sometimes, this is not a reflection on you as a person.
Your partner doesn’t need space from you because you’ve done anything wrong and they’re not trying to hurt you.
They are just the type of person who needs a bit of solitude or some time with their friends in order to wind down and recharge.
4. Change your behavior drastically overnight.
If you’ve decided that you need to make a conscious effort to give your man more space from here on out, you should start taking small steps toward allowing that to happen.
You shouldn’t suddenly change your way of behaving toward them completely, or drastically reduce the time you spend with them.
Start slowly, to allow both of you to get used to it and begin to enjoy time apart, so that you can enjoy time together even more.
5. Stop showing an interest in his life.
Space is all a matter of balance, and it can be tricky to get it right, initially.
If you’ve decided that he needs space, you might think that you should stop going along to events with his friends and family, so that he can enjoy quality time alone with them.
But, whilst I’m sure he’d enjoy quality time alone with them now and again, if you just remove yourself entirely from his social circles and family life then he’ll probably start feeling like something’s wrong.
After all, if it were the other way around, you’d probably feel rather upset if he suddenly stopped showing any interest in your friends or family.
6. Quiz him about what he’s been doing.
When you see your guy again, it’s fine to ask what he’s been up to.
You may already know some details if you’ve had occasional text communication, but getting a little more info is perfectly normal.
What’s not okay is to quiz him about every single little thing he did… where he went, who he saw, what he ate, what time he got home at night, what he watched on TV.
Remember, this was his time. If he felt he needed space, he probably doesn’t want to then be bombarded with questions about it.
Sharing is caring, but not everyone feels comfortable laying their whole life out on the table for their partner to pick over with a fine-toothed comb.
Be thoughtful, respectful and kind, both toward your partner and toward yourself, and make sure you don’t forget to prioritize your own needs, now and again.
You’ll soon establish the right balance between quality time together and quality time apart, and your relationship will go from strength to strength.