It’s a scary thing to hear from a guy. Three words that strike fear into the heart of any woman.
“I need space.”
I can tell you up front that a man who hasn’t completely committed to a relationship is more likely to say these words than a man who is invested in your relationship. I’ll explain why this is in a bit…
You see, when a man says he needs space, it can be for the same reasons that a woman does. And sometimes it’s not.
Let’s cover a few of these reasons first so you better understand how he’s thinking…
Why He Needs Space – He needs to feel independent…
Men tend to need space in order to reclaim their feeling of masculinity. Men don’t feel like men unless he feels that ability to go things on his own.
It’s not that he doesn’t want a woman that he can lean on, it’s that he needs to remember that he CAN go it by himself.
A man needs to feel that he’s got the fortitude to tackle life on his own. He needs that space to remember what his SELF is.
A woman, by contrast, will pull away and need space when she feels negative emotions.
One of the things that make a woman feminine is her desire for strong, intimate emotional connections.
And a break in that connection will create a kind of brain hormone withdrawal. This will also create emotional panic. I’ll explain this more in the next section.
Men need that space simply to get back to feeling like himself. Masculinity requires him to occasionally pull back to regain a feeling of autonomy.
A man withdrawing to reclaim his sense of independence and masculinity is actually a frequent occurrence in a relationship. He will bounce back to you – if you let him experience that space.
It’s when you fight it that you’ll see him keep pulling away!
Why He Needs Space – He’s Stressed Out…
When I look back on the times that I felt most out of touch in my relationships, it was when my partner was pushing me past my limits. I felt completely cornered, and I had to escape.
Psychologists call this “emotional flooding.” It’s when your limbic (emotional) system is so overwhelmed that you feel a kind of panic.
You feel like you’re going to scream or freak out if you’re kept in this mental space any longer.
Let me tell you that nothing creates this in a man like the demands of a relationship.
Especially if you’re not completely certain it’s the one you want to commit yourself to yet.
Men feel like they’re inadequate, or wimps, if they can’t manage their own stress. Just like his reclaiming his masculinity, it’s something he has to prove to himself and do alone. By its very nature, he can’t turn to a woman in his life until he’s handled it himself.
Over time, he will relax and share more, but only if the woman he’s with doesn’t ADD to that stress.
Unfortunately, when a woman feels a man pulling away – for any reason – it will trigger her panic. Which is a hard place to relax and pull back once you’re there. Inevitably her emotions will force her to force him to reassure her that “everything is okay.”
Which, in turn, creates more stress for him.
This is a wicked catch-22 that is hard to escape.
Here’s what you should do: Find a Ledge Talker
A ledge talker is a girlfriend of yours who can “talk you down” from the ledge.
Yeah, just like those jumpers in movies, the people that are threatening to jump off a bridge, or off a very tall building. You need someone who can help calm that panic before you do something foolish.
This is vital to have, otherwise you may wind up just freaking out and texting him something completely deranged and regretting it ten minutes later.
In reality, you didn’t need to text him – you just needed reassurance that you still had a connection.
So take a few moments to cool down and let the emotions mellow before doing anything. And always seek a little wisdom from a friend who’s not experiencing that panic.
Why He Needs Space – He’s Not Feeling The Relationship…
Truth be told, sometimes he does need space to assess the relationship.
Though, he usually won’t TELL you this. He will just go off to be alone and think about his feelings and how things are going between you.
Now, inevitably, this is the option that you might think he is exercising ANY time he says he needs a little room, which is going to trigger that annoying panic again.
The best you can do is to talk things through with a trusted, wise friend. Preferably someone who has seen you two together and can give you the straight truth.
And, truthfully, you should be pretty in tune with the dynamics of your relationship.
It’s surprising to me how often women aren’t really in touch with the deepest part of her connection with him – to REALLY know if he’s THERE.
Most often, there’s a projection going on. Usually, her feelings are projected ON him and then back to her.
Because she feels so much for him, she figures he MUST be feeling the same way in return.
So you have to lower the filters and make absolutely sure you’re not making up any stories. It’s easy to tell yourself what you want to hear instead of what you NEED to hear.