What to Do When He Says He Needs Space post image

What to Do When He Says He Needs Space

Few things are as frightening or nerve-wracking as a man needing space. Maybe he comes right out and tells you he needs some space, or maybe you notice he’s backing away … you haven’t seen him in a while, his texts or calls are shorter and less frequent, and you can just feel it in your gut that something is amiss.

If you ask him what’s going on and why he’s being this way, he might come right out and say he needs some space (which does nothing to assuage your mounting anxiety), or he might say something to indicate it in an indirect way, like he needs to focus on work right now, or he’s really stressed, or he thinks you should be spending some time focusing on yourself. Even worse, he may pretend like everything is totally normal, making you feel crazy, even though you know you’re not crazy and something is just not right here!

A man might ask for space in the beginning of a relationship, or when things are more serious, or even after you’re married. No matter what, it’s a horrible feeling and you can’t stop your mind from spinning and fearing the worst. You try to figure out what you could have done wrong, and you strategize about ways to make things better and get the relationship back on track. This usually doesn’t work; if anything it makes the situation even worse.

Here’s the thing that’s important to realize: men are not women. The way they process and experience things is different. Taking space is a natural coping mechanism for most men, just as seeking out support from friends and loved ones is a natural coping mechanism for most women.

When a man needs space, it often has little, if anything, to do with you.

But let’s get into it a little deeper and look at common reasons and scenarios where men need space, and what you can do about it.

He’s Stressed

The number-one reason a man pulls away is because he is stressed. The source of his stress could be the result of some issue in the relationship, but it might not have anything to do with you at all.

Men don’t typically like to talk about their problems and see it as a sign of weakness. A man prides himself on being able to solve issues and can feel extremely unsettled and off balance when problems emerge in his own life that he’s not able to resolve. Men will typically view themselves as weak and incapable if they voice their feelings or lean on other people for help or support. A guy might do it, but he’ll typically feel like a loser or weakling for asking for support or even talking about his feelings. The way women handle difficult emotions is probably much more psychologically healthy and healing, but it is what it is.

To cope with whatever stress he is facing, a man will typically withdraw and go deep into what has become known as a metaphorical “man cave.” He will want to hide away until he has reached a solution. This doesn’t necessarily mean he’s sitting down and strategizing on ways to solve the problem. Sometimes he’ll just immerse himself completely in something else, like playing video games for hours on end or immersing himself in work or sports.

Men have a much harder time processing and handling emotions than women do. They don’t have the same kinds of support systems, and sharing their innermost thoughts and feelings just doesn’t come naturally to them. For him, escaping from his feelings temporarily is sometimes more beneficial than trying to sort through them.

A University of Vienna neuroscience lab found that men become more self-centered and less empathetic when they’re stressed out.  Women, however, react in the opposite way, becoming “prosocial” and better able to distinguish their own emotions and intentions from those of other people. So it isn’t personal, it’s just his process!

What to do: The biggest mistake a woman can make when he is in this mode is to force him to talk about it. And even worse is when she tries to solve the problem for him.

Even though your intentions are pure, when you offer up solutions he feels emasculated. Men need to feel like they are in charge of their lives, like they are capable of solving whatever comes up. He prides himself on being able to solve things, and when you try to do it for him he gets the message that you don’t trust that he’ll be able to figure it out on his own, and it makes him feel even worse.

When he is under stress, just give him space and try not to take it personally. If you get angry or frustrated with him, he will just see you as another source of stress in his life, and it will put more strain on the relationship.

Why is this so hard? Even though most women know about the “man cave,” they still have a hard time accepting it because women cope with stress very differently. When a woman is upset, she will typically want to talk about it with those she feels closest to. Talking about it is therapeutic, and a solution isn’t necessary.

Because of this, if a man doesn’t want to talk about his problems, the woman can take it to mean that he doesn’t feel close to her, or doesn’t fully trust her or care about her. She feels shut out and rejected and may come to resent him for it, thus exacerbating any problems that already exist. It’s important to realize that when a man pulls back, he isn’t shutting you out. It is just his process, and he will be back and better than ever once he has a handle on whatever it going on.

If he does come to you, don’t try to solve the problem for him. Just listen. You can offer advice if he asks, but only if he asks.

TAKE THE QUIZ: Is he Losing Interest? 

Space in a committed relationship

Another main reason a guy can need to take space in a relationship is if his needs aren’t being met or he feels unappreciated. Guys aren’t always able to articulate their emotional needs. It could be because they’ve been conditioned by society not to talk about such things or because they don’t have the language to express what it is they want and need. Some men don’t even realize their own emotional deficits, and that is an area where you can be a huge help to him!

A man won’t always come right out and tell you what he needs from you, but he will know it when he gets it. So he might not tell you that he really needs your approval and appreciation. Maybe you do show him appreciation, but he needs more and he doesn’t know how to tell you that. Instead, he backs away. He isn’t as present or engaged, and you feel a palpable space forming and don’t know how to break through.

MORE: 3 Reasons Men Pull Away

What to do: Try to pay attention to what lights him up and what shuts him down. If he is already deep in the “man cave,” engage in an open, empathetic dialogue and ask him what it is that you could do more of to make him feel good. You might be surprised by what he tells you. And no matter what it is, try not to get defensive. Your instinctive response might be, “I do that all the time!” but try to restrain yourself and hear him out.

You can also voice what it is you need from him. In any relationship, it’s important to check in with your partner to make sure both people are happy and getting what they need to feel loved. When you approach him from a place of genuinely wanting to make the relationship better and wanting to make him feel loved, he will be receptive to you.

Space in the beginning of a relationship

Many women, myself included, have been in situations where they’re dating a guy, things are going great, they’re spending more and more time together, getting closer and closer … and then he starts pulling away. He might say he needs space, or he might just start taking it without warning. And the woman is baffled. What went wrong? She thought everything was going so well!

These situations usually happen for one of two reasons. The first is a very subtle, sneaky one. It comes from a mindset shift that happens within you. When a relationship starts to get a lot more serious, a lot of women reflexively freak out and become consumed with the fear that things won’t work out. This fear causes them to cling tighter to the relationship, to associate their self-worth with how the guy feels. They think about the relationship constantly, obsess over what things mean, and analyze the “signs” looking for bad omens.

… (continued – Click to keep reading What to Do When He Says He Needs Space)

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Come on, ladies! GEEEZ
I just got a text from my guy saying that he wants a break. A break from a new relationship. Really? I think it’s cowardly AND disrespectful. Oh wait, how long should I wait until you are positive you want to be with me?
I want a MAN who is sure that he wants to be with me, not some BOY who is afraid, runs and hides, then says he wants a break. So “when the going gets tough, the tough get going”

Reply August 25, 2016, 4:56 pm


Dated this guy in college for 3 months, things were going super well he even told me he tells me things that only his close friends and family know about him. He also told me he doesn’t really go after girls in school because he wants to enjoy his time in college, I understood that (we were just friends at the time) because I had gotten out of a 3 year relationship 6 months ago and I was not going to get involved with someone from a different state again and do long distance because it just doesn’t seem to work. So things started to pick up after we became more than friends and started talking, we just always had fun together and it was easy and it was something that I didn’t over think because I understood he doesn’t text much and he would still find excuses to contact me every few days. His friends even told me that they have never seen him act this way with a girl before. Things were actually easy and awesome and I had had that in a long time. We each had our independence and didn’t rely on hanging out with each other every day and I liked that. Things were on their way to being serious but I didn’t want to bring it up because summer was coming and I knew we’d have to break up because I didn’t want long distance. We would hang out a lot when we went out at night and I made him wait over a month for sex because I told him that’s something that’s important to me and he understood and never pushed me on it. We didn’t hang out during the day or not when we were going out for the night very often so I casually brought up trying to hang out during the day or do something different and he started to freak out. He started going on about summer and how busy he’d be and how he couldn’t do long distance so I said I don’t even know where I’m gonna be this summer so I’m not really thinking that far ahead plus we have 6 weeks left so why worry about that right now. I just have fun with you and love hanging out. Things then went sorta back to normal but he was being a bit distant so I backed off and he eventually came right back and things were normal for a few more weeks. Then out of nowhere, he was walking me home from a bar and I had asked him to my upcoming dance earlier that night which he seemed excited about, he had another freak out moment he started going on and on about “what are we doing?” He wanted to know how I could ask him to a dance if we are going to end things and I said because I wanna have fun with you before we have to leave and my ideal situation is we keep hanging out and then when summer comes we end it but we can catch up every once in a while and see how if something happens when we get back awesome and if not then that’s okay. He just couldn’t understand that I wasn’t expecting anything from him, I really liked him and felt we had a real connection but I was never doing long distance again and he obviously didn’t either so I didn’t see the problem. He kept telling me how I deserved someone who texted me all the time (not what I wanted I wanted someone who would text me when they have something to say and we would hang out in person instead) and someone who would come find me at bars (he did I never chased him down because I didn’t want to get hurt because I can tell he’s scared of commitment sometimes). So when he started talking like this I asked if he just didn’t like me anymore because that’s okay if his feelings changed I just would much rather know and he said no and continued to explain something to me that I didn’t understand, he kept talking in circles about how relationships shouldn’t be this easy and how over the summer he was just going to turn it off and that would hurt me. I kept telling him I didn’t expect anything, and asking what he wanted from me and he’d say I don’t know. He told me he wanted me in his life but didn’t want to ruin my senior year by disappearing over the summer. Then he would say things like I like you but something just didn’t click and I would say okay well then you don’t like me like that it’s cool, I like you but your into me just as friends just say that and he would say no how could you think I don’t like you. Needless to say I was super confused, I told him we should just have fun and go to the dance and worry about this when we have to. We went to the dance he was all over me and acting super cute his friends even told my friends as they watched us interact “he talks about her all the time”. Then on our way back he brought it up again, it was mostly the same thing over and over and me saying I’m confused because I didn’t know what he wanted and I think he didn’t either. Anyways I went home we had the same discussion and then it started to get heated I didn’t want him to sit there for 3 hours and explain how he just didn’t like me anymore so I said that and I said if you don’t like me it’s okay but just leave I don’t want to talk it to death I get it but he wouldn’t leave he kept wanting to explain things. Eventually I walked him out and he left, seeing him around for the last two weeks of school was weird but I was friendly and he’d just avoid me and that made me so confused. He would just watch me when I was out or buy a drink and give it to one of my friends to give to me, and my friend would tell him to talk to me because no one understood what happened between us. We eventually talked again but it was the same thing, me just not understanding what he was saying, I got that it was over and he didn’t like me but he would try and explain how its not that he didn’t like me he thought I was awesome but relationships can’t be easy like that and we avoided the hard things (at 3 months I didn’t think there was anything hard was coming up yet before this). He didn’t see himself getting serious with me and I didn’t even know if I was there yet so I’m confused where he felt that pressure from, I really liked him and I don’t like people and share things about myself that often so I’m wondering if anyone has advice on what to do next? I want things to work out because they were awesome and just clicked (at least on my end they did, his actions and words and what his friends would say made me think they did too but at the end he said we didn’t click). We are away for summer now so what should be my game plan when I get back? I still think there’s a chance if he doesn’t keep overthinking like he did this time

Reply May 18, 2016, 8:48 am


Hey I was seeing guy for month so talked for months I got scared panicked and told him to leave me alone in which he did I then said sorry , he said he just wanted to be friends I said ok then he said he wanted to be more then friends I told him I did to and I just panicked I’ve not heard from him for a week now and this is exactly why I backed off is there anyway of saving something or just forget it also I have deleted his number so no way of contact

Reply May 16, 2016, 3:07 am


Hi, I’ve been receiving emails for about a year now and I’m finding it really hard to unsubscribe (not because this article is bad its amazing and really helpful) just because I need my email box clean and neat. The link in the footer of all the emails I receive says the URL is incorrect, I’ve tried everything and I don’t know what to do now. Could you possibly comment me back on here a step by step guide, as soon as possible. – Thank you

Reply March 25, 2016, 1:17 am


Even if someone could reply back saying the proper link that would be great. Please reply back if you can 🙁

Reply March 25, 2016, 1:18 am


And if you need my email thats fine but I just can’t post it publicly. 🙂

Reply March 25, 2016, 1:20 am


Im in this stuation.
We started to hang out and it was a month and a half of seing eachother everyday, he was so nice, he charmed me. Thing went terrific, we had a lot of connection…chemistry…..we stayed veru good together.
But when we had the talk , he pulled back. He began to act like a different person .
We keep hunging out but not every week and he told me that : “I do care about you and I dont want to hurt you, im scared to be attached to anybody closely”. Now its been a moth without seing him and we doesnt have contact. Im trying to have contact with him by saying nice things or sending pics about different situations via whattsapp. I dont know what to do because he told me that he is scared. I want him so bad but im so frustated because we lost contact. I gave him space and he came back. But when Im beggining to feel more o say more romantic things like I missed him, or i want to see him more…. he pulls back again,ANY ADVICE???

Reply March 15, 2016, 6:37 am



Would appreciate a bit of help please……
I recently ended a 1.5 years relationship…. Everything was so beautiful, he had very recently come to tell me he loved me and asked if I had considered spending the rest of my life qith him…
However, I decided to leave due to the fact that during the last 3 months I was unable to have a date… I mean going out to dine and so… Not just 30 min informal visits….
I complained about his texting and seeing me less…. He said it was due to money problems, that he now would have to work long hours and devote less time to me. He wasnt lying, he was really in a tight spot(divorced but still pays for his childrens education and other needs), and he did try to soothe me but I just felt it wasnt enough. He asked me for some time to fix his stuff… But I just couldnt stand not seeing or texting him as often as I used to… And I constantly brought it up, demanding attention…..
I resented his being away from me very much and as a result broke up with him..
He called me impatient and in our last quarrel said he had never considered me in his future plans…

I’d very much appreciate an honest opinion. I dont really know if it was me who wronged him.
Thank you.

Reply March 8, 2016, 6:12 pm


I can honestly say… He told you that he never considered you because you hurt him when you broke it off and that is all that was. As far as you not being able to go anywhere public…. He was probably trying to end whatever mess he had before you and couldn’t. The time was way was more than likely to protect you. You were right to feel how you felt because we all know what we want and how we want to be treated. Try not to fault someone for not knowing what love is; sadly he didn’t .

Reply August 18, 2016, 8:50 pm


I was dating my ex for 6 months but we were friends for 3-4 years before. When I broke up with him, he and I agreed to be friends. There were no fights or anything. He was really nice to me and even mentioned that he loves me. I was a little shocked but at the same time we were joking around. We messaged each other on Facebook cause it was the only thing we can contact each other. Well we were messaging and everything was fine except he was short on messaging but I didn’t think nothing of it. Cause I know guys don’t message much. The next day after we messaged, I found out he blocked me. I was confused and shocked and hurt! I don’t know what to think.

Reply February 18, 2016, 9:58 pm


This is a very positive article
However I’ve had the “space” comment twice in 2 longterm relationships. And both were because “space” was needed to cheat. The “space” line can be a death knell of the relationship.

Reply February 13, 2016, 9:32 am


Hi sabrina and Alex
So here goes my story I met this guy 6 months ago we started dating officially after 2 months all this period he didn’t tell me he had kids or was ever married all I knew was he was with a woman for 8 years ! Well he seemed to be busy and sometimes we make plans but he seemed to always be busy and we’ll we have to reschedule and then we get to see. At a point I tot to myself yes I know he loves his job but it shouldn’t be this bad! We see like every 2weeks. Eventually he opened up to me and told me he had kids and he wanted to tell me from the beginning but since I mentioned I can’t date a man with kids he left it out cause he didn’t want to lose me he wanted me to like him first before telling me !well I was hurt and still I liked him and didn’t breakup with him. And he opened up to me about his ex and they broke up two years ago well according to him she was cheating and he said he would have stayed for the sake of their kids but she didn’t. So back to us, well we spoke daily and try to work things out. He has his kids almost every other day so balancing work and kids was a lot but I tried to understand
.well the issue was it was becoming to much and it was interfering with us meeting, and I was complaining and he once mentioned he doesn’t think his enough for me and cause of his baggage he might not give me the commitment I wanted. Well we talked through it and decided to just make it work. On my birthday he didn’t make it cause of an emergency at work and I was upset and angry. I told him . A day after my birthday he sent me a message saying he doesn’t deserve me as a gf and I am better than him! Boom he blocked me on WhatsApp! Viber!even calls!!! And that was it! I don’t know what to do.I am heartbroken

Reply February 7, 2016, 5:03 pm


I’m newly dating a guy whom in learning about each other, we both discovered that we had something in common, his second cousin. I briefly dated him over a decade ago and we were intimate twice. My new guy although we like each other a lot, is having difficulty handling this information. He says he can eventually work through it but it does bother him. I’m not sure what to do. My guess is to give him some space. Should I just leave him be and let him reach out to me? Please help.

Reply January 29, 2016, 11:37 am


I’ve been with my boyfriend for 3 years, we started as acquaintances with benefits (an arrangement I initiated, cus you know sex is voltageous and frankly a biological need) progressing to a casual then committed relationship over the first year. In the 2 years we’ve been monogamous he’s never asked for space.

Ironically I’m usually the one who asks for space. Every couple of months I mention that I’m gonna be taking more time for myself and I take the first weekend of every month as Miri weekend, where Miri does whatever Miri wants to do – unless we have an established commitment, sometimes it involves him and sometimes it doesn’t. I know he appreciates my desire for space, because he needs it too. Maybe me taking it prevents him to feeling like he needs to ask for it.

We’re going to buy a house together, and my biggest fear has been that living together will result in not getting the time for myself that I need. When I expressed that to him, he said it was something we both know we need, so we’ll make it work.

I know plenty of other women who need their own time in a relationship – actually all the women I know – but they rarely ask for it or just take it. That make me sad, especially with how this post is framed, doing things you want to do sounds like a way to kill time waiting for him and not how to enjoy time by yourself. Focus on the things that will reassure him? Why not just spend the time focusing on yourself.

My boyfriend would be disappointed if I withheld my opinion or solution to a problem because I didn’t want to emasculate him, I think appalled might be a better word because we’d have some problems. When he tells me about a problem, he’s telling me because he want me to know and because he wants my perspective. Is masculinity so fragile that getting support or a solution from your partner renders it void.

I guess I don’t understand how a partner that’s supposed to value you could feel emasculated when you offer a solution to their problem. I just don’t see how someone who loves and values you could view giving you a solution to a problem as something negative.

Reply January 29, 2016, 2:36 am


I’m going through this right now, after being together for over 1 year in a LDR. He just vanished. We went from talking everyday and texting multiple times daily to nothing. How nit to take this personally? I don’t even know if we are in a relationship anymore or not. And before this, he was talking marriage and figuring out a way for us to move in together. It hurts, the not knowing. The expectation of wondering if today is the day he’ll call or not. I wish he was less of a pussy and just told me he didn’t want to be in a relationship with me anymore, instead of saying the contrary on the few times we spoke since he started drifting away. Nothing beats ending a relationship with respect for your partner. Yes, I’m hurting, and in my mind I’m trying so hard to forget about him and the relationship. I need to face the facts that we are over, this “giving space” is just a cowardly way people found for disappearing without facing each other in a break up situation.

Reply January 28, 2016, 9:18 pm


Girl, I am sorry for things you have been facing with. I went through that as well, and my ex-boyfriend and I was in a LDR too. Seriously, like you said, how not to take this personally when he just pulled back and said he needed space. No contact at all for several days and it drove me insane. I recently re-read some old messages and felt hurt and started crying because he also talked marriage and kids with me and he just drifted apart and no longer made plans to visit me. I was so desperate even to a point where I had to beg to talk to him and beg him to call me. So I ended the relationship, respectfully, because that is the best thing you can do. It has only been almost one month. I can still ball my eyes out missing him and everything we had. However I do not regret having set myself and my mind free from all the negative thoughts and disappointment from expecting that he would call or text me. I know the not knowing hurts. But just take it easy, and time will start the healing process. Wounds make you a better person, I promise. That was what happened to me. My heart goes out to the women getting hurt facing this situation. Live, laugh, and love!

Reply February 1, 2016, 11:15 am


Hey girls. My guy and I were doing good. One day I texted him casually about something I saw. Out of blue he tells me he sees me as an option. He’s met someone who he’s having a serious relationship with and that he wants no contact from me. Like WOW! I replied “ok well its been great and good luck with that” I meant it sincerely. He came back demanding I not text him. He went on n on. A few times I texted to please stop. He finally stopped texting and ended it with harsh ugly words. 2 1/2 months later after no contact he tells me he said all that because he needed space. Says its not an excuse for his behavior but it is the reason. Asked if I wanted to see him. I politely said no. He then goes off again telling me to leave him alone. I sat there thinking is this guy bi polar-insecure-self centered. I’ve known him 2yrs. When ever he feels threatened(he is very sensitive) he pushes away, Big time. I think some men really do not know how to express themselves and I feel sad for them. I did offer a suggestion to him via text to read something. He came back ranting n raving again and threatened to file a restraining order. Wow! I’m just appalled at the dramatics. Honestly it was A text no more. That’s just crazy town with him. You bet I deleted that #.

Reply January 27, 2016, 9:17 pm


Wow! We’re you one of the many women my boyfriend was with behind my back? ???????????? Sounds just like him and how his jealous lovers were when they found out I have been his girlfriend of 9+ years! Boy did he play them and me! Some psycho sluts thought it to be funny. They’re just as messed up in the head as him! He was taking space alright!

Reply January 28, 2016, 11:48 am


That’s a great article. Men and their man cave.Since it is very hurtful when they
pull away, I have a suggestion:after he comes back from his damn cave, the
woman should be very nice to a point that she doesn’t care at all. After a while
she should pull away without any explanations,let’s find out how he would feel then. That will throw the man out of balance..When he chases and asks what’s wrong, the woman
should respond:nothing. I just need some space. Give him a flavour of his poison
and see how he will take it.

Reply January 27, 2016, 6:43 pm


that’s called playing games and it wont work in any one’s favor in the end.
Playing games is for children.

Reply January 28, 2016, 11:54 am


I think it will work. It will throw him off balance. He will think twice if he will
do it again. Men respond to actions, not words. Any words are considered
nagging by men.

Reply January 31, 2016, 9:37 pm


At the end, you said, “If you feel really hurt by him taking space, and it’s eating away at you, bring it up to him. Just be sure to do it in a loving way, not in an accusatory or attacking way, because that will just make things worse.”

How can a woman bring it up in a loving way? In my experience, no matter how I brought it up, the guys would get super defensive and I usually never got any real feedback as to why they pulled away.

Reply January 27, 2016, 4:32 pm

Sabrina Alexis

Well first, approaching him in a loving way is about mindset. It needs to come from a place of genuine care and empathy, not a place of being angry at him for doing what he needs to do. It would look something like, “I really care about you and noticed you’ve been distant. I don’t want to infiltrate on your space so I want you to know that I’m here if you want to talk about.” You can also say, “I know you don’t mean it, but I feel hurt when you shut me out. I know it’s not your intention, I just want to tell you how I feel.” This is different from, “When you act like this is really upsets me and it isn’t fair!” or “Why won’t you talk to me?” You can’t demand he open up, you can invite him to open up. And it’s important to try and understand where he’s coming from instead of just demanding he see where you’re coming from. I think most guys will understand if you approach from that angle. If a guy gets really defensive and bites your head off, there are probably some other issues going on with him, it could be personality wiring or deeper sources of stress that he isn’t comfortable sharing.

Reply January 28, 2016, 11:11 am


Hi Sabrina,

Thank you so much for your article. I was dating the man I like for a little over a month. Things were going really well, he was taking me out, I was going to his basketball and poker games, he was very affectionate, and always treated me the way I wanted when we were together. He even made several comments in front of his friends about marriage and babies, so I was very excited! The only problem was that he does not contact me as often as I would like.

About two weeks ago, I brought this up and let him know that I feel like an option for him and not a priority when I don’t hear from him. He responded that he didn’t think he was ready to have what he wanted to have with me. That things got too serious and that he didn’t want to waste my time.

I was completely devastated, and still am honestly, but your article was very reassuring. I’m sure that my attempts to contact him earlier that week came across as clingy, and like you said, “When It Gets Too Intense, He Will Pull Back”. I have been giving him his space and haven’t contacted him since then. I did run into him on Sunday when I went out to see the Panther’s game. It was pleasant, no relationship talk. I felt tremendously better after seeing him, but he still hasn’t contacted me.

I am trying to stay positive and remind myself that I am a high-value woman, but this is still a very difficult time for me. Please let me know if you have any additional advice on how to handle the situation.

Reply January 27, 2016, 4:23 pm


Hey Autumn…just thought I’d put my two cents in for you.
I think what he did about talking about babies is called “future faking”. It’s weird and I don’t get it, but it should raise red flags. Flip the script: if you started talking about babies after a month, when you don’t really know this guy yet, would you not call a girl like that crazy??? You want someone you just met to father your children? Lol!

If you told him you feel like an option, not a priority, I think that’s kind of aggressive. Personally. I’m learning this right now: give as much as you get when you’re DATING. So this is like…initial dates, and first few months of a relationship. They’re not important to your life yet. (My brother likes to put it like this: “Are you going to tell your grandchildren about this guy?” lol

So for example…talk to him as often as he talks to you. Don’t put too much thought, just mirror actions in that way. If he puts more effort, you mirror it, you both feel happy. If he lessens effort over time, you might try initiating something or doing something nice once or twice, but if he doesn’t respond to it, continue to mirror him. You’re gonna realize either 1 of 2 things: 1) He’s not that into you/doesn’t get that relationships take effort (same thing in your eyes really, because your needs aren’t being met) or 2) he responds to your needs when given space and warmth. A LOT OF DUDES (UGGHHH) seem to think a relationship is just either working or it’s not. It’s easier said than done, but try not to hold on to the idea of being with a guy like this. He’ll be useless in his next relationship too.

Lastly, I think the entire message sums up to this: you focus on yourself. Hence, you focus on YOUR actions. Are you worrying about HIS actions for hours a day? Be honest. Because regardless if he’s an idiot or not, YOU have an issue. If you’re just focusing on yourself, meaning, you spend your AND YOUR THOUGHTS ON YOU, you wouldn’t feel as bad. It’s guaranteed. Spending 3 hours a day talking to friends or researching articles about why he’s acting such n such way VERSUS 3 hours playing with new makeup tutorials on youtube, dancing in your room to music, and making egg rolls = less pain.

Then after all that fun, it might be a couple hours til you hear from him. Then you’re chill and you respond naturally. If he doesn’t respond in a few days, you still respond naturally (in my case, I’d probably be highly uninterested because I just care less when people pull away). If he doesn’t respond ever, it will hurt (but you would’ve felt that after a week or something) but you didn’t waste any time on him. You spent X many hours being happy so your pain to get over him will be MUCH LESS simply because you didn’t INVEST yourself into him!

I’m just sharing what I’ve been learning so far, hopefully it helps.


Reply January 27, 2016, 4:47 pm


Hi AP, thanks for your words. Just to clarify, I have actually known him for 8 years but we did not start hanging out until October, and dating in December. You are right about not holding on to the idea of being with a guy like this. So much easier said than done. I try to invest my energy and attention in myself, but no matter what I do, he is always in the back of my mind 🙁

Reply January 27, 2016, 6:21 pm


I just saw a video by Matthew Hussey/a famous relationship expert/ and it applies exactly
to your situation. In brief: when a man says he is not ready for a relationship, Matthew
was suggesting: the woman should say” I have feelings for you and I want the best for you.
You should go on your own, we should not see each other until you find out what you
want. If you decide to come back to me and you are ready for an exclusive relationship and
IF I AM STILL AVAILABLE, I will consider if I want you back.
I think that was a brilliant advice. If it is too late to apply it to this relationship, make sure
you apply it from now on.

Reply January 27, 2016, 6:52 pm

Sabrina Alexis

Hi Autumn- That’s a tough situation. You feel wronged because he’s the one that set the fast pace and then all of a sudden he pulls back and almost punishes you for it, saying things got too serious too fast! I think what’s happening here is different than a man taking a little space, it sounds like he’s backing away completely. Maybe he got freaked out, maybe this is too much for him, but i think for now you need to take it at face value and just move on for the time being. If it helps, you can set a little deadline for yourself. Tell yourself that you won’t be upset about him and you won’t even think about the situation right now, if you don’t hear from him for another week, then you’ll allow yourself to be upset and then you will accept the relationship is over. Give yourself the mental and emotional space to move on. Right now it’s almost like you’re waiting for him to see the light and show up at your door with flowers and proclamation of love (maybe not exactly like that, but something along those lines!). You should never put yourself in a position where you’re waiting around for a guy to choose you. It’s a sickening feeling and puts you at his mercy. I know it’s hard, but try to not think about this whole thing for now. Focus on yourself, focus on enjoying your life, and trust that whatever happens will be for the best and someday you’ll find a guy who want sot get serious with you and doesn’t get even a little freaked out by it!

Reply January 28, 2016, 11:18 am

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