Wants space, but remains in contact. Need advise

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  • #695620 Reply


    Not sure where to start and apologise is this is lengthy, but will need to put in all of the details so you can help with advice on how to proceed.

    I am in a new relationship and we have been seeing each other for only 7 months, we both have acknowledged the relationship and committed to each other. He works away, so sometimes I may not see him for a 2-3 weeks at a time and then sometimes every weekend (horrible roster, but I support him on this as it’s his work), but we remain in contact daily. When he is at home, we try and spend most of the weekends together (as these are his only days at home before back to work again). I am extremely conscious to make sure when he is home, that he has his time with his mates away from me and not to crowd him, so allot of times I go with his lead and if he wants to spend the whole of his weekend with me. As he works away, I have plenty of time for my own life as well. I know he finds it hard to balance his life, as he only gets three days at home and he has to try and manage seeing his family (no children), friends, me and also spend time doing things around his house, it can get allot for him to manage and I understand this is a bit of stress on him. He has been doing quite fine up until now.

    He just finished a 3 week work stint and managed to get some extended time off from work over the Easter Break and I asked if was also able to take a couple of day off before the long weekend and we could go away, which I did as I had not seen him for a few weeks and thought it would be awesome to spend some time together. During the first two days I noticed a shift, he would start to be come very hot and cold with me, he would become distance and not really talk to me, he would also pull away sometimes when I went to be affectionate towards him. I have a few insecurity issues from being massively hurt in my previous relationship (over two years ago) and these were the signs I was seeing in my last relationship, so I was starting to freak out a little, however remained in control of my emotions, but just didn’t really know where I stood with him and this new behaviour of his, he started to become quite moody. When we were heading home, I asked if he would like to spend the rest of the day and night by himself, get some alone time to which he never responded. When we got back to his place, I said I was going to head home and unpack and asked if he would like me to come back later on, he said yes, all the while being very withdrawn. I asked if he was okay, he said he was tired, so I asked again if he wanted me to come back and he said yes. So I was gone for about 5 hours and came back, his greeting was extremely negative, almost “what are you doing here”. I wasn’t going to mention the hot and cold over the past two days, however with that greeting I had to bring it up as I had absolutely no idea where I stood and felt very unwanted. He took it the wrong way, he accused me of calling him an arsehole and then completely shut down and would talk to me. I explained I was concerned about his happiness in the relationship and wanted to make sure we were both on the same page still. I asked if he was happy, he said yes, until I came and this happened. He told me that I should go home, so I told him I cared for him deeply and that I would leave him alone. I didn’t hear from him at all for the rest of that day and the next, so I texted him (I’m not into the whole who texts first crap, we are 39 years old, mature enough to handle this without playing games). I explained I was sorry he was hurt with me calling him hot and cold and that he simply took it the wrong way, I said that he needs to communicate better with me and I totally understand that he needs his alone time, he just needs to talk to me. I said I hope we can work this out. 16 Hours later he replied, with a Happy Easter, hope you have a great day and yes, it seems I might need a bit of space. So I replied and said I agreed, have a great easter and when your ready, contact me (so we know then who is to contact who). He messaged again that night, asking how my day was etc and a few more generally messages, asked what I was doing tomorrow, to which I replied no plans, then nothing at all back from him. I messaged him again last night wishing him the best for his return to work (I want him to know that the communication line is open and I am not punishing him for wanting space), he messaged back very sweet messages after that and let me know he was thinking of me.

    I feel the dynamics have definitely changed from this argument and his lack of being able to communicate properly with me. I do care about him a great deal and do want to continue a relationship with him. He was obviously deeply offended when I called him out on being cold towards me, he must not of realised he was doing it.

    I have spent the past few days in complete confusion about where he is at. How do I proceed now from here?

    Note – attraction and sexual chemistry is definitely not an issue.

    #695621 Reply


    Uhm, i honestly dont know. Could be a fixeable short cut or your gut telling something is off. Was he really hot and cold? People are not lovey dovey all the time. But stop asking him if he is ok. Just take a break and see what he does

    #695623 Reply


    Newbie, I haven’t had to ask him if he was okay up until now, simply because of the change in him, I was concerned.

    It was definitely hot/cold behaviour, he’d be all sweet and snuggle me at night, then barley talk to me the next. I felt as thought I was irritating him, annoying him. We went camping and fishing, so he was in his element and should of been full of happy endorphins, but seemed opposite.

    My gut tells me this is just a bump in the road, the first emotional charged argument and we will get over it.

    #695636 Reply


    katherine, no offense, but you were annoying ME with your description, so I am not surprised he was annoyed at you. LOL You are a clearly a very nice and sweet girl. But can oyu be a little more normal? Like when someone is withdrawn from you, you pull away and don’t talk to them? if you see they are irritated by you, leave. Let him to cool off, do not continue to ask and ask questions. Yes communication is very important but constant asking, explaining, texting with apologies. This is too much!

    My impression was that you are too too nice. LOL Whereas men feel comfortable in a normal dynamic. Sometimes it is nice sometimes it is not. If he does something mean, he gets to pay for that. Men don’t mind that at all, I find they actually appreciate it. So show emotions! Do not be afraid to fell him off if he does his hot and cold thing on you. Do not be afraid to not reply to his text and let him wonder why you are not talking to him.

    Communicating like you are his shrink (constant support, understanding, never raising your voice, always nice, etc etc) is very annoying (LOL) and numbing to a relationship. Try to be a normal woman, who can be moody and not understanding, who wants a man to do something for her and he knows he better do them. LOL I find men become very content if you give them this natural dynamic, they know where they stand and what to expect and they also know that their woman is not going to take crap from them. This makes them respect and value you more. LOL

    #695651 Reply


    I don’t like the sound of this. Someone who is moody, who just starts getting standoff-ish rather than saying “hey, I’m feeling like I wanna lay down and read a book, why don’t you stay down here and watch Tv”… or “hey, I’m gonna go for a walk and clear my head” is a BAD COMMUNICATOR. He obviously was just feeling a little irritable, if so, he shouldn’t have said he wanted you to come back. And then to say “why are you here?” when you did? What is he, a child? He told you to come back.

    You have a passive-aggressive bad communicator on your hands. All the space in the world won’t change his inability to communicate his needs in a kind clear way.

    #695657 Reply


    Emma, well I didn’t actually think of it that I was perhaps being too nice. To be honest, I did actually withdraw a bit when he was acting moody, I wouldn’t speak. But to me, that just eats me up inside. I definitely don’t constantly ask questions either about his feelings, I know that would be frustrating to him, but like I said in a previous comment, I have never actually had to either, because this is the first I have seen him act this way. I would never not respond to his texts though, to make him wonder why I am not responding, to me that is playing silly needless games, he responds to my texts almost immediately unless he is working, then we only communicate at night time when he is in bed.

    I have seen him become quite moody around his family as well, so maybe this is just his personality.

    Ali – I agree, I gave him ample opportunity to say that he wants to do solo time, so the response I got when I came back was totally unnecessary.

    #695666 Reply


    Well, when men get moody I automatically figure they want their man cave and get away from them. I stay away until THEY ask for my presence. I also appreciate when a man does this for me…I need alone time too.

    I think it was foolish on his part to say he wanted to see you when he did not want to see you. So go with your gut and do not ask him…just go away. He will come after you when HE is ready, trust that.

    If he gets too moody too often you may want to rethink this relationship.

    #695679 Reply


    He sounds like a jerk. While I agree, you can be too nice, you are trying to give him a chance to tell you what he wants.

    It’s what people that need space DON’T get about people who are “too nice”. We need to know what you need so we can give it to you. Dang, if you need space, just say it, then tell us you’ll be back in touch when you are ready.

    I’d do the minimal, and when he comes back to being a good person, I’d let him know that you understand the need for space, but the next time, he needs to communicate more clearly instead of being an ass. How he treated you wasn’t acceptable.

    I go thru this with my LDR, and he is FULLY self aware of what he does, apologizes for it, acknowledges that it drives me nuts, but has made me aware that it is what he needs at times. It makes it easier to navigate and helps me be more secure in our relationship so that I can give him his space.

    If this guy can’t do that for you, meet you half way, I’d go. It isn’t fair for him to cause you to stress over the relationship. You have needs too, which sound pretty simple- basically you want a heads up.

    Relationships are a two way street. Constantly being rebuffed by people who need space gets old.

    #695706 Reply


    You can’t expect someone to be full on all the time! We all need ‘breaks’ here and there, or get into a funk and don’t know why just something were feeling but don’t feel compelled to TALK about it either because we can’t always explain it.

    My natural instinct is to PULL AWAY when someone’s not acting or behaving in a manner they normally do. One of the big parts of getting to know someone is to learn their patterns— what upsets them, what tires or exhausts them, and when they need space or to work out a problem/issue they may be having.

    When I give a man space (look up ‘rubber band theory’) he will bounce back much faster instead of constantly needling or trying to talk or get them to open up when aren’t in a talkative mood. Men are NOT WOMEN; they think, act, speak and deal with work, problems/issues, tiredness, and moods much differently than we do! Trust me, I raised TWO SONS and although it initially bothered me when they went into ‘cave mode’ and didn’t want to ‘talk about it’ I learned to allow them to go through their own process and resolve it in their own way. If they wanted to to talk I was there to listen but if not it was OK too!

    This is a part of the courtship process; learning how they deal with things and when to back off and give them the room or space to deal with it in their own way and time.

    #695736 Reply


    Thanks to everyone for all your advice, the different of opinions definitely help when working out a situation such as this.

    I have learnt allot already from this, I think the number one key thing for me to remember, that if he does start to go into his “man cave” or withdraw, become moody, then IT ISN’T ABOUT ME. This is where I go wrong, I let my emotions get the better of me and I overthink the situation, blame myself and then try to fix it. It is still early on in our relationship so when he becomes withdrawn, I automatically think that it is something that I have said or done for him to be this way. I will trust my gut feelings from now on, when I think he needs space, even if he says he doesn’t, I will give it to him. I will head off for a big walk or even for a shop around town, come back later on with dinner perhaps. He is not a Jerk, I think maybe he didn’t know how to handle the situation either, I honestly think he thought I was going to break up with him, maybe that is how he has been treated before and he instantly put his walls up.

    I am so considerate of other peoples feelings and their comfort, I am a damn nice person and I am not going to change that, because then I wouldn’t actually be myself in this relationship. But I can’t expect him to be these things as well, and like everyone is saying, I can’t expect him to be all lovey dovey all the time, this is not realistic. In reality, would I even actually want him to be, it would get annoying eventually.

    He is communicating again with me and using all his sweet words, so even though I know the dynamic has changed a bit now, it will pass and we will get over this, I only hope it will make us stronger, as I have learnt allot about this man in the past few days and I hope that he has learnt allot about me as well, when the going gets tough, I don’t just bail out.

    #695745 Reply


    “… he would also pull away sometimes when I went to be affectionate towards him”

    There it is! He feels that everything is on your terms. When YOU feel affectionate he feels very pressured to respond affectionately when he is not in the mood.* Are you affectionate when he wants to be affectionate with you, or do you push him away literally or figuratively by saying “not now I am not in the mood”?

    * Men don’t like it when women demand they be chatty, or women are forcing men to emote on demand.

    #695748 Reply


    Hi SG,

    No actually, I don’t push him away literally or figuratively when he wants to be affectionate. I have never said “I’m not in the mood”, it so happens I actually very much enjoy sex with him, because he is very considerate in this part of our relationship, as I am to him, we have allot of passion in this area and it can get very heated, so I know that the attraction and chemistry is still very much hot :-) I was more talking about when I go to hold his hand or something he pulls away. But yes, I have learnt that he can sometimes just not be in the mood to hold hands or whatever, and that is okay.

    My previous relationship had absolutely zero affection, so I crave it, maybe a bit too much in this new relationship. He can be very affectionate at times, even if it is just a cuddle…..but it seems to be when it is on his terms only……so If was to cuddle him, he would pull away or act as though I am annoying him. However when he wants to cuddle me or play around affectionately, I never actually turn him away, because like I said, I crave this part of our relationship.

    #695786 Reply


    “Men are NOT WOMEN; they think, act, speak and deal with work, problems/issues, tiredness, and moods much differently than we do! ”

    On the counter side, women are not men. Most women do get uncomfortable when men retreat, and would appreciate a heads up. I’m not a mind reader. It’s super weird to go from a guy being clingy and aggressive to being basically MIA in a 24 hour span. A nice “got some issues to work thru” would be great.

    Mostly it’s communication- no one should dog someone who needs space, and I think there would be fewer clingy women out there if men would just communicate a need for space. It does take a while to get used to the “man cycle”. And the man need for “alone time” often comes after a “big event” with a woman (first time sex, argument, on and on), when a woman typically needs a small amount of reassurance.

    My LDR actually needs a tremendous amount of space after physically seeing someone, so he has this weird trait of calling on his way out and telling me I’m amazing, then he disappears into his cave. Does the same thing to his mom.

    But truly, the way most men do it is honestly really rude (and I’ll agree that women are rude to “probe”. But if men just gave a little, I think they’d find the probing would stop.

    #695789 Reply


    OK.. My bf behaves the same.. While I believe Lane’s explanation is correct based on her experience with her boys and man, when my bf goes from clingy and aggressive to withdrawn in 24 hours span, I cannot help panicking. It is easy to say not to take it personal but very hard to put it into action when u r overwhelmed by the emotion. What I learn is that I cannot force him, yell at him or blame him. So I’d try my best to distract myself, to read articles and get a clearer head. At the same time I’d drop hints telling him indirectly I am not happy I might go with others if he doesn’t “come back”. I know this works for him cos he is jealous type of person

    #696100 Reply


    Okay, here is an update on where things are currently at. I need some advice from you all as to how to proceed, because at the moment I am very hurt and a little angry, I don’t want to say or do anything I am going go regret later.

    He came home from work last night, I am usually at his place when he comes home (AT HIS REQUEST), but I didn’t go to his place last night, because he still hasn’t said that he is ready to see me as yet. BUT, he has remained in contact these past few days still, I have stopped initiating all contact, so he is messaging me first. H flies in late on his return home, which means he doesn’t generally get in until about 11pm. He messaged me as soon as he landed and asked how my day was, also to let me know he hasn’t had a chance to charge his phone as his transportation has picked him up straight from the plane and it will go flat. So I responded and said I had a good day and hope he gets home safe etc. It is now the following morning and I haven’t heard a thing from him, however he posted a “My Story” on snap chat, he NEVER posts My Stories on snap chat and he has headed off fishing by the looks for the day.

    My question, I am confused and angry because I was hoping that maybe his first priority was to sort his relationship. I am NOT angry because he has gone fishing with mates, I think that this would be doing him the world of good, but why not tell me? What is with the useless contact all week if he isn’t going to try and at least organise to see me this weekend and get this sorted. He hasn’t bothered asking to catch up this weekend at all, it seems his first priority is his mates at the moment.

    I am angry as you can see, which is why I am seeking advice because I do not want to go in raging and regret doing something (like ending the relationship).

    Do I continue to let him have space?

    Is what he is doing at the moment, keeping in contact every day, yet not working out a time to catch up over the weekend to see me, is this just mean and he is just trying to keep me on the side perhaps…..maybe waiting for me to end the relationship. So I then try and organise a time to catch up, even though he is the one that asked for space.

    I am honestly so very confused and have absolutely no idea on how to proceed.

    He was actively seeking a relationship before we met BTW, and before everyone says he is maybe waiting for something else to come along but keeping me on the side. It took him a whole year trying to find someone before we met (decent women are scarce were we live). So girls are definitely not banging down his door to date him.

    #696103 Reply


    First of all you assume he would want to sort his relationship “right now”. Why do you think he has that timeline? He may still be blowing out his jets. He may need alone time, or time with his friends instead of focusing on you right now.

    He may need time to miss you and figure out how you make his life better overall…that is what space does. On the flip side he could come to the conclusion his life is less complicated without a GF right now…it is possible.

    Either way I would give him so much space he would think he was on the moon. Let this land for him and you how it will….you want the truth…right?

    By the way, space works for you the same way….to consider your relationship from a distance and what you really feel outside of their constant presence. Make use of this time for yourself….he will get back with you when HE is ready. At that point you may have decided this is all not what YOU want. Who knows?

    #696104 Reply


    Thanks Redcurlysue,

    This is the exact reason I posted on this forum, to get a calm point of view. I think your right, I am assuming he is going to act the way I would like him to act, when he doesn’t, then I get hurt.

    I just get confused as he keeps in contact daily. It really can mess with your mind and emotions. I need some space, but I am still going to contact you daily….why does he do this?

    I definitely think that he should of thought about the need for a GF, prior to getting a GF and before he had someone elses heart get involved and attached. That is simply just not fair.

    #696131 Reply


    Maybe just plan your time and make yourself very busy. If he wants to spend time – maybe postpone him a couple of times not for game playing – just he genuinely busy with friends…etc
    It seems that right now he’s not appreciating what he has. The only way he will start appreciate you isending if he has to work for it.
    Guys normally make time for what’s important to them…if he’s not sure, he’ll drag his feet if he thinks you’re always there for him even when he’s an ass

    #696139 Reply


    I actually think he is being pretty good to you. Communicating and being polite, while taking the space he needs. He probably isn’t ready to have the conversation you want to have right away. He probably figured you’d get upset if you found out he was going fishing.

    I’m all for honesty and communication, but if someone isn’t ready to talk, you can’t force it.

    #696526 Reply


    So an update from the weekend that has just past.

    He was in contact with me all weekend, throughout the day and then at night as well. He never asked for meet up or anything like that. He is initiating all contact. I was a bit fed up with it all yesterday, I am sick of overthinking it all and being hurt in this situation. So he was getting only one word answers from me, he then kept pushing with more questions about my day etc. I would always leave it with him sending the last text and then I wouldn’t reply. He would then text me a few hours later asking another question. He was the last to text last night and I left it unanswered. He is back to work this morning and I will definitely hear from him tonight when he has finished work.

    He has told me everything about his weekend, so from the look of things, he has spent all this time away from me getting things done around his house. All the things that were constantly on his mind and were stressing him out about his house, he has gone and got all of those things done. He hasn’t got out partying or dinking with mates etc. This makes me feel allot better, knowing that he is spending his time doing everything he needed to do and will hopefully make him feel at bit more at ease now. He was going to bed early, getting up early and getting all his jobs done.

    From this, I feel as though he has asked for this space to spend time working around his house. Not space from the actual relationship as such, otherwise he wouldn’t be in constant contact with me. I have allot of my things at his place as well, things in his bathroom, clothes etc, so I would assume he would be wanting that stuff gone from his place if this was a relationship he no longer wanted anymore.

    I also had a good weekend, catching up with many friends etc, going for big walks. The only time I got teary was when I thought about him and I missed him. But if I didn’t miss him at all, then that would be a problem for me.

    If space is what he needed to get the things done around his place, I wish that he was able to just tell me that and be honest. The way he treated me prior and went about it, was unnecessary, he didn’t need to hurt me in the process. But perhaps being honest for him hasn’t worked in the past for him. Who knows.

    What is everyone’s thoughts?

    #696537 Reply


    Thanks Joe,

    I often did think perhaps things were moving too quickly in that area, I was very mindful of not smothering him, so I only ever went off his lead. Which was spending time at his place, he gave me a key and when he gets home from work on Thursday, he always is asking me to “have a sick day” on the Friday instead of going to work and to spend time with him. if he organised weekend trips back home to his family he would always ask me to come, there were a few times I said no and organised to do other things, so he could have time to himself with his family.

    He told me leave my clothes in his wardrobe. I have stuff in his bathroom, because I was staying at his place (at his request!!) so much I was sick of packing and unpacking etc that sort of stuff.

    You can see why I am confused can’t you!!!

    #696557 Reply


    He’s not a good communicator in my opinion. But his actions are clearly showing that he need some time to himself–

    you seem to be suggesting that “space” is all or nothing… I don’t think in his mind it is– he wants to just… scale back…. hence the texting and keeping in touch but not suggesting a get together.

    You seem really emotional and worked up about this and I think you need to take a step back and try to get yourself into a calmer place.

    To me, the problem is less that he needs space (i.e time to do his own thing) and more that you guys aren’t communicating well about what “space” means.

    #696567 Reply


    Ali, thank you so much for your response. I have totally been looking at all of this all wrong, my over thinking has been feeding my emotions.

    I have been trying to convince myself that he is wanting to end the relationship, so I can prepare mentally for it. Hence why I am all worked up and emotional.

    Yes, he is definitely not a good communicator. If/when we get past this, he needs to learn that he can trust and communicate with me on how he is feeling, I am not going to get angry at him or punish him for it. I will also trust my gut and give him space, even when he tells me he doesn’t want it.

    A massive learning curve and hopefully will make our relationship stronger going forward.

    #696583 Reply


    Easter was just a week ago and he didnt ghost. He lept texting you updates. The one thing i dont like is hom running hot and cold when you two were on a trip. It could be he was thinking about all the things he had to do, but i cant completely rule out, he is overthinking this relationship for whatever reason. Main thing for you is to realize that if he is overthinking it, he is probably doing it for a good reason. To see if you are long term compatible or that he can keep up with this relationship when its hard for him to combine his work and time off. But whatever it is, give him time and know you will be fine anyway. I know its easier to say, but the art of letting go and realizing not everything is in your control, can make your life a lot more relaxed

    #696591 Reply


    It sounds as it’s all about what he wants and needs. I didn’t know you can be comfortable in a relationship where he needs space for extended time when you need assurance and affection. He gets his needs met – what about your needs? Will you be happy if it carries on?
    Man cave shouldn’t last for longer than 2- max 3 days. If it’s going on for weeks and you keep replying it might give him the idea he can distance himslef without consequences.
    Not sure what the difference is between daily texts and bread crumbing when you two don’t meet!
    The way men connect is through phisical presence and maybe phone calls…texting doesn’t mean a lot to them.

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