the "I need space" speech

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-05-2003
the "I need space" speech
10
Thu, 06-05-2003 - 4:50pm
Last week, on our 2 year anniverary, my boyfriend told me that he needs space. He said that he has so much going on in his life and knows that our next step is marriage. It is very important to him to be a good provider, unlike his father. He is going thru financial issues, etc. He told me that he does not want to affect me with all of the issues he has to think thru so he wants "space" right now from our relationship. I point blank asked him if he wants to break up and he said "no". I KNOW he is faithful, that is not even an issue here. Thing is, I have not talked to him since Sunday, but he has called ne at least 3 times and left messages. His messages are apologetic and he tells me how alone he is...I know him well enough to know he is hurting. He is my best friend and the "friend" in me wants to comfort him but the "girlfriend who has been asked for space" in me is sticking to her guns. I have not called him or contacted him at all. I am sooo confused.

HELP!!!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 06-05-2003 - 5:08pm
I'm sorry you find yourself stuck in this scry limbo land. As you know, the I need space speech IS often used when the true goal is to break up. You deserve major points for coming right out and asking him if this was his intent.

If he really is just having a hard time right now, then you will have no choice but to be patient. Some men really do take the whole man-as-provider role very seriously, and he has let you know that he just isn't up to that responsibility right now. With some men, it might work for you to offer to cook him a meal, no strings, just to keep in touch. If you really can be patient and supportive, an trust in him, that's great.

I'll cross my fingers that he bounces back on his feet very soon.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-23-2003
Thu, 06-05-2003 - 5:12pm
Hi - Gee, he sure could have picked a better time for this than on your anniversary!

Okay, that aside, I don't understand something. He's saying he wants space, but yet he's called you three times? WHAT does he mean by "space", exactly? Does he mean not hanging out together, or total "space" of no contact? In which case, he's already broken his own rule.

I think it may be a good idea for him to clarify what he wants. And as the other poster said, you don't have much choice than to go along with this and hope that absence makes the heart grow fonder. Good luck!

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-05-2003
Thu, 06-05-2003 - 5:31pm
thank you so much...this is sooo hard on me. He is really going thru sooo much financially, personally, etc. I know he loves me and I know him well enought to know that when I asked him if he wants to break up that he would have said yes. I just moved 2 hours away from him for a job, so if he wanted to end "us" he would.
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-05-2003
Thu, 06-05-2003 - 5:38pm
Well, I understand the whole "men have to pull back to think and you can't bother them until they have figured it out" thing, but how long do I wait?
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 06-05-2003 - 9:53pm
Good girl you are doing the right thing here...give him some space,

...but decide how long you think is reasonable. eg Two weeks no contact etc.

By the way no contact goes both ways! He can't break his rules and expect you to follow them!

Let him know that you will leave him alone for 'X' time - but after that - set a definite date to meet - to talk to decide together where your relationship is going.

You cannot have one partner issuing all the 'rules' in the relationship.

Goodluck

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-23-2003
Thu, 06-05-2003 - 10:25pm
Affairs of the heart are always so upsetting and painful! But I'm learning, myself, that there are many things that are just out of our control. All you can do is be yourself, be supportive, talk things over with him when both of you are ready, and have faith. But I agree, there needs to be a certain time limit...otherwise, you could be waiting forever.
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-06-2003
Fri, 06-06-2003 - 1:23am
It's only natural for a person to want to know how long they are expected to wait when they have the "I need space" speech, but obviously you are in love with each other and I believe the answer here is that it doesn't matter how long the wait if both of you are working as a team toward a common goal. It seems that he does have some very deep issues with not only finances but perhaps with his father, etc. I feel that perhaps he could benefit from counseling. If he can't afford to see a professional counselor, you may want to explore a church/pastoral counselor, or perhaps just a good friend who has "been there" can sometimes help. Don't give up on him, just let him know you are there for him.
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-23-2003
Sun, 06-08-2003 - 12:05pm
I read in a book it takes 8 weeks for a man to process a decision. For four weeks he can usually fuction at least superficially,working and living. Somewhere around six to eight weeks he will miss you. If you are patient he will relize around the 8th week that the pain he is feeling is that he misses you. no one else can replace you. He must have another chance to be with you. Hope this helps. Good luck
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-12-2003
Sat, 06-21-2003 - 3:08pm
How long does it take for a woman to process a decision? Just curious.

Anyway, asking for space does not always mean a person wants a way out for good. Sometimes it is the only way to save a good relationship. I am a woman right now who has asked my wonderful boyfriend for space. I need time to figure some things out for myself and I need to do it alone because I wasn't being a very good girlfriend. And when you are not okay inside it is nearly impossible to feel connected to someone else. So if I were you I would do your thing. If you meet someone else be honest and tell him that. And if you love someone you have to let him be by himself to figure things out. He will come around.....Good luck!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 06-21-2003 - 3:45pm
Cutting the cord...whether the choice was his or yours...can be very difficult.

After all, you can't 'blow off' 2 years of a relationship without feeling something!

Maybe this sudden separation gave him a few...2nd thoughts?

The way to tell if he's really hurting is monitor the number of phone calls during the next 3 weeks. They'll either settle down...or HE will come to the realization that living away from you is more of a punishment than marriage!

(By the way...Pianoguy supports couples who are in a terrific marriage---and the last comment was delivered 'tongue-in-cheek!' So no nasty letters, okay?).

Pianoguy