One of the biggest “battles of the sexes” is a man’s fight for his space–his time for himself. Why does this happen? Why does it seem like most women won’t give you space, or at least will be upset when you do get it?
This is one of the biggest struggles I’ve had in my own relationship. A woman in love will do almost everything for her man–except leave him alone when he needs to be left alone!
I confess to just about every crazy, clingy behavior there is: repeated calling, endless texting, orchestrating ways to run into him. There have even been times when I’ve stood in the doorway and made it physically impossible for a man to leave when he wanted time apart.
And while there are women out there who have no issue with their men taking space, I know I’m not the only nice-girl-turned-needy at the mention of the “s” word…
So why does this happen? And what can you do about it? Because the truth is, you need your space. And you need to find a way to have your space without sending your woman into a psycho tailspin.
When you understand what’s going on with her, you can have it so that not only do you get your space without the drama, but you will actually have her support you need for space.
Here are 3 principles for getting your much needed space:
1. Say Why
Most women do not understand a man’s need for space, and therefore they take it personally.
While a woman cherishes having “me time,” it can often be interchangeable with “us time.” For me, there is no difference between unwinding at the end of the day with a good movie and a glass of wine by myself or with my boyfriend. In fact, I’d rather have him there!
While I don’t need my boyfriend around 24/7, I like being with him as much as possible.
The only time I actively want space from a man is when I’m mad at him or no longer interested in him.
When you ask for space–or worse, just take space–most women assume the worst. A woman can take a request for space very personally because if she wanted space, it would likely be because her man did something wrong, so she assumes that your need for space means she did something wrong.
So, it’s very important to explain WHY you are taking the space. Make sure you ask for space in a nice tone of voice, with plenty of reassurance that you taking space doesn’t mean anything negative about her.
One of the worst things you can do is ask for space with anger, or by calling her clingy, or just storming out without explanation because “you don’t have to answer to her.” This will throw gasoline on the fire because her worst fears (that she is doing something wrong) have just been founded.
If she thinks she’s done something wrong, she won’t want to let you go until she knows how to fix it. Saying that the way to fix it is by giving you space is like saying, “There’s nothing you can do.” This will only make her feel helpless, which will make her feel (and act) desperate.
Even if you are upset with her, then tell her you need space to deal with it so you don’t take things out on her unnecessarily. Make it clear that your anger is YOUR issue that YOU need to deal with–by taking space.
Again, reassurance is key. Make sure she knows that the reason you need space is for you, not because of her.
2. Say What
Let your woman know what you are doing when you are taking space (and be honest about this!). Shifty or vague answers might make her suspicious that you are cheating on her or doing something behind her back.
After you say why you need space, follow it up with what you plan to do. For example…
“I’m gonna go for a walk.”
“I’m gonna go play a video game for a couple of hours.”
If she asks for details, don’t get defensive, because this just makes you seem suspicious. Offer up as many details as she asks for. Even better, offer up details before she asks. This establishes trust.
If you feel like you can’t tell her what you do when she’s not around, then there are bigger issues of trust that need to be dealt with on both sides.
3. Say When
Let her know when you are going to take space. Again, a lot of men, when they need space, just take space. They stop calling or they don’t show up. If it’s because of a fight, they just storm out.
The problem is that then we aren’t sure if you’re just taking space or gone for good.
So not only is it a good idea to let a woman know when you are taking space, it’s also important to let her know when you’ll be back. This is true for any stage of a relationship.
You don’t need to make a big deal out of this. Simply say, “I feel burnt out. I need a couple days for myself to recharge. I’ll see you Friday–I’ll pick you up at seven for the show.”
Or, if you and she had an argument and you need to cool off, you could say, “I need to take a walk and clear my head. I’ll be back in a couple of hours.”
This reassures her that you aren’t leaving for good. When I don’t know when my man will return from his “cave,” I get fearful that he’s never coming back, and then I don’t want to let him go in the first place. When I know when he’s coming back, I know that he IS coming back.
Also, I know how long to leave him alone for and I don’t interrupt him.
This brings me to a bonus #4: Come back better than when you left.
If you come back more distant and irritable than you were before, she will dread giving you space and get suspicious of what you do when you’re away.
If, on the other hand, you come back from your hiatus in a better, more fun and affectionate mood, you are showing her that she will benefit from giving you space, and she will be more willing and excited to give you your much-needed space in the future.