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What does “needing space” really mean?

Posted Jan 31 2013 2:10pm

A pal is head-over-heals smitten with a woman he’s been seeing for 3 months. He thinks she’s The One.

However, there’s a problem.

Right before meeting him, her long-term relationship ended. When he asked her out, she said she wasn’t ready for a relationship. She needed time to heal.

However, that didn’t stop her from accepting his invitation, nor the subsequent 15 (he’s kept count — they’ve been on 16 dates). But about a month ago, she said she needed time to heal, however she didn’t want to lose him. She needed some alone time; some space to clear her mind.

So my pal sits on pins and needles. He misses her. But he’s concerned any contact from him will violate her needed “space” and he doesn’t want to push her away.

I suggested he get clarification from her on what her space needs include: no emails, no texts, no calls, no dates? They had a brief text conversation a few weeks ago and he suggested dinner. She said she’d love to and would get back to him about a day the following week. She didn’t.

So is she just stringing him along? If she meant to blow him off, why encourage him with agreeing to dinner?

Where were the boundaries? He felt that by his asking that question it would violate her request for space.

Arrgh. A bit crazy making.

I’ve used the “need space” line as a way to end it with someone who I was concerned would go ballistic if I told him that. So is that what this gal is using the term for?

When you have told someone you need space, what did you mean exactly? If you weren’t ending it, what kind of contact would seem intrusive and what was OK? Did you clarify that with your space-needing declaration?


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