Who hasn’t found themselves in a relationship where one partner wanted space?
It’s a totally normal and healthy thing unless you’re not the one asking for space. Then it gets uncomfortable and sometimes even awkward when your partner wants space but you’re content with closeness.
What does it mean when your partner asks for a little breathing room? Are they trying to play the field or do they really just mean what they said?
Dear Dan and Jennifer,
I am seeing a girl who left her marriage one year ago and had been in another one year relationship directly following the breakup of her marriage. About 2 weeks following the breakup of her relationship I started seeing her and things are actually going very well or were going well.
We had a discussion about how we are spending a lot of time together and she had made a promise to herself that she wouldn’t get into a serious relationship right away. I took this as she wants to play the field and not see me. What do you think?
- Steve, Alberta
There are many reasons behind asking for space.
A person might ask for space in a relationship for a variety of reasons. The key to figuring out what your partner really means when they ask for space is trying to understand what is behind the need for space.
Did your partner just get out of a string of serious relationships and would perhaps want to take the next relationship slowly? Is your partner going through a troubling emotional time right now where they would need some time by themselves to think things through? These are all good, legitimate reasons that someone would ask for space in a relationship.
If your partner is going through anything like that, chances are their request for breathing room is just that – a need for space. It probably doesn’t mean that they don’t want to be with you anymore or that they’re trying to play the field. Although this is a possibility, it’s actually very rare.
If you suspect that your partner is trying to play the field (and by suspect, we mean have real reason to believe) then you should just talk to your partner about it. Air out your feelings and let your partner have their say too. Chances are, if you talk about together in a non-judgmental way, you’ll get to the bottom of the situation in no time.
Give your partner space.
If your partner asks for space, there’s not a thing you can do about it but give them space. As frustrating as it might be, especially if you’re not on the same page as your partner, you really don’t have a choice. It’s your partner’s choice.
If they want to slow down, or take some time to be by themselves, it’s important that you let them! Chasing after your partner will only serve to push them away. Remember the saying that if you love something, let it go and if it comes back, it’s yours? Even though it’s cliché, it certainly applies to this situation. If your partner asks for it, let them have as much time and space as they need to deal with what they’re dealing with. Make it clear that you’re there for support if they need it, but otherwise, steer clear! If they truly care for you and want to have a relationship with you, they’ll find their way back to you.
If your partner really is playing the field, they’ll go down a different path and you might be all the better for it. Just remember to take everything in stride. Give your partner space if they need it and just hang out until further notice. Chances are, if what your partner says about needing space and taking it slow is to be taken at face value, you’ll end up back in a solid relationship again and your partner will have worked through some of the issues at hand, making for a better relationship in the end!