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Proper Care & Feeding of Hetero Men: What Does He Mean When He Says He Needs "Space"?

Updated on January 22, 2018
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Coach Carter loves to use her 20+ years of exp to help other couples achieve the most fulfilling & romantic relationships they've ever known


Is your man acting distant?

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With some men it happens by the 4th date. For others, it takes a few months of spending serious quality time with them. Either way, the time will come.

The time when your new man will start to act weird and distant. When approached, he'll not recoil but will clearly show you he isn't as interested in connecting with you as you are with him. Then, the thing women often dread hearing most in the beginning of a budding relationship, it happens...

He will say he just needs some.... "Space".

So what's a good woman to do when that happens? Panic? Submit? Get Angry? WHAT?!

First, the best thing you can do is take some very deep and steady breaths, and then learn more about the relationship psychology of hetero men; something you're clearly already on top of! Which is great because this is a challenge I've got plenty of experience with, and am ready to help my readers understand in great depth. There's just nothing like the gut-wrenching feeling of your man pulling away with no obvious explanation. It doesn't matter if you've got self-esteem made of steel; it hurts. And when men pull away, they are often not aware of just how much that messes with our own psychology. So as with many things, it's up to us to help ourselves; and help ourselves we will! Starting with the info I've crafted below, to help you better understand where your mans mind might be when he tells you he needs to be "left alone" for a while... then we can talk about what to do about it.

"Honey, I'm Anxious!"

I can tell you from experience, that the first time you learn that your man is being standoffish is not because of something you've done or not done, but simply because he's thinking about doing or saying something that to him, feels exceptionally fragile. Something that might result in him being embarassed, misunderstood or ridiculed.

Our minds seem to immediately desire to jump to the conclusion that whenever a man pulls away from a woman, it must be because she's done something wrong or has become unattractive to him. These sort of assumptions feel better because if it's something we have done or something we can become, we can "fix" that sort of thing, if we choose to. Even the idea that he might've found another more attractive or more interesting woman, is more of a call to a challenge, then a death nell to a budding relationship. At the same time, what could be an easy challenge for us to overcome and get our men back, become huge fears of the unknown and unpredictability when our men refuse to confirm what's pushing or pulling them away from us.

That 'not knowing', is what most often becomes the torture we women despise the most.

Sadly, for our menfolk, knowing about the way that their distance makes us feel, often has the tendency to make their anxieties worse rather than settle them. Instead of an easy recognition that we womenfolk just need to know what sort of bug is in their bonnet and that we'd instantly calm if we could just talk about it with them, they often just get even more anxious than they started, at the thought that every second they take to process their thoughts and plan a safe move forward, creates more anxiety for the women their in love with - Us.

This is why it's often best to be patient with a man the first few times he gets distant, and allow him to make his way back to you without prodding or nagging, especially if the reason he's become distant is because he's embarassed about something he wants to do or something he's already done.

Thankfully, when a man says he needs "space" because of embarassment or similar anxieties, it's often easy to recognize the difference between a man whose feeling dazed and confused because he doesn't want you to think less of him, and a man whose putting distance between you two because he's done something intentional to be ashamed of.

(put article here to learn more about recognizing differences from)


"Wow... You really just did that?.."

Yes, it definitely could be that he's upset with you over something you've done. Let's just get that out in the air. No one is perfect, and overtime that's going to reveal itself. Not only that, but even the most compatible of couples have various incompatibilities that they have to reconcile at some point. Your mans need for distance could be an indication of one of those times.

Thankfully though, as long as your man still reaches out to you after you've allowed him some space, than he's not trying to tell you that he wants to break up or anything. He's just deciding whether or not it's a big enough deal for him to say something, or if he'll just add it to his list of funny quirks he's noticed you have.

If it ends up being that big of a deal and you've laid clear boundaries with him, then he'll eventually either say something about what's eating him so you can have a chance to modify it, or he'll cut ties and you can start moving on towards the right man for you.

"Leave Me Be!"

No matter how much he loves you, there are going to be days and even cycles throughout the years, that he just wants some space from you. At times it will be because he has something he enjoys doing without anyone around, including you. There will be other times that you're in your own sort of cycle, and might be driving him up the wall. Yet other times, he might not know exactly why he'll want to be out on his own, but he will.

All of these are perfectly valid reasons for a healthy person to want some time to be with themselves, and none of them are indicators of any problems in a healthy relationship. They do in fact, more often indicate the strength of a relationship as time goes on. The art of commitment is the ability to be ourselves in compliment to another, not to become one or the other.


"Decisions... Decisions... Who do I choose? What do I do? How did I even get into this mess? Are 'we' worth it?"

Yes, there is the off chance that he's become emotionally or physically attracted to and possibly attached to someone else. This could and does happen, especially within the first few months after the honeymoon phase.

Thankfully, most men will tell you or give you very clear and distinct signals that he's just not that into you and is ready to move on, before he gets to the point of becoming attached to anyone else.

"What you see is what you get, Babe..

..Love it or leave me."

There are plenty of men who are just not the mushy cuddly type of guys. They're not down for spending so all their time with anyone, and that includes you. That doesn't mean they don't love you to the Andromeda galaxy and back. It just means they'll never be the "let's-do-everything-together" type, or the man who loves to hold your hand and talk about emotions. He might try to be those things for you as often as he feels them, but if this is the reason your man is seeking some "space" or "alone time", then it's simply because he needs more time to connect with his individual being than your average male does. The only reason he hasn't made this clear to you, is likely because he was teased about being a "loner" type when he was younger, or his need for more individual time contributed to big fights in prior relationships where his partners were unwilling to consider he's just not a 24/7 connection kind of guy. That has a way of wearing down on one's self esteem, and he's likely trying his best to keep his needs burried down deep in the hopes that you won't see them & won't get upset with him like his exes did.

In fact, a strong indicator of your man's distance originating from this sort of social performance anxiety, is because he'll seem rather wishy washy.

One day he might seem super in sync with you & ready to go do whatever you want or whatever you both want to go do, and then the very same night or the next day, he morphs into a strange and distance figure who certainly isn't there with you in spirit, even if he manages to remain present physically. Though even with his physical and emotional distance popping up at the oddest times, he'll still seem to be otherwise in a pleasant mood when around you & giving off most classic signs of being attached and enchanted by you. That's part of what makes the Loner type so hard to figure out at times. Your womanly 'spidey senses' could be triggered more routinely than an electric egg beater, signaling to you that something is definitely very wrong; though you'll not be able to pinpoint or find any hard evidence of anything one way or another. Yet and still, despite your womanly intuition making your heart pump from time to time, you'll still find that when you look into his eyes or question him, you'll never get the sense that he's done anything adulterous or nefarious.

That's because he hasn't.

Not that this is foolproof. There are plenty of "loner" type men who have cheated, but in general, most men are loyal types, and that includes loners as much as socialites. So with that as our context, if we assume the best (a necessary practice in every relationship), then it's most likely that your loner type man has been sneaking time to be alone. Not likely for any for any particular purpose or project, but just to have time to hear their own thoughts with no other stimuli.


FYI: There is the potential that your man is consciuosly or subconsciously creating distance hurt in past relationships or early family life. That doesn't mean they aren't a "true" loner type, but it does mean there is potential that he could mend his past traumas and allow himself to trust that it's safe to be more affectionate and free to be themselves (quirks and all).

Keep in mind though, that even if he wasn't "born" the type of man who retreats after getting close to anyone, or as a "loner type", and was actually nutured to that position through a difficult childhood andor past relationships, that doesn't mean he'll ever stop being a loner person. Even if you're able to help him heal from his past. Make sure that as a woman who believes she truly desires a future with this distant AS HE IS, and not with the person he "could" become. That's always a recipe for disaster no matter the potential. Yes, he "could" change, but that doesn't mean you should require it. If he can't or doesn't want to change over time, you're both going to be sorely disappointed and feel strung along over time.

So unless a painful and slowly dying relationship from the get go, is your kind of kink... then make sure to check your own intentions and hold good boundaries BEFORE continuing a relationship with any man who has become distant with you without a clear, decisive and forthright about why he needs that "alone time". Even if he's just the "anxious type" or "loner type", that doesn't mean he'll ever be able to or even want to; change. That means that what you see is the only thing you can expect to get, even if he shows "coachability" or the desire to change when he wants to.


6 Simple Tips for getting Closer when he says he wants some "Space"

I will write more in depth about this in future articles, so stay tuned! Until I get them published though, I don't want to leave any truly devoted goddess without some helpful hints for creating growth within her relationship, especially during troubling times (like when he seems to think he just needs "some space").

  1. Don't Panic: That's just going to drive him further away & won't help you deal with doubt or maintain any composure. Focus on getting yourself into a place of mindful and balance, and he'll automatically feel that consistency and safety eminating around you.
  2. Do your Homework: Look into basic human needs, maslow's heirarchy, and more articles like this one. You'll feel more secure with the more you learn and you'll be able to be a more supportive partner for your man once you understand more.
  3. Pick a passionate hobby:
  4. Set Clear Boundaries: And remember, healthy boundaries are for YOU, not for him. They are designed to keep you from becoming co-dependent or a doormat, and to make it easy for him to know what you want and how to give it to you, especially when he's anxious.
  5. Be direct AND respectful:
  6. Focus on YOU:

If "this" than "that"

If he does this...
You Should DO this..
You Should NOT do this...
Says he needs some "space"...
Ask him if this "space" requires a "break" from your expectation of complete monogamy. If he says no, then tell him you will give him "x" amount of days to provide you with a transparent & detailed plan of how much space, how long he needs it for & what he expects your relationship will look like while he's taking this space. While waiting for him to write this all down, you write down your expectations & negotiables.
Try to get details from him right away, make him feel bad about needing space, accuse him of cheating on you, or smother him with your love & affections
Starts to act "Distant" towards you andor others...
Write him a handwritten note that tells him 3 things: 1. You love him. 2. You've noticed him pulling away & become distant, and how that makes you doubt his commitment to you. 3. Your clear and transparent expectations of how you expect to be treated at all times, especially when he's feeling the need to "distance" himself from you for any reason.
Try to force him to talk about why he is pulling away or acting so funny, or nag him to give you more attention.
Stops calling or texting you back right away...
Reach out to your BFF or a good friend & distract yourself w/reconnecting with them, or find some other way to keep yourself content & occupied with things you love to do by yourself.
Send him a million texts or call him a bunch. Put the phone done and walk away!
Stops being as physically affectionate w/you...
Write him a handwritten note telling him: 1) How it makes you feel when he withdraws his affection. 2) How it makes you feel when he is regularly affectionate to you. 3) That you have clear expectations that he will tell you about any fears, concerns, turn on's, turn off's, anxieties, desires and intimate activities outside of the relationship, including intimate emotional affairs/relationship. 4) That you expect him to figure out what's bugging him so much as to cause him to pull away, and that he has 3 days to tell you what's wrong.
Try to force them to get physical with you or set up traps or mindgames to get them to "want" you.
Starts working later into the evenings more often ("Working Late")
Write down your relationship expectations that include respectful behavior from him when it comes to notifying you in advance of any potential schedule jumps, new projects or anything else that might take him away from your relationship without warning, and that you expect that he will fulfill your needs for affection, attention, appreciation, consistency & loyalty, regardless of his employment situation.
Start snooping or following him around. Do not go into detective mode.
When it comes to hetero men needing "space" or "alone time", there are some things you can do that will if nothing else, prevent either of you from turning his need for 'space' into a relationship altering fight.

Ready to take your relationship to the next level?

Review of UPW

It may not seem like it from the outside, but the wealth of information contained within Tony Robbin's Unleash the Power Within books, cd's & dvd's, are invaluable. Especially when it comes to mending, healing and taking your intimate relationships to the next level. It's well worth the investment to check it out, along with diving into more research about basic human needs and "love languages".

Try out these tips & then come back and take this poll!

Did these tips work for you?

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© 2018 Satisfaction Life Coaching


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    • StrategyCoaching profile imageAUTHOR

      Satisfaction Life Coaching 

      6 months ago from Lake Stevens, WA

      Wise words! Thank you kindly DashingScorpio, it's always fantastic and illuminating to hear from you =)

    • dashingscorpio profile image


      9 months ago

      "Yes, there is the off chance that he's become emotionally or physically attracted to and possibly attached to someone else." - Very true!

      If he has established patterns of always being with you or in touch with you at certain times he now needs to find a way to break those habits in order to have some freedom or "space" to pursue his interests in another woman.

      In other instances he (misses hanging out) with his male friends who are "single" and pursing new women at parties and nightclubs...etc This is especially true if he's the only one in his group that appears to be "tied down".

      Generally speaking being the first person in the group who is tied down or being the last person in the group to find a serious mate are two spots most people don't want to be in.

      This is especially true of guys in their 20s and early 30s.

      Sometimes men unintentionally "fall into relationships". They got "comfortable" and before they knew it holidays and gatherings drew them deeper into a place they had not planned to be. Their friends might have plans to go to Las Vegas or do some other event for just the guys and now he finds himself in a love cocoon torn between having the freedom to do as he pleases and enjoying the benefits of being in a loving monogamous relationship.

      At some point each of us has to decide if we're "all in" or not.

      "The grass is always greener on the side you water."


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