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What Does It Mean When a Girl Says She Needs Space?

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While some guys seem to think that needing “space” means that your girlfriend wants to break up, it is not always the case. Sometimes, a girl says that she needs space when she wants to end things and does not want to hurt your feelings. Rather than be honest, she disappears in a nebulous cloud of phrases like “take a break” or “I need space.”

At the same time, there are many cases where your girlfriend genuinely needs space. If your relationship advanced pretty quickly, she may just need a bit of time to process everything and figure out what she wants. If your girlfriend says that she needs space, what she means can vary depending on her, the situation and your relationship.

What Does It Mean When a Girl Says She Needs Space?

When you hear that your girlfriend wants space, you may wonder if she is having an affair or wants to break up. Relax. While needing space is probably not a positive sign, it is not something you should panic about. Your biggest takeaway may be that you should spend more time working on your relationship and spending time with her. Of course, don’t do either of these things yet. If she says she wants space, stay away.

The first thing that you should do if your girlfriend wants space is to listen to her. She says she wants space, so take what she says at face value and give her the space that she needs. Most likely, she was being honest and needs some time and space. Don’t call her. Don’t text her. Don’t bother her. Leave her alone until she reaches out to you again.

Some guys are worried that asking for space is just a way to manipulate them or for the girl to find out if her boyfriend cares enough to fight. Don’t worry about these things. You respect her, so you accept what she says and trust her to be honest. If she is being manipulative or playing games, then she isn’t worth your time anyway. Besides, if what you guys have is real love and worth keeping, she will take the space she needs and then come back.

You Both Need to Grow as People

In many relationships, partners fall too fast and suddenly seem attached at the hip. Having a close relationship is great, but you are still an individual person with unique desires, needs and goals in life. You both need to have time to pursue your dreams, grow as people and have fun. Sometimes, a girlfriend will ask for space because she feels crushed or suffocated by the relationship. It can feel like the relationship is the only thing that matters in life, and she can start to feel frustrated. She has goals and dreams; while she loves being with you, she may just need space to make sure that she can pursue some of her own hobbies and passions. There has to be a balance between your lives, work, school, friends and your relationship. If the balance is off, your girlfriend may find herself needing space to focus on her own life.

What Should You Do Now?

1. Listen to What She Says



Your first step is to listen to what she says. Pay attention to everything that she says because she is trying to relay something important. At the moment, it’s all about her. Don’t take things too personally and do not read too much into anything. Just listen to her and avoid getting defensive.

2. Ask for Clarification

If you searched for this article because you didn’t understand what “space” means, then you probably need to get some clarification. Talk to your girlfriend carefully and openly. You need to find out what she means by “space.” Does she just want time to read a book, start a hobby or take a bubble bath alone? Or does she want to take a break for three weeks and see what happens? You should certainly ask her if this means that she wants to break up. As nerve wracking as it is to ask her this, it is far better than finding out three weeks later when she disappears that she wanted to end things.

If you live together, you need to talk to her about your living situation. Obviously, you both need a place to stay. Does she want you to stop texting, calling or talking to her? Is she willing to to stay somewhere else if she wants to switch up the living arrangements? During this time, what does she expect from you and how will she act? If this is a temporary break and not just “space”, you need to be clear about what you guys can and cannot do with other partners. Many, many guys (and girls) get into trouble because they slept with someone on a break and their partner got upset. You should both clarify this topic together to prevent a future argument—but make sure to emphasize that your goal is not to sleep with someone else, or she may think that you wanted this opportunity.

 

3. Respect Her Wishes

Your next step is to respect what she wants. If she says not to text at all, don’t text her. If you try to reach out to her too much right now, text her constantly or call her all the time, it will end up making you seem clingy or needy. If she already needed space, this type of behavior would only drive her away from you. Don’t “accidentally” run into her at the store or happen to drive by her home. Give her the space she needs for the time that she needs. In the meantime, don’t spend too much time on social media because it will only make it harder for you to avoid messaging her. Hang out with your friends, stay busy and respect her wishes.

4. Keep Grounded



As we mentioned before, sometimes partners just need space to remember who they are, what they want and find themselves. During this time, focus on yourself. Remember who you are, take time to do some soul searching and reconnect with the activities that you love the most. This could be an opportunity for you to grow as a person. If she comes back to you, you will be even better than before. And if this turns out to be the end of your relationship, you will be better prepared to move on, find someone new and enjoy life again.

What If She Has Left You for Good?

Unfortunately, this is still an option. Breaking up with someone completely is a big step to take, and some people are just not confident enough to do it in one fell swoop. While your girlfriend may just want some extra space, it could also be a preparatory time as she gets ready to end things for good. If this is the case, giving her space won’t hurt anything. In the best case scenario, she will rethink a break up after seeing how maturely you respected her wishes and gave her space. In the worst case scenario, she leaves anyway. Whatever the case, your best bet is still to just listen to what she says and hope that it all works out for the best.

92 COMMENTS

  1. I met a girl a month ago, we hit it off immediately, we hung out that week almost constantly and then the semester ended. It was Christmas break from college and we spent the three weeks texting constantly, as soon as break was over we met up and made our relationship official. She has some issues and things going on in her life and so this week was stressful for her what with classes starting again as well, but she told me the things she was going through weren’t about us… then Saturday she said she wanted to talk and broke up with me saying she feels overwhelmed and really needs to focus on school and be more independent (she broke up with her bf of 4 years in October)… idk what to do, I really like her and already miss her.

    • She has shared her thoughts and feelings with you. She is unable or unwilling to nourish a relationship with you at this time. Focus your emotional energy elsewhere. There is no reason to reach out to her. If she speaks with you, then share your kindness and compassion with her. Take this time to determine what you want for your future. Have a great day, Stephen!

  2. I am in a situation where I have been seeing someone for a little over 4 months. She says she is overwhelmed with things going on in her life and she is confused about what she actually wants in the future. We talked and determined maybe she needs some time. I don’t like the idea and honestly it is killing me not knowing what will happen. I told her I am here for her. She thanked me and said she loves me. My problem is how long am I supposed to wait? I do love here but at the same time I also want to do what’s right for me emotionally. Waiting around hurts and I just wonder what the time frame is or if there even is one.

    • She has shared her thoughts and feelings with you. She is unable or unwilling to nourish a relationship with you at this time. Listen to what she said and focus your attention elsewhere. Take this time to determine what you want for your future. Speak directly and honestly with her about your thoughts and feelings. Have a great day, Edward!

  3. I’ve been with a girl now nearly 1 year and this isn’t just any ordinary girl in an ordinary relationship, this girl has cooked for me, she’s supported me, she’s made me laugh, wrote two love letters to me, cried to me about her love to me, she’s begged for me to have her back in the past, just loads right, and actually listens to me and i did the worst thing which she knows I know I shouldn’t have done. Is pushed her away by saying nasty things when we were splitting up both really angry at each other and I did not mean them at all. A few days later she knows I did not mean them and told me she wasn’t ready yet for me to come up and have a coffee with her then leave.

    Her friend told me she wanted space, I have my things at her flat and when she was really angry she was screaming at me to get my stuff, to give her nan her borrowed gardening equipment back (which obviously is no problem), and about the money I lent her to help her out, like she temporarily wanted to push me aside for the moment? She doesn’t communicate with me well when we argue or bicker because she’s closed off and has unfortunately been beat up by her past boyfriend and sexually abused by him.

    The point is, I know I’m stepping on eggshells, and I know she really loves me, and in the past has worked with me to make things work. Is the best thing for me to lay off and give her complete space now? because I do think that is best but I’m completely worried that anything I do can make it worse whether I don’t talk to her or I do talk to her :-/ this is a girl who could possibly mother my children in the future I love her that much and marry and house with.

    • Give her space at this time. She has shared her thoughts and feelings with you. Respect her wishes. There is no reason to reach out to her. If she reaches out to you, then share your kindness and compassion with her. Have a great day, Ralph!

  4. Forgot to add: she hasn’t asked me to go round and collect my stuff yet since being really angry that one late night, and her mom and my mom really hope it works out, and that her friends do, but I feel like I can do something to better it all? Your advice would be greatly appreciated

    • Give her space at this time. She has shared her thoughts and feelings with you. Respect her wishes. There is no reason to reach out to her. If she reaches out to you, then share your kindness and compassion with her. Have a great day, Ralph!

  5. I’ve been seeing this girl for about 6-7 months and after Christmas she started to act different. before we started hanging out she told me she just got out of a 2 year relationship and has always been in a long term relationships and never been single and wanted time to work on herself. Well I was at her place A few weeks ago and I asked her if I could see her Apple Watch she said yes and told me the passcode I know I shouldn’t have done this but I went to messages and seen that she had been texting this guy she has always had a flirtatious nature about her with words such as Babe sweetheart sweet cheeks etc. and I seen that she was texting this guy and said oh it’s aDate so I confronted her about it she told me the only person she liked was me she didn’t see herself with anyone else it was just a friend of her cousins that helped her and her aunt move before she felt obligated to go out with this guy because he was close to her cousin that she is close to so I already felt iffy about the situation said if she’s goes out with a girlfriend she calls it a date well the next time I went over there she sat her phone down beside me open and I guess just the fear in me made me click on Messages and open it and I only read the Messages that were shown I did not scroll up and down and the guy asked her do you have a date coming up and she said if you’re asking with anyone else I don’t but with you I do and it’s kind of a big deal so she sees me looking at her phone and asked me if I was going through her messages I said I clicked on them then I asked myself what I was doing and I backed off I did not scroll up and see any of the other messages and she was like whatever I told you I am not lying to you but it is aggravating that you say and apologize you wont do something then do it again and then she asked me where I found a TV stand that she wants and I told her the website and said it’s kind of a big deal don’t you remember and she kind of got mad we didn’t really yell or fight but she asked me to please get out and said I was stressing her out and that she needed a break and us arguing was unhealthy but a few days before all this she told me I was the only one that she could see herself with that I have the best personality out of any guy she ever dated and when the time is right she wanted to be with me and that the date was literally with just a friend regardless of how she was texting him and that if he tried anything she would shut him off I tried reaching out about 10 days after she said she wanted a break I apologized and said I’m sorry I went through your phone I realize it’s my fault can we talk if yes cool if not I’ll leave you alone. I have yet to hear anything and then today I reached out just saying good morning I have an interview wish me good luck and asked if I could talk to her and get her opinion about the job and I have yet to hear anything should I just assume that she is done or does she may be actually just need space and I shouldn’t Reach out anymore or is whatever going on with this guy more then she claims it is ? Also if she does just need time did reaching out ruin my chances bc I truly do care and like her

    • She has shared her thoughts and feelings with you. She is unable or unwilling to nourish a relationship with you at this time. There is no reason to reach out to her at this time. If she reaches out to you, then share your kindness and compassion with her. For now, focus your emotional energy elsewhere. Have a great day, Devin!

  6. To make a long story short I’ve been dating this girl for the past 6-7 months. Just a few weeks ago around the beginning of the year she started to act different so when I went over to her house to spend the weekend with her I asked to see her watch I asked her the passcode and seen that she had been texting some dude who lives out of Town but travels here to work maybe once a month who used to work with her cousin and has helped her and her aunt move before keep in mind she is very flirtatious with words and emoji‘s but says she has no meaning behind them I have never caught her in a lie even though I have tried I ended up going through her phone the last time I was over there and start myself about seeing a few messages and asked her about them and she got mad and said she needs time well about 10 days went by I reached out apologizing asking if we could talk if yes call if not OK I’ll leave you alone I did not get a response today I had an interview so I reached out I wanted her to be the first to know because we’ve had talks about this and asked her to wish me luck well when I was leaving I texted her probably when I shouldn’t have and just said hey I value your opinion I want to talk to you about this opportunity for a job that was presented to me I know it is ultimately my decision but I would like your input and I have yet to hear back. Do you think she is Interested in this other guy or maybe she just needs time to think bc she has told me on multiple occasions that I’m the only one she sees herself with and wants to be with but she wants time to work on and better herself bc she has never been single for a period of time.

    • She has shared her thoughts and feelings with you. She is unable or unwilling to nourish a relationship with you at this time. There is no reason to reach out to her at this time. If she reaches out to you, then share your kindness and compassion with her. For now, focus your emotional energy elsewhere. Have a great day, Devin!

      • Do you think she is interested in this other guy or does she maybe just need the time to herself to think about everything? I just don’t feel like giving the cold shoulder is an adult thing to do. If you have moved on why can’t you just say it?

        • Every person chooses to act in a different way based on their experiences and desires. If she is not speaking with you, then allow thoughts of her to fade from your mind. You will find benefit in focusing your emotional attention elsewhere. Have a great day, Devin!

  7. We both live together she just came from Maryland from her mom place but we live in Kansas together after 2days her attitude was different I try to come around ,she don’t want me to kiss her or touch her, so I ask her why u acting different and she said I need my space I try to ask her is there any problem that hurting u she said no she want her space I try to talk to her she don’t want to listen, and we both live together. So what can I do cuz am feel that were she came from she have a man that she in love wit and she don’t want my relationship any more so what can I do na

    • She has shared her thoughts and feelings with you. She is unable or unwilling to nourish a relationship with her. Give her the space that she has requested. If she reaches out to you, then share your kindness and compassion with her. Have a great day, John!

  8. What does this mean “I moved on already. I am not looking to re connect right now. But, want to stay in contact” does that mean she is leaving the door open to connecy again? Because, she kept on telling me she needed more space.

    • This means that she may be interested in maintaining a friendship, but she is not interested in developing a romantic relationship with you. Give her space, as she has shared her thoughts and feelings with you. If she reaches out to you, then share your kindness and compassion with her. Have a great day, Zhi!

  9. Please help, my girlfriend of 3 years has requested a break a week ago, she and i have had many arguments over the course of our relationship, we have had very many good times also though and have a child together so needless to say this is complicated. We got into an argument and it was the final straw, the day she left on the break she wanted to cuddle with me even though we both knew what was going to happen, she has given me hope talking about a future together by saying “we need to do this” and “when we get married” still calling me “babe” but also saying we will not start up another lease once the current leese is up in april, she texted me yesterday morning and i did not respond She then out of the blue that night texts me and demanded i not bring any woman into the bed though i said we may need to see other people “eventually” i made a mistake saying this i honestly didnt mean to. She texts me about bills today and i answer her trying to help i tell her to keep the check, she tells me she wont do that (I thought i was being nice) i had another source of income and didnt need it, i believe she was going to attempt to be nice when she calls me but at this point im utterly confused and i need a break from the break she calls me up to 7 times at this point im mentally drained and want everyone to just leave me alone and i am just completely burnt out myself, she shows up to the house “she came to argue about me not answering” i am able to calm her down and tell her i think shes acting irrational She apologizes. Its obvious she is insecure and me saying the eventually we will see new people has turned her into a mad woman. Also i need to state loyalty has never been an issue in this relationship. She brings up the point to please not lay with another woman in this house i thought i had a good answer when i said “one way to eliminate that would be just for you to come home” her answer was “i dont think you love me” i asked her and it truly sounds like she doesnt think i love her. I need advice i do love this woman, (i just messaged on this thing which i would never do if this wasnt desperate.)

    • It is clear that the two of you are confused and uncertain about the status of your relationship. Take this time to determine what you want for your future. Speak directly and honestly with her about your thoughts and feelings. Give her an opportunity to share herself with you as well. If she does not want to nourish a relationship with you, then focus your emotional energy elsewhere. Have a great day, Ken!

  10. I’ve been seeing a lady for a couple of months,we get on really well,have lots of things in common,valentines day got her some roses delivered to her work,her response was”you should’ve have,but I’m glad you did”a few days later I was round having a brew and her parents turned up,so I met them for the first time!the following day I got a tex saying”can we cool it for a bit,I’m busy with work family and friends! I’m confused so asked her why and she said”you a bit to far ahead of me and apparently I made a few comments about things we could do in the future.she said let’s have a break for two weeks,what do I do?

    • She has shared her thoughts and feelings with you. Accept her needs and share your kindness and compassion with her. Give her space. When she reaches out to you, share your thoughts and feelings with her. Give him an opportunity to share herself with you as well. If you initiate conversation too often, then she may believe that you are not respecting her wishes. Have a great day, Paul!

      • Thanks,I’ve not contacted her since,although it’s been hard not to!!How long do I give it?Or should I just wait for her to make the first move?

        • Determine what you want for your future. Decide what is appropriate. Take action that you believe will lead to what you want. If you do not feel comfortable doing that, then wait for her to reach out to you. Have a great day, Paul!

  11. So I’ve been with my gf for 2 1/2 years. Our relationship has been long distance yet we have made it work for 2 1/2 years and made it a priority to see each other at least once or twice a month. She just informed me that she wanted some space which I respected but it came out of the blue. Our relationship was at a point in where we went to look at engagement rings, talking about marriage and how we can’t wait to spend our lives together and living under one roof soon. I’m just confused. I can respect her needing space but after 2 1/2 years of been committed to one another, she decides she’s doesn’t want to be in a commitment anymore. Is her taking some space/break mean she’s slowly trying to break up because she doesn’t want to tell me straight up. She’s even asked me to marry her and top of showering me crazy amount of love. I honestly don’t know what to do or say.

    • People’s feelings change for a variety of reasons. She has shared her thoughts and feelings with you. She wants to no longer nourish this relationship like she used to. It is possible that she is interested in ending this relationship. Take this time to determine what you want for your future. Speak directly and honestly with her about your thoughts and feelings. Have a great day, Prat!

  12. So my gf and I have been in a serious relationship for 2 1/2 years. Just the other day, she told me that she wanted some space/a break because she swamped with school and the burden of a distance relationship is getting hard. I get that distance is hard in any relationship and it’s never easy. We have gotten through 2 1/2 years of being strong and seeing each other at least twice a month. We went engagement ring shopping, talked about the future together and obviously living together under one roof soon. She’s even asked me to marry her on top of all that. We’ve had our ups and downs in this relationship but we’ve fought through them together. First she tells me she wants a break and minutes later she tells me she’s not ready for a commitment. I’m just confused to as if she needs some space, which I’m happy to give her or she wanting a break so she can slowly fade away from the relationship?

    • People’s feelings change for a variety of reasons. She has shared her thoughts and feelings with you. She wants to no longer nourish this relationship like she used to. It is possible that she is interested in ending this relationship. Take this time to determine what you want for your future. Speak directly and honestly with her about your thoughts and feelings. Have a great day, Pratik!

  13. So I’m in a relationship with my best friends sister, she has a 4 year old daughter and we’ve been been dating for 3 months and in a relationship for 3 weeks. After she finished work I messaged her and asked how her day was but she ignored me until today when she said she needed space because she likes being on her own as well and she also said her head is all over the place and she’s not sure what she wants. When I’m with her everything is amazing! Could this be because she was treated badly in past relationships?

    • This may be her desire to spend time with herself. She needs time to herself and with her children. Allow her time to herself. Reach out to her in a few days. Give her an opportunity to reach out to you. Take this time to determine what you want for the future of this relationship. Treat her with kindness and compassion. Have a great day, Arron!

  14. I was in a relationship for 4 months and we had a fight one day all of a sudden she came that day and told me I don’t wanna stay with u anymore and I wanna breakup cause she feels I am controlling and my anger is to much. And she does not wants to talk to me that she needs space and time. Me being a dumb ass I tried talking to her that made my things more worse and it has been like 3 weeks she dint talk to me but still went to talk to her. She does not even wants to see my face and also she Said at this point she does not even care about me that what I am doing. On the same day when I talked to her last time she was being very rude and with that sometimes I use to crack a small joke and she use to laugh I seriously don’t know what to do right now.

    • Do not attempt to reach out to her. She is not interested in nourishing a relationship with you. She has ended your relationship. Allow thoughts of her to fade. Focus your emotional energy elsewhere. Learn a lesson from the end of this relationship. This will ensure that you share your kindness and compassion with your future partners. Have a great day, Rohan!

  15. So I’ve been talking to this girl for three months and we’ve seem to have been getting pretty close but at time i felt as if i was putting in more effort then she was. Like for example we would text everyday and if i didn’t text her first we wouldn’t text all day. But anyways we get pretty far to the point where i was gonna ask her out and then she told me she can’t do this she needs to focus on herself. What do i do?

    • The two of you share an emotional connection. It is clear that you respect her and want to treat her well. She has shared her thoughts and feelings with you. She is unable or unwilling to maintain a relationship with her. Allow thoughts of her to fade. Do not reach out to her at this time. Determine what you want for your future without her. Have a great day, Cheese!

  16. So I’ve been talking to this girl for three months and we’ve seem to have been getting pretty close but at time i felt as if i was putting in more effort then she was. Like for example we would text everyday and if i didn’t text her first we wouldn’t text all day. But anyways we get pretty far to the point where i was gonna ask her out and then she told me she can’t do this she needs to focus on herself and her priorities. Whats do i do?

    • The two of you share an emotional connection. It is clear that you respect her and want to treat her well. She has shared her thoughts and feelings with you. She is unable or unwilling to maintain a relationship with her. Allow thoughts of her to fade. Do not reach out to her at this time. Determine what you want for your future without her. Have a great day, Mark!

  17. I’ve been in a relationship for about 2-1/2 yrs. she went thru a hard divorce and was dumped by her husband of 15 yrs 2 kids no warning etc. I met her about 1-1/2 yrs after that. Recently she’s changed lost weight and started going out with her single friends. A week ago she said she still loves me but needs space and wants to just be by herself and her children to figure out her feelings on everything. She said she hasn’t met some one and doesn’t know if I’m right for her and is confused. I know I did the wrong thing with long texts poring my heart out to her and she told me it’s only pushing her further away. What should I do give her space and not date, or proceed on with my life and try and find someone new? I’m single 52 and have no children. Should I wait for her to make up her mind or just proceed on, I feel time is running out for happiness to come my way and she made me very happy. she told me if she doesn’t do this she may end up being a miserable women. And to give her space she hasn’t returned any of my stuff and I’m not asking for it. Is this a break up or just a time out. ?? Help

    • She has shared her thoughts and feelings with you. She wants you to give her space at this time. Do not reach out to her at this time. If she shares her thoughts and feelings with you, then share yourself with her as well. Focus your emotional energy elsewhere at this time. Determine what you want for your future. Have a great day, Alan!

  18. This is my case..we have dated for 6 years with this girl and we was ready to to get married,thing’s started being rocky of late and after she lost her Dad recently it has gotten worse,she asked for sometime alone and I respected that but the thing is it’s been too long,for mothan one month now and she hasn’t reached out yet dhough she said she will reach out..I only see her post photo’s showing or putting on the thing’s I baught for her…
    I really dont know what to do now..help.

    • It is possible that she is interested in rekindling your relationship. It is possible that she will continue to need time for herself. Continue to give her an opportunity to reach out to you. Determine what you want for your future. If you are thinking of ending this relationship, then either speak with her about your thoughts and feelings or allow thoughts of her to fade. Have a great day, Alex!

  19. I asked for a space from by boyfriend because I detected I’m his least priority..me being emotionally strong I got worried and wanted to work out but me asking for a space has gotten him angry what do I do now

    • You told him that you were interested in being apart from him. He likely felt this as a rejection. He is confused and uncertain about his and your feelings. He may not want to nourish a relationship with you at this time. Speak with him about your thoughts and feelings. Give him an opportunity to share himself with you as well. Have a great day, Lawrence!

  20. I always feel like I am second on her list of priorities. I have really bad anxiety issues do to our past. She asked if I was okay recently, I told her no I’m not. I told her everything that was on my mind some small and some large to me but it seemed like nothing to her. She went on her phone and didn’t really seem interested. I brought it up to her before bed and she said she needed time to think and let things sink in but she’s forgotten it has been days sense that conversation. I’ve told her I like the idea of reassurance and validation to keep my mind grounded multiple times, but nothing changes some weeks its nice I feel important like she wants to talk and others I say a some things and its like I could’ve just not said anything at all. I’m worried I am too boring and uninteresting. Today i asked when are we going to hangout and she said she needed space, but it has been days sense we’ve had some good time spent together. When she came back from needing space, it’s like nothing has changed. We didn’t talk about it, just went to being awkward for me. My heads been so full of this girl that I feel afraid of what to do

    • You have shared your thoughts and feelings with your partner. She has decided to ignore you. She separated herself from you and returned. You may have concerns or worries. Speak with her about your ideas and ensure that she listens. If she ignores your or does not change her behavior, then determine what you want for the future of this relationship. Have a great day, Griffin!

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