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What Does It Mean When a Guy Says He’s Confused and He Needs Time to Think?

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When you find yourself in a serious relationship, there are some phrases and words that can cut you like a knife. When you are certain that you have found Mr. Right, hearing him tell you that he needs space can crush your soul and leave you flailing. When he says he is feeling confused, that leaves you wondering what you have done wrong, and how he could possibly have to make a choice about being together. If you are sure, he should be too, right? What’s there to think about?

If you are the unlucky recipient of that phrase, then there are a few things you should do to keep your sanity. Although you may be halfway through a box of Kleenex, digging into a tub of ice cream, or just finished from some serious butt-kicking cardio to take the edge off right now, pay attention. If you have any hopes that he’ll come back, then you need to take care of these things while he’s gone.

1. Most women immediately take this on themselves and think they must not be good enough for him, or what he really wants. Do not do that! His confusion is his and is not anything you can help. Besides, you do not even know that you are what he is confused about. Maybe it is something completely different and he just needs a little time to work it out by himself.

2. Relationships require vulnerability and, let’s face it, that is not a guy’s strong suite. Sometimes it is natural for a guy to pull back a little bit and set some boundaries. He may just need to ground himself so that he can be sure he is making the right decisions. We all need to ground here and there, so give him the opportunity.

3. Relationships are a balancing act no matter who you talk to. When he pulls back, sometimes it is best to also pull back so that when he comes in, it will be because he wanted to be drawn in by you. When it is completely his choice, he will feel so much more confident about it that you will see a whole other side of him. A more confident side.

4. Stop, think, evaluate, and proceed. This is a common decision making strategy. He may be thinking and evaluating where he wants your relationship to go. No matter what his decision, it is a good thing that he stopped and thought about it before being brash and rushing into something artificially. This could simply be his way of contemplating proposing like his mother keeps hinting at.

5. Consider your response. Him telling you that he needs space is definitely going to cause a reaction from you. Your job, away from him, is to look at those emotions, figure out what they are, and determine why you felt them. For example, if you felt panicked, it could be because you don’t want to be single again instead of being head over heels in love with him. Figure out those emotions while he is not around to cloud your judgment and influence your decisions.



6. Take a breath and stop thinking so hard because you will break your own heart. There is no way for you to know exactly what is on his mind until he tells you. And, since we are not telepathic, unfortunately, and have learned from experience, we all know that men have a way of projecting something on the complete opposite side of the scale from what they are actually thinking.

7. If you love something, set it free. Every sappy movie ever has featured at least one moment of returning the animal to the wild, breaking up with someone to give them a better shot at something, or a scenario equally as emotional. The fact of the matter is, squeezing too hard here will do nothing but drive him away. You have to let him take this moment and do so fully. Do not call and text him ten times a day trying to figure out what’s going on. He asked you honestly for space, give it to him. If he comes back to you, you will be stronger than ever together.

The most important things to remember if you find yourself in this situation are to keep breathing, don’t blame yourself for something you have no control over, and most of all, wait until he tells you what is going on before you make assumptions and judgements.

In the movies, the girl would always say that the guy obviously doesn’t love her if he has to think about it, but real life isn’t that way. You can find a lot of people to love, but having your mind and heart committed is what makes a lasting relationship.

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They say life is a roller coaster ride, so I’m here, trying my bit (virtually of course) to make your ride worthwhile. Ups and downs are inevitable, but how you perceive things is what matters.I’m just your next-door neighbor, ripe from experiences of life, here to tell you what it really means to “live”! Take your drink, kick back and relax, we’re just getting started!

32 COMMENTS

  1. What is there to think about when he is the one at fault though? Should you have to wait around & give him space for that too? It’s worth fighting for but why can’t he just admit he’s wrong and we move on?

    • If your partner has shared his thoughts and feelings with you, then it is best to take action according to those feelings. If he is at fault and has decided that his actions have caused him to no longer be interested in nourishing a relationship with you, then allow your thoughts of him to fade. You may choose to speak directly and honestly with him about your thoughts and feelings. Have a great day, Elle!

    • He has shared his thoughts and feelings with you. He is unable or unwilling to establish a relationship with you. Do not attempt to contact with him at this time. Focus your emotional energy on yourself, your friends, and your family. Have a great day, Sass!

    • He has shared his thoughts and feelings with you. He is unable or unwilling to establish a relationship with you. Do not attempt to contact with him at this time. Focus your emotional energy on yourself, your friends, and your family. Have a great day, Sass!

    • i want to tell you to leave him. its hard i got that treatment on and off over 6yrs and EACH time he cheated in total 11 times in 6yrs THATS why they need space……

      please please leave…..

      • Thank you for sharing your insights and experiences. Feel free to share your thoughts and feelings in the future. Have a great day, Sunet!

  2. My new boyfriend Mateo asked me out yesterday and today he said that he needs to think but I don’t understand he also says that he thinks hes rushing things but he’s not I’m confused
    Help me

    • It sounds as though he is confused about his feelings toward you. It is likely that he is uncertain about his emotions. Take this time to determine what you want for the future of this relationship. Speak directly and honestly with him about your thoughts and feelings. Give him an opportunity to share himself with you as well. Have a great day, Kennedy!

  3. My boyfriend got upset yesterday at something Last night that happened he thought i was lying, and told me “don’t lie” I told Him I’m sorry, but he didn’t respond & texted him this morning if he’s mad, & he responded just thinking about stuff . What does he mean by that?

    • It is possible that he is confused or uncertain about his feelings regarding your relationship. Take this time to determine what you want for the future of this relationship. Speak directly and honestly with him about your thoughts and feelings. Give him an opportunity to share himself with you as well. Have a great day, Abby!

  4. We’ve been dating for four months, now that we are at the end of the fourth month I asked him to tell me where this is going because I want something more solid and he needs to show and act on it if he wants something more solid. He stated he knows he needs to show more but he also needs time to see if he wants this ? It just makes me so Confused ?

    • It is possible that he is interested in developing a relationship. He may be confused or uncertain about his thoughts and feelings. Take this time to determine what you want for the future of this relationship. Speak directly and honestly with him about your thoughts and feelings. Give him an opportunity to share himself with you as well. Have a great day, Chrys!

  5. He started dating too soon after the death of his wife and being with me sent him into a spiral of guilt, I reacted badly, I was ready to love and be loved but not ready to cope with the heartbreak and loss of a partner, I’ve been widowed 3 years. I had a breakdown which he does not know about. I texted him to say I was thinking and praying for him and he texted back to say thank you Praying he’s for me. I’m totally in love with him.

    • It is possible that each of you have a strong emotional connection with each other. It is possible that he is interested in a developing a relationship with you. Take this time to determine what you want for the future of this relationship. Speak directly and honestly with him about your thoughts and feelings. Give him an opportunity to share himself with you as well. Have a great day, Wilsy!

  6. I broke up with my boyfriend because I was dealing with alot of things at the time and I came back to him the next day and he told me that he’s thinking about it but now he’s ignoring my messages.

    • If he is ignoring your messages, then he may have decided that he is not interested in developing a relationship with you. It is possible that he has been uncertain or confused about what he wanted to say. Do not reach out to him at this time. If he reaches out to you, then share your kindness and compassion with him. Allow the consequences of your previous actions influence your behavior in the future. Have a great day, Sharai!

  7. We have been best friends since 8th grade, fell out of touch after high school and reconnect sophomore year of college, only to discover we always had feelings for each other from the beginning. We have been on and off for the last two years now and recrnly started again for the 3rd time 4 months ago. We have said we love each other not just as friends but more and things were going amazing and then he had made a weird comment about being friend zoned this year and I was very confused as I thought we were on the same page and not dating other people, regardless I had confronted and asked if we could be exclusive, he had agreed but had mentioned that he wasn’t sure what he wanted and that until he figured us out he promised not to be with anyone else. I had expressed that I was feeling more anxious and doubtful of the relationship ironically after we had agreed on being exclusive, I kept waking up feeling like something was off and decided to share my feelings, something that I wasn’t very good at it but had made an effort to be more open and honest. I was met with a “maybe we should take a step back” a lot of apologies to me, but he wants to catch up after he gets back from his winter break with his family. I am very hurt and confused and don’t know what to do if I should hold out hope or move on.

    • It sounds as though neither of you are fully committed to this relationship. He has shareg his thoughts and feelings with you. Take this time to determine what you want for the future of this relationship. Speak directly and honestly with him about your thoughts and feelings. Give him an opportunity to share himself with you as well. Have a great day, Elizabeth!

  8. How much time should I give him? He was my friend for a long time, and when he finally kissed me, my views changed. My whole world changed. So when he tells me he needs space and time, but he doesn’t want me out of his life, just how much time do I give him?

    • He has shared his thoughts and feelings with you. Do not reach out to him at this time. If he reaches out to you, then share your kindness and compassion with him. Determine what you want for your future. Have a great day, Hachiko!

  9. So we have been dating for four months and i have almost said the “L” word … Good thing i didn’t bc his ex girlfriend/baby mama has just told him she wanted to work things out … He told me he is now confused he knows what would happen if he get back with her and also told me he is already invested in me and starting to “catch feelings” but it’s going on three days now and he still says he needs time to think on what his next move it … I feel like I’m just waiting on him to dump me … What should i do ??

    • Take this time to determine what you want for your future. Speak directly and honestly with him about your thoughts and feelings. You make broaden your perspective while you make your decision. Give him an opportunity to share himself with you as well. Have a great day, Amandia!

  10. My boyfriend now ex said “he thinks and feels that we need time to figure things out…even if that means we start of as friends..because at the moment I’m working a lot at the farm and I don’t want to seem as if I don’t care about things when I do.. I don’t think it would be good for us to be in a situation where we feel like shit or inadequate” this came after a huge argument we had where I was just upset that he was neglecting me and our relationship (he had been pulling away a lot).. it’s been over a month, he hasn’t called and I haven’t texted or called either.. We were so in love, just surprised it all went down hill this way.

    • He has shared his thoughts and feelings with you. He is unable or unwilling to nourish a relationship with you at this time. Determine what you want for your future. Focus your emotional energy elsewhere. Have a great day, Fa!

  11. My boyfriend wants to go back being friends with me for a month because he’s confused about his feelings with me. I don’t know what to do… I love him but I’m hurt of what he said few days ago… I felt he changed… idk anymore. I can’t seem to give the rs up.

    • He has shared his thoughts and feelings with you. He is unable or unwilling to nourish a relationship with you at this time. Determine what you want for your future. Focus your emotional energy elsewhere. Have a great day, Ann!

  12. My boyfriend of 4 months said he needs time to think and space. His job has become very stressful and he has an issue with his young adult daughter. He said he really, really likes me and he thinks Iam perfect……his words. I love him but haven’t told him yet
    It’s been 1 week of no contact. How long should I wait?

    • He has shared his thoughts and feelings with you. He is unable or unwilling to nourish a relationship with you. Take this time to determine what you want for your future. Reach out to him and share your thoughts and feelings with him. If he can not maintain a relationship with you at this time, then focus your emotional energy elsewhere. Have a great day, Sharon!

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