Did you ex hit you with the classic “I need space” line, and you’re unsure of how to react?
Well, today I’m going to walk you through what to do and say when he says he needs space.
And if you stick around until the end of this article not only will I show you what your ex means when he says it but I’ll also give you a few actionable “next steps” you can enact to help you get favorable results.
Does He Really Mean It When He Says He Needs Space?
The moment someone tells you they need space, the first questions on your mind are probably “Do they really mean it?” and “is that the same as a breakup?”
Well, I’ve got some good news and some bad news…
Bad news: If someone says they need space, it’s usually a pre-qualifier to a breakup.
Good news: There’s something you can do to improve your chances.
Let’s start by addressing whether a guy really means it when he says he needs space.
What’s Really Going On In His Head When He Says He Needs Space?
From what we’ve seen, yes, in this particular moment, the guy really needs space.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll last forever.
When I started my website in 2012, I was convinced that when someone says, “I need space,” they mean it, and your chances are gone forever.
But the reality wasn’t as black and white.
There were several situations where an ex would say something like “I hate you” or “I don’t love you” or “Just give me space” or straight up ask to break up, and women would take it to their hearts.
But then their ex would come back in a couple of months apologizing and saying he didn’t actually mean it.
So, what does it really mean when your partner/ex says they need space?
When an ex or a guy who’s in the process of breaking up with you says he needs space or he doesn’t love you anymore, he usually only means it at the moment. Moments and feelings you have in those trying times can be subject to change as times go on.
Often when someone says they don’t love you any more or need space, they’re going through that “grass is greener” syndrome where they believe there is someone out there that is better for them.
If they believe the grass is greener on the other side, they have no problem moving to that other side and telling you they need space so they can truly test their belief.
But once they go out and explore, the grass may not actually be any greener, and this makes them regret their decisions and want to take it all back.
Obviously, this doesn’t discount that some exes might say they need space and their feelings might never change. They might actually find the greener grass on the other side.
The important thing to remember is that at the moment someone says they need space; they believe that there’s someone better and they need to explore to see if they can find that.
Let’s dig deeper, though, and see if this is the only reason why they say they need space.
Some Other Common Reasons An Ex Will Want Space
We’ve already talked about how they might think there’s someone better out there for them, but we haven’t talked about GNAT-ty behavior.
It’s okay if you don’t know what that means
I coined the term GNAT, and it means:
This describes how people act after, during, or even a bit before a breakup where they blow up their exes/partner’s phone with messages asking them to come back or if there’s something wrong.
They’re basically doing all this obsessive behavior that can turn someone off. And when that happens, they can get hit with the “I need space “message.
People truly do need space if they’re done with the constant insecure texts or calls from their partner.
Of course, that’s not the only reason people need space.
A few weeks ago, I checked up on my little brother who’s almost graduated from college, and he shared something particularly interesting with me.
The story was about a girl he was dating and eventually broke up with after saying he needed space.
I was intrigued to see what his thought process was behind, saying that he needed more space.
Ultimately, he concluded that he didn’t feel as if they were the best fit on any level.
Yet, he had still stayed with this person for weeks.
Why did he stay with someone he didn’t have feelings for anymore?
He said something I’ll never forget – “I was too afraid of hurting her “
He let weeks pass, knowing he’s going to break up with her, without saying a word because he didn’t have the courage to do it. He doesn’t want to break her heart.
Interestingly, his ex could sense something was wrong the whole time.
I always tell women to trust their gut in relationships, especially if they’re on the verge of a breakup.
If you feel, there’s something wrong and pick up cues that things aren’t right – you’re probably right and you should explore it more.
Unfortunately, most women don’t explore those weird cues because they’re afraid that if they break up, they’ll never get their ex back. They think that there’s no way of reshaping their partner’s perception, but they’re wrong!
Will Giving Him Space Actually Help Get Him Back?
Before we go into what to do when an ex says he needs space, let’s talk about whether giving them space will work to get them back.
This might be hard to hear, but most times, giving an ex space ‘alone’ won’t be enough…
I’m a big proponent of the no contact rule, which essentially means giving your ex space on purpose to make them miss you while also giving yourself time to figure your life out without him.
The no contact rule isn’t all it takes to get your ex back and using it alone won’t bring your ex back.
It takes more.
If we think back to why an ex might need space, it’s because they think they can find something better.
So, they’ll only come back if they feel like they’re missing out on something, and you’re actually the right one for them.
While it’s mostly about letting your ex explore around and realize you’re the best option, there are steps you can take to help improve your chances!
Here’s exactly what you should do the moment an ex/boyfriend/partner says they need space.
Exactly What You Should Do When Your Ex Says They Want Space
I want to preface this by saying that my opinions are quite different from those of my peers.
I studied a few of my peers in detail to see what they say in this situation, and most of them advocate for saying something like “it’s okay “or “I understand. ”
I do not think that’s the best way to approach this situation.
In my opinion, what you need to do is create a paradigm shift.
A paradigm shift is doing something or saying something that shines a new light on how you should look at a new situation.
So, let’s take stock of your situation.
You’re in a happy relationship, or you’re in the midst of something that used to be a happy relationship but is now on the verge of a breakup, and your ex or partner says,
“I need space.”
Obviously, you’re devastated, but if you simply give in and say you accept their position, you can’t make a paradigm shift happen.
What you want to do to create a paradigm shift to create a new view of your relationship in his mind is to drop the “socially acceptable” norms of giving them space before they break up with you.
A great way to do this is to say
“You know what? I am so glad you said that. I was actually thinking the same thing. I think we need some space too.”
See how that immediately shifts the power and tilts the scales in your favor? Your ex thought the ball was in their court, but you’ve effectively leveled the playing field by saying this.
Honestly, the biggest mistake women make after a breakup is overly texting an ex or even begging for them back. By putting their ex on a pedestal, women who are trying to get their ex back (or trying to move on) do themselves a disservice.
Women who feel like their ex is better than them give him all the power, and that is absolutely WRONG, in my opinion.
If you want him to think highly of you and ask for you back, you need to knock him off that pedestal, and you need to do things that make him see you’re not hung up on him! He needs to see that you don’t need him, or else he won’t be interested in getting you back.
Shift the narrative on him and take control.
It’s very painful to have someone you love to say they need space, but when you say it to them, you’re not trying to make them hurt, you’re just taking away their power to hurt you.
It’s about you showing them that even though they think they can do better than you, you can do better without them too!
That kind of strong mentality yields results and makes your ex/partner see you in a different light and respect you even more.