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Boyfriend tells me he needs space, what should I do? What does he mean by space? No-contact?


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We've been together since September. And we're kind of ldr but not really ldr. I'm 20f. My boyfriend (25 m)  is very busy, he works long hours and almost everyday. So yesterday, he had an interview. My boyfriend has a lot on his plate, family business, work, projects etc. 

We usually text everyday not all day, but it's usually me texting first. I got worried about him and anxious that he was sick to make sure he's okay so I called 4 times and he didn't' pick up. He texted me that he was in an interview. His phone was dnd most of the day. I didn't know he was in an interview, if he told me I wouldn't have called so many times. So I told him good luck and that I was worried that he was sick and apologized for spamming him. He wasn't sick, just really busy. Which I totally understand.

The next day, was totally normal, we had a sweet exchange which is our usual, wishing him a good day at work with a selfie of myself and he says Thank you baby. And then like 7 hours later I asked him if he loves me, and then he responded with something like this:

"Yes. I'm not in a good mood and I don't want to talk right now, if you could give me some space I would appreciate it. Thank you."

Makes me sad seeing that because I understand how stress he is but there is already space between us, I feel like. I don't see him a lot. I always want to support him and be the best girlfriend I can for him, not be a nuisance. I want him to know that I'll always be here for him. I love him. 

Gosh, I miss him so much.

Did I let my anxiety make him fed up? What do I do?

Should I just go no-contact is that what he wants? Or wait like 4 days and then check in?

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13 minutes ago, Aaiel said:

Should I just go no-contact is that what he wants? Or wait like 4 days and then check in?

You do neither.  Forget about what he wants - you need to figure out if this relationship is working for you, and decide for yourself if you want to be in it.   

At this point, It seems that he prioritises work, family business, etc over you and that's not a great way to have a relationship.  He didn't even bother telling you that he had an interview!   May I add that being just over one hour away is hardly long distance and in a good relationship, you should still be able to see each other regularly, especially if sleepovers are involved.  

Is a relationship where the guy doesn't have time for you, and doesn't communicate with you, really what you want?

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12 minutes ago, basil67 said:

You do neither.  Forget about what he wants - you need to figure out if this relationship is working for you, and decide for yourself if you want to be in it.   

At this point, It seems that he prioritises work, family business, etc over you and that's not a great way to have a relationship.  He didn't even bother telling you that he had an interview!   May I add that being just over one hour away is hardly long distance and in a good relationship, you should still be able to see each other regularly, especially if sleepovers are involved.  

Is a relationship like this really what you want?

I know I want to be in a relationship with him. I want a relationship only with him. It's just that recently a lot of things happened and I also should've told him and been honest about my needs. 

Also, could you please answer my questions? Saying doing neither doesn't help me at all.

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Yes. Respect his request and give him the space he has asked for. Don't call/text or reach out. Let him reach out when he's ready. 

If you don't hear from him in a week then go ahead and contact him and ask for a meeting to clear the air.

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3 minutes ago, Mrin said:

Yes. Respect his request and give him the space he has asked for. Don't call/text or reach out. Let him reach out when he's ready. 

If you don't hear from him in a week then go ahead and contact him and ask for a meeting to clear the air.

Okay, but what do you think of the text he sent? You interpret as no-contact? 

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48 minutes ago, Aaiel said:

Did I let my anxiety make him fed up? I also should've told him and been honest about my needs.

Sorry this is happening. Yes please address the anxiety.  Unfortunately you're suffocating him to death with anxiety. Spamming him is not "a need". Please step back and manage your mental health. What you are doing is almost abusive. 

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9 minutes ago, Wiseman2 said:

Sorry this is happening. Yes please address the anxiety.  Unfortunately you're suffocating him to death with anxiety. Spamming him is not "a need". Please step back and manage your mental health. What you are doing is almost abusive. 

I meant telling him that communication is important to me and making time to see each other like meeting somewhere in the middle. Me spamming him was out of anxiety and worry. But to say "almost abusive" wasn't necessary. I know my anxiety should be fixed.

I'm almost abusing him...? Harsh word choice. 

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Yes, his text is asking for no contact. If you want him back, it will have to be on his terms....and at this point, it means waiting till/if he's ever ready and then doing the relationship how he wants it to be.

I still worry about you though.  You speak about not having expressed your needs - but what you've just written above is a really basic expectation for how any person wants to be treated by their partner.  Any guy (or girl!) with half decent social skills should be aware that this is what is expected in a relationship.   Do you really think he doesn't understand the basics of how to treat a girlfriend?  Honestly, you can tell him all of this, and it's not going to change a damn thing because he does what he wants.

Regarding your anxiety, yes it did drive him away.  But have you made the connection that his lack of care towards you is the cause of your anxiety?  Not knowing if your partner loves you or cares for you or even wants to hear from you is terribly anxiety inducing.  I'm usually pretty solid in relationships, but there was one guy many years ago who was so flaky and would disappear...and my anxiety went through the roof.  Your reaction in this situation is completely normal.   But instead of apologising for his lack of care, this guy decides to double down and spend even more time away from you.

Please reconsider.  You're worth so much more than this

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36 minutes ago, Aaiel said:

Okay, but what do you think of the text he sent? You interpret as no-contact? 

Yes. That's what he's wanting right now. Space. 

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12 minutes ago, basil67 said:

Yes, his text is asking for no contact. If you want him back, it will have to be on his terms....and at this point, it means waiting till/if he's ever ready and then doing the relationship how he wants it to be.

I still worry about you though.  You speak about not having expressed your needs - but what you've just written above is a really basic expectation for how any person wants to be treated by their partner.  Any guy (or girl!) with half decent social skills should be aware that this is what is expected in a relationship.   Do you really think he doesn't understand the basics of how to treat a girlfriend?  Honestly, you can tell him all of this, and it's not going to change a damn thing because he does what he wants.

Regarding your anxiety, yes it did drive him away.  But have you made the connection that his lack of care towards you is the cause of your anxiety?  Not knowing if your partner loves you or cares for you or even wants to hear from you is terribly anxiety inducing.  I'm usually pretty solid in relationships, but there was one guy many years ago who was so flaky and would disappear...and my anxiety went through the roof.  Your reaction in this situation is completely normal.   But instead of apologising for his lack of care, this guy decides to double down and spend even more time away from you.

Please reconsider.  You're worth so much more than this

What bothers me a little is that he knows that us not seeing each other makes us sad and saying how he feels bad that he is terrible boyfriend. I reassure him saying he isn't. And I'm so mad for not expressing my concerns on call with him. I'm so frustrated and mad at myself.

I haven't been completely honest with him because I worry if I'll be needy and demanding to him. 

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18 minutes ago, Mrin said:

Yes. That's what he's wanting right now. Space. 

But you said and then if nothing in a week, contact for a meeting? Why? 

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4 minutes ago, Aaiel said:

What bothers me a little is that he knows that us not seeing each other makes us sad and saying how he feels bad that he is terrible boyfriend. I reassure him saying he isn't. And I'm so mad for not expressing my concerns on call with him. I'm so frustrated and mad at myself.

I haven't been completely honest with him because I worry if I'll be needy and demanding to him. 

He actually is a terrible boyfriend!  When he says this about himself, you're making things worse by telling him that he isn't.  I mean, honesty also involves agreeing that the relationship is having problems because he prioritises everything else over you and the relationship.  

It's not needy and demanding to expect the bare basics in a relationship.  But when they won't give you this, it's time to consider how long you can keep going being his last choice

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d0nnivain
5 hours ago, Aaiel said:

Gosh, I miss him so much.

Did I let my anxiety make him fed up? What do I do?

Should I just go no-contact is that what he wants? Or wait like 4 days and then check in?

You need to get a grip.  Your anxiety is playing a part in this.  You are coming across as a needy, unattractive Cling on & it's grating on him.  Unfortunately, he might not be able to give you the communication & attention you want.   What you want  / need seems like a lot & over the top to me, but it's what you want / need.  If somebody can't or won't meet that need, they are not the person for you.  

The fact that you didn't know your BF had an interview is a huge communications gap.  He's intentionally keeping important parts of his life apart from you.  That is not good.  

He doesn't need No Contact but he does need to be able to be the one who initiates contact.  Unless it's a life or death emergency, never call somebody 4 times in one day.  That is overkill & annoying.  Back off & let him come to you.  It's that old saying:  

If you love somebody let them go.  If they come back to you, they are yours.  If they do not, they never were.  

All in all you two might not be compatible.  

For now give it 48 hours to see what he does next.  If he does not reach out in 2 days -- yes two whole days -- then you can send him a text asking him to talk / meet up.  If he agrees, then you ask him what contact / meet up schedule he wants.  You tell him what you would prefer & try to find a compromise.  If he doesn't respond, that is your answer  You two are broken up & it's time for NC. (NC a/k/a the silent treatment is not a healthy approach when you are still together) 

Meanwhile you need to keep yourself busy so you are not tempted to reach out.  Post here.  Clean your house.  Go for a walk.  Work some over time.  Hang out with your friends.  Anything to keep your mind off him.  

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introverted1
7 hours ago, Aaiel said:

I asked him if he loves me

Why did you ask this? Are you very needy?

It sounds to me that your bf would like you to step back a bit.  Calling him 4 times in a row, asking if he loves you, etc. - it's too much for your bf (and likely would be for anyone).  You need to regulate your own emotions and not expect him to soothe you when you are anxious.

As to your question:  do nothing and let him reach out to you. If he does, then move forward with less anxiety and neediness on your part. If he doesn't, then you can assume he has checked out of the relationship entirely. 

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2 hours ago, d0nnivain said:

You need to get a grip.  Your anxiety is playing a part in this.  You are coming across as a needy, unattractive Cling on & it's grating on him.  Unfortunately, he might not be able to give you the communication & attention you want.   What you want  / need seems like a lot & over the top to me, but it's what you want / need.  If somebody can't or won't meet that need, they are not the person for you.  

The fact that you didn't know your BF had an interview is a huge communications gap.  He's intentionally keeping important parts of his life apart from you.  That is not good.  

He doesn't need No Contact but he does need to be able to be the one who initiates contact.  Unless it's a life or death emergency, never call somebody 4 times in one day.  That is overkill & annoying.  Back off & let him come to you.  It's that old saying:  

If you love somebody let them go.  If they come back to you, they are yours.  If they do not, they never were.  

All in all you two might not be compatible.  

For now give it 48 hours to see what he does next.  If he does not reach out in 2 days -- yes two whole days -- then you can send him a text asking him to talk / meet up.  If he agrees, then you ask him what contact / meet up schedule he wants.  You tell him what you would prefer & try to find a compromise.  If he doesn't respond, that is your answer  You two are broken up & it's time for NC. (NC a/k/a the silent treatment is not a healthy approach when you are still together) 

Meanwhile you need to keep yourself busy so you are not tempted to reach out.  Post here.  Clean your house.  Go for a walk.  Work some over time.  Hang out with your friends.  Anything to keep your mind off him.  

What I want and need is communication from him and just more time with him, it's not a lot. We've discussed that seeing each other in the middle is good and that telling me he's he traveling is doable. But I know how busy he is, it'd just be nice if I wasn't kept I'm the dark all the time, it hurts. 

And why is that over the top to you? 

I dont understand why he wouldn't tell me what's going on with him to me. 

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Alpacalia

Do not go no-contact unless he flat out tells you to. It seems like he just needed a little space to collect his thoughts and de-stress. Give him the time and space he asked for and let him come to you when he's ready to talk.

That being said, you're in a difficult spot because you are feeling anxious and unsure about where you stand. No one wants to be a nuisance, but you're anxiety also stems from not having seen him a lot (due to his busy schedule) and now you're kind of in this limbo where you want to respect his need for space, but in a position where you're wondering when or if he'll reach out and not feel any sense of security/upset that he's not, you know? 

Aside from that, in the future, do not reach out to someone that many times if you haven't gotten a response. "Hey, I haven't heard from you. I hope your interview went well and that everything's okay." That's it. It's really important to learn how to gauge when someone won't be able to respond to you and to respect that. You didn't know he was in an interview, so you're not to blame, but going forward, be more cognizant of his availability.

If I were you, from here on out, I would respect the boundary that he has established until he returns to you, and after that, I would establish as much contact as he does. No more than that. 

I know that not hearing from him will be tough, so take this time to treat yourself and de-stress as well. What ultimately might happen though is that you get so good at giving him the space he needs that you feel detached. So feel free to set a max time for yourself and take care of your own life.  

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2 minutes ago, Alpacalia said:

Do not go no-contact unless he flat out tells you to. It seems like he just needed a little space to collect his thoughts and de-stress. Give him the time and space he asked for and let him come to you when he's ready to talk.

That being said, you're in a difficult spot because you are feeling anxious and unsure about where you stand. No one wants to be a nuisance, but you're anxiety also stems from not having seen him a lot (due to his busy schedule) and now you're kind of in this limbo where you want to respect his need for space, but in a position where you're wondering when or if he'll reach out and not feel any sense of security/upset that he's not, you know? 

Aside from that, in the future, do not reach out to someone that many times if you haven't gotten a response. "Hey, I haven't heard from you. I hope your interview went well and that everything's okay." That's it. It's really important to learn how to gauge when someone won't be able to respond to you and to respect that. You didn't know he was in an interview, so you're not to blame, but going forward, be more cognizant of his availability.

If I were you, from here on out, i would respect the boundary that he has established until he returns to you, and after that, I would establish as much contact as he does. No more than that. 

I know that not hearing from him will be tough, so take this time to treat yourself and de-stress as well. What ultimately might happen though is that you get so good at giving him the space he needs that you feel detached. So feel free to set a max time for yourself and take care of your own life.  

Okay, then what do I do? Just wait? I'm confused because you said don't go no contact..

Thank you for understanding my situation. Yes, I will do that. I shouldn't have called so many times.

He seemed normal the morning after and I think something must've happened and then when I texted him that he prb felt like he couldn't talk to me was upset and overwhelmed. I really hope he's doing okay. 

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Alpacalia
5 minutes ago, Aaiel said:

Okay, then what do I do? Just wait? I'm confused because you said don't go no contact..thank you for understanding my situation.

Yes, let him do what he needs to do. That's what he asked for, so that's what we have to respect. You have to be able to handle yourself okay still, with no contact. Talk to your friends, parents, figure out some great stuff you can do for yourself in this world. Get out and do it. You don't want to wait for a guy who doesn't have the same free time as you. 

To be honest, texting first all day is a bit much. It takes attention and value away from yourself and for the future. I would think about this moving forward and be more aware of this...

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2 minutes ago, Alpacalia said:

Yes, let him do what he needs to do. That's what he asked for, so that's what we have to respect. You have to be able to handle yourself okay still, with no contact. Talk to your friends, parents, figure out some great stuff you can do for yourself in this world. Get out and do it. You don't want to wait for a guy who doesn't have the same free time as you. 

To be honest, texting first all day is a bit much. It takes attention and value away from yourself and for the future. I would think about this moving forward and be more aware of this...

I don't text all day, just everyday just in the morning and evening. Why are you guys all assuming that? Because I'm anxious? 

Okay, I completely understand. But what hurts so much is that I havent been honest with him.

I know we can make this work. I'm sure of it. It hurts me so much not knowing where I stand. It hurts a lot, and I feel so terrible for bothering him. 

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Alpacalia
1 minute ago, Aaiel said:

I don't text all day, just everyday just in the morning and evening. Why are you guys all assuming that? Because I'm anxious? 

Okay, I completely understand. But what hurts so much is that I havent been honest with him.

I know we can make this work. I'm sure of it. It hurts me so much not knowing where I stand. It hurts a lot, and I feel so terrible for bothering him. 

I'm not sure I follow. What does "I haven't been honest with him" mean in this context? 

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5 minutes ago, Alpacalia said:

I'm not sure I follow. What does "I haven't been honest with him" mean in this context? 

Like my concerns and expressing my needs. And my anxiety. 

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Alpacalia
4 minutes ago, Aaiel said:

Like my concerns and expressing my needs. And my anxiety. 

Maybe part of your anxiety stems from him not being communicative. Or, that he doesn't make small gestures, like, checking up on you or taking a little time to speak to you or text when he can. It also doesn't sound like he is making time for you. What I mean by time, is taking time to speak to you on the phone when he can and isn't busy, having dinner, or to plan something with you.

How he can manage busy schedules with other things, he isn't finding time for the both of you. He isn't asking if you need anything. That's what most people need to know that the other person cares. Fulfilling needs and worrying are two different things.

Take a step back and think about how you are going to honor your needs first. The issue isn't whether he cares for you, it's if he can make time for you.

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d0nnivain

It's over the top to me because I don't like texting.  You text your BF more in 1 day then I text everyone in my contact list in a week.  That's me.  You don't have to be me.  You get to be you.  

Texting is the world's worst form of communication.  It misses all the non-verbal cues: tone, inflection, facial expression, eye contact etc.    When you use it to form the foundation of a relationship you don't have a relationship.  Relationships are built on personal real world interactions.  You can't judge a relationship based on the # of texts.  All that matters is how you are together in the real world.  If you are not getting enough in person time with him because he cries about being too busy, that is him blowing you off.   

When I met the man who is now my husband I had a full time job running the company I just launched; I was teaching PT at 2 colleges; I served on 2 boards of trustees; I was the State President of a service organization and was the caregiver to my elderly parents.  I still made time to date my now husband. It wasn't easy.  I needed a lot of advanced notice for dates & he had to compromise & spend more time with my parents then either of us would have liked early on in the relationship but my point is I made him a priority.  I don't see your guy doing that for you.  It's a problem & it's triggering your anxiety, which causes you to reach out more, which pushes him farther away. 

Nobody is advocating NC at this point but you see our advice for you to let him initiate as you going NC.  You are mis-understanding the phrase as it's used, how it's implemented & it's purpose.  It is not to manipulate somebody to miss you & then come running.  That rarely works.  We are telling to step back.  Stop with the morning selfies.  Do nothing. Don't call him. Don't text him.  Don't DM him.  Just live your life & see if he reaches out. The fastest way to catch a man is to let him chase you.  When you keep running after him, he runs away.  He has told you to back off, so do that.  

You say you love him & you can make this work.  How?  I don't see him meeting or caring about your needs.  I see you getting more & more upset.  You aren't being fulfilled in this.  Why do you want to fight so hard to keep something that doesn't appear to be working for you?  

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Alpacalia

As a side note, if you constantly feel anxious about him then you might be not only anxiety but having some trust issues. That's a whole different problem that you need to address. When he reaches out again you might want to ask him if he's willing to help you address your anxiety with a "we" approach. Don't also be afraid to say that you want to grow closer as a couple and to feel more secure in the relationship.

I was dating someone and I asked for space (more or less). He called several times when he couldn't get a hold of me. He also would reach out to me several times a day. It's not that I didn't enjoy it, I did, it's just that it didn't leave much room for 2-way interaction. I also was a bit selfish because I wanted things on my terms.

I'm kind of guessing but your bf is doing a balancing act between self and your relationship....

Even if you do make contact just wish him well ask him how his day is going, give him space and let the interaction end on a positive note. He says "ok bye" you say 'have a great day!' The sad thing is that sometimes the person you chose, and loves you may be be the only person you're afraid of being a burden on and it may be the only person that can effectively deal with you at the same time. They need to be someone you're not afraid of being a burden to and they shouldn't think of you as a burden either.

Anxiety happens in relationships. Try to find people to talk to besides him when you have anxiety. Not that you can't address it with him but we need to have many sources for our security, not just one.

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