I get a lot of emails from wives and girlfriends who aren't sure if (or how) to give their husbands and boyfriends "space" or some time apart.  The most common fear for complying with this request is that if you let him go, he's going to determine that he actually likes being apart and will not come back.  This fear can keep your paralyzed, afraid to act, or tempted to just hold on that much tighter.

You may well know that these things don't help your cause, but it's so hard not to give in to your feelings of fear.  The following article will offer tips and advice to help you to play this in the correct way which will bring him closer to you rather than further away.

Understanding Why He May Want The Space:  Most women assume that he wants the space as a way to sort of ease into the separation. We theorize that he's trying to slowly get us to accept that we are about to split up.  Or, he's trying to have his cake and eat it too, or to test the waters to see if and how he can make it as a single guy.

Now, this is true for some men, but if this is the case, you would probably see this type of behavior from him long before the "space" talks actually started to happen.  Sometimes, a man just wants some time and space to himself to think about his life, his relationships, and what he can do to make all of these things better.  For whatever reason, he does not feel that this is possible or is going to flow naturally if he is sharing his space, 24 /7, with you. His thinking may be incorrect, but that is where his thoughts are taking him at this time.

Why Trying To Talk Him Out Of What He's Asked For Is Usually The Wrong Way To Play This: Many women will debate with him as to why his thinking is wrong.  You might tell him that he can evaluate the relationship with you present, or that you are more than willing to talk things out with him, or that you'll stay in the spare bedroom while he sorts things out.   Some women will even argue that he is being selfish or is incorrect in his perceptions. Don't be surprised if he doesn't willingly embrace this thinking.  He's generally going to be smart enough to know that you're trying to talk him out of what he has asked for. (My own husband certainly was. More on that here.)

Now, if you can get him to accept "space" within your own home, go for it. (I think that this is the gold standard if you can get him to agree.) But, make sure that you actually give him space, that you don't hover, and that you make yourself scarce.  You too could probably use some time to reflect as well.

The Best Way To Handle A Request For Space: Here is what I have found to be the best-case scenario.  Rather than arguing that he's selfish or wrong to ask for time away, your goal should be for him to think of you positively when he is away from you.  Now, let's think about this. Is he likely to think of you positively if you tell him that he is wrong, cling to him on his way out, and threaten him that if he walks out, that he should not dare to come back? Or, are you better off telling him that you want for him to be happy, that you support him, and that you can use this time for your own benefit?

You want to present yourself as someone who loves him, wants for the two of you to have the most mutually positive and healthy relationship as is possible, and who has enough self-respect to put your own needs as high as you would put his.  Do not degrade yourself or beg or follow or dwell.  Tell him that you are available if he wants to talk or needs support, but stress that you are going to use this time as well.

Know What He Will Perceive As Attractive: Keep yourself busy and strong.  Go out with your supportive friends.  Focus on bringing positive things into your life. Do whatever it is that is going to make you feel good about yourself and to help you enjoy your life.  When you feel the tug to call, visit, or engage with him, distract yourself with something else.  Because each time you give in like this, you weaken yourself and you make yourself look just a little bit worse in his eyes.  Men truly are attracted to confident, self-respecting women.  Ask yourself how you would look to yourself if the roles were reversed.

If you're being honest, would you want for him to grovel, continue to call, and to engage and argue if you were the one who wanted space? What would be most likely to make you want to come back? I firmly believe that the answer is someone who is supportive, yet confident - loving, yet self-respecting - and accommodating yet busy.  I know that making this seem genuine is asking for you to do a bit of acting.  But, the end result will almost always be worth it. Because when he comes back, he will do so willingly.

How do I know all of this? Because I groveled, debated, and nagged when my own husband wanted space.  Do you think this was the right way to play it?  Nope.  But I eventually saved marriage through research, learning new skills, and dumb luck. You can read that story by clicking here or visiting http://isavedmymarriage.com

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