How to Give Your Husband Space

by April Sanders

It's said that marriage is easy but staying married isn't. Maintaining a happy marriage takes work on both sides, and one thing men sometimes complain about is that they are not getting enough space. The specifics of what "space" means are different for each couple. Try not to take it personally if your husband wants some separation, whether physical or mental. Hopefully he'll return the favor when you need space.

Stay put. Don't chase him if he leaves -- this may cause him to run even faster, according to Harriet Lerner, Ph.D., author of "Marriage Rules: A Manual for the Married and Coupled Up," in the "Good Housekeeping" article "How to Reconnect With Your Spouse." Obviously, you can't wait for him forever, but you can let him know that you will stay put for now and wait for him to return and talk things out.

Dial back. Soften your tone, take a deep breath and try not to overstep. This may mean only texting him when necessary, letting him make mistakes instead of giving advice, and not grilling him about every detail of his day.

Create a physical space for him. Let's face it: In most cases, the home is the wife's territory, and your husband may feel that he has nowhere to go to get a breather. Create a "man cave" for him in the spare bedroom, garage or basement that is his alone.

Encourage him to make friends and go out for "guys' night." It's possible that your husband's need for space is really a need for some male companionship.

Focus on yourself. Instead of obsessing over where your husband is and what he is doing, concentrate on your needs and what you can do to take care of yourself and feel better. This may include starting a regular exercise program or taking up a new hobby.

Suggest counseling. Don't do this immediately -- give him his space for about three months first. If things don't improve, consider seeing a marriage counselor either singly or together. His need for space may be indicative of greater problems in your marriage.


  • Try not to read too much into your husband's need for space. Don't take it as a sign that your marriage is doomed or that you will be getting a divorce. In the Your Tango article "6 Things To Do When Your Partner Asks For 'Space,'" Susie and Otto Collins, relationship experts and authors of "Creating Relationship Magic," suggest that it's best to stay in the present moment and try to make decisions based on what is happening now versus what might happen later.

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