Everyone needs space sometimes -- even people in a close romantic relationship. In fact, a little breathing room can be the best thing for a relationship, according to psychotherapist Wendy Allen in the "Psychology Today" article "Suffocating in a Relationship? How to Get the Space You Need." A man who craves space will sometimes act in certain ways, and an honest discussion about personal space may be needed to create an understanding between the couple.
He Stops Communicating
Men often withdraw when they need a little space. This is especially true when they are feeling upset or stressed, according to Richard Drobnick, best-selling author of "Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus," in his article "Six Ways Men and Women Communicate Differently" that appeared on PsychCentral.com. If your man tries to avoid conversation by hiding in his man cave with the video games, leave him alone to de-stress. He may also stop communicating in other ways. If a man stops replying right away -- or all together -- to texts and phone calls, it might be a sign that he needs space. Constant texting or phone calls can make a man feel like he is being tracked, hounded or even nagged. Ignoring the texts and calls is his way of getting a breather. Respond by cutting back on the texts and calls and letting him take the initiative.
He Goes Out With Friends
If it seems like he is choosing to spend more time with his buddies than usual, it could be because he needs some distance. Men don't want to feel like they need to bring their partner to every event -- especially guys' night out. It doesn't mean he doesn't like to spend time with his loved one, but rather that he needs time with his friends.
He Stops Making Plans
Men who need space often stop making plans, or they become vague in their planning. They may also delay planning a big event, such as moving in together or a romantic trip to the coast. If you can't get him to nail down the details of your next date or the upcoming weekend, that might be a sign that he needs a little bit of alone time. Back off and let him make his own plans, but let him know you will be there when he comes back around. However, if you're getting vibes that his need for space is the prelude to a breakup, don't wait for him forever. It might be better for both of you if you cut him loose and move on.
He Just Says It
It's not uncommon for a man to come right out and say he needs space. Although this might freak out his partner, it isn't always a cause for alarm -- in fact, it usually isn't. Needing space does not mean the relationship is over. It might mean that the man needs some time with his buddies. It might mean he needs some time alone to do some thinking. It's OK to ask why, but it should be done calmly and without accusation, according to author and commentator Allison James in a Match.com article "When He Says 'I Need Space'." A little clarity will keep fears from becoming unchecked, and in the case when "space" really means "breaking up," at least the truth will be known.