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Giving him space


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Please bear with me, this is a little long, but right now I feel like I am going insane and could really do with some advice.


A couple of months ago, I met a guy online and it started all exceptionally well. He should more interest than anyone I ever met, he was kind, loving and appreciative. A month in we started having sex and the compatibility was amazing. There wasn't a day where he wouldn't message me and not a week went by without us making concrete plans to meet up.


He always made references about the future. He said he's not just looking for sex, he seemed interested in me as a person and made the effort to come see me (far from where he lives). He made almost constant references about going on future outings, holidays etc and pretty much treated me like a girlfriend. We are monogamous and neither of us are dating other people.


Fast forward to a week later. I had a feeling that he was becoming colder, more detatched. I ignored it at first...this guy had made sooo much effort with me that I just thought he was busy. But then we met for dinner we somehow ended up having "the talk". I didn't meet up thinking that we should talk about what we are...it sort of just happened. He told me that he doesn't want a relationship and that if he starts catching feelings for me he will break it off because he's not in the headspace for a relationship. It felt like someone dropped a bucket of ice over me. I told him that although I want a relationship, I'm in no hurry to be in one just yet, so I'm happy to keep seeing him. I'm interested in him as a person more than I am in the idea of a relationship. What bothers me is his idea that if he starts getting attatched he will just end it.


We agreed to just keep going as we have so far, but something has changed. I can tell that he is distancing himself emotionally from me and it hurts so much. It takes him longer to reply, his replies are colder and we haven't made any plans to see each other in almost a week. I am giving him space because I don't want to be clingy/needy and push him away. He seemed very determined to keep going with me even though he now sort of knows I will eventually want more. He said he deleted his dating apps and he's not interested in anyone else. He wants to continue as before and yet it's not as it was before because he has cooled off. It feels like he is deliberately keeping me at an arm's length and it hurts.


Has anyone else experienced this with a guy? The hot/cold is killing me. It started off so well and now I have fallen in love with him and don't want to give up on him. I'm givng him space but I'm scared he'll turn around and just end it. I know that guys need their space and I am happy to give it to him, but I just don't know what to think anymore.


Any advice is extremely welcome. Thank you in advance.

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This isn't cool of him. If he knew he wasn't looking for a relationship at the beginning, he should have been clear about it and not be in one with you. If he changed his mind, he should have explained what made him do that and what exactly are his expectations and where does he thinks it's heading.


From what he hinted, it seems like it's heading into breaking up in a couple of weeks/months, and just enjoying it while it lasts - you see it as giving him space until he'll be able to like you more. I'd ask him to be more clear about that so you know what to do. You probably shouldn't stick around, because prolonging the breakup is hurting you and you deserve more.

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Thank you for responding. I sometimes feel like what you said, and sometimes get the feeling that he started catching feelings, freaked out and backed off. I know guys often say a lot of stuff they don't mean, but he's done a complete 360 on me. How can someone go from super into me/hinting about the future to cool and aloof in one night? He told me he's a commitment-phobe and always shudders when speaking of friends his age (27) who are now married. He used to be quite religious and he believes in the one, didn't use to believe in sex before marriage etc...but then a few years ago he gave up being religious. Many of his values remain and that is what attracted me to him. He seems to have a lot of respect for his exes, didn't want to move on too quickly out of respect for his ex...I just don't understand. Am I kidding myself in giving him a shot? I'm weak, can't bring myself to just end it, it hurts too much.

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Thank you for responding. You're probably right. Logically I know that I should cut the cord now and deal with this pain rather than later when the pain will be intensified. I think I need to see him once more to establish how he wants to proceed/if he wants to proceed and if I'm going to be ok with his terms or if I'll be this miserable while it lasts. It's hard not to wish that he may change his mind if I let him be. I'm not trying to play games with him or manipulate him into seeing things different because that's not cool and it's not who I am. But I can't help having a little hope based on how we are when we are together.

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Guys quite often say what they really mean when asked.

And he told you he's not going to commit.


All you are is a fwb to him.

He doesn't need more time or space.


Do yourself a favor and seek out a guy that is truly in search of long term, if that's what you want.

This one is guaranteed heartache, whether you leave now or a year from now.

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I have to say, he doesn't seem determined to keep this going.


You yourself said he's cooled off quite a bit since that talk, takes longer to reply and he hasn't made any plan to meet recently. He isn't continuing as before, despite what he says. His actions are telling you what you need to know.


I'm sorry OP, I can see why you are hurt. He should have been clear from the get-go that he wasn't looking for a relationship. I would not continue seeing him, as he's already told you what is going to happen if it goes any further.

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You are not giving him more space you are becoming a doormat accepting his rules. This is not what you want and just face the truth he will NEVER commit. This is the famous emotionally unavailable man. Go look it up on the internet and you'll see your man described in every detail. The hardest you try, the more distant he will be. I had one who even said he wanted to marry me and then "I'm not ready for a relationship". I broke up with him, blocked and deleted him on everything... I lost a "love" but kept my dignity.

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You are not giving him more space you are becoming a doormat accepting his rules. This is not what you want and just face the truth he will NEVER commit. This is the famous emotionally unavailable man. Go look it up on the internet and you'll see your man described in every detail. The hardest you try, the more distant he will be. I had one who even said he wanted to marry me and then "I'm not ready for a relationship". I broke up with him, blocked and deleted him on everything... I lost a "love" but kept my dignity.


Wholeheartedly agree with this^ and OP, if you think sticking around, twisting yourself into a pretzel to accommodate HIS needs, being "understanding" etc is gonna draw him closer, you are sadly mistaken.


It will have the exact opposite effect, pushing him away further! Which is precisely what is happening now.


He has forewarned you, he has serious commitment issues, unable to form healthy attachments, for the love of all things beautiful, pay attention!!


It doesn't matter how "weak" you are, that is a cop out.


It's about being "smart," having self-respect and knowing you deserve way better than this guy will ever give you.


If you don't respect yourself, how can you expect a man to ever respect you?


Forget about how attentive he was in the "beginning." He wasn't thinking clearly, it was all a very intriguing fantasy for him.


Once reality hit, it all changed for him, he DOES NOT want it.


He was straight with you, about as straight as any man could ever be. I actually applaud him for that instead of just ghosting as sooooo many people do.


Of course you are gonna do what you want and you may need to learn this the hard way, but the smart thing would be to thank him for his honesty, wish hm well and walk away.


He still won't want a "relationship" with you, but you leave with not only his respect, but respect for yourself as well.

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I'm sorry this didn't work out, but I wouldn't place the entire blame on him. The time to discuss where you stand/where this is going is before becoming intimate, and not after the fact, along with assuming you've sealed the deal, (imo).


No offense, but he the both of you played a part in this, simply because it was a no questions asked sort of situation. Either way, I would walk away and take the lesson with me.

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I read this post and it is so very close to what I'm going through at this very min...


So many things simular....


He was openly pushing for a serious relationship... Was caring and loving and so understanding and good at communicating.... As well as being talked about neither was looking for anything shallow or a FWB or anything on that level...

As well as waiting a while to have sex...(and it being awesome for both.. and even through this.. seems like they would gladly continue a sexual relationship.....but...smh).... And being so connected and compatable on that level... And seemingly so on many others as well....

And poof... Over nite he just pushes back... Using the excuse that was not legit... Since there was no new info.. no new issues... We were in a great place... One min and he manifested issues the next


Said he is fine.. but obviously isn't... He Was always working and putting effort to text and call and see each other...

I know he isn't busy..

I mean... At work.. ok.. but other then that...

He got scared and went from talking about a furture to "I'm not relationship ready"....

And "needs space" ... But still wants to be flirty and fun and talk about good times and play around....

If I choose not to play into the random attention /flirtyness he basically doesn't Interact


One time he actually said....

(In texting) "I'm busy. If you want to help me get off... Then do it. If not... IM BUSY"

(I was super taken back.. he had never acted like that before.. and it was after his first nearly 24hr ignoring me after a great weekend together and talkin sweet and missing each other after.... Snap...and poof)


It is a sick game....no doubt


I have no real "advice" . ..

Just... That your not alone....

And people are really sick and this is all tooooo common.

Almost to the point of expected or exceptable.


Ugh.... Sorry for your pain.

I know how you feel... It is awful

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He told me that he doesn't want a relationship and that if he starts catching feelings for me he will break it off because he's not in the headspace for a relationship.


Don't know what the confusion is.


When someone says to me they "want space", I dump them and give them all the space they want. You're training him to treat you like crap. Stop it.

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  • 2 weeks later...



Thank you to everyone who took the time to reply. I guess an update is in order. After that period of coldness, he came back to me (briefly), apologising for being terrible at messaging and making plans to meet up. We spent a weekend together which was amazing...he was warm, caring, once more spoke of the future. We even planned a small trip in November. A few days later when I messaged him about dates for this trip, he replied that he doesn't think it's a good idea. That evening he broke up with me, saying that he is getting attached and that it makes him uncomfortable because he doesn't want a relationship.


Although he wasn't honest with me from the start about what he wanted, I can't say I didn't think this would be a possibility and therefore don't exactly hold it against him. I think that when someone dates knowning that they definitely don't want a relationship, then that is something they have to lay on the table early on. I am disappointed that he was able to walk away from something that made him feel good and happpy, but at the end of the day his reasons are his own. I am very different to him in that respect....I would never be able to walk away from someone that I am catching feelings for, no matter the timing. But I guess he is ruled by his logic and I am ruled by my emotions.


You are all allowed to turn around and say "I told you so." I am down in the dumps at the moment and even though thsi wasn't a proper relationship, it felt like one and I seem to be grieving it like one (almost constant anxiety, withdrawal symptoms, fits of crying, depression, loss of appetite). I know it will pass and that in time I will be ok and even love again, but it's hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel right now. He had a bigger impact on me than I thought he would and I guess next time I will be careful not to open myself up to someone so soon no matter how good I think the signals are. He really did break my heart and I don't really know what to do with myself at the moment. Getting through work is hard and I find myself not even looking forward to Christmas, or my birthday, or time off. I guess that's normal though. It's not always the amount of time that you are with someone, sometimes it's just the intensity of the "relationship." And ours was pretty intense and emotionally intimate. I delted him off social media almost straight away. I will not reach out to him, my pride won't let me. But I can't say I don't catch myself looking longingly at my phone, hoping that he will reach out. Even if he does, my friends told me that I'd be mad to take him back, but given how I am right now, I probably would.


It'll get better, won't it? It's strange, I've been broken up with before (after a four year realtionsip and a proposal) and I managed to get over that, yet I feel as if I won't ever get over this one. I am 24 years old and I feel as if I will be alone for the rest of my life.

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To HeartGoes On:


Oh no, I certainly don't put the entire blame on him. I should have definitely made it clear from the start that I wanted a relationship. There were passing comments I made, such as "I'm not into casual", "I am a relationship person" and the like. He never said anything when I said these things ad this, combined with passing comments he made, such as "I don't believe in casual sex", and all the references he made about the future made me assume (mistakenly) that we were on the same page. Weeks later, when he told he he didn't want a relationship, I was genuinely shocked. The way he acted and the things he said to me contradicted this on so many levels. But yes, I do take responsibility for my share in this stupid confusion. Sadly, it doesn't mean that the outcome hurts any less.

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Wow, read this thinking i'm in a very similiar situation..

The guy I've been dating (2 years now) is also a "commitment phobe" he's 28, around same age as your guy and most of his friends are married or in a serious relationship except him. You may be wondering why am I still seeing him?

Well because the sex is great and I decided to be sexually exclusive with him. He has no interest in dating/sleeping with anyone else so we both agreed to this. BUT however, I'm on dating apps. Since he hasn't locked me down as his girlfriend, i'm still keeping my options open and free to do so. I'm not putting all my eggs in one basket which is the mistake you're making with this guy. I also never intiate texting, which makes him want to text me more.

I thought I had wanted a relationship with him but truth is i'm not ready either. Once you start meeting new guys and going on dates you're going to see that there are so many other great men out there and your strong feeling for this guy will start to fade. Trust me. We are both in our early 20's OUR PRIME. Meanwhile they're in their late 20's they have less in their dating pool. He's for sure going to come back to you. They always do. By you going out and doing your own thing, not reaching out to him, it'll make him realize what he's missing and he'll come running back wondering what you're up to. It's HIS loss. You're 24 years old you're NOT going to be alone for the rest of your life. You're young, enjoy your life, go out and meet new people. & You don't have to burn any bridges with him. Since he doesn't want a relationship now, in the meantime, you're free to do what you want.

No more putting your eggs into one basket.

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Thank you.


I don't think he will come back...the break up was pretty final and we haven't spoken in almost two weeks. I'm trying to accept what has happened and move on, but it's hard because of my stupid feelings for him.


You are right though. No more putting my eggs in one basket from now on. I'll start dating again when my feelings for him are a little less opressive, but at the moment I think I have a bit of work to do on myself and build up my self esteem/establish my boundaries. I feel like this whole situation has flung me into some sort of existential crisis, which ism't necessarily a bad thing. Maybe one day I'll meet someone else and feel as strongly about them as I did about this guy.


Thanks for sharing.

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This is incredible, I was just IN your situation except I am a guy and this happened with my now ex gf. I'm truly surprised that nobody gave the actual name of this style of attachment. It's called "dismissive avoidant attachment" or "fearful avoidant." I dated my woman generally about 1.5 years. We were off and on and never exclusive during that time. We would have amazing trips and when we would get back she would not reach out to me for 3-5 days , she would only want to see me maybe once a week but always had time for her other guy friends. Finally I coraled her into a real relationship with the title. It freaked her out and she still never even tell people we mutually knew or her friends I was her boyfriend. Only on two occasions where she met strangers did she have the nerve to utter the word "boyfriend " even though we had the talk and agreed to it. After 1.5 months of exclusively dating with the title I could not handle the hot and cold so I went to her house and broke up with her. It was so hard because I am so in love with her. I think she's the sexiest woman on the planet. But part of my attraction I think is that she is truly unobtainable. But like others said, I left with some dignity. I want nothing more than to be with her right now laughing and having the time of our life but I know it's only like getting my fix of a drug. I would be yearning to get another high on her terms and time. I had to quit my addiction to her and am now having withdrawals but I know I'm the long run I can have the same feelings with someone who can reciprocate them too.

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