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Time and Space


RyanFox1219
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Hello all,

 

I'm sure we've all heard the phrase from someone "I just need some time and space right now." The question I'd like to pose is... if someone says to their partner that they need some time and space away and they're not sure how much, is it reasonable to ask for at least a somewhat defined timeline? My thought is that both people are just as much as part of the relationship, and one person doesn't deserve to be in the dark for an indefinite period of time. That, in my mind, just seems like a "slow motion breakup." But on the flip side, I get that we all need time to clear our heads now and then, especially during tumultuous circumstances, and it may very well be that one person doesn't know how much time or what events they need to get their head right, but do still want to be in the relationship.

 

Thoughts?

 

And yes, this based on personal experience. Just ask if you'd like more details. I'm also aware that there are millions of different variables (length of time together, what defines "space," external circumstances, etc.) affecting a situation like this.

 

Thanks in advance to all.

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What does your gut say? Are there any indicators that she is backing off? less intimate, doesn't express feelings etc? How long have you two been together?

 

If someone says they need space, chances are they're feeling smothered or have a lot going on in their life.

 

Edit

 

Just read your post from November. Is this the same woman? How much time with your partner do you need in a relationship?

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I think we've all been there. We need just enough time until we know better. I know that likely doesn't give you any comfort and if you two are working towards each other. you can, as a team decide how much time this will take.

 

My thought is that both people are just as much as part of the relationship, and one person doesn't deserve to be in the dark for an indefinite period of time

 

If the relationship is at risk, it's typical that someone will make a unilateral move and not want to define it. This is what the act of uncoupling looks like.

 

Have you asked her for time frame?

Edited by reinventmyself
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It's never a good sign when someone says he needs time and space to clear his head. I think on the rare occasion, it might be that the person needs to think through things. But unfortunately, it mostly means "I want out of this relationship but I don't want to hurt you by ending it right now."

 

There's no point in asking for a timeline. She doesn't know how long it will take for her to get up the nerve to end it outright. It really is a 'slow-motion breakup' as you say.

 

My advice to you would be to consider it ended until told otherwise. Give her a reasonable amount of time....say a month. If you haven't heard from her by then...move on.

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Two weeks. That’s my somewhat arbitrary response.

 

If someone tells you they need time and space - that’s perfectly reasonable. I would back off, let them initiate all contact, and give them two weeks to get their head together.

 

Two weeks is standard “vacation time” from work, etc. It’s a reasonable time frame to disconnect and reconnect.

 

If after 2 weeks of not contacting them they haven’t come back to explain or talk about it or talk it out - unless you are married - it’s basically done (and even then, if they can go two weeks without talking to you, it’s a major problem).

 

You are allowed a sense of agency and self-determination. Give them the time they are looking for - but set a boundary within yourself of what you will tolerate.

 

I don’t think asking how much time from them is a good thing. It will simply make them feel pressured. Let them go and see what happens... that’s my opinion, anyways.

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Generally speaking, I think the phrase "I need time and space" roughly translates to "We're not really compatible but I'm scared to admit that."

 

I've said it, had it said to me—we've all been there. It's what people say when they believe the source of their troubles is the relationship—that if they could remove themselves from being in the relationship, at least temporarily, then everything will be fine. Sadly—and I know you don't want to hear this—it's rarely the prelude to becoming closer, as a couple, and most often the prelude to a breakup.

 

What a little experience has taught me is that, in a healthy relationship, there is "time and space" inside of it so you don't need to put the relationship on ice to find yourself, get stable, breathe, recharge, whatever.

 

I'm not saying that a healthy relationship means you're on top of each other 24/7—hardly. It just means you've co-created a dynamic in which you're both able to feel like yourselves, seen and heard as you need to be seen and heard, and have the time and space you need to explore your individuality—going along on your journey alongside them as they're on theirs, in other words, and in the process being on a journey together.

 

As for asking for a time line? I don't think much good comes from that. I've generally just said, "I understand—take some time and space" and I hold my own space, and space for them to return, for as long as I sincerely can. It's just respecting the reality of where another person is—and the reality that they're not where you want or need them to be—and trusting that "time and space" knows the answers neither of you do and will inform you both in, well, time.

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I was that someone asking for time and space of a partner. What happens is, the giving party, she or me in that case, overgave, in terms of time, attention, energy and cannot carry on "giving" at this rate any longer. The giving party is also a needy party, wanting badly love/companionship/sex etc and for that they sacrifice a lot of their own self. So just again, she or me in that case was not the real me or the real she, it was a pretend she, or pretend me. But there comes a time when such giving cannot continue. In my case it came very suddenly. I became aware that I felt burdened by this person, my partner, by his presence in the same physical space as me, and more so my own self - finally - was screaming, "But I want me time! My books. My thoughts. Alone time! Things just for me!" It came very abruptly, forcefully and I could not cope with it well. It wasn't nice to him, I realised, but I couldn't do any better, the feelings were too strong, and just told him not to come for the time being, that I wanted space. He was very hurt. It took me ten wonderful days of alone time. I wasn't thinking about him at all. Only how wonderful it was to be me again and to live my life how I wanted. And I also then understood that I cannot see myself with him in the long term. I loved him and sex was great, but I knew that this was temporary. So yes, six months or so later, I broke up with him, I admit also abruptly. There came another wave of Want to be alone. But mainly, "Can't be with him. Enough". So in your case, take it seriously, and don't assume that things will later be back to normal.

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>>Generally speaking, I think the phrase "I need time and space" roughly translates to "We're not really compatible but I'm scared to admit that."

 

I used to feel that way too but don't anymore. In some cases sure, but not for all or even generally imo.

 

Taking time and space from time to time is actually quite healthy. For many couples for various ressons.

 

It only becomes a problem when the partner needing it fails to communicate they need space, and arbitrarily decides to "pull back," stops calling or texting as much if at all, not available, leaving their partner confused, hurt, wondering what the hell is going on??

 

For me, whenever I have needed time alone to myself for whatever reason, a weekend perhaps to do "my" thing, I communicate that to my bf, he does same!

 

We've come to understand this about each other, and don't take it personally.

 

Doesn't mean I (or he) am questioning the relationship or our feelings, for me I am a big introvert and need that time to myself.

 

He's more extroverted but needs his time too.

 

That said, to the OP, I echo what another poster asked, what is your gut telling you?

 

Has she been cold, distant prior to her announcement?

 

I think two weeks is too long, a few days tops!

 

Any longer than that would be cause for concern imo.

Edited by katrina1980
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What does your gut say? Are there any indicators that she is backing off? less intimate, doesn't express feelings etc? How long have you two been together?

 

If someone says they need space, chances are they're feeling smothered or have a lot going on in their life.

 

Edit

 

Just read your post from November. Is this the same woman? How much time with your partner do you need in a relationship?

 

About a half a year, and expression of feelings has not dropped off. It came on the heels of a heated argument though, so you're on to something with the smothered feeling. I kept wanting to get together and talk things out, maybe a little too persistently, which is what may have led to it.

 

No, it is not the same woman. As for the time question, very tough to say. I value alone time and completely understand it. I guess my apprehension is, as OP suggests, not knowing when the next together time will be.

 

Edit - added inline quote

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I think we've all been there. We need just enough time until we know better. I know that likely doesn't give you any comfort and if you two are working towards each other. you can, as a team decide how much time this will take.

 

My thought is that both people are just as much as part of the relationship, and one person doesn't deserve to be in the dark for an indefinite period of time

 

If the relationship is at risk, it's typical that someone will make a unilateral move and not want to define it. This is what the act of uncoupling looks like.

 

Have you asked her for time frame?

 

Yes I have, and we did eventually agree on one, which she proposed.

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>>Generally speaking, I think the phrase "I need time and space" roughly translates to "We're not really compatible but I'm scared to admit that."

 

I used to feel that way too but don't anymore. In some cases sure, but not for all or even generally imo.

 

Taking time and space from time to time is actually quite healthy. For many couples for various ressons.

 

It becomes a problem when the partner needing it fails to communicate they need space, and arbitrarily decides to "pull back," stops calling or texting as much if at all, not available, leaving their partner confused, hurt, wondering what the hell is going on??

 

For me, whenever I have needed time alone to myself for whatever reason, a weekend perhaps to do "my" thing, I communicate that to my bf, he does same!

 

We've come to understand this about each other, and don't take it personally.

 

Doesn't mean I (or he) am questioning the relationship or our feelings, for me I am a big introvert and need that time to myself.

 

He's more extroverted but needs his time too.

 

That said, to the OP, I echo what another poster asked, what is your gut telling you?

 

Has she been cold, distant prior to her announcement?

 

I think two weeks is too long, a few days tops!

 

Any longer than that would be cause for concern imo.

 

Thank you Katrina. I'm an introvert myself so I totally get it. What got me this time was that as I mentioned, it was on the heels of an argument so we were both upset in the moment, which is why she said it (I think because she said I didn't want to hear what was on her mind at that time) and why I asked how long. I had observed nothing prior that would indicate feelings were changing or that this was a breakup prelude. In fact a few days prior she had been warmer than ever and really opened up about her (good) feelings, which I did as well. As I also mentioned, we did agree on a timeline and it was a few days; she proposed the day and I agreed. My gut is telling me it will be ok.

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Excellent Ryan! It all sounds good.

 

Best of luck!

 

Oh, and I need some time away too after a big argument. To gather my thoughts so I don't react in a negative way.

 

Fortunately my bf and I have not had any huge arguments that warranted time away, but I have in prior relationships and time away served to be beneficial for both of us.

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Excellent Ryan! It all sounds good.

 

Best of luck!

 

Oh, and I need some time away too after a big argument. To gather my thoughts so I don't react in a negative way.

 

Fortunately my bf and I have not had any huge arguments that warranted time away, but I have in prior relationships and time away served to be beneficial for both of us.

 

I sometimes do too. I have a very overactive mind and in the heat of a moment when I haven't had a chance to process things, I'm always worried that I'll say something that will hurt her or I'll regret later. This one, I had already gathered my thoughts and was expecting to talk, but just got the "I need space" instead. So I was caught off guard.

 

Thank you again, and to everyone else as well.

 

Edit - typo

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For me, whenever I have needed time alone to myself for whatever reason, a weekend perhaps to do "my" thing, I communicate that to my bf, he does same!

 

We've come to understand this about each other, and don't take it personally.

 

Doesn't mean I (or he) am questioning the relationship or our feelings, for me I am a big introvert and need that time to myself.

 

He's more extroverted but needs his time too.

 

Right.

 

This is basically what I meant about "time and space" inside a relationship rather than needing "time and space" away from the relationship.

 

It's a dynamic you've built with your bf—your own natures syncing up in harmony.

 

Ryan? Assuming your gf just needs an extended minute to breathe—that she's still inside the relationship, not moving away form it—this sounds like this can be a nice moment to just better understand your mutual natures during conflict.

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I move very slowly in our relationship. My husband is much quicker at processing. When it comes to my own emotions, it sometimes takes me days or weeks. In this way, I always make sure I let him know I will come back to a topic and I'll make time for it over the weekend when we are both free to engage with whatever is at hand. The problem I have is I want to be sure that what I think or feel is right or appropriate for what's going on so that others aren't impacted as badly by a wrong decision. Over the years he's learned to be patient with me and he doesn't put his/our lives on hold waiting for me to come back with a response. He knows the underlying love and commitment is always there so that works in our favour.

 

When I need time and space, I generally let him know exactly why and what's going on in my head (somewhat the direction I'm going in). Sometimes he helps speed up the process but I don't like being rushed. In the same way I think your partner/girlfriend should not leave you with cryptic messages with no context. You deserve not only a timeline (if you don't already know each other well enough) and some context to what she's saying. I hope it works out for you.

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About a half a year, and expression of feelings has not dropped off. It came on the heels of a heated argument though, so you're on to something with the smothered feeling. I kept wanting to get together and talk things out, maybe a little too persistently, which is what may have led to it.

It could go a couple different ways but from what you describe, I know I often need a time out after an argument. I tend to get flooded with emotion and can't articulate my feelings well in those moments.

 

It's always best for me to take a step back and return with some thing respectful and well thought out. And if my parent is flooded, I'll stop him as well.

 

If it's a relationship I value, I will reassure them I'll return to talk and when. I won't leave them in the dark.

 

If it's a slow fade. . Someone would use this time to get used to not having you around on their own terms.

 

You get to figure which scenario fits this situation.

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Right.

 

This is basically what I meant about "time and space" inside a relationship rather than needing "time and space" away from the relationship.

 

It's a dynamic you've built with your bf—your own natures syncing up in harmony.

 

Ryan? Assuming your gf just needs an extended minute to breathe—that she's still inside the relationship, not moving away form it—this sounds like this can be a nice moment to just better understand your mutual natures during conflict.

 

You did nail it. I do think that's it and it's how I'm looking at it. Navigating conflict is important; if you can't do it, you'll never leave the honeymoon phase and it therefore won't be a lasting relationship.

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I think perhaps the confusion was in how one interprets "I need time and space."

 

From the relationship? Or from their partner?

 

You are correct blue, I did not need time away from the relationship.

 

But I did need time away from my bf for a few days, while still being "in" the relationship.

 

From reading Ryan's further posts, it would appear they had an argument, and his gf needed a brief time away from him (one day) to gather thoughts and not say or do anything she may regret.

 

Just my take, I'm not her.

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You did nail it. I do think that's it and it's how I'm looking at it. Navigating conflict is important; if you can't do it, you'll never leave the honeymoon phase and it therefore won't be a lasting relationship.

 

So find security—and even excitement—in looking at it like that.

 

You are still "inside" the relationship—that you have control over. If she is still inside, then all is good. You get to learn, together, what each requires during conflict, and ideally become comfortable with that. Or you can make some small adjustments that are still germane to your authentic natures—all good.

 

As for the other alternative—that she is "outside," or moving "away" from the relationship? Well, no need to really indulge that thinking at this second. It's wasted energy that just limits your own ability to deal with conflict.

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- When they ask for space, that's what it means - breakup. They are just doing it slow to wean themselves off you.

 

Please read subsequent posts.

 

Mine and the OP's..

 

I often need space for a couple days and I love my bf very much. He does as well and he loves me.

 

Ryan's gf needed one day after an argument.

 

Not everyone fits into this arbitrary "one size fits all" box you seem to think they do judging from most of your posts.

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