When it comes to romantic relationships, everyone is unique.
Some of us don’t want to let our loved ones out of sight…and some of us crave space.
That doesn’t mean some people love their partners more than others; it’s just the way some people live their lives.
After all, some people are introverts and some people are extroverts. This is something we need to accept, and it’s actually crucial that we do.
Because sometimes someone who needs space ends up in a relationship with someone who doesn’t.
Clingy partners are often attracted to those that are more grounded and independent.
Now don’t get me wrong:
These relationships can absolutely thrive, but only if both partners accept each other and adapt their expectations and behavior so that both people in the relationship feel comfortable.
Needing space in the relationship has nothing to do with being male or female. It’s a personality trait.
There are men and women who need more independence and space than others. And on the other hand, there are men and women who are overly clingy in a relationship.
But for this article, I’m going to focus on women who find themselves in a committed relationship with a man who needs more space than they’re used to.
I’ve been there myself, and I know how difficult it can be for a woman to give space to a man they adore.
But it is possible, you just need to have a solid game plan of how you’re going to approach the relationship and live your life.
Here are 11 ways to give your man space and create a healthier relationship.
1. Enjoy your own time
You might feel that your man is your life. Maybe he’s what you think about all the time.
After all, he’s the one person you love spending time with.
And look, that’s great, but if you can learn to take some time away from each other, then that could be great news for you as well.
It’s important to have a balance in life, and it’s certainly unhealthy to rely on one person for your happiness and joy.
What would happen if you eventually broke up? You’d be distraught and unable to carry on with life.
Nobody wants to be in that situation.
Don’t you think that it would be a good idea to develop your interests and find some other ways to spend your time?
Do you think it might be possible that if you spend a ridiculous amount of time with one person that you might get sick of each other?
This goes for him as well. It’s good for him to spend time on other interests and hobbies.
And when he does spend time with you…he’ll only enjoy it even more…and so will you.
So try to make the most of the time you have a part.
Do things you know your boyfriend wouldn’t enjoy.
He probably doesn’t like yoga or cooking, does he?
So if that’s what you’re interested in, do that. Enjoy yourself. Develop your skills. Build a passion outside of your boyfriend. It will serve to benefit your relationship more than you can imagine.
2. Make him feel like a hero
Now I know that it may seem weird to treat your man like a hero when he needs more space, but it’s possibly one of the best counter-intuitive things you can do.
Why? Because men have a built-in desire to be the provider and protector for their woman.
And if you’re being overly clingy and controlling of his behavior, you’re not giving him the freedom and independence necessary to be the hero.
He feels caved in, and when you feel like you can’t act on your own accord, then he won’t feel satisfied as a man.
There’s actually a new psychological theory that’s generating a lot of buzz at the moment.
And it claims that men in particular have a biological drive to step up for the woman in his life and be her hero.
It’s called the hero instinct.
A man wants to see himself as a hero. As someone his partner genuinely admires.
And the kicker?
It’s actually up to the woman to bring this instinct to the fore.
I know it sounds a bit silly. In this day and age, women don’t need someone to rescue them. They don’t need a ‘hero’ in their lives.
And I couldn’t agree more.
But here’s the ironic truth. Men do still need to feel like a hero. Because it’s built into their DNA to seek out relationships that allow them to feel like a protector.
The simple truth is that a relationship is unlikely to survive unless this instinct is triggered in a man.
How do you do it?
You have to find ways to make him feel like your hero, which actually involves giving him his own freedom and independence.
There’s an art to doing this which can be a lot of fun when you know exactly what to do.
The best way to learn how to trigger the hero instinct in your guy is to watch this free online video.
James Bauer, the relationship psychologist who first coined this term, gives a terrific introduction to his concept.
Some ideas really are life-changing. And for romantic relationships, I think this is one of them.
Because when a man genuinely feels like a hero, he’ll be more loving, attentive, and committed to being in a long term relationship.
And because of this strength in your relationship, you’ll be able to give each other space more easily as well.
Here’s a link to the video again if you want to learn more about the hero instinct and how you can trigger it in your man.
3. Work on your other relationships
Having a well-rounded social life is important. In fact, according to an 80-year Harvard study, the most consistent predictor of human happiness is the quality of our close relationships.
And no, they didn’t refer to just one close relationship; studies have found that having up to 5 close relationships is actually best.
So make sure you’re not neglecting the other people n your lives in favor of your partner.
You man needs space, and you probably do, too.
Start making plans with other people you love. All it takes is a little bit of effort. Call your parents. Go out with your friends.
You’ll have more to gossip about with your boyfriend, anyway.
You don’t have to spend time apart from your boyfriend just for the sake of it, but cultivating your close relationships is a worthy reason to do so.
QUIZ: Is your man pulling away? Or is he committed to your relationship? Take our new “is he pulling away quiz” and get a real and honest answer. Check out the quiz here.
4. Spend quality time together
If you’re making an effort to spend time away on things you’re interested in, then it’s more than likely that the time you do spend together will be quality.
And what better way to make sure that it is quality time spent together than by making plans together and going on romantic dates.
You could organize trips away together. Go on adventures. You could even find some hobbies for couples to get involved in.
Not only will this be great for the strength of your relationship, but when you have fun and spend quality time together, you’ll get less upset when you do spend time apart.
5. You don’t have to message each other all the time
Are you in constant contact with your man during the day? Texting non-stop? Letting him know what you’re having for lunch?
It might be time to reign it in. If you’re in constant contact even when you’re apart, then both of you never really have a chance to focus on other things in life.
When you do see each other, it might not feel like you’ve spent much time apart because you’ve been messaging all of the time.
As a result, Your boyfriend never has the opportunity to miss you.
And believe it or not, missing each other is an important part of a romantic relationship. It ignites the desire and passion in your belly.
So if you think that your man needs space, try to reign in the amount of texting to each other. You don’t need to ignore him. You can still keep in contact, but just make sure it’s at a healthy level.
6. Respect your differences
We’ve all heard that opposites attract. And it’s largely true that for most relationships, most of the time, there are a few fundamental differences between partners.
That’s good and healthy. The fact that you want to shower your boyfriend with love and spend countless hours with him shows you the love you have for him.
And the fact that he likes spending time alone is also great.
It’s healthy to date someone who is different from us.
After all, nobody wants to date someone who is the same. If we did, where would the excitement be?
But at the same time, sometimes those differences can get annoying.
He’s constantly off drinking with the boys, while you just wanted to have a romantic night in.
So, how do you get past these differences?
The most important thing is to recognize them for what they are. It doesn’t mean you’re not compatible. It simply means that you’re human.
Try to appreciate the positive sides of personality traits that you consider negative.
For example, if he spends more time with his friends than you’d like, remember that the flipside is probably that he has a good social life and is a fun person to be around.
Look at yourself. Is there anything that he gets annoyed about?
Maybe you’re a little clingy, but that also means that you care a lot about your boyfriend and will always be there for him.
Remind yourself that differences can be positive or negative and things are rarely entirely negative.
When you’ve learned to accept your differences, you’ll also respect them and understand them better.
7. Have your next date lined up
When you know there’s a set date when you’re definitely going to meet your man, you’ll be more able to give him space.
You won’t feel anxious about not seeing him for a long time.
How long should have your next meeting planned?
Look, it depends on your situation, but usually, every weekend is a safe bet.
Perhaps every Friday or Saturday night you can schedule a date with each other.
Then if you don’t see each other during the week, then at least you know you’ll see him on the weekend.
However you want to do it, try to get some sort of firm commitment from him in terms of when you will next see each other.
You’ll feel better about time apart and it will give him the necessary space that he desires.
8. Learn to trust your partner
Trust is an important building block for any relationship.
By having trust in your man, you’re showing that you’re in his corner and you have his well-being at heart.
You also show him that you believe in him to keep you happy and safe.
This is crucial to trigger his hero instinct, which spoke about above.
By making him feel that you trust him to provide and protect you, you’re quenching his thirst that is deeply embedded in his biology.
Simply put, men have a biological drive to feel needed, to feel important, and to provide for the woman he cares about.
Relationship psychologist James Bauer says that male desires are not complicated, just misunderstood.
Instincts are powerful drivers of human behavior and this is especially true for how men approach their relationships.
So, when the hero instinct isn’t triggered, men are unlikely to commit to a relationship with any woman.
He holds back because being in a relationship is a serious investment for him.
And he won’t fully “invest” in you unless you give him a sense of meaning and purpose and make him feel that you trust him to protect you.
How do you trigger this instinct in him? How do you give him a sense of meaning and purpose?
You don’t need to pretend to be anyone you’re not or play the “damsel in distress”. You don’t have to dilute your strength or independence in any way, shape or form.
In an authentic way, you simply have to show your man what you need and allow him to step up to fulfill it.
In his new video, James Bauer outlines several things you can do. He reveals phrases, texts and little requests that you can use right now to make him feel more essential to you.
By triggering this very natural male instinct, you’ll not only give him greater satisfaction but it will also help to rocket your relationship to the next level.
Men thrive on solving women’s problems.
So, if you need something fixed, or your computer is acting up, or if you have a problem in life and you simply need some advice, then seek your man out.
A man wants to feel essential. And he wants to be the first person you turn to when you genuinely need help.
Although asking for your man’s help may seem fairly innocuous, it actually helps to trigger something deep within him. Something that is crucial to a loving, long term relationship.
9. Figure out what “attachment style” you are
Have you heard of “attachment theory” before?
Attachment theory is a psychology theory that describes the nature of emotional attachment between humans.
Psychologists say there are 4 different attachment types adults can adopt.
Secure attachment style: People who are comfortable displaying interest and affection. They’re also comfortable being alone.
Anxious attachment style: These people need constant reassurance and affection from their partner. They often have trouble being single or alone.
Avoidant attachment style: These people are uncomfortable with intimacy, and are extremely independent. They tend to have commitment issues and feel suffocated when people get too close to them.
If you’re struggling to give your man space in your relationships, then it’s likely you have an anxious attachment style.
The good news is that with the effort your attachment style can change over time,
In fact, it’s theorized that one’s attachment style is related to the degree of positive/negative self-image and positive/negative image of others.
Therefore, if you’re the anxious attachment style, you can work on fostering a healthy self-image and learning to trust your partner.
As we mentioned above, you can also find something you’re passionate about, get good at it, and make that a focal point of your life, rather than your partner.
If you’re the avoidant type, you can work on opening yourself up to others.
A great piece of advice for avoidant types is to find something great in everyone you meet. Become curious and stop being judgmental.
But remember, you need to work out what attachment style you are first. Once you know, you can work on change.
QUIZ: Is he pulling away? Find out exactly where you stand with your man with our new “is he pulling away” quiz. Check it out here.
10. Try not to rely on your partner for your self-worth
How do you feel about yourself?
A common reason some people are overly “clingy” in the relationship is when they believe they themselves lack value.
Since they feel empty about themselves, they look to their partner to lift them up.
When someone feels unlovable themselves, they hang onto their partner because they fear that no one else would want them.
What does all this mean?
That if this relates to you, then it’s time to increase your self-esteem and self-worth.
Chances are you’ve been defining yourself in a large part (or completely) by your relationship.
As we mentioned above, it’s time to define yourself in different ways outside of the relationship.
By having passions, hobbies, and trying new things, you can build confidence in yourself and increase your self-worth.
Here are some ideas:
- Spend more time with family and friends.
- Travel, especially on your own—you will see how self-reliant you can be.
- Take a course or start a hobby.
- Volunteer—giving to others ends up being a gift to ourselves.
11. Talk to him about it
When you don’t what to do, there’s really nothing better than having a good, long talk about it.
Good communication is the cornerstone of any healthy relationship.
So ask him why he feels he needs space.
When you understand his reasons, you might feel better about it.
But it’s important to go about this conversation the right way.
Don’t start an argument. Let him know that you’re totally fine with him having more space to himself, but you’d love to understand what he is thinking and feeling right now.
Talking in a way like this is unlikely to make him defensive or infringe upon his freedom. All you are showing is that you want to get to know him better.
In the end, you both need to know each other as best you can if you want the relationship to be strong.
Don’t inflame it by asking him things like, “why are you like this? What did I do?”
That just sounds like you’re complaining and it’s not a good way to start a productive discussion.
He also might think you’re overly needy and clingy which will make him question what kind of a future you have with each other.
The key to a good conversation is listening. He’ll feel better because he’ll feel like he’s being understood, and this will allow him to open up more.
He’ll also be more likely to repay the favor and listen to you when it’s your turn to talk.
According to the great psychologist Carl Rogers, the key to good listening is to refrain from making judgments and to provide a safe environment for speakers.
By listening in a non-judgmental manner, we’re showing that we care about what they’re saying, which allows them to feel comfortable and open up.
It definitely takes practice, but here are some tips to become a better listener:
– Put yourself in the shoes of the speaker. Think about what they’re saying from their perspective.
– Avoid making assumptions or judgments.
– Pay attention to their feelings as they’re talking.
– Talk to them back in their own words (empathetic reflection).
– Look into their eyes as they’re speaking.
– Acknowledge that you’re listening by nodding or saying “uh-huh” or “yep”.
– If possible, summarize their comments if given a chance so you can better understand.
– Focus on fully taking in the message that someone is trying to get across.
You just want to have a great conversation where you’re honest with each other and you can get to know one another better.
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