How to Deal With a Boyfriend Who Wants More Space

Three Parts:Talking About SpaceGiving Him SpaceFocusing on Yourself

Every relationship needs some degree of space. Some people spend almost every waking second together, while others spend almost all of their time apart. Most relationships fall somewhere in between, and both partners have to work together to find the right balance of “we time” versus “me time.” If your boyfriend is expressing the need for more space, you need to understand his needs and make sure that he understands yours. Focus on doing things that you can do without your boyfriend to give both of you the space you need.

Part 1
Talking About Space

  1. 1
    React in a calm way. People often fall into the trap of thinking that time apart is a bad thing in a relationship. While excessive time apart can point to problems, a little bit of space from each other is normal and necessary for a healthy relationship. It gives both partners time to do their own thing, and allows you to have more things to talk about.[1]
    • Avoid harassing your partner by saying things like “So, you have something better to do than spend time with me?”
  2. 2
    Clarify the situation. When the issue of space comes up, you will need to make sure that you and your partner are on the same page. Does needing space mean an hour a day to focus on their hobby? Does it mean only hanging out on weekends? Does it mean dating other people? In order to provide the space that your boyfriend needs, you have to know exactly what he is asking for.[2]
    • For example, if your boyfriend says “I need more space,” you could respond with something understanding and clarifying like “I know, it seems that we are always together or on the phone. It’s hard to get anything else done. What kind of space do you think would work best for us?”
  3. 3
    Set appropriate boundaries. All relationships have boundaries. You and your boyfriend may need to adjust and agree to additional boundaries that are in place while you are spending more time apart. You should both think about how much space or contact is acceptable, and what behaviors are unacceptable when you are without your partner.[3]
    • You might say to your partner, “I don’t mind giving you space, but I also need to see you some on the weekends.”
    • You could also address what is and isn’t okay socially by saying something like “I don’t mind you going out to a movie with friends, but I’m not really comfortable with you going to clubs every night.”
  4. 4
    Express your feelings. The relationship is made up of two people. Your feelings count just as much as your boyfriend’s. Tell him what you need from him to feel secure and comfortable in the space that you give him.[4]
    • For example, your boyfriend might say that talking on the phone for hours makes him feel like he can’t get anything else done. To this, you might respond “That’s fine, I am okay with talking on the phone less. It would make me feel much better if I could call for a few minutes before bed and say goodnight, though.”

Part 2
Giving Him Space

  1. 1
    Resist the urge for accidental encounters. When you’ve been giving your boyfriend more space than usual, it can be easy to show up somewhere you know he’ll be and claim it as a chance encounter. These arranged bump-ins are not good for your relationship. It will make your boyfriend feel trapped and smothered, and it also gives the impression that you don’t trust him.[5]
    • If you have a legitimate accidental encounter, just be honest and casual about it. Tell your boyfriend that you did not expect to see him, but you’re glad you did.
  2. 2
    Avoid smothering him from a distance. With technology today, you can stay connected to someone 24/7 without ever being in the same room. As wonderful as that is, it totally defeats the purpose of giving your boyfriend space. Talk to your boyfriend about how much time he wants to spend talking remotely. Only text, call, instant message, Skype, Facetime, etc. as much as the two of you have agreed is acceptable.[6]
    • If the two of you have agreed only to call at night, don’t text things like “How’s work going,” all day. Give the space you agreed to give, and call your boyfriend that night.
  3. 3
    Enjoy the time you spend with your boyfriend. Knowing how to act when you do spend time together might be a little difficult at first. The key is to relax and enjoy each other’s company. Avoid quizzing him on what he has done when you were apart, or being resentful about the space. Choose to do things that you both enjoy (e.g. take a walk, watch a movie, etc.).
  4. 4
    Evaluate how the space affects your relationship. You should take note of the way your relationship is changing. You need to know if the space is helping or hurting your relationship. Are you happier? Is your boyfriend happier?
  5. 5
    Keep your private matters private. It can be easy to rant and grieve to your friends and family when you’re hurt or confused. Be wary of this, though. As you work things out with your boyfriend, they may find it harder to forgive him for having caused you pain. This can lead to tension and strain in your relationship with your friends and family, and in their relationship with your boyfriend.
    • You can talk about your relationship, but keep it as positive as possible. Saying things like “I don’t understand why he is doing this to me,” will make your family and friends think your boyfriend is bad for you.

Part 3
Focusing on Yourself

  1. 1
    Have a friend ready for emotional support. Calling or hanging out with a friend instead of your boyfriend can help satisfy your need for emotional support. This will make it easier to give your boyfriend space. Tell your friend what you need from them.[7]
    • Avoid hanging out with another guy for the sole purpose of making your boyfriend jealous.
  2. 2
    Try something new. By giving your boyfriend space, you are also giving yourself space. Take the time to try something you’ve always wanted to try (e.g. kayaking, a cooking class, or music lessons). This will give you something new and exciting to talk about when you do talk to your boyfriend.[8]
    • Doing new things will help to show your confidence in yourself, which will go a long way in keeping your boyfriend interested in talking to you.
  3. 3
    Do things that you have been neglecting. People often use spending time with their partner as a way to procrastinate doing other less exciting things. If you have chores around the house or unfinished projects, this is a great time to get caught up. The activity will help keep your mind off your boyfriend, and getting things done will make you feel a lot better about yourself.[9]


  • Enjoy the time you have with and without your boyfriend.
  • Use the extra time to catch up with friends and family that you haven’t seen for a while.


  • Avoid guilting your boyfriend into spending more time with you.
  • Avoid talking badly about your boyfriend when he isn’t around.

Article Info

Categories: Relationship Issues