My Long-term Boyfriend Wants “Space”

Question: Dear Luise: My long-term boyfriend has broken up with me. It was very unexpected. He wants to be friends, but says the door is not necessarily closed. We have had sex a couple times since it happened. He doesn’t initiate calling me, but mostly will answer my calls. I’m trying hard to give the space, so that I can see if we can have another chance. Plus he still has some stuff that I’ve given him. I take it as a plus. How can I salvage our relationship or at leasttry to. I think there are feelings still but the space part is so hard. I’m used to talking to him regularly and I sure miss seeing him. Please help. J.

Answer: Dear J.: I think the “I need space…let’s just be friends” thing is about the oldest excuse in the books for infidelity. What does it mean? “I don’t need you? I want someone else? I’m bored? I’m seeking my freedom so I can play the field?” What? It’s just an excuse for dumping someone in my book.

You were in a committed relationship…so it must mean, “I don’t want that?” Right?

Sure you still have feelings for each other…you have been together a long time.
And apparently he drops in on occasion for some sex but what’s in it for you?

He says the door isn’t closed and he still has some stuff he hasn’t returned. All of those things sound terribly convenient for him…not for you. Where are you being considered at all? What about your hopes and dreams? What about your plans and feelings? What about you?

It sounds thoughtless and callous to me…selfish and self-absorbed. I think you might be wise to tell him that you are giving him “unlimited space.” Along with it, ask that he return what doesn’t belong to him. Also make it clear that occasional sex with you is not to be part of his “space program.”

His decision to break up with you was one-sided. He didn’t discuss his issues with you or give you a chance, as his partner, to be heard in response. Of course is was a shock and it isn’t easy to turn your feelings off. However, try to see that self-respect will see you through this. He’s showing you no respect at all. Any respect you get is going to have to be your gift to yourself. Blessings, Luise

2 Responses to My Long-term Boyfriend Wants “Space”

  1. A. September 17, 2010 at 11:11 am #

    Hi. I have a situation and need some help. My boyfriend and I have known each other for five years and been dating for a year. He cheated on his ex girlfriend with me and left her for me. Around a month into our relationship her number popped up on his phone and it was a text from his ex. I asked y they were communicating and explained I didnt like it well a huge fight broke out and I just decided to get over it and I expected him to stop bc he knew that I didnt like it. So, about a month later I catch her texting him a question mark at 2am. He was asleep and his phone kept going off so I got up and looked at it. His estrsanged cousins name pops up and i looked at it and it was a question mark so I looked at the contact info and it was her number. I was devasted that he snuck behind my back. I woke him up and asked him and a huge fight broke out and my trust fo him was broken he told me to get out and pack my things it was over. So i did. Well I went back to his house a few days later and was like look I want answers. He told me that her dad died and she needed a friend. I said no that I didnt like that bc it is giving her the wrong signals and it is making me liik stupid. He said he understood and he didnt like her or want to be friends with her well a few months pass on and I am getting texts and calls from his coworkers saying that she texts him and he texts back and that was on valentines day. I mean I know he loved me and wasnt cheating bc we had a great relatioship other than that one issue. I had no trust for him…. Well I moved in with him without his consent I just lost my job and my parents are divorcing ad I had no place to go. He didnt like it but I didnt care. I wanted to know what he was doing who he was with at all times. I didnt trust him….. months go by he comes home every night we hangout things are rocky but ok well he was like I need space…. I need to go hangout with my friends you need to hangout with yours… blah blah blah!!! then we get in a huge fight bc I catch her texting him again a ?. So now hes like I really need space u snoop through my things u dont respect my space… he said u dont trust me. I mean reading this hurts me bc I have done so much for him and he couldnt even respect me. I dont know if he texts her back anymore but I do know that he was receiving messages from her. I am really stressed about this and am not respecting him or giving him space on this so called break. I mean I wait around for him to call me or text and he was calling me every night but it was on his time. We are both not respecting one another and were both wrong in our fights that we had. I dont know what to do. I want to give him space and respect his wishes but I just think the wholw time how I am not being fulfilled. Do you think that if I give him his space and honestly but myself last for the next few weeks he will come back to me? or is this a nice way of breaking up with me? We just had sex a few days ago and he has been calling me but last night I went to his house while he was gone cleaned and cooked for hima and he came home and was a little upset bc i let myself in and he said he was still upset with me from our big fight and he needed time. I left but after I had to beg for a hug and kiss.. I t would feel so much better if he would innitate things but I never give him the chance to because I am selfish…. help me!!!A.

    • Luise September 21, 2010 at 5:14 pm #

      This often what happens when the foundation of a relationship is cheating behind someone else’s back. You sound like you have been the one pushing and he has been the one undecided. I don’t think you have anything to save and it may be time start fresh with someone else. Most of the time, maturity comes with mutual consideration and responsibility.

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