Does ‘Giving Space’ Actually Work?

When you are in a relationship, no matter how long you have been together, there can always be moments when you feel like you are on a slight emotional rollercoaster.

guy with sunglasses night lights

Sometimes couples try to talk it out, other times they brush it under the carpet in typical British fashion. However, one option that we often consider is this notion of ‘space’ – do we take a couple of steps back from the relationship and hope that the saying ‘distance makes the heart grow fonder’ is true.

If this is the way you are feeling inclined to go, it is important that you honour your commitment and trust that he will also do the same; only then can it be given the chance to work.

Also read: What to do after breakup?


  • If you have decided to ‘give space’ in a relationship, the first step is to communicate with your partner about what exactly this means. One of the most frequent mistakes people can make is that they don’t highlight what you can and can’t do and it often leads to blurred lines, miscommunication and regrettable mistakes. Therefore, make sure you sit down and discuss what this term means to the both of you and if you have any ideas regarding a timeline, rules and expectations.
  • Commit – easier said than done but if you feel like you are wavering, remind yourself of why you are doing it in the first place. There is clearly something not entirely right within your relationship and giving up on this attempt to fix it shows you are not as serious about making this work then you might think.
  • Try to limit contact as much as you can for the beginning. Don’t make things more difficult for yourself by checking up on social media and checking in with his friends. Not only will this make it harder for you because it will be playing on your mind all the time but it will also bring up this issue of trust – and the lack of it.
  • Have a check-in point – this doesn’t have to be when you stop but instead a chance for you both to assess how this ‘giving space’ is working for you. You might find out that actually the two of you have realised some questions that need to be raised and so this is the time to ask them. Just don’t make the mistake of planning lots of these check ins because they are not meant to be a regular occurrence.

A girl can often worry that giving a guy space is maybe inadvertently granting him permission to mess around and forget about you. However, what people forget is that if that is the case, this is a key learning point in your relationship. The ultimate test is trusting that he will still be faithful and committed when you aren’t around all the time. Therefore, as much as it might hurt, know that if he does mess up, you are actually dodging a bullet.

What you can hope to gain from this is that your partner realises your importance and, after being given the time to reflect and re-balance, he can come back to the relationship knowing what he wants and what to do next. It may pose some difficult but important questions that together you will have to face.

Also read: 9 Signs she likes you

What if it doesn’t work?

If it does not work out in the sense that while he didn’t do anything wrong, he still doesn’t know where he stands with the relationship, then a reassessment might be necessary.

  • Allow the space you are giving him to also grant you time to think about your relationship. Perhaps jot down some questions that you want this time to answer and then go over this throughout the couple of weeks. Some questions might be – do I miss him? Do I wish I was sharing this moment with him? Do I wonder what he is doing?
  • Consider couples therapy – if you both believe there is something worth saving in this relationship then perhaps professional help is the way forward and it is nothing to be ashamed of.
  • Talk to your friends – but make sure you give them both sides of the story. Sometimes you need some perspectives that are not so emotionally linked to the situation.
  • Be brave enough to walk away if that is what you feel is right.

Overall, ‘giving space’ is always a healthy step to take in a relationship that clearly needs re-balancing but just make sure that you have a clear conversation beforehand about what this entails for the both of you.

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