What I Need Space (A Break) Really Means

When the person you are in a relationship with says “I need a break”, “I need some space”, “I need to get away for a while” or “I need to find myself” or anything that suggests the relationship is not working for them, it doesn’t always mean they no longer love you. Someone can still love you with all their heart but feel that the relationship is not what they want (at the moment).

Needing “a break” or “space” usually means that they feel that the relationship is suffocating them, not meeting their needs, making them unhappy, isn’t allowing them to be who they are, hindering them from pursuing their own goals and/interests etc., and they need “space” to breath, meet their needs, be happy, be who they are, pursue their own goals and/interests.

  • Maybe you are being too needy – asking/demanding more time and attention than they are willing or able to give you.
  • Maybe you are being too clingy – depending on them for your happiness and/or demanding them to make you happy.
  • Maybe you are too controlling – not allowing them to be themselves and do things their way.
  • If you are broken up, maybe you want to talk about things they don’t want to talk about (e.g. the issues in the old relationship, the break-up), maybe you are pushing to get back together when they are not ready.
  • Maybe you have contacted them way too much and they’ve asked you for ‘no-contact’.

The sad part about all this is that many needy and controlling people fail to recognize (if at all they do) that their words, actions, habits and behaviours are pushing someone away until it’s too late.

They have all kinds of rational reasons why they do what they do and on the most part it’s the other person’s fault. It’s much more comforting to the ego to believe that someone is just confused about their feelings, fears commitment, is an avoidant, doesn’t know what they want, has issues etc., than look at one’s own words and actions as the reason the relationship is not working.  It’s kinder to the ego, but it also blinds us from what we need to do to change the dynamics of the relationship, stop a break-up before it happens or making an ex feel that they need to completely cut off all contact to stop you from trying to push your agenda.

Controlling, neediness and clinginess is created when you need or demand more than the other person is able, capable of or willing to give at the time.

Often times you just want someone to love you or show that they care about you, but because someone is not doing what you need them to do for you to feel loved and cared for, you get angry or sad, desperate and anxious, and even irrational and inconsiderate.

You start giving more and more to get just a little of what you need from the other person. And when the other person gets upset, irritated or turned off by your “love and acts of caring”, you’re confused because you don’t understand why when you are giving them what they should be giving you (but aren’t), they still don’t want it.

You may not even generally call yourself a controlling, clingy or needy person because you have an independent life — a wide social network, other interests and hobbies, a demanding career etc., — but if you’re constantly frustrated because you feel that the other person is not acting how you want them to, and as a result you do not feel loved and cared for, to the other person you are needy and clingy.

Demanding that someone love you or show you that they care in the way you need or want them to, is one of the fastest ways to end a relationship.

If you really love someone and want to be with them, but are being told “I need a break”, “I need some space”, “I need to get away for a while” or “I need to find myself”, it makes more sense for you to:

  • Stop asking/demanding more time and attention than they are willing or able to give you.
  • Stop depending on them for your happiness and/or demanding they make you happy.
  • Stop telling them what to say, what to do, how to act, how to love you or care about you.
  • If you are broken up, stop talking about the old relationship and/or break-up, and stop asking to get back together when they have already told you “no”.
  • If they’ve asked you not to contact them, to respect their wishes/boundaries.

Unless they have specifically asked you to not contact them or stay out of their lives, they are not saying they want you gone. Find ways to show them that they can have the space they need, love you the best way they know how, commit to what they are comfortable committing to, be who they want to be and do things they want to do etc. without distancing themselves from you or cutting you out of their life.

As long as you are unaware of your controlling, needy and clingy behaviours, or in denial about it, you will continue with the same behaviours until you drive away the person you love — may be for good.

Related: Is It ‘No Contact’ If My Ex Asked Me Not To Contact Them?

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  1. says: Spacewoman

    My ex texts me 1-2 times a week and says he still cares a lot about me but we both need time away from each other to work on our issues. He says it’s just a break and not a breakup. After only a week of no contact he sent me a text saying that we don’t have to be strangers. I’m only respecting his request for space but wrecking my mind here because I don’t know what he wants.

    1. The the reasons you feel confused is because “time apart” means different things for both of you. For you, time apart means “no contact” and for him, “time apart” means a break from being a couple/trying to make the relationship work.

      Him suggesting taking time away from each other to work on your respective issues means that the relationship has issues that you can’t work on while still together as a couple. It also means that he still thinks the relationship can work, if you work on your issues.

      In my opinion, his is a more mature approach because he is not just thinking of himself, he is also thinking about what’s good for the relationship.

  2. says: Damilare

    I wish I had come across an expose as this before things got out of hand. I was clingy/needy, my partner asked for space but to feed my ego I called it quits, now am trying to get back but she claims she has no feelings for me anymore,although we still communicate in a friendly manner.I really miss and want her back!