My Girlfriend Says She Needs Space to Think. What Should I Do?

My Girlfriend Says She Needs Space to Think. What Should I Do?

For most guys, hearing that your girlfriend wants space is alarming. And that is putting it mildly.

If that is the first time it happens to you, you might even start to sweat a little, thinking: “She wants space! What could it possibly mean?”

You would gladly spend more time with her, but she obviously feels differently about it. About you, maybe. It not only puts a question mark on who you are, it also makes you revaluate the relationship you thought you had.

While this is a clear indicator that you are not on the same page as your girlfriend, you can still try to remain hopeful. Maybe this is nothing, and completely normal.

But there will also be that little panicky voice at the back of your mind, telling you that something is up. Does she want to hide something from you? Or to get away from you because she does not love you as much as she used to?

Well, whether the news is good or bad, there are two things that will help you ease the discomfort you feel:

The first one is to take a rational look at the situation. To understand what she means when she says she needs time for herself. Even if the meaning behind her words is painful, at least it is better to know than to be kept in the dark.

The second step is knowing what to do when your girlfriend says she needs a break. Because with the right approach, you will be able to feel better about the situation and have the best odds of winning back your girlfriend.

What Does It Mean When a Girl Says She Needs Space?

When you like a girl, it is doubly hard to hear her say she needs more space. Here are some of the reasons that make it not a fun time for you:

It implies that she wants some time away from YOU

Unless she is also distancing herself from everyone else in her life, this feels very personal. Almost like a punishment.


Your girlfriend is signaling a change in your relationship

You used to go on dates with your girlfriend, have fun together, maybe you were even inseparable. In short, you spent time together, not apart. Things are about to be different, and you may not be sure whether this is a good thing or not.


For the most part, the decision is completely out of your control

You probably did not ask for this break. Nor do you know when – or even if – it will end. She said she needs space, not you. It is almost as if you have been stripped of any control you had, and that is uncomfortable.


It creates uncertainty about your relationship

What is going to happen, exactly? Is this break going to reaffirm your girlfriend’s feelings for you… or are you two about to break up?
Whenever there is uncertainty, you will feel more stress.


While none of these thoughts are pleasant, here is the thing: there is nothing you can do about your girlfriend’s decision. Your girlfriend needs space, and it would be futile to fight it – perhaps even counterproductive.

What you can do, however, is try to manage your anxiety about the situation by trying to understand why your girlfriend asked for space in the first place.

Let us look at the possible reasons why she wants distance:

Your girlfriend wants to accomplish something on her own

Though not the most likely scenario, it is still a possibility. Sometimes people have personal goals and they wish to achieve them with no external help.

It could be an important exam, a job interview, a business venture, or just a solo trip that she has been planning for a long time.

Perhaps she is asking you to give her some space to accomplish these goals by herself.

She is very busy and has no time for an intense relationship

Life gets intense sometimes. Between school assignments, her part-time job, and her family and friends making demands to spend time with her, your girlfriend might have found herself stretched thin.

If a girl asks you to give her space, it could simply be her way to get some control over her schedule before burning out.

This is a way to soften the blow of a breakup


Being on the receiving end of a breakup is tough. But what we often forget is that it is rarely easy to be the one initiating the breakup too.

If your girlfriend does not have the courage to breakup with you directly, she may resort to simply “asking you for space”.

Doing so allows her to slow down your relationship before breaking things off. To disengage gradually.

She wants to re-evaluate how she feels

Here, she has not decided whether to continue dating you or not.

For your girlfriend, it can be hard to get a complete, clear view of her relationship with you without taking a step back.

Uninterrupted by dates and intimate moments, she will be able to assess the situation better. Sure, she could discover she doesn’t love you anymore, but maybe she will feel the exact opposite way.

Your girlfriend is hoping for a new spark in your relationship

Once you are past the initial, often passionate stage of courtship, relationships can – and often do – get stale.

Routine, daily life, and time will do that.

Your girlfriend could be trying to rekindle the initial spark she felt. Maybe allowing herself to miss you and not see you all the time is her way to try and find this passion again.

You are a back-up plan in her mind

This is a tough to accept, but thankfully, an unlikely scenario where your girlfriend wants to date someone else.

Only this time, instead of simply moving on to another guy, she is keeping you around. By asking for space instead of breaking up with you, she probably hopes you will be there as a safety net in case things don’t work out with her new crush.


This is a test

Some people test their partners in relationships. Sometimes.

Granted, this is not a very mature – or even wise – thing to do.

But it does happen.

A test like this has basically two objectives:

  • How much do you care about the relationship?


  • How will you react when confronted to her request for more space?

In short, your girlfriend wants to see whether you really like her, or if you are content going on a break. At the same time she will be looking at your reaction: Will you show confidence and understanding, or beg, negotiate, and get angry?

She simply needs some time to catch her breath

Even if a girl likes you, it does not always equate to her wanting to spend every waking minute with you.

When it comes to spending time with your significant other, some people have a need for more personal time.

So, when your girlfriend needs space, there could be absolutely zero reason to worry. Maybe she just wants to spend a day or three doing nothing, eating ice cream in her pajamas while streaming Netflix without interruptions.

She is dealing with some unresolved issues

These could be pretty much anything: Your girlfriend some lingering feelings for an ex-boyfriend. She could be grieving a loss – the passing of a pet, the breakup of a friendship, or a family member’s illness. Or she might have a certain fear of commitment that prevents her from moving on with the relationship.

Compared to all these possibilities, it might just be easier for her to say that she needs space. That way, you will give her time to work it out by herself.

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What to Do When Your Girlfriend Wants Space – And How You Should React

Hopefully, these possible explanations can help you narrow down why your girlfriend is telling you she needs some space.

And by doing so, you feel a little bit less unsettled by her request. After all, the only thing worse than bad news is not knowing.

However, even if you are not 100% sure why this is happening, do not worry too much about that.

Indeed, there is no need to try and get to the very bottom of why she needs space: Your response should always be more or less the same. Here it is, broken down in 7, easy to digest, points.

#1 Always give her the space she wants

It does not matter if you deem her request valid or not, or even if you think she is manipulating you.

If your girlfriend says she needs space, you give it to her.

The reason is very simple: once she has clearly stated what she wants, anything you do to go against her wishes will only annoy her. You will not score any points by trying to get her to change her mind, asking her to see you and pestering her to explain herself.

On the other hand, if you respect her desires without making too much of a fuss, you will look more confident, mature, and understanding. Most girls find this attitude attractive.

#2 Let her know how you feel about it

Accepting to give your girlfriend some space does not mean that you need to agree with her.

It is absolutely okay for you to express how you feel at that point. Again, without turning it into a big deal. You can say something like “Well, I liked how things were going. I hope you can figure out what you want, because it would be nice to go hang out again.”

And leave it at that.

She might feel more inclined to mend things knowing that you care about your relationship.

#3 Keep your emotions in check

We have already briefly hinted at this, but there is no need for you to get too emotional.           

Try not to get angry, mad, needy, pushy, or display any emotion that would reflect badly on you. That would only cement in your girlfriend’s mind that she does, indeed, need some space from you.

Now, you are certainly allowed to feel that way.

But part of being mature enough to handle a serious relationship is knowing when to keep yourself in check.

#4 Don’t contact her unless she does first

Yes, you will be tempted. It would be so easy to send her a text when you think about her, hoping for her response. Maybe when she sees your message, she will be reminded of how much she likes you.

But you should avoid contacting her anyway.

She is the one who asked for space, so it is up to her to reopen a line of communication.

Contacting her first is likely to backfire.

But what if she never contacts me again?

Well, then, you will have your answer. Time for you to move on. Yes, it would have been more respectful and mature of her to tell you directly she wanted to break things off, but that is not your concern at this point. Your only preoccupation should be healing, and taking care of yourself.


#5 Focus on yourself and do not put your whole life on hold

When you wait for your girlfriend to give you a sign she is ready to come back, do not sit idle by the phone, waiting for a call. Do not cancel all your plans in the eventuality that she wants to meet up.

Not only is that a stressful way to live your life, it is counterproductive to your goals.

Your girlfriend is still living her life.

You should too.

Whether that means working on a personal project, taking some time off to relax, or hanging out with your friends, go do what you want.

If your girlfriend wants to come back, you will be even more attractive in her eyes. If she wants to break up, you will already have filled your schedule with activities and people you care about.

#6 Take a step back from your relationship

Every cloud has a silver lining.

Sure, your girlfriend wants to distance herself while you crave closeness. Annoying as this may be, it also presents you with an opportunity: some time for you to reflect and take a hard look at the relationship you had with her.

Was this relationship exactly what you thought it was? Do you miss your girlfriend as a person, or the idea of being a couple? Are you afraid of being alone? Were you happy or fighting all the time? Was this relationship getting in front of your friends and family? Of your goals?

You might surprise yourself and start to understand – and even agree with – your girlfriend’s request for some space.

#7 If it’s time to move on, move on

At some point in your reflection, you will inevitably reach a crossroads.

On one side, your girlfriend could come back to you and you could agree to give the relationship another shot.

On the other side, you might start to realize that the relationship has, in fact, run its course. Maybe because:

  • She has not contacted you, at all, for a long time,
  • Waiting is too difficult, too long,
  • You realized you were happier being single,

When it’s time for you to end things, the right thing to do is to send her a last message.

Something simple like: “Thank you for the past 6 months, I had a great time with you and wish you the best.”

A caveat, however: never send her this message if you still hope to get back with her. That would be manipulative.

Why you should end things this way, even when she has not officially broken up with you

It is only human to hang on to hope, especially if you believe this girl would be a great match for you.

However, once a certain amount of time has elapsed, if she was interested, she would either:

  • Let you know when she wants to see you,
  • Told you what she was waiting for before being ready to hang out again.

Outside of these two possibilities, you cannot simply wait forever, hoping she suddenly decides she needs you in her life. Sure, that would be great, but after more than a week or two, this is the least likely scenario.

So, you have to work on what you control.

You did not decide to go on a break. You cannot make her want to see you either. And if she won’t clearly clarify things, then it is up to you to do so.

Treating the situation like a breakup will feel strange, and even unnatural if you wanted to stay in the relationship.

But you are not really the one who decided anything that led to this breakup.

And this uncertainty is making you suffer. So, when your girlfriend says she wants space, and proceeds to ghost you, you need to stand up for yourself.

This is not about doing what she wanted, but didn’t have the courage to do herself.

No, you are clarifying the situation.

Not for her, but for you. To help yourself move on.

Your relationship will end, but you get to keep the good memories.

And you will be free to focus on what you want and create a better future for yourself.

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