He Doesn’t Need Space, He Wants To Break Up



Name: Talita
Question: my boyfriend of 12 months is acting weird.  On the first 4 months was all great.  He made great effort to see me since he works many days and do double or triple shifts at the time.  He is sweet and he used to call me every night before going to bed and used to text me in the morning to say GM and always made sure I heard from him on a daily basis.  He is separated, not divorced. He does not take me to some of his social gatherings because some of his friends wives knows his ex and he does not want her to know he has a girlfriend, because he does not want to start divorce now because he is not ready financially for it.  (those are his words)  All was going well and two months ago he did a 180 turn.  All the daily text messages ended and he told me he does not want to communicate every day, that it is too much for him and he needs down time.  He also said he need space to figure out what he wants to do. He does not know if he wants to stay in a committed relationship, meaning one that he reports all his whereabouts to (btw, I never requested such) it is something he was doing on his own will. He said he would call when he felt the urge to. Every other day, or two days or three days depending on his urge and if I wan I could call him too, which I do not.  I only reply to his calls. We meet last weekend after not being intimate for a whole month.  He was the same, loving a caring and sweet, but he told me he understand if I decide to give up on this (quasi) relationship and find someone that can offer more.  He used to send me sweet texts with kisses or a heart on it.  All that stopped. He talks to me about everything, and we do understand each other, but I feel I am not a priority in his life.  I am just there for when he feels like it.  It is a very one side relationship.   He introduces me to all his co workers as a girlfriend, but  I feel like I am a Trophy girlfriend.

I read over and over that man goes to the man cave every now and than and we should pull way back and give the man all the space he needs. Should I keep giving  him the  space he wants? Or should I end this?
Age: 50


I mean, he’s kind of already ended it, hasn’t he? By telling you he doesn’t know if he wants to stay in a committed relationship, he’s actually communicating that the relationship no longer works for him. It sound sot me like this guy has pretty much broken up with you and is just coming back for the sex.

He talks to me about everything, and we do understand each other, but I feel I am not a priority in his life

Right. You are no longer  a priority because he broke up with you. All he’s doing now is popping in when he wants to get laid. This is a one sided relationship because he broke up with you. Are you following me? You two are no longer dating. He’s done. I don’t even think this has anything to do with his separation. I think the relationship has just run its course.

Nobody actually needs space when they say they need space. That’s just a kind way to say, “I’m out of here. This isn’t working for me.”

The relationship is over. Capisce?




Sometimes the love of your life is the love of your life. (R)


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42 Responses to “He Doesn’t Need Space, He Wants To Break Up”

  1. Brad Says:

    As someone who went through a year-long separation, I can tell you that it’s an emotional roller-coaster. Your attitude on any day can swing based on your divorce proceedings, and may times this is out of your control.

    I think your boyfriend definitely needs space. You just have to decide if you’re willing to accept this “downgraded” relationship.

    For me, if any girl I dated during my separation started to get too clingy (rapid-fire texts, calling, upset if we didn’t talk every way) I noped the fuck out.

    If you like the guy, your best bet is to probably sever things now and maybe revisit things when his life is less hectic.

    • Laure Says:

      **I can tell you that it’s an emotional roller-coaster. Your attitude on any day can swing based on your divorce proceedings**

      Acceptable. But the OP’s guy is not getting a divorce. He’s going for “separated”. That leaves the OP in a weaker position and it forces her to play the second violin.

      • Parenting Says:

        I agree. I’m not sure I believe his excuse for stalling the divorce. Maybe the wife kicked him out and he is trying to get back with her. But Brad has a point. Its obvi the guy is bringing his emotional baggage from the marriage and projecting it onto the OP. Yet another reason not to date people who aren’t all-the-way divorced.

  2. Laure Says:

    **He is separated, not divorced. He does not take me to some of his social gatherings because some of his friends wives knows his ex and he does not want her to know he has a girlfriend, because he does not want to start divorce now because he is not ready financially for it.**

    What’s strange to me, is that you guys have been together for 12 months and he still didn’t manage to sort things out. Are you 100% sure that their relationship is over? Where does he live? Does he live alone?

    OP is 50, the man she is dating is probably about the same age. How is it possible that when you’re in your fifties, you worry about what your friend’s wife might tell your ex after being separated for over a year? Why doesn’t he want her to know? Does this mean his ex is not allowed to date someone else as well? Does she have to keep it a secret too?

    About finances. We don’t know all the details, but he already had more than one year to resolve the issue. When will he finally take the initiative to settle a divorce? Probably never?

    Not sure if this man will ever leave his wife. Being separated means unfinished business. You have to sort things out before engaging with someone else.

    OP shouldn’t accept a “relationship” like this. It’s probably over anyway.

    • Tadpole Says:

      I think a lot of this just relates back to why it’s a good idea not to date anyone that is separated and not divorced unless you’re capable of separating emotions from business. Most of those, key word being most not all, but most of those people aren’t emotionally ready to have a relationship, or even serious about having one even if they claim they are.

      It also strikes me as odd that it’s gone on for over a year. You either want to be married or you don’t. If he was serious about the divorce then I would think he’d find a way to come up with money to get it done (it’s been a freaking year!), and it just points more to him not really wanting to finalize that divorce by the fact that he hasn’t been showing the OP around. He was giving childish reasons about why he couldn’t take her places. Think about those. He doesn’t want the ex to know he’s got a new girl? Sounds to me like he’s trying to hang on to the ex, but keeping OP around for the nightly festivities.

      Regardless of whether he intends to finalize that divorce, it’s over. He’s pulling a slow fade. She’ll be dutiful with letting him have space and thinking it’s great when he does call, but then one day he just won’t and she’ll still be wondering what she did wrong.

      • fuzzilla Says:

        **Think about those. He doesn’t want the ex to know he’s got a new girl? Sounds to me like he’s trying to hang on to the ex,**

        That, or actively lying to the ex- (and/or the OP) about there being any separation at all. Maybe his wifey thinks everything is just dandy.

        Some people think it’s a waste of time to analyze and guess motives. “Relationship not working for you, then just get out.” There is such a thing as analysis paralysis, but there’s also such a thing as analysis leading to, “Huh, now I really get it” and actually taking action. Especially if this has been dragging on for 12 months.

    • Goldie Says:

      Yes, this paragraph made me gasp. It’s like a condensed summary of all issues related to a past marriage that you should not accept in a partner. Hiding the OP from his ex and from the mutual friends he has with the ex? Cannot afford start divorce proceedings and doesn’t know when he will? What a mess! Hate to go there, but I know a few people who would read this and ask, “Does this guy’s wife know that they are separated?”

      • fuzzilla Says:

        **Hate to go there, but I know a few people who would read this and ask, “Does this guy’s wife know that they are separated?”**

        Yup, I’m one of them. Sure, I have no idea and I could easily be wrong, but if it’s *that* plausible…

        All we know for sure and all that matters is that OP isn’t happy or getting what she wants/needs from this relationship.

        • mxf Says:

          Another possibility is that “not ready financially” for divorce is code for not having moved or sold assets that he is trying to keep from going to his ex. I know of more than one divorce that turned really contentious over squirreled away funds. In that scenario, keeping the estranged wife from finding out about any girlfriends is another way to mitigate damages, since he is still legally married while in another relationship and he doesn’t want her or her lawyers to have that leverage.

          He could still be with his ex, but introducing a year-long girlfriend to coworkers is pretty high-risk behavior. But it doesn’t matter – it sounds like he delivered a soft breakup as soon as he told her he’d call her when he felt like it and understood if she moved on. There is zero reason not to do just that.

  3. fuzzilla Says:

    Date someone else, and keep it light and breezy if you’re not emotionally available. Maybe your guy doesn’t like this and steps up his commitment to you, or maybe he fades and meanwhile you’ve found someone else to have fun with.

    Simply ending it now is perfectly valid, too (and maybe better).

    Point is, actively make choices with your own self-interest in mind rather than waiting around for some mixed message-y headcase to get their shit together.

    For the record, I think he’s a real shitbird to toy with your emotions like that. I don’t think he’s consciously trying to hurt your feelings, he just…isn’t thinking of them at all. Not the kind of person you want to invest in.

    • Eliza Says:

      Yep…I agree with Fuzz…he’s a “shitbird”! like that term…I would have used “shitbag”, same effect. Anyhoo….this is why, you never, ever get emotionally involved/vested with a person that is “Separated”….they are still legally married, and with unfinished business ahead of them, leading to a host of emotional rollercoaster moments, financial issues to resolve, and IF there are kids involved…forget about it…more matters for them to hash out. I recently met someone – and glad it was at a lame Starbucks for coffee–and heard the same crap from his mouth “I am separated, but my marriage has been emotionally over for years and I am just not divorced, due to financial reasons, and do not plan on getting divorced”….yep – this = Still married and looking to get laid! That simple. I ended my lame coffee meetup quickly. Don’t have time for this drama. It sounds like it’s over anyway–and in a due time–you will look back and thank him for ending things…trust me. You will.

  4. Parenting Says:

    I thought a man cave was something a guy converted the basement into after getting married. A guy who pulls way back is usually dating someone else.

  5. coffeestop Says:

    This is why dating people who are going through a divorce or recently divorced is something I do not do. The BF here wants a casual relationship where he gets to set the terms.

    • Eliza Says:

      In other words…the BF just wants to get laid…while he is on the fence with wifey. Live 2 different lives. That a lose/lose situation to me.

  6. BTownGirl Says:

    Oy, it’s not a relationship if you’re “only replying to his calls”. If you feel uncomfortable picking up the phone to say hi, it’s either Stage 10 Not Good or Stage 10 Over. NEXT!

  7. Yvonne Says:

    “he told me he understand if I decide to give up on this (quasi) relationship and find someone that can offer more” is code for I don’t want to look like a shit for breaking up with you, so I hope you’ll be the one to do it.

    Separated, and not even going forward with the divorce? Forget it, he’s a time waster. Plus, it sounds like he might be getting back together with his wife. Who needs this drama? Move on.

  8. Yvonne Says:

    Oh, and it’s entirely possible that he wasn’t actually separated too.

  9. DrivingMeNutes Says:

    I must be very stupid because I fail to see the relevance of his marital status to any of this. “Needing space” is something many people say when they want to bow out of a relationship without fanfare. Even single people who’ve never been through the OMG trauma of a separation. I guess when separated people say it has special meaning. Because he’s still MARRIED right?

    If she told us her boyfriend had red hair, you people would contort yourselves to find a way to blame it on that, and then be “baffled” as to why your theory doesn’t explain anything. Which begs the question. What color is his hair?

    • Goldie Says:

      There is no relevance of one to the other. There are two different issues:

      1) his weird af marital status => he was bad news to begin with, and frankly I would probably advise OP to get out whether or not he said he needed space.
      2) his saying that he needs space => ok, whatever it was, it is now over, get out, OP; but it probably wasn’t a great idea to get involved with him altogether.

      • mxf Says:

        I think it’s just the majority of commenters on this blog are very, very anti-separated or anti-recently divorced for dating in general. And in this particular case, it isn’t at all the central issue, but it’s still generating the same he’s-a-monster-for-sure-he’s-still-married stuff. Maybe, but it doesn’t even matter, as he ended things anyway.

        I’m curious if anyone has positive experiences dating the Recently Unmarried to report?

        • KK Says:

          I mean…I do know someone who left her husband for the guy she was cheating on him with? But they were not separated to begin with. Other than that. No, I do not know anyone who had a happy relationship with someone who was recently separated or divorced. I could see it maybe working if the person was already emotionally out of the relationship for a long time before they actually instigated the separation.

          • Goldie Says:

            My experience is pretty much the same. I was already emotionally out of my marriage by the time it ended, and my first relationship was with someone in the same situation (just divorced, been emotionally out for years) but we still needed some time to learn the rope and find out what each of us wanted from a relationship. It didn’t work. My second LTR, I hadn’t realized it at the time, but I was a rebound. He took a year to get over his ex-wife, took another year to really get back on his feet, left me and was in a new “real” relationship four months later. So, no. I don’t know anyone like that either. Except for a few couples from my country of origin, where it was a cultural thing. People didn’t leave their old marriage unless they already had a new spouse lined up. Worked for a few couples I know, personally not my cup of tea.

            • Yvonne Says:

              In my experience, separated (and sometimes recently divorced) people can often throw themselves into a relationship before they’ve fully grieved or gotten over the relationship they are still in. I’ve seen it happen often. The separated person enjoys the high of being in a new relationship and the ego massage it brings. They are not really ready for anything serious, although they think – or want to believe – that they are.

              In this particular instance, the OP’s boyfriend’s marital status is relevant because he doesn’t want his wife to know about her, and because he is, you know, still married. So I’m not sure what the mystery is.

              I get that all kinds of people break up for all kinds of reasons, but the odds of someone who is still married being ready for anything serious with someone new tend to be rather poor.

              • ATWYSingle Says:

                This guy’s separation status is irrelevant. He was done. Everybody is wringing their hands for nothing. He was done. That’s it.

              • Goldie Says:

                Yup. It’s pretty much “I wired my savings to a Nigerian prince, he said he’d send me back 10x more, and now he’s not answering my emails, do you think he’s not going to send me my money back because he stopped answering?” I’d say in this situation, the fact that it was a scammer from the start is pretty relevant. Don’t send money to scammers, and you won’t have to worry about whether they will send it back or not.

        • Goldie Says:

          There’s no way I can speak for the majority of commenters on this blog. Personally, in context of this letter, I am very, very anti-guy-who-hides-his-gf-from-his-friends for dating. Seriously. I’d be out the door the minute a guy told me some of his friends cannot find out that he and I are together, because wth is this madness and why would I want that in my life?

          I think that’s the point people are trying to make here – that this was something that wasn’t really working from the start. It’s not like one day everything was amazing and the next day they meet “after not being intimate for a whole month” (WHAT.) and he tells her he’ll understand it if she decides to give up. It was doomed from day one. And now it’s over. The end.

          • fuzzilla Says:

            **I think that’s the point people are trying to make here – that this was something that wasn’t really working from the start.**

            Yup. Kinda-sorta separated and you can’t meet my friends are not acceptable baselines for a healthy relationship (I mean, waiting a bit to meet the friends ’til the relationship is a little more solid is normal, sure, but explicitly being told you have to keep it secret..? The hell?).

            • Eliza Says:

              Exactly. Agree. Again. The “separated/married” man even defined that situation as “Quasi relationship”! He even viewed it as such. What more does a woman need to hear or experience in order to bolt?!?! I agree about waiting a bit for that “meeting the parents/friends”…but expressly telling someone it’s off limits? That’s a huge red flag. Who wants to be some dirty little secret broom you take out of the closet to use once in a while? I once met someone, whom I had a LTR with – that showed me his divorce papers…voluntary. It was obvious that he was not married, living alone…but he was serious about moving forward. No secrets.

        • DrivingMeNutes Says:

          Are you seriously trying to do a regression analysis with the commenters here? Let’s try to figure out what happened to the missing two months before we get into college level math.

          PS. It’s obvious that he was with his wife during those missing months because that’s what separated people do. They get back together with their spouses. Is anyone ever •really• divorced? I mean, come on.

  10. Sarah Says:

    I’m having some trouble with the math here.

    Boyfriend of 12 months.

    But only the first four were good.

    Two months ago, he does a 180.

    What? What was going on between months five and ten?

    I mean, whatever. This guy is over it, and he’s made that clear. This really shouldn’t be too surprising, considering he’s been hiding you in order to postpone his divorce — if he ever intended to get divorced. It kind of sounds like you might have been dating a regular old married guy.

  11. KK Says:

    I do not think the boyfriend broke up with her. At all. He wants a relationship with emotional closeness and sex, but without exclusivity. Now, SHE can break up with him. So he is not the bad guy.

    I also don’t understand this…the first 4 months it was great. Then two months ago everything changed. But if you’ve been together for a year, does that mean that between the 4 and 10 month mark, everything was merely ok?

  12. Bree Says:

    He’s just another married guy cheating on his wife, making promises to his mistress that he never intended to keep. Now he’s got a new mistress and will do the same with her for as long ad he can get away with (6-12 months, maybe?). As for his wife, “cheaper to keep her.”

    • Eliza Says:

      Bree…hit nail the head. Very predictable douchey behavior.
      Rinse…repeat. Yep…cheaper to keep her.

      • Jesse Says:

        So then, when are all the progressive women going to rise up en masse to change divorce laws forever so that it will never ever again be “cheaper to keep her”?

        • Bree Says:

          Marriage should be abolished entirely.

          • Eliza Says:

            Bree–it pretty much is abolished, in the eyes of plenty of men…and now women! Marriage seems to conjure up fear in many … can’t count how many times I have heard men cry poverty over their divorces…or that “cheaper to keep her” song and dance. So, yes, the idea of marriage is very much emotionally abolished…not legally though.

        • Goldie Says:

          Regardless of whether people are legally married or not, splitting one household into two is going to cost money anyway. Owning or renting two places instead of one place together is going to be more expensive for both sides anyway. Both parents will have to support their minor children anyway. It is what it is. Not sure how changing divorce laws can do anything about that.

  13. betty Says:

    This is par for the course for separated/recently divorced men.They come on strong trying to replace the intimacy/married feeling they lost. Then weeks/months down the line they freak out when they feel suffocated. Don’t date them until they’ve a)divorced and b)processed their divorce.

  14. Glazer Says:

    Ya know, every time I hear a romantic testimonial that lasted more then a few months, the FIRST thing I wonder is…why is the word LOVE missing?

    Sounds like some guarded/jaded individuals scared to be vulnerable.

    This guy is on the rebound and will either go back to wifey or meet someone else later.

    He’s not gonna commit to anything serious yet, especially his first fling.


  15. Jake Says:

    Why even bother or concern yourself with this OP? There are plenty of single guys out there, ones that are not separated or going through a divorce. Move on. Jesus.

  16. Ann Says:

    Stop dating married men. Full stop. Dating is hard enough. If he is separated he is married.

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