Over the weekend, I got an email from a wife whose husband had requested some “space and difference.” In the wife’s mind, this request was likely the precursor to divorce. Understandably, the wife was afraid that if she backed off and gave her husband the space that he was requesting, he would only drift further away. However, she intuitively knew that giving her husband some distance might be the only way to truly save the relationship and begin to rebuild. She asked me if it was possible to save her marriage by giving her spouse the space he said he wanted. I firmly believe that it can. In fact, I saw this happen in my own life and in my own marriage. I will discuss this more in the following article.
Giving Your Partner Space To Eventually Bring Them Closer To You: It’s human nature to cling or pull when you feel or suspect that someone is slipping away. And it’s also completely normal to worry that if they spend any time away from you, they’re going to discover that they enjoy the time away and may not want to come back. Both of these things might weigh on you heavily and make the strategy of backing off seem risky.
However, giving space is a strategic move that makes sense on so many levels. First off, often you just won’t have much of choice with this. Many times, it comes down to the fact that you’re going to either give the space willingly or they are just going to take it by walking away. But, if you give it willingly, you maintain some control over the situation, which is what you want.
And, by meeting their request with dignity and by painting yourself as someone who loves them and therefore wants to help them to be happy and get what they want, you are putting yourself in a much better position than if you make yourself their adversary and paint yourself as the person who is standing in their way. If you play this correctly, you’ve set it up so that when they think of you while they’re taking their time away, it will be with positive emotions rather than negative ones. Not only that, but they will not find the need to be guarded around you or to guard their contact with you because they know that you are opposing them.
No, you don’t necessarily have to pretend to be happy about this. They will likely know that you are reluctant about this entire situation and wish that things were different. But make sure they know that even though this wasn’t your choice, you’re doing this because it was their request, because you love them, and because you’re confident that they will return to you once they’ve taken the time that they need.
And, it can help greatly to also have a strategy of how you are going to spend the time away and present yourself when the two of you do interact. You want for them to know that you too are taking advantage of the distance and doing your own soul searching and having your own experiences. You don’t want for them to know that you’re at home and moping and are possibly paralyzed with fear. Get together with friends and provide yourself with the experiences that are going to make this as bearable as possible.
My Own Experience With Giving My Husband Space (And How It Ultimately Saved The Marriage.) Stepping aside was not my choice. I actually initially clung very much and this really did hurt my cause. It only annoyed my husband and made me seem desperate and weak. I wish I hadn’t given in to the fear, but I did. It was only after I had so completely messed everything up and my husband wasn’t even speaking to me did I give him any space (although I didn’t intend to do this at the time.)
I went back to my hometown and spent time with friends because I just did not know what else to do. I figured if I was away, I wouldn’t mess things up anymore or if I did, at least he would not see this. I spent a lot of time with mutual friends and at the time, I had no intention for this to get back to him. When I returned, it was he who began calling me. I have to admit that there was no master plan to this. It wasn’t any strategy of mine. I had almost given up. But, it seemed that I had sort of accidentally stumped upon what eventually got us talking again.
Once I backed off, I think he became curious as to why I had changed my tune. And once he learned that I’d gone out with mutual friends, his interest only seemed to increase. I decided that this shift was worth following up on, so I continued to move slowly and to let the distance work for me rather than against me.
I’ve since learned that my situation is not the exception. This actually happens quite a bit. Once you begin to stop pushing, then your spouse no longer feels the need to pull away and they often begin to become curious. Ultimately, sometimes they even begin to pursue you, which puts you at a distinct advantage. I know that giving your spouse space can seem scary. But often, it’s the strategy that, if you play it correctly, works the most.