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Cher, Relationship Enthusiast
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 20863
Experience:  Extensive experience as Educator/Teacher, M.A., Counselor, Spouse, Parent, Psychic Advisor
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Hi. I have been dating a wonderful, good man for almost a

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Hi. I have been dating a wonderful, good man for almost a year and a half. Recently, he told me that he needs more space; he needs a long break. He told me that he is lost and that he needs to find himself. He is 28 and I am 32. He told me that he doesn't really feel much of anything anymore and that he doesn't know what he wants. He said that he doesn't think he is ready for this type of relationship. He is very much a free spirit. He does need his space. Where the relationship is concerned, he said that he doesn't want to have to ask me if he can go out with his friends, go out of town, etc. I told him that he isn't asking, that he is just letting me know what he is doing and that it is normal to communicate this in a relationship. He said that he just wants to do what he wants to do and that he doesn't want to have to check in with anyone. I am very hurt. I love him very very much and care for him and want to make things work. If I express my hurt he pulls away. Help.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Cher replied 7 years ago.

Do you live together?

Since he told you this, about needing a long break, have you been seeing and/or speaking to each other?

Do you know anything about his previous relationships and/or the one right before he met you? Did he say what caused him to break up with the woman?

Thanks for all your additional detail.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
We do not live together. He was not ready for that. He lives on a sailboat. We both share the passion of sailing.

We have spoken to each other daily, aside from yesterday - as he asked for me to not call him for a day, and to let him call me. All of our conversations end up with me expressing how I feel, that I love him and want to work things out.

He has never talked about his previous relationships, but he did ask me one strange question once. He said, imagine it is Christmas day and the surf is up and he goes surfing and says he will meet me and my family at 1pm. If 1pm comes along, what do you do? Do you get upset? I told him, first I would be very worried that something happened and then I would be disappointed that he wasn't there when he said he would be. He said, but the surf was really good and what if he just wanted to stay a little longer, but just couldn't call me. I didn't realize that this was actually him telling me something about him. He is very much about just doing what he wants when he wants. He is a free spirit. He has the best of intentions, but he needs freedom and to know that I will trust him and not be upset...

He has slowly been pulling away; I could feel it. He seemed to need more and more space. I would start to feel nervous and question him. He would get upset and tell me to trust his love. I was confused as I felt he wasn't expressing it much. So, I gave him more and more space - but then I started to feel that I wasn't important enough to him because I didn't feel like a priority.

Since then he has given me mixed messages. Calls me all of the time, etc. but then tells me that he is not ready for a relationship like we have, that he doesn't want it. He continues to say that he needs more space, that he needs a break.
Expert:  Cher replied 7 years ago.
Hi again, and thanks for your reply with additional information.

I don't think this is what you're going to want to hear, but from your description, it does sound like he's been pulling away for a while and he doesn't want to be in the relationship any longer. I don't think it's because of you; I do think he's a free spirit and he feels too 'tied down', although you don't make many demands of him.

I agree that if he's not treating you as a priority in his life, you're not going to be happy any longer, in the relationship, and he has already expressed the need for a 'break'. 'Break' is an ambiguous word; it can mean he truly wants a break so he can figure out where his life is going and if he really wants you to join him on the journey, OR it can be 'code' for a 'never-ending' break, as in 'breaking up'.

I think, for the time being, you can continue the way you are, with him calling you all the time, and try to find out if this is really 'it', if he wants to break up and not see each other any more; or, you can make the decision, if he seems conflicted. As much as you love him and as wonderful as he sounds, you deserve to have someone make you a priority in their life, and be truly happy.

I hope things work out well for you.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I really don't want to lose him. I don't want to end the relationship. It is as if I am looking for the smallest glimpse of hope, and I will not give up until I find it. Today is the first day that he gave a bit of that to me. He said that he hasn't completely given up. Granted he said this after my questioning him... "have you given up on us" and my telling him that I want to hear a glimpse of hope. He told me that I need to relax a little, to take advantage of the time that I have to myself to take care of things that I want to do. And he again repeat that he needs more space, that he needs a break to find himself. He said he is really struggling.

I think he is just really tired of talking...he doesn't like to talk much. He doesn't like any conflict. Perhaps I have told him too many times how that I feel, that it is pushing him away even more.

I am afraid that I got upset too easily with him. I think it stemmed from pain of feeling him pull away. Now all that I want to do is be with him, to enjoy him, to live in the moment, to not pressure him. I want that chance to be happy with him again.

Talking to him only makes me more emotional and depressed as I do not here all that I hope. I wanted him to tell me he misses me, that he is sorry...that he loves me. It is so hard to see him shut off to me.

I feel sick all day, everyday - like my insides are doing circles. I am depressed now and really having trouble accepting what is going on.

Expert:  Cher replied 7 years ago.
Hi again, and thanks for your reply.

I understand how you feel, and since you think he's tired of talking and doesn't like conflict, don't discuss the subject anymore with him, at this time. He knows how you feel because you've told him and shown him, so try your best to hold back right now, and see how he reacts. Answer him when he asks you a question, and try to play it by ear, for the time being; let him guide how often you speak to each other and/or see each other and maybe if you are NOT so up front and emotional, telling him your feelings, which he already knows, he WILL tell you he loves you and misses you without you having to say anything first.

I agree with your theory of just wanting to be with him in the moment, and don't worry about anything else, right now. It's very difficult when a man says things like this, and I do know that 'feeling' you said you had, when you knew he was sort of pulling away, but if you play it cool and let him have his space, things might turn around for you, so be patient and see how things progress.

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