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Ryan LCSW, Relationships
Category: Relationship
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Experience:  Professional therapist
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Hi My boyfriend told me yesterday that he needs time to think

Resolved Question:

My boyfriend told me yesterday that he needs time to think about the future of our relationship and where he wants to be in 5 years time.
He is 29 and I'm 38, he does want kids, but I think for us to have them, things would have to move faster than he's maybe ready for. We were both extremely upset yesterday, he really loves me, he just needs to figure out what he wants
How long should I give him space, with no contact?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Ryan LCSW replied 4 years ago.
Thanks for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'd like to help you out.

I'm sorry to hear about what you're going through with your boyfriend. It's tough to hear someone say that they want space, and it can be even harder to give it to them. However, space is not always a bad thing, and sometimes it does allow people to take a step back and get themselves prepared for a larger commitment. I understand what you're saying about kids and things needing to move faster, and if nothing else, I would think that by the end of this break you will have a better idea if that is something that is going to be realistic with this relationship.

In general, when people ask for space, it's best to give them what they ask for, since pressuring people can sometimes work in reverse. I would encourage you to talk to him and find out what he thinks is a reasonable amount of time. After a certain point, it becomes unfair to leave you wondering what is going to happen, and I would think that between the two of you, it would be possible to at least agree on a time to reevaluate. Perhaps once a week has gone by, you can at agree to check in with each other and decide whether or not more time is necessary, or if he has figured out what he wants. There isn't a certain amount of time that works for everyone, but in a situation like this, you also have to look out for yourself and your emotions. If this starts to drag on too long for you and is too difficult for you to deal with it, you are certainly entitled to move on yourself due to his inability to decide what he wants.

I certainly wish you the best and hope that I've been able to answer your question. If there's anything else I can do to help just let me know.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Can I ask, he was very upset, crying a lot and I worry that this is a sign that he's already thinking this is too hard for him to continue with, too much commitment too soon. He said he has thought about marriage and he really loves me, but needs to decide what he wants. I'm trying to be positive. What do you think? I know you can't read his mind, but does this sound positive?
Expert:  Ryan LCSW replied 4 years ago.
Well, I can understand your fears, and that would be the worst case scenario that he is already thinking this is too hard for him and it is too much too soon. However, there are other possibilities as far as why he might be upset as well. If he is upset about hurting you by needing this break, or is just overwhelmed or unsure if he's ready in general for this commitment, that could certainly be enough of a reason for him to be getting emotional, but it also doesn't necessarily mean that he will come to the conclusion that it is too hard for him. I definitely respect the fact that you're trying to be positive, and it is tough to say how it will work out. However, I wouldn't automatically assume that it is over, and if things has always otherwise been good between the two of you it certainly is possible that he just needs this time to get himself mentally prepared.

Hang in there and good luck with everything.

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