An article I wrote for YourTango.com:
Is the man you love acting like a ghost in your relationship? Maybe he’s even vocalized that he needs space? Perhaps he claims nothing’s wrong, but he just doesn’t return your texts and seems to be a whole lot busier than he was in the early stages of dating?
Before you convince yourself that he has one foot out of the relationship, ask yourself if you truly believe that he is capable of commitment and a long-term partnership. Also ask yourself if you feel, on a gut level, that he truly loves you and wants a relationship with you. If you feel confident that he is an emotionally available man and is in love with you, then this space could be a good thing. If you feel doubtful that he has the ability to love, then it is time to say goodbye.
When a man pulls back or carries on like he needs space, it can mean that he is in fact so serious about the relationship that he needs time to assess his feelings and decide whether the relationship is healthy for him long-term. Men are more in their heads than women and when the thunderbolt of love hits them, they may need to take a step back and look at things more logically.
The key for you is to handle his need for space in a way that’s respectful and dignified. It’s okay to communicate your feelings (like in a letter) or to ask him questions about what he’s thinking. But don’t smother him and don’t make him feel guilty and accused.
This doesn’t mean you have to ignore your feelings when he needs space. It’s important to honor your feelings and to not reward behavior that hurts you by being too flexible.
Avoid Clinging To Him When He Needs Space
When he needs space and you feel really down about it, don’t punish him by also withdrawing or accusing him of being emotionally unavailable and beyond, and don’t start to cling.
When a man pulls back, it’s natural to feel like your world is suddenly shaken up. This feeling can bring up abandonment issues and it can make us panic about losing him. When we feel panicky and scared, we reach out. We start to express love and profess devotion, and we apologize for past injustices on our part. However, this is a form of rewarding bad behavior.
You don’t want to give a man more attention when he needs space; do this when he’s trying to please you and is available to love you. Sometimes we take those good-behavior moments for granted and it’s important that you don’t.
Focus On Re-Directing Your Core
It’s common when a woman falls in love that her energy core begins to revolve around him, like the Earth around the sun. When your man needs space, this can be a beautiful opportunity to re-direct your energy core toward things that were important to you before the relationship swung in and altered everything.
Focus on loving yourself during this time, too. Be gentle with yourself and provide room to feel all of those panicky feelings. Don’t act on them, but feel them; be a witness to them happening inside you and respect them without self-judgment.
You can also make a conscious effort to learn some self-soothing skills, so that you are less inclined to call him and are better equipped to deal with rejection and uncertainty in other areas of your life.