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When He Wants More Space

Dear Philippa,

I met a great guy. We went out for a while and spent a lot of time together. Now he seems to have got cold feet and want to spend less time together. This seems to be a pattern with me. Is it me? Or what gives with these guys?

�Brenda, Tampa, FL


Dear Brenda,

You have just described that old familiar dating dance. Two very different people come together on the dance floor to move as one. But often they both want to lead at the same time. And one person can feel the other person is moving too fast or dancing too close.

I liked that you asked if it is you or the guys who are creating this so-called pattern. It shows you are willing to take responsibility for your actions. Without knowing you, or the men in question, I don't know who is causing what. But I suspect that both you and the men you choose are contributing to this scenario. (Remember the word "choose" because I'm going to get back to it in a little while.)

Not that many years ago when my husband and I were first dating, I was recovering from a whole series of disappointing dating experiences. Bottom line, I just didn't trust anyone enough to let my guard down�even for a great guy like my husband-to-be. We went out and enjoyed each other and got closer as time passed. But even after a marvelous time away together I wanted to run back to my place to hide in my safe little cocoon. Funny thing, the more things were going well and the closer we seemed, the more I felt threatened and scared. My husband-to-be was aware of what was going on and he never pressured me. Thank goodness he is a patient man. In time I felt safe and my barriers came down naturally. Then I didn't feel a need to escape to my space and I realized I missed him when we were apart.

There are experts who refer to a man's need for space as the "Cave Syndrome". They say that men have a need to retreat to their cave before they are ready to really bond with a woman.

To me this is not just a male (or female) thing. I feel we all bring our old ghosts to our current relationships. The ghosts are the stuff we are still dealing with inside ourselves. If we have fears about being rejected like I did, then we may hold back when things get too close.

Imagine one person on the dance floor trying to move back a little from his partner. Now see the other person feeling that distance and interpreting it as a personal rejection. To reassure herself that he still wants her, she moves closer and holds him even tighter. Now instead of a smooth and flowing dance, you have two people tugging and pulling at each other and treading all over each other's feet. Remind you of an elementary school dance?

If the person you're dating needs space, it probably doesn't have anything to do with you. The worst thing you can do is to come from a place of insecurity and demand more closeness. Let your date have his space and demonstrate that you can enjoy a full life with or without him.

Remember that word "choose" that I mentioned before? Ask yourself if you been choosing the kind of men you want to meet or settling for the attention of men who have been selecting you?

We tend to attract the very people that help fulfill our worst fears. That's why I created the 4 Steps process for myself, to positively focus me so I could change my thinking and start attracting people with whom I could feel happiest. That means attracting people who are emotionally available and ready for the kind of closer companionship we all deserve.

Don't expect instant intimacy�it takes time to really get to know each other. Keep in mind that close companionship for one person can feel like being smothered to the other person. The guys you have been meeting may need a very different kind of woman. There are men who want what you want. When you decide that you deserve and believe that you can have a relationship with a man who has both the time and desire for consistent close companionship, then you will start meeting these kinds of men.

Now see yourself gliding across the dance floor in perfect unison with the wonderful guy you are going to bring into your life and it will happen.



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