Kylie didn’t understand what went wrong.
It was all going so well. Chase was funny and cute and warm and shy, and she loved spending time with him.
She did all of her “good girlfriend” tricks. She surprised him with special food. She texted him every morning so he’d wake up thinking of her. She made sure that each and every weekend they spent together was spectacular.
But the longer they were together, the more withdrawn Chase became.
He stopped responding to every one of her texts. He didn’t always want to make weekend plans. He seemed irritated sometimes when she popped by his apartment to surprise him.
Still, it came out of the blue when Chase showed up one day saying he needed to talk. Kylie felt frightened by the grim look on his face. He didn’t meet her eyes.
He quickly mumbled that he couldn’t be what she wanted. He liked being with her and all, but she wanted him to be someone he wasn’t. He just couldn’t do this anymore.
And then he walked away.
Kylie stood frozen to the spot. What had just happened? What was he talking about? She didn’t want Chase to be anyone he wasn’t. Where had he got that idea from… and was this really the end?
“Too Much Togetherness”
In a good relationship, you tell each other what is wrong and you give the other person a chance to fix it before breaking up.
That’s what Kylie found so hard. She didn’t understand what was wrong.
She only learned later, through friends, that Chase believed she wanted to be together all the time. It was too much togetherness for him. He didn’t know how to tell her he needed space, so he just broke up with her.
It’s not just Chase. A lot of men need more space in their relationship than women do.
That’s not necessarily because they’re avoidant or antisocial or hermits.
It’s often because space is one of their love languages. Does that sound odd? Then keep reading.
The 6th Love Language
You’ve heard of the 5 love languages?
Described by Gary Chapman in his popular 1992 book, these “love languages” are the different ways we give and receive love.
- Acts of service
- Giving gifts
- Physical touch
- Quality time
- Words of affirmation
Unfortunately, a couple’s love languages don’t always match. You think you’re showing your partner tons of love, but he’s not feeling it because he speaks a different language. Loving him the way he likes most to be loved can transform your relationship.
But some therapists believe that Chapman’s list is incomplete.
They argue that there’s one more love language that should be included:
When Space is His Love Language
Yes, giving each other space can be a way of showing love.
When I explained this to Kylie, it was like a light bulb switched on inside her head. “That’s why he leaves me alone when I need comforting!” she said.
She continued, “It really upset me that he let me be when I was feeling stressed and emotional. I thought he just didn’t want to deal with my feelings. But it didn’t seem like he was doing it to be mean. He genuinely thought that giving me space would be respectful and make me feel better.”
She shook her head. “I wish I would have known this. I wish we could have talked about it. Maybe things wouldn’t have turned out the way they did.”
“Maybe he’d be open to talking about it now,” I suggested.
Kylie nodded and began to smile.
3 Practical Tips for You
To keep what happened to Kylie from happening to you, make sure to have these 3 important conversations at the beginning of every relationship.
#1. What makes you feel loved?
All couples should talk about what makes them feel loved, whether they use the concept of love languages or come up with their own.
Never assume that he feels loved by the same things that make you feel loved.
#2. How often do you like to stay in touch? What’s your favorite way to communicate?
The way we give and receive love isn’t the only way we differ.
Many couples also differ in how much they like to communicate and the type of communication they prefer.
How often does he want to text? Does he use social media in the same ways you do? Does he like long phone conversations, or does he prefer to keep it short?
#3. How much “together time” is the ideal amount?
Some people believe that being in a relationship means spending every weekend together. Others find that suffocating and want time to do their own thing.
Talk about how much time you want to spend together. Don’t assume that his need for “me time” is a reflection on you.
These 3 super-simple conversations can help you spot your differences before they break you up. So start talking!