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When He Says He Needs Time To Think About the Relationship – 3 Relationship Experts Share Their Best Tips + Insights

by Jackie Krol – LCSW, Katherine Woodworth – LPC, CRC, Sally LeBoy – MFT

When He Says He Needs Time To Think About the Relationship

“It is necessary, and even vital, to set standards for your life and the people you allow in it.”

~ Mandy Hale

Mandy Hale Standards Quote
Katherine Woodworth

This is never a great time in the relationship.  After all, if things were great, you would not need a break.

There are many reasons why this would be the case.  He could fear being happy or having a relationship or simply wants to be with other people or wants to decide if you guys are a good fit.

What you need to do is define how you feel about the time.  Do you agree, are you worried he will be with other people, or that you will lose him or what?  What is your gut saying about his request? 

Many times, woman want to make the guy into someone they are not.  What does your gut say?  Not your heart or hormones.  Your gut…that’s right ladies, your gut. 

Those red flags you see or the lack of, what are they?  

How do you feel about the direction of your relationship?  Is this a pattern with people they have dated in the past?  Have you said, “I know he has done ________ in the past but he would never do _____to me.”? Be honest with yourself.  Look at the nitty gritty of how you get alone and what you want. 

Definitely do not try to follow, have surveillance, Facebook stalk or anything of this nature

Yes, I am saying do not do this.  If you feel the person you want to be with needs to be tailed or e-followed, then you obviously don’t have trust in them.  Why would you be fighting for a relationship that you don’t trust?  It does not matter if they are actually doing anything or not.  It does not matter if you feel it is just your insecurities.  

If you do not trust them, then date longer to build that trust or move on to the next person. 

No harm, no foul, you just don’t fit.  No bad guy.  But whether it is that you are not ready, or they are not ready, stalking someone is no way to start or have a relationship.  

Your personal space is supposed to be your safe place.  

Forcing your way on someone is not a way to make them feel safe to build a relationship.  Let them let you in as they want, as you let them in as you want. 

So, if they are saying they need to think about the relationship, then say “ok”.  The real question comes to what you do now.  Now you examine your gut feelings that you keep explaining away and decide what you want. 

If you want to be in the relationship, then let them think.  

Define what that means with them. Does this mean you are seeing other people, not talking, going to different hang outs, etc. Does thinking mean you are not to interact until he gets back with you or are you “friends” that still do what you have been doing or what?  

If you believe it means they want the night alone and the next day will tell you but you see them at a party with someone, you are going to be mad.  If you expect they are going to text you in a day or so, and they don’t, you will be mad.  Then he will feel pressured and you may not get the answer your looking forward to getting.  So be clear and be patient.  No, not easy but nothing truly awesome is. 

So, refresh;

  • Let him have time
  • Examine your gut reaction/feeling
  • Be honest
  • Be clear
  • Be patient

You deserve to be happy, let that be the focus.  Dating is meant to see if you guys will be a good fit for a more permanent relationship, you’re not there yet.  Once you are in a more permanent place, then you are making choices together, not individually.

Be you, be happy, everyday!

Katherine Woodworth, LPC, CRC – www.fairwaycounseling.com

Jackie Krol

If he tells you he needs time to think about your relationship, trying asking him what is it about the relationship that he is unsure about or what is it exactly that is troubling him. This way you have an idea of what’s going on inside his head at this moment

Maybe he made an assumption about something you said or did and this way you can clarify it for him right away. 

Or maybe it won’t be clear to him so quickly and he still needs time to think about where things are going for you guys. 

If he decides to take a little time away from you in order to gather his thoughts and feelings, then you can do the same thing at the same time.

Instead of worrying what is he thinking about and why is he having second thoughts about your relationship with him, take this time to re-evaluate your own feelings for him and also the relationship itself.

  • Ask yourself if this relationship is satisfying for you? 
  • Are you truly happy with him?
  • What are the things about him that you get really frustrated or annoyed about?
  • Have you voiced this to him?
  • Is he willing to change? ​
  • Are these deal-breakers for you?

Make a list of your wants versus needs in a relationship.

  • Does he meet your wants and needs? 
  • Does he meet more of your needs or more of your wants?
  • Which things on this list are you willing to forego and which do you absolutely need in a man and in a relationship?

Take this time to really think about whether or not you are happy with the way things are going in your relationship with him. 

Jackie Krol, LCSW – www.psychotherapistjackie.com

Sally LeBoy

Relationships progress at different paces

Some people are readier than others to move towards commitment, while others need more time.  There are lots of factors that could determine the pace of the relationship.  How long has he been out of a prior relationship?  Does he have to factor in children?  What are the stressors that he is dealing with in his life?  

If his pace is slower, it doesn’t necessarily mean that something is wrong or that he really doesn’t want to be in this relationship.

On the other hand, if the relationship seems established and he pulls away, I think he owes you more of an explanation than “I need time to think about our relationship”.

Hopefully you have both been thinking about the relationship as it’s developed and have been evaluating whether it’s a good fit.  If he’s had doubts, he should have spoken up about them.  I’m making a distinction between pacing and an abrupt withdrawal. Pacing still reflects forward progress even if it’s slower than you’d like.  Pulling back abruptly from a relationship probably reflects doubts and fears and those need to be explored sooner rather than later.

It’s important for you to look at your own anxiety about the pace

Are you rushing it as a way to deal with insecurity about him or yourself?  Are you trying to “lock it down” to avoid a fear that you’re going to lose him?  

Whatever the pace, there should be a mutual emotional deepening, a positive sense that you are working well together and that the relationship is on track.  Again, people move at different paces, but both should feel that they are in a positive, forward moving process.

Communication is so important

People need to speak up about their thoughts and feelings in an on-going and constructive way.  There shouldn’t ever be big surprises.  Sometimes people are afraid to talk about potential problems because it makes them seem more real.

Hiding from potential problems certainly doesn’t make them disappear.  Talking about them is the only way to take the action necessary to either fix them or decide that they aren’t fixable.

Whenever you’re in doubt, whether it’s his pacing or any other issue bring it up.

There’s no blame, just a desire to understand what’s going on so that you  (and he) know how to take care of both yourselves and the relationship.

Sally LeBoy, MFT – www.sallyleboymft.com

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