Home  >  Love Couch  >  Broken Hearts

How to Give Someone Space Without Losing Them: Letting Fear Go

Set free the one you love. If they return, it was meant to be. Bullshit, isn’t it? There’s no guarantee for how to give someone space without losing them.

how to give someone space without losing them

That old saying, “If you love someone set them free, and if it was meant to be, they will come back,” sucks. Not because it isn’t true, but because it sounds so damn easy. If you want to know how to give someone space without losing them, the answer is mind over manner. For those of us who have a harder time with the inner voices that create anxiety, it can be torture.

Rationally, what you already know, and I don’t have to tell you, is that you can’t control anyone’s actions but your own. But, sometimes that doesn’t help. Fear, especially in love, is one of the hardest things to overcome. The problem is if you don’t create space, and let them figure out what they want and need, your smothering leads to them pushing you away anyway.

How to give someone space without losing them *and without anxiety*

A vicious cycle, the more they push you away, the harder you cling. Until one day you chase them around the house, texting them desperately, or stalking their home. That isn’t the answer, and you know it.

I don’t have to tell you what you need to do. I will try to give you some comfort to follow through with what won’t come naturally and probably feels like your heart is breaking. Hold strong! You can do this, I believe in you.

#1 Stop texting. Texting is about the worst thing for any relationship. Unless it is for fun at first, quick messages, or sexting, texting can be a cancer in your relationship. There was a time when you couldn’t get to someone, and that is just the way it was.

Learning to cut the umbilical cord was easier without such easy access. If you want to give someone space, stop texting them, like all together. When they are ready, they reach out to you. Don’t try to insert yourself into their day, just let them have their space by going radio silent. [Read: 16 commonly accepted relationship tips that ruin your love life]

#2 Don’t ask questions all the time. If you feel as if they need space, then you probably feel like something is wrong, they pull away, or you know something is changing. You ask them a question a minute, but until they are ready to let you in, they aren’t going to answer you.

They might not even know what they want or how they feel. All the questions do is to make them shut down and shut you out, which is a self-fulfilling prophecy to what you don’t want. [Read: Why some people go looking for drama]

#3 Do your own thing. If someone either tells you they need space or you just feel it, then something is going on in your relationship. Instead of worrying about giving them space and losing them, take the time apart to focus on what you want out of your relationship. Do all the things you gave up since you started your relationship.

You just might find you likewise need some space and time to do your own thing. You may have lost yourself in clinging to your partner. Being too close and not having separate lives is a recipe to lose yourself.

#4 Stop asking for permission. If you worry about losing someone, then chances are good that you constantly wait on them before you make decisions for you. You don’t take any initiative to be your own person. In a relationship, you should want someone around, but not need them.

If you worry that you’ll lose someone if you give them space, then I don’t want to be the bearer of bad news, but you never had them to begin with. Insecurity is not a sign of love, it is a sign of unsure feelings. [Read: 10 obvious hints your partner will give if they want their space]

#5 Make decisions for yourself. Instead of worrying about losing someone else, make some decisions all on your own. One of the best feelings when you suddenly find yourself standing on your own two feet or having your own space is that you get to make decisions for yourself without worrying about repercussions or what the other person is going to think or say.

It is all you, baby! Decision-making is very powerful, and it might give you the courage to walk away and let them come crawling back.

#6 Find out what makes you happy. If you worry about losing them, then you aren’t thinking about yourself, you think about all you are going to lose when they are gone. A significant other should be an extension of yourself, not a substitute.

Stop worrying about what happens if you let them go. Start thinking of all the potential things you do to find happiness all by yourself. [Read: You-complete-me relationships and why you need your space]

#7 Recognize you can’t control their decisions. If you truly want to know how to give someone space without losing them, you have to let go. You don’t have a choice in the matter. You can’t hold onto someone who doesn’t want to be held onto. If you look at it as a decision, then you put a lot of the onus on you and blame yourself for giving up.

You aren’t giving up, and you don’t have a choice. You can’t make someone stay. Giving them space isn’t what you are doing, let them decide for themselves what they need while you find what you need. The answer might surprise you.

#8 If they choose not to come back it will hurt, yes, but you will survive. A broken heart hasn’t killed anyone. Well, unless you read about those old couples who die days apart. But, you aren’t 90, and you haven’t lived a lifetime together.

Yes, it hurts like hell. In fact, it might be the hardest thing you ever experience. But, whatever happens, the sun shines again, and you will find your new normal with someone who acts and behaves as if they want to be with you, not like they need space. [Read: How to stop obsessing over someone]

#9 If they don’t come back, as hard as it is to see, they do you a favor. I am going to say it because you can’t reach into this screen and wring my neck, “Everything happens for a reason.” The truth is that if you don’t give them space now, it eventually happens the way that it is supposed to. They make their decision whether you back off and give them space or not.

And, God forbid, you let it go on until you end up old, angry, and hurt beyond repair. If it isn’t right and they know it, they do you both a favor by letting you know now instead of being a coward and not cutting the cord.

#10 Is this the way that you want the relationship to be? Limbo is hell, not the kind where you are bending under the stick, although wait… that is hell too. Do you want to be in a relationship with someone where you don’t know if they want you, they seem irritated with you, and you generally just know that something isn’t right?

The person you are with should love you unconditionally, treat you like they are happy to have you, and cherish every moment with you because life is too short.

Okay, times aren’t always going to be good. If you think they need space, then either they tell you something is wrong, or you know it in your own heart. Either way, you deserve to feel loved and appreciated, not anxiety ridden and confused. [Read: 18 emotions you should never feel in a healthy relationship]

#11 Immerse yourself into something. The best medicine for a broken heart is distraction. Find a new hobby, get a puppy *okay, maybe not really*, or join a social club.

If you sit around thinking about them all day, then it isn’t going to do anything but let the anxiety churn and predispose you to pick up your phone to make contact. Giving them space means no contact. So, find something else to tear your mind away, if only for now.

#12 Reconnect with friends. When it comes to knowing how to give someone space without losing them, friends are the best distraction ever. Just don’t pick the misery-loves-company group. No, misery doesn’t love sitting around crying and rehashing. Misery loves Vegas with friends and being in your element by not letting it break you.

#13 Make it clear you’re giving them space. Be sure to tell your partner that you feel they need space and that this is what you are doing. If you don’t make it clear that you back off for a reason, then they might misinterpret your cooling off and think it is something you want.

Giving them space is only good if you let them know that they have it, not that you are pissed. They should leave for now knowing where you are at and where they are at with you, not that you are cold and aloof for no reason. [Read: Does absence make the heart grow fonder or wander?]

#14 Turn off your social media for a bit. There are days when I am convinced that social media is going to destroy the world. It is so anxiety provoking. It is a wonder that we aren’t all walking around like crazy people. If you want to know how not to worry about losing someone, it is about getting off of social media and stop creating scenarios in your mind.

You’ll be looking for signs everywhere of what they are doing, what they are thinking, and whether they are going to choose you or not. You don’t need the additional anxiety of seeing other girls or guys liking or following the one you set free. [Read: 13 ways to wean yourself off of social media]

#15 Leave your phone behind. Back in the day, when we let each other have space, we left the house. We didn’t sit and wait for the phone to ring. Now, you just take the anxiety and carry it in your pocket.

If you want to give them space and not worry about it, then leave your cell phone behind. The constant reminder it isn’t ringing or you aren’t getting a message from them isn’t doing your brain any good. Leave it at home.

[Read: How to give space in a relationship without drifting apart]

When it comes to knowing how to give someone space without losing them, whether they asked for room to breathe in the relationship, or you just feel it, the key is to move on with your own life. Explore what makes you happy, and if they are destined to be with you, they will come back. 

Liked what you just read? Follow us on Instagram Facebook Twitter Pinterest and we promise, we’ll be your lucky charm to a beautiful love life.

Julie Keating

A writer isn’t born, but created out of experiences. No lack of subject matter, my life reads more like fiction than anything that could have been imagined...

Follow Julie on