My husband says he needs some space

Written by Lynette Hoy NCC, LCPC

husbandneedspaceThe other day my husband told me that he would like to go out alone sometimes. I’ve been married for about a year.   My husband and I have a very good relationship.  I was used to hanging out with friends when I was single.  But now that I am married, the idea never crossed my mind. I was very disappointed that he wanted to go out alone.  But I was scared that if I didn’t say it was okay he might go anyway and just not tell me.  He told me that I can go out with my friends once in while If I like — that he trusts me.

I am very confused.  I don’t know if this is normal or not. Is it okay for a spouse to go out alone or should I watch his steps closely? I am a very jealous person and I don’t know if I can accept his request for space so easily. He tells me that sometimes couples need their own space to appreciate each other more.  Is it dangerous for him to go out alone? Will it hurt our marriage if I ask him not to?

Advice: Dear Friend, It sounds like you are very insecure in your relationship with your husband because of your jealousy and fear about his request. Every couple needs boundaries to protect their relationship without imprisoning them in it but instead allowing each spouse enough freedom for trust and personal development.

I would suggest that you read Loving Your Marriage Enough to Protect It by Jerry Jenkins.  This book will help you and your husband discuss reasonable boundaries you can agree to put into practice when you are each in situations where you have contact with the opposite sex, ie., work, church, socials, recreation, etc.

Then, I would suggest that you come up with your own requests which will make you feel more secure in your marriage.  These requests must not make your husband feel inadequate to meet your needs or guilty when he wants time to himself.  You both need to care enough about your relationship to tell each other where you are going, with whom and for how long.  Personally, my husband and I have always told each other where we are going and what time we will be home.

If my husband told me he was going to a bar, I would be very concerned about that.  Why?  Because if he was sitting in a bar he might meet other women and because he would be drinking alcohol he would be tempted to do things he might not otherwise do. Thankfully, my spouse does not do this because he is a Christian and he desires to please God. If your spouse does not want to talk about where he is going and where he can be found in case of emergency, then, you have something to worry about. Anytime a spouse begins to hide his/her wherabouts and activities there is reason to be suspect.  Openness and honesty are highlights of a healthy relationship and the foundation of trust necessary for any growing marriage.

You can come up with some suggestions about activities you can do together without actually being together, also. Working out at a health club or going to the library to read are two good examples. You could go to a museum and spend part of the time together and part of it viewing different exhibits you personally enjoy, then, meet or coffee or lunch. Or go to a shopping mall and shop in different stores meeting later on.

Maybe you need to build some friendships together as well.  Getting together with other couples is a very enjoyable and healthy thing to do.  Explore with your husband what makes him feel like he needs time alone.  Let him tell you what might be bothering him about your relationship.  He may be feeling trapped for some reason.  Evaluate the last three to six months.  What happens when he is off work?  Do the two of you constantly do everything together? When he is engaged in different activities are they always responsibilities around the house or only things which you like to do?  Does he ever have time for his own personal hobbies or to go fishing or be outdoors?

You may have different personalities also. If he is an introvert he will need more time alone and when you are in the house together he may feel that he doesn’t have time to concentrate on his interests.  It might be wise to let him have his space at home too, so he can read, or do computer work, etc.

I hope this is helpful for you.  If you have a good relationship with your husband then I don’t think you have to worry about anything. Actually, worrying never accomplishes anything good anyway.  If your spouse is not a drinker or a gambler, then be grateful. Build your own self-esteem so that you are not overly dependent on your husband’s attention.  Read  The Search for Significance by Robert McGee.  Explore with someone… a confidante, mentor or counselor what has happened in the past to cause you to be so jealous and feel so insecure.  God bless you!


17 Responses to “My husband says he needs some space”

  • Chris says:

    katt…i regret hearing about your marriage situation. its true that you apparently had had inappropriate contact on the internet but that would never justify your husbands current behavior. it appears he is taking advantage of the situation to have his own type of inappropriate contact and two wrongs dont make a right. if our marriages are to work, we really do need to have the one who designed them, jesus christ as the head over them. i encourage you to seek jesus at this time. look beyond your husband at the moment and see your situation through the eyes of christ. how he must be saddened over our neglect of him in our mariages and families especially when he has invited the Little ones to come to him. have you considered how much your children need jesus especially in the absence of their father? what do you think you could do to bring the lord into your childrens lives to fill up the void their father is leaving them at the moment? yes it is sad when the father isnt living with his family and taking the spiritual headship under christ but how much sadder if the mother doesnt see that need and seek to meet it. if you want more information on how to have a personal relationship with jesus for your and your family log onto… or click talk to a mentor above…i pray now that jesus would become real to you. that you would look beyond your present circumstances to your eternal ones and make preparation for that day when it comes for it surely will come and when all of this life fades away and nothing remains, you will find jesus as your true solid rock and shepherd who will lead and guide you to your eternal destiny that can and needs to start even today in jesus name amen!

  • katt says:

    So I’m in this ‘I need space’ boat, well my husband is. I noticed the change…disconnected in every sense, lack of affection, intimacy, conversation and going out nearly every night til 12-3 in the morning and staying over night regularly at his friends for the last six mths or so. During this time I’ve grown even more insecure about us and where our marriage stands and have done all the wrong things like beg can cry to him to, in his eyes, nag to him about the same things repetitively til finally I heard those heart breaking words…”I need space…I need to miss you” crushing!! Well, I found out the last six years for him weren’t really all that happy at times for him, reason being six and a half years ago I was in a bad place…thought little of myself and as a result felt insecure about being intimate with my husband,which in turn made him act out in anger and frustration. His reaction made me feel unloved and alone and I fell out of love. So I began seeking attention online. Never have been intimate with anyone but I know it was still wrong, just talking is as bad as going all the way, hind site, you know. Everything came to light and amazingly he still loved me and wanted us to get back on track..we did, I fell back in love with my husband and the years after were better, or so I thought. He confessed to me that he would think of what I’ve done and become angry and depressed and insecure but would swallow it down because he didn’t want to hurt me by bringing it up again. I told him I’ve often thought of it too, and hated myself for hurting him. But he held it in so long that he grew resentful in my opinion towards me because we’re in the place we are in right now. We have two mobile homes next to ea other and he pretty much lives in one while the kids and I live in the other. He’s also brought to my attention things I’ve said or done or not done that bothered him, so being that I love him so much I aim to correct bad habits of mine. I’ve also been told that he’s never dealt with his own emotions because he always was more concerned with everyone else’s feeings and doesn’t know how to work thru things weighing on him. That being said, he HAS become a bit selfish, doing things because he feels like doin them whether or not it hurts my feelings, like staying out nearly every night and crashing out at friend’s almost every weekend. He comes over for short periods, mainly for the kids sake, I know that, and we hardly talk..being around him feels awkward. I’ve told him that I given up and I know there’s nothing I can say or do anymore. I may slip up but I am trying so hard to give him the space he’s asked for several months ago…it’s difficult, it’s depressing, it’s stressful because all I want to have is my husband back and this family whole again. In case anyone says I should go out with friends, well I don’t have I just barely started a part-time job…so I know it would be easier if I did have people to hang out with, but I don’t which is why I’m having an extremely hard time dealing with my situation. One other thing, he says he does love me(even th o I don’t see it in his eyes anymore) and hates when I suggested we divorce because I can’t stand that I cause him so much misery. But his heart is definitely hardened and he doesn’t react when I do sincerely cry to him and tell him that I miss him. Needless to say, I’m confused on top of everything else.

  • Kathryn Kathryn says:

    Ana Marie, I know the pain and sorrow you must feel. You know according to God, marriage is supposed to be a covenant, a sacred promise which means that both parties keep the promises they make but because we are all sinful, we often forget the things that are no longer important to us and this seems to be what has happened in your husband’s case. Like many people his own pleasure and what pleases him is more important to the promises he made to you, his wife. If you have children, it is even worse because if his behaviour does not change, he will be responsible for breaking a family unit and doing harm to the future of the children. It is well known that children from a broken marriage do not do so well. It is good that you have given him a little space to sort himself out but do not leave it too long or he will think you are not bothered by his behaviour. But before you tell him that he has to make up his mind whether he wants you or a life of going after other women, be sure to think what you both might lose. After that discuss it reasonably with him and seek for some solution that is good for you both. God hates divorce but if one of you is unfaithful and an adulterer, it can be the best way. I pray that God will give you wisdom and discernement to make the right decision. Blessings.

  • After I caught my husband is cheating on me, he decided to end their affair immediately,that was he said to me and i believed him. But after he got home, he admit that he doesnt love me the way he loved me before and wanted to give him space and time to think. He wanted to walk out the house and go to his parents house for him to have time and space to think what he did and why he did that thing. I complained and not allowed that to happen. I want to rebuild our marriage together. For me, it is not necessary to go out and leave us just for thinking what he did. I am confused with his decision. I am hurt. He said he feels he is not worthy with my love anymore. He is also afraid that it might happen again that is why he wanted to think alone. Is my decision to stay with me is right or not?He wanted his feelings for me to be back and its been a month but his decision and feelings is the same and doesnt change. Is it normal? please help me..thank you

  • Kate says:

    Dear Mrs A.,

    I hope you might be encouraged by what I just wrote to Rochelle as well. I also want to pray for you,

    Dear Heavenly Father, Mrs. A is Your child. She is precious and beloved in Your sight. You are the God who hears us and responds. Help her to confess all her needs, worries, anxieties and desires to You. Lord Jesus, Your yoke is easy and light, so I pray that she would toss all her burdens onto Your willing and able shoulders, and then take on Your yoke. The yoke You give us to bear is light and easy because all it is is trusting obedience. You lead the way, we follow. You make the decisions and we agree. You choose the timing, the route and the destination and we just enjoy every minute of the journey with You. You are lovely! You are the perfect Friend, Lover, Husband and King! You are the one whose words of promise never fails, so in You we trust and to You we turn for all the desires of our hearts. Please fill Mrs. A in a new way today, pouring Your love into the crevices of her broken heart, so that she feels warm, full and cared for this special day, and then bless her with faith to keep turning to You hour after hour, day after day, until she truly feels her cup is overflowing! God You are good and Your compassion and mercy never fail! We love You Lord. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

    Mrs. A, as I read your posts I found myself reflecting on the meaning of freedom. Many times when our husbands say they need space, what they are really craving is freedom. Our culture tells us that freedom comes from doing what we want, when we want and pleasing ourselves. Of course, this is a lie! God has not designed us to please ourselves. In fact, God abhors our selfishness and self-centredness! God has designed us to please Him, which we can do only by faith, and to SERVE Him and others. The more we try and focus on making ourselves happy, the less and less free we will feel. It is a vicious cycle that leads to a dark, lonely pit, which is where Satan would like to keep us. To get out of this pit we need Jesus. We need to get a glimpse of Him, of His perfect selflessness and humble servanthood. So, how to get your husband to encounter Jesus? Well, first you need to be in Jesus’ presence yourself. Read your Bible and pray about whatever you are reading, let the Lord minister to you Himself and teach you and change you. Sing to Him and pray for His will to be done. Surrender yourself to Him, telling Him that you desire to be His hands and feet, even to speak His words into your husband’s life… and then let Jesus be the one who brings freedom to your husband. It is the cry of your husband’s heart, as it is the cry of yours and mine and everyone’s! We all crave Jesus and will forever have this God-sized whole in our hearts until He comes Himself to fill us, so that we are finally free of ourselves!

    What I am saying, in short, is that this is a spiritual battle. The circumstances we see, such as our husbands withdrawing, fighting and being difficult, are symptoms of the cries of their hearts. Don’t get mad with them! Instead, get in agreement with God, ask Him to show you how to supernaturally love your husband through this tough trial, put on the armour of God (Ephesians 6:10-18) and battle against this attack. God is with you and for you and for your marriage. Take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one!

    Do not be afraid, be very courageous!


  • Kate says:

    Dear Rochelle,

    My heart aches for you. I can imagine the hurt you are experiencing, and the fear too. I want to encourage you by praying for you:

    Dear Lord, Please guide Rochelle forward. Please shine Your light into her circumstances and show her what changes she can make. Lord, relationships are so difficult and whenever things feel out of control, we are so inclined to want to control the other person, though we cannot. Please show us how to be self-controlled by the power of Your Spirit! Holy Spirit empower us to live beyond our own strength and to walk in love. Lord, I pray that You would show Rochelle what it is her husband needs as she trusts You Jesus to take care of ALL her needs, for You have promised and You are faithful to keep ALL Your promises!!! You have made her as her husband’s helpmate and companion, so she has everything inside her that she needs to be pleasing and delightful to him, but it all rests in You, so please increase her faith to trust You and follow You as You lead her through this troubled valley. We thank You Lord that You never forsake or abandon us, and that You lead us all the way! With You we look forward to coming out on the other side, not damaged, but whole because You are the God who saves! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

    One thing that has struck me lately is from the book “The Meaning of Marriage” by Tim Keller (I recommend it). He points out that we are commanded to love. Since it is a command, we must understand that love is not (just) a feeling, it is action. You see, God cannot command us to feel a certain way. We are not pre-programmed robots, but He can ask us to take action in obedience, and this is what love is. When we love our husbands we are to forsake ourselves, knowing and trusting fully that the Lord will care for us in every possible way (even more than we could ask or imagine), and instead be selfless servants. This is not a popular view in our culture, which says we must take care of ourselves, but that is precisely what God commands us not to do! So, perhaps you’ll want to pray Rochelle, and ask the Lord, “What does my husband need? How can I serve him?” I find that when we humble ourselves before the Lord and our husbands this way, the mountains we are faced with do indeed begin to move. God responds to our faith as we admit we can’t do it, we need Him and are willing to obey Him, since He is the one who truly knows both our hearts and the hearts of our husbands!

    To say the least, it is NOT too late! Lazarus was DEAD in the grave four days and all Jesus did was SPEAK life and Lazarus rose. Think about the power of your words, especially those words you pray in Jesus’ name, and trust God to move the mountains. God is with you and for you! He designed your marriage to last for life and He can get you through even the toughest times. Pray aloud in agreement with God, get in the Bible and let Him teach you and change you there, and then start praising Him and thanking Him for the great wonders He is about to do on your behalf. Even while you’re waiting for the changes outside, praise Him! He is not in a rush to make things easy, because He knows these trials will refine you as pure gold, but He is tender and will bring relief at just the right times!

    God bless you,


  • Rochelle says:

    Hello, my husband too has been asking for time alone. He told me that everyone needs time alone, but his idea of time alone is going out and playing cards until 2:30 in the morning, or going to his friends house and not bothering to come home until the next day, without phoning of course. We’ve been together for 15 years and now when I want to do things with my husband, he doesn’t, or he does but only after he gets to go out and do his own thing. I don’t need to be with him 24/7 but it would be nice if he spent at least one weekend with me without saying he’s bored. I love him more than anything, is it too late to save this marriage, am I hoping for too much?
    Thank you for you help if you have the time.

  • Sharon says:

    good article– i let my husband have all the space he needs hut we do things together too.

  • Mrs A says:

    Also he talks abt Space?that i never give him any space?He goes to gym and spend 2 hours there and i stay at home….he goes to work where im not with him…i dont even call him when hes at work…..also in the night i take children to bed at 9pm and i stay with em there and he comes in the room at 12 o clock…..n in this time he works on a computer or watches tele… this not a space????how much more space shall i give him? got friends in the city nobody to speak to….i get tired working all day running after children,cooking washing and cleaning….am i at fault that i sit with my husband n want to chat with him??i chat with him and he listens he never says anything and watches tele….i try to make it talk but he doesnt..??????????

  • Mrs A says:

    Hi,My husband and i always had a very good relationship but in the last 2 years things have changed alott.He always thought i was the important person in his life n shared his ups and downs with me,never kept anything secret from me.But in the last 2 years i dont remember that he ever spoke to me anything abt his feelings,his joys and sorrow.His best friend who is a male has alot of interference in our life and my husband listens to him alot.My husband shares everything with him and strange enough his friend tells me abt wats going on in my husband life??My husband fights with me if i argue with him abt his attachment with his friend/friends and i always get this impression that his best friend and other friends and also their wives are more important to him than i am.I am looking for the reason Why??i always tried my level best to keep him happy and compromised a 1000 times, but now im tired now,cant take it anymore….we fight fight n fight,n after 2 3 days we become normal again,things are left with no solution and again after a couple of days we fight?Help me somebody i want to save my marriage?

  • Brenda says:

    Zon and Yolanda, do you have counselling accessible to you? It is so important to learn who you are as a child of God, that you are valuable in His eyes, and that He loves you and wants the best for you. It would be wonderful if your husbands were willing to go, as well, but if they are not, and if you are unable to seek therapy for your own marital situations and to learn how valuable you are as children of God, I also would recommend Robert McGee’s book The Search for Significance. It is a wonderful resource to teach you how valuable you are in God’s eyes and that He wants you to be treated with tenderness and lovingkindness. Also, if you would like to speak to a mentor confidentially, you may fill out the form at the following link and one will respond to you promptly and with care and privately:

    God bless you both, and I pray you find peace in your lives and in your relationships.

  • Zon says:

    My husband has been trying to pursue a second marriage as I am afraid he thinks it’s ok to have to wife. He has been telling he won’t do anything withy consent and i said no! Then behind my back he go on Facebook and looking for old girlfriends and trying to talk to. He said he need space because he can’t do anything with me around and I just keep telling him that I can’t I follow him I become over obsess with protecting my marriage! He has done before and cheated on me! I forgave him! But I getting tired and restless trying to figure out why and wanting to give up! He change alot and been acting strange lately he said he times to be with God but what do I do should I him space? But I know it did last time and he cheated on me! So now am I over reacting ? I don’t know what to do should I just let it happen and her a divorce?

  • yolanda ayala says:

    My husband been distance from very snapping,always complaining what I did’t do right.Lately his been going out after midnight he says for breakfast without me..when I ask him can I come, he says he wants time for myself…He’s not a patient man,he could be verbal to me and insulting…I asking why he treats this way…and also he mimics me which that realy he having affair or his he talking to someone else….

  • Alice M says:

    I don’t think it should be an issue to be dealt with in a marriage. One should keep the marriage bed pure. God intended a man and a woman to commit to one another in body, mind, soul and spirit. It’s not a commitment or marriage otherwise. As far as most people would be concerned that is cheating.
    I could not share my spouse with another woman. I can hardly bear for him to notice another woman let alone touch her. I think it’s a dangerous game to play. I think you need to reassess your commitment and feelings for one another. If something hurts your spouse you should look at stopping that behavior, somehow.

  • Jennifer M says:

    My husband I are sleeping with the same woman. It started out as just me, but one night he asked if he could. I told him he could because he said he isn’t interested in her in anything more than being her friend. The last time he was there, he didn’t come home till 6:30 the following morning…
    After the first night he did it, I realized that I am uncomfortable with him doing it. But, he feels that because he didn’t explore his sexuality before we started dating, he needs this now.
    I’m just afraid the his feelings for her will change and he Won’t tell me. I asked him to tell me if they change… What should I do?

  • cfast says:

    Alice, women are always to quick to blame themselves. He is obviously dealing with something major to leave you before Christmas. Don’t let blame consume you this holiday. Power to Change offers a free and confidential mentoring program where you can speak with a trained mentor. If you need to speak to someone this Christmas, click here.

  • Alice M says:

    Hi, My husband left yesterday, day before Christmas eve. He had been asking for space for some time now and I was in panic, begging mode, literally on my knees begging. If anything it turned him totally off to the point of throwing the wedding ring off etc. I asked him to leave the house after I heard him making changes to his original 6 Jan 2011 flight arrangements. I was that hurt that he could want to leave at this special time of year. I was surprised to learn that asking for space really means that your spouse has one foot out the door already. Where have I been. I feel a little stupid if anything.
    How could I have prevented him wanting to leave? it must have been me.

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