He aggressively pursued me, now he needs space. Is this an excuse?

Raychealjoy asks:

Been dating a guy for a month now. From the beginning he has initiated communication every day and initiates date plans. We saw each other about 4 times a week all invitations by him. I showed my appreciation and loved the amount of communication and hanging out. I’m almost sure the feelings are mutual, at least to me it is. We had plans to hang out this weekend that he apparently had forgotten about so he didn’t text me until the next day and said he needed space, and that he feels pressured to talk and hang out everyday especially in the beginning of our relationship.

Knowing that I have let him set the pace and that I really don’t mind not talking as much or hanging out, this really offends me. On a side note, I noticed he added a woman on his fb over the weekend, which in his case is random (at least I think it is). Not sure if that bit of information means anything or if I’m reading into that too much.

What to do? Is this just an excuse to get out of seeing me?

Demetrius says:

I’m a big believer in the idea that people tell you exactly who they are when you date them, given a long enough timeline. People either go in to dating with their true self on display in the beginning or they show you who they are after they lose the will or patience to keep up their front. It seems to me like the latter is this case with this guy. He held up his front for a while, but now he’s reverted to his true self. If I had to guess why, well there are two probable reasons: He’s moved on to trying to pursue a new woman OR You’ve had sex and that was his main goal.

You might be thinking to yourself that it’s quite the leap to make but just hear me out. Here’s what we know about your situation. He aggressively pursued you by initiating contact and making date plans. He managed to squeeze in seeing you 4 times a week, all by his invitation. Based on this info, it’s safe to say you’ve hung out at least 16 times (4 weeks by 4 times a week). To me, that sounds like a very smart and effective way to build up a connection and go on several dates in a very short time frame. If you see someone more than half the month, you’re sure to connect, and based on the fact that most people have sex with a new partner after 3 dates, I think I’m safe in saying that you were intimate, or at minimum, have gotten pretty far in the sexual part of your relationship. After all of this, all the time he put into spending time with you at his own behest, he suddenly said he needs space? I’d say it’s interesting or uncommon but I’d be lying to you. It’s fairly clear that he’s moved on and because he set the tone for the relationship, he also built-in his own excuse for wanting to leave/get space. It’s a very clever way to date, because he not only gets what he wants, he also causes you to have some doubts about him. This way, he can put you on the backburner and have a great way to walk back into your life. If he resurfaces next month and says “I thought about it, I don’t need space” you might be inclined to bring him back into your life. All very clever, so I would advise not falling for it.

I could be wrong, and I’ve been wrong before but I’m strongly feeling like his need for space is an excuse. The good thing is, even if I’m wrong, what you do next really doesn’t change at all though. When people ask you for something when it comes to dating, especially things like space, distance, or anything that you feel might cause a distance to develop, I always give people the same advice: Give it to them. Some people think that you should try to fight for the people you like, but I think you should fight for the people you like if they are willing to fight for you. If a person asks for distance, whether it’s an excuse or they truly need distance, your response should not change, you give them what they are asking for. Once they get what they are asking for, you need to ask yourself what you want. Do you want someone who doesn’t need space? Do you need someone who wants to spend 4 days a week with you? Great, go out and get that. When a person asks for space it’s usually in the early stages of dating when you’re in the limbo between single and taken. I’m guessing that you’re single, but this applies to the folks that are in a relationship as well. If you’re single, go out and date other people. Give them the space they asked for, and make use of all your space by meeting new people. If you’re not single, ask your partner very clearly if the space means seeing other people. If they say yes, go out and meet new people. If they say no, ask them to clarify exactly what they mean by space, because you don’t want to sit on your hands while they are out there getting all the “Space” they want.

What it all comes down to is not waiting for someone, especially if that someone is a person who changes drastically early on. If someone wants space, give it to them, and give yourself the gift of space to date other people.

Good Luck Out There.

2 Replies to “He aggressively pursued me, now he needs space. Is this an excuse?”

  1. “based on the fact that most people have sex with a new partner after 3 dates”

    Uh, citation please? You can’t pull a random statistic out of thin air with no scientific evidence to back it up. Given that most people don’t exclusively pursue casual relationships, I’m calling bullshit on this claim.

    1. Thanks for your comments. Quick note. I appreciate my readers, and I definitely appreciate scrutiny because believing what I say and having it grounded in fact are really important to me. To your point, yes I neglected to cite this claim, you’ve got me there. However, there’s a polite way to say “Hey, where’d you get this number from?” and it’s another thing to come at it from a place of hostility. No need to be rude about it.

      In the interest of intellectual honesty, here are some citations:

      According to a TimeOut study in 2015 the average number of dates people wait until having sex is 3.53

      In an OkCupid report from 2015, based on user responses, most people reported that 3-5 dates is an appropriate amount of time to wait to have sex (second highest was 1-2 dates, the 6 or more dates, and finally “after the wedding was last”)

      The majority of respondents for a Business Insider survey from 2013 said that 2-5 dates is an acceptable amount of time to sleep with someone

      Now, maybe the sentence should have read as “based on the fact that a statistically significant survey population from several independent studies show that the average amount of time people think it’s acceptable to have sex with a new partner, and/or actually have sex with a new partner seems to fall between the 3rd and 5th date” but that doesn’t really flow all that well, and this blog isn’t really an intellectual work, so I tend to avoid the sort of specificity of language you’d see in a case study.