What it means and what you should do if your girl says she loves you, to weeks later saying she needs space and feels suffocated.
In this video coaching newsletter, I discuss an email from a viewer who thought he met his dream woman in January of this year. By July, they were exchanging “I Love Yous” and planning their future together, to a few weeks later her saying she was feeling suffocated and needed space. She told him he was needy and clingy.
She says she is no longer in love with him and has basically friend zoned him, but still contacts him and wants to behave in a platonic way when they get together. My comments are in bold italics like this below in the body of his email.
This guy is like, “I don’t understand. I’m confused about this. We were saying ‘I love you’ and it’s like, I’m needy, I’m clingy, I need space?” So, he’s totally confused, because, like a lot of guys that don’t know any better, probably the majority of the men in the world, a woman’s emotions and feelings that she says to you are a reflection of how she feels in the moment. And guys make the mistake of going, “Well, she said ‘I love you’ a month ago, so she must still love me.” That’s like saying the weather report from a month ago applies to today’s weather. There’s no bearing. Mother Nature is constantly changing.
So, you have to understand, when a woman tells you something, that’s how she feels in the moment. A lot of guys will say, “Oh she told me she loved me six months ago,” or “two years ago when we got married, and I haven’t heard it since.” Well, if she’s not saying it anymore, then she’s not feeling it. So, that’s shocking, because guys are like, “Hey, my love never stopped.”
I love your videos, been watching them non-stop for the last couple weeks. Very great insight. My girlfriend of seven months has asked for space.
When a woman says I need space, it means she feels like she’s being smothered. And as the late, great Thich Nhat Hanh said, “You must love in such a way that the person you love feels free.” And so, what’s going on is she doesn’t feel free to come and go as she pleases. She feels like you’re controlling her and you’re smothering her.
Because the reality is, guys in your position, they feel the woman slipping away, she’s not as into it as she was, and they think, “I’ve got to fix this. I’ve got to fix her feelings,” if you will. “I’ve got to fix the way she feels about me.” And that’s not how it works. So they call more, they text more, they try harder. They make themselves extra available. They tolerate little signs of disrespect, because they don’t want to upset her. Because, again, they figure, “I’ve got to be extra nice, try to get her back to where she was.”
And what happens is they just end up chasing. As she backs off, they chase and pursue more. Then the power flips, and they go from being the masculine role in the relationship to the feminine role, and that ruins the sexual polarity. And then she really gets turned off, to the point where she doesn’t even have any romantic feelings anymore, because the sexual polarity is reversed.
She said she feels overwhelmed and suffocated. We started dating in January and hit it off immediately. We both said that we were the best people we’ve ever dated, and that we were both in the best relationships of our lives.
Well, there’s a lot of him referring to “we.” I mean, he said, “I love you” first, but you could tell, it seems like he’s the guy really saying these things first, and she’s going along with it or parroting it. And he can’t really tell how she really feels about him. That’s why it’s so important, the chapter I have in “3% Man,” “It’s All in the Numbers,” where I go through that. You’ve got to understand that because the woman’s interest changes in you, her romantic interest or romantic attraction is always in flux, just like the weather is always in flux. And it’s based on how you’re showing up.
We are in our 40s, so that’s saying something. We said “I love you” in early July.
Notice what he says next...
I said it first, but she immediately responded saying it too.
We then had one of the best weekends of our relationship and were all over each other for the next week or so. We talked about potentially moving in together at some point next year…
I would say, if I’m a betting man, he probably brought it up.
…and for her to meet my kids next year. We were talking about it…
Or maybe you were bringing it up and talking about it, and she was going along with it.
…then she suddenly freaked. She then started saying that I was needy and clingy.
So, probably once she said, “I love you,” he’s like, “Great, now we can plan our lives together.” And you just went into overdrive trying to lock her down, basically. So he, in essence, is focused on the relationship – bonding, connecting, opening up to receive love. He’s just basically a chick in his feminine energy, at this point. And so, looking at the guy he was in the beginning versus the guy he is now, in the beginning, he was a mysterious guy. It was a new thing, he was acting like a man. And now, he’s the chick in the relationship.
That she felt suffocated, and was losing her identity.
In other words, what that means is she’s going along with things to please you. Because she knows you’re really into it and doesn’t want to hurt your feelings. But the reality is he is way more into her than she is into him. And he doesn’t recognize that. He’s still thinking about, “Well, she told me a month ago, ‘I love you.’ It’s got to hold true today.” Nope. The weather ain’t the same today as it was a month ago, usually. If you live in South Florida, you know what I mean. We have a saying down here. If you don’t like the weather, don’t worry. In 15 minutes, it’s going to change.
Recently, she told me that she “feels dead inside.”
Ooh, that doesn’t sound good.
And while she still is interested in making things work with me, that she doesn’t love me anymore.
So, her feelings, her interest and attraction has dropped, because he’s taken on the feminine, girly role.
So, about 1 month from “I love you” to “I don’t love you anymore.”
It just means she’s not feeling those feelings, because you’re smothering her, you’re all over her. Women need space and time away from you to wonder about you, to think about you, and to miss you, and you never give her that. Every time she’s backed off, you start chasing after her. And the more she backed off, the more you chased and pursued and tried to force things. Because you’ll see, when we get further on down the email, he just wants to get back to the way things were before, and so he’s trying to force that to happen. Love is allowing. There’s no force in it.
It felt like a switch was flipped where we were madly in love and passionate, to no sex, no hand holding, nothing. She pulled away and asked for space.
You’ve got to understand, a woman’s feelings ebb and flow, just like the weather. It’s always in flux. Feminine energy is chaos. It’s never the same.
My question, and my confusion, is that she keeps reaching out to me – email, text, phone calls. Most of it is her sending me articles or videos about “anxious avoidant attachment” or “pursuer distancer relationships.”
The reality is you’re over pursuing this girl. And as far as the attachment, I know a lot of guys like to talk about that. And part of the problem is men read those things and they go, “Oh, this is the excuse for it.” At the end of the day, you can’t over pursue women. Even a normal, healthy woman, you can’t over pursue her, because they’re all going to feel the same thing.
So, from my perspective, seeing what she’s saying about how this guy is showing up is totally normal. Now, she may have anxious avoidant attachment and all these other things, but it really doesn’t matter, because even a woman without those things is going to respond the same exact way that this one is if he does this with a different woman. So, as a coach, we’ve got to get his behavior cleaned up. We’ve got to get him acting masculine consistently, instead of acting like a chick.
Because a lot of guys hear these things and they go, “Okay, I don’t have to do anything. It’s not my fault. She’s has anxious avoidant attachment, so it’s not my fault that I acted like a woman and turned her off and she’s got anxious, avoidant attachment.” The reality is, where is she? If she’s not sleeping with him anymore, then nothing’s going on. He’s in friend zone. And because he’s looking at that, he’s going, “Oh, well, she’s got this anxious avoidant attachment, so there’s nothing for me to fix, nothing for me to do. I’ll just keep on keeping on.” Instead of going, “She’s not attracted to me anymore. I chased her out of my life.”
All the while, she is blaming me for making her feel suffocated.
Well, that’s because you did this. You made her feel suffocated. You didn’t understand the ebb and flow of how women are. When she backed off like a cat backs off, you wanted to pick the kitty cat back up and forcibly put it back in your lap and pet it, even though it was done being pet. And if you do that enough, then the cat just wants to stay the hell away from you, because the cat doesn’t feel free. Kitty cats do what they want. Dogs, they never leave your side. They’re always there. They’re always happy that you’re there. Cats are kind of moody and finicky. When they get bored, they’re going to go do something else.
I don’t feel that I changed, but I will admit to being very excited about her feeling the same way for me as I felt for her.
That’s how he rationalizes his over pursuing and smothering behavior, “I was just really excited.” What happened was you felt that she was slipping away, and you’re reaching out to her became really about constantly trying to find out where you stood with her. And that’s not attractive. Men don’t do these things. Men who are comfortable, sure of themselves and feel secure in their skin, they don’t behave this way.
I keep telling her that I just want things to go back to the way they were.
Well, you can’t flip a switch and make that happen. It takes time for women to fall in love, and it takes time for them to fall out of love. It took time for her to fall in love with you. And when you started over pursuing, and acting needy, and trying to force things, that caused her to fall out of love. And in order for her to redevelop those feelings, you need to back off and give her the space she’s asked for.
And she keeps telling me that I am putting too much pressure on the relationship.
Yeah, because probably every time they talk, he’s trying to fix things. He’s like, “What’s going on? Where are you at? What are you thinking?” I don’t think he’s read the book yet. He’s trying to cherry pick from videos, even though by now, if he’s watched as many videos he’s claimed, I’d say constantly read this book, 10 to 15 times. You’ve got to learn the basic fundamentals.
But he’s lazy, and he hasn’t read the book, and he figures, “Oh, well, I’m going to be a little different. I’ll just cherry pick from these videos and I’ll fix everything.” It’s not working for you, bro. You’ve still got blue balls. So, you’ve got to follow instructions and you’ve got to participate in your own rescue. You’re not going be able to save this by just cherry picking a few videos here and there without learning the fundamentals. That’s a fact of life. If you’re not willing to read the book, then you deserve to lose her.
One way or another, life is going to teach you, either through pain or through success of doing the right thing – pain because you didn’t listen, success and positivity because you did.
She said that she wants to start over again. She wants to keep the “boyfriend/girlfriend” label and to remain exclusive, but wants to just hang out, have fun, (but not hook up). She said hooking up makes her feel suffocated.
You’ve got to say, “There’s no way I’m going to stay committed to you as your boyfriend and let the world be thinking that you’re my girlfriend if we’re no longer sleeping together. If you’re telling me that sleeping with you makes you feel suffocated, then we won’t be spending any time together and I don’t want to be talking to you. I’m not in a relationship with you.”
“What you have done is you have unilaterally changed the terms of our relationship to a platonic friendship. That’s not what I signed up for, and I’m not interested in that at all. So, please don’t ask me to do that. If you want a chance to fix things or rekindle things, we can slow it down a little. That’s fine with me. But I’m not going to be your platonic friend and then take myself out of the dating game, take myself off the market while you figure it out. This is not what men do.” So, you will have to have a conversation with her about that.
How should I handle this? I would be happy to give her all the “no contact” time she needs to figure her stuff out, but she keeps reaching out to me.
I’d love your advice!
As I talk about in “7 Principles To Get An Ex Back,” when she reaches out, you should assume she wants to see you and invite her over to make dinner at your place in the evening. You’re not going to go to lunch. You’re not going to pick her up. You’re not going to meet her for a friendly coffee. You’re not going to do Skype video. You’re only interested in getting together to make dinner at your place in the evening. Because you’ve got to look at it from this perspective; she has to earn another chance with you, not the other way around. She blew this relationship up, therefore, she’s got to fix it. Not you. She has to fix it.
You have to fix your behavior – your unattractive, unmasculine, feminine, girly, needy, neurotic, over pursuing type of beta male behavior. You’ve got to knock that shit off. Women don’t like it. They’re not attracted it. I don’t give a damn, their attachment doesn’t matter. It does not matter. What matters is that you act like a man. Now, she may still be a fruit loop. That remains to be seen. But if you don’t get right with this girl, you’re going to turn the next woman off for the same exact reasons. You cannot behave this way with women. It’s unattractive.
If you look at the older movies 60, 70, 80 years ago, the black and white ones, women were always trying to get the men’s attention. Men were the ones that didn’t want anything to do with settling down, and family, and commitments, and the white picket fence and all that stuff. They wanted nothing to do with that. They just wanted to live their lives and build their empire. And eventually, a fair maiden came along that was so irresistible they would say, “Okay, you’re right. I do want to make you happy. Let’s be happy. We’ll live happily ever after.” But nowadays, what you see in the movies and TV is the exact opposite. The dude acts like the woman, and the woman acts like the dude. It’s cute on video, but it doesn’t work in the real world. It turns women off.
So, if she reaches out, assume she wants to see you. Just say, “Hey, let’s get together and make dinner together.” And if she says, “No, let’s meet for coffee,” or “I just want to talk,” just say, “I’d love to see you, but I’m not interested, because what we’ve got going on right now is a friendship. We’re not in a relationship. You’re not my girlfriend, I’m not your boyfriend. I know you said you wanted to keep those labels, but if we’re not sleeping together, we’re nothing. I’m not down with just being your buddy or your pal. So, if you want to talk, come on over. We’ll make dinner together.”
And so, from this point forward, the furthest distance that you should be willing to travel to see her is the distance that it takes to go from wherever you are in your house to your front door to let her in when she comes over to make dinner together. She’s got to come over for three dates in a row to make dinner at your place. It’s the only thing you’re going to be willing to do. And if she tries to get you to come to her place, or go to lunch, or meet out at the park and sit on a park bench, you’re not going to agree to it.
You’re going to give her this excuse. You can say, “Hey, it’s been a long week. I’m just in the mood to hang at my place. If you don’t want to come over, then give me a call in a couple of weeks, and maybe I’ll be up for meeting you out then.” You’ve just got to remind her, you’ve got to say, “Look, I’m just not interested in that. You broke things off .” If she says, “Well, we’re still together,” it’s like, “No, we’re not. We’re not sleeping together. We’re not even seeing each other. There’s no hand holding. There’s nothing going on. We don’t have a relationship anymore. And I’m not going to stay committed to you exclusively when you’re making no effort to spend time together in person.”
“If you want to see me, if you want to talk to me, come over, we’ll make dinner together and we’ll have a wonderful evening. If you don’t want to do that, then get in touch when you do. I don’t want to be emailing and texting and talking back and forth. If you’re not going to make the effort to make things work between us, then I’m going to move on with my life, and you can move on with yours. And I wish you all the best.”
“We had a we had a nice little romance for a few months, but you unilaterally changed the terms of it, and I’m not interested in platonic friendship. That’s just not going to work for me. And don’t bring it up again. Don’t ask me to do it. I don’t care what the reasons or the excuses are. It just doesn’t work for me. I’m not interested in that. If you want my time, if you want a chance to fix things with me, if you want a second chance with me, well, you’re going to have to make more of an effort than you are. And you’re not.”
“And if you’re not willing to make the effort, I don’t want to talk to you, I don’t want to see you, I don’t want to hear from you. I don’t want emails, I don’t want texts. If you’re interested in sex and romance, I’d love to see you. If you just want to hang out and be pals or me to be your digital pen pal, I’m not down with that. I’m sure you’ve got plenty of girlfriends that you can call and do that with. That just doesn’t work for me.” And you have to be firm about it.
Obviously, you’re going to phrase it a tactful way, but this is the bottom line. Because what’s happening is she sensed all this weakness in you, and she’s basically causing you to act like a performing, dancing seal. You’re jumping through your butt, jumping through the hoops for her, when in reality she should be on her best behavior, trying to get another chance with you. You’re willing to give her a chance, but she’s going to come to your place and make dinner together. You’re not going to go meet her out or pick her up or any of that stuff.
So, you need to watch the “7 Principles To Get An Ex Back” video, and you need to read the article, and be prepared to answer her objections. And also, you should be reading “3% Man.” The other thing is, you’ve got to let her do 100% of calling, texting and pursuing, because trying to pursue her, or call her, or contact her or anything, you already did too much of that. That’s why you’re in friend zone now. And that’s why you have blue balls, because you switched the roles. You became the woman and she became the man, and she didn’t like it. That’s why she lost attraction, and that’s why she fell out of love with you. She is not feeling it, because you stopped acting like a man and started acting like an insecure little girl. So, it’s extremely unattractive. You just can’t do these things.
So, it’s a simple solution, where you’re at, but you’ve got to participate in your own rescue. You’ve got to do these things if you want to have a chance. And so, if she agrees to make dinner together, and she comes over, and you hang out, you have fun, you hook up, as long as you do that three times in a row, then you can meet her out and pick her up. But you’ve got to let her do 100% of the pursuing, and then just wait to hear from her.
If she sends you an email, let it sit there for 24 hours, and then send a message back with a smiley face, or Lol, or something. But if she calls you or texts you, try to invite her to come over to make dinner together. And only ask her two times in a row. If she gives you an excuse, say, next time she reaches out, you try to make dinner plans with her at your place and she gives you an excuse, “I’m not ready,” then you’re just going to say, “Okay. Well, I’m not interested in platonic friendship, and that’s where we are right now. We’re not together, we’re not boyfriend/girlfriend, and I’m not interested in being your friend. If you’re interested in romance, then come on over and we’ll make dinner together. And if you’re not interested in romance, then I don’t want to hear from you.”
“You need to respect my message. This is not what I signed up for, and I’m not interested in this. So, unless you’re dying to see me, I don’t want to hear from you.” And then, say she reaches out a few days later, you say “Hey, awesome to hear from you. I’d love to see you. Let’s get together and make dinner. What’s your schedule like?” And if she goes, “Oh, I’m not ready yet. I just wanted to see how you were,” just say, “Well, like I told you last time, I’m not interested in being your friend, and I don’t want to hear from you until you want to come see me.”
And then, from that point forward, because now you’ve asked two times in a row and she still won’t come over, then the next time she reaches out, send a couple of messages back and forth, talk two or three minutes and say, “Hey, it was nice to hear your voice, but I’ve got to run. Keep in touch. Talk to you later. Bye.” And then, get off the phone. One of two things will happen; she’ll either bring up getting together, or she’ll stop contacting you.
And also, if she won’t come over and make dinner plans, then you’re going to have to tell her in that conversation that you’re not together anymore, you’re not boyfriend/girlfriend, you don’t have a future together, and you’re not committed to her anymore. And you’re going to get back on the dating apps. Because, if I’m not mistaken, that’s how they met. I could be wrong. But you’re going to get back on the dating apps. And if she ever changes her mind in the future and wants to work things out, you’ll give her a chance. But if you get serious with somebody else, then “it’s been real.” So, that is the best way to handle the situation.
So, if you’ve got a question or a challenge and you’d like to get my help, go to UnderstandingRelationships.com, click the Products tab at the top of your screen and book a coaching session with yours truly.
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