What it really means when a guy says “he needs time to figure himself out”

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You just met someone, things are going well. 

You have charming dates, relish in each other’s company, text and call each other often and feel like you are sharing deep parts of yourself with someone who cares. 

Then, he drops a bomb:

“I need some time for myself.”

Followed by the far-from-redemptive, second jab: 

“It’s nothing personal.”

We’ve all been there. It’s shocking. Like the world is pulled from underneath you. 

But there is a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s not as bad as it feels right now. It’s a great sign that he’s saying this. 

I’ll break down what it means when a man says that he needs to figure out his life. Let’s jump right in. 

1) He is starting to care about you but doesn’t have his life together

When a man says that he needs time, it’s because he’s acknowledged that you matter to him. 

I know, I know. It hurts like hell. But you could think of it as a compliment. 

He cares enough about you to want some space to work out why and to see how and if you fit into his life properly. He’s not going to waste your time or his. 

So few of us have our lives together, and trying to figure out how that can work with someone else can feel like a giant hurdle. 

But the sooner he checks in with himself, the sooner it means you can be honest with one another about the relationship you share. 

Whether together or apart, isn’t that better than being strung along in ambivalence and confusion?

2) He’s afraid to invest his heart only to discover that this isn’t the right relationship for him

If a man takes time for himself, it can be that he is trying to work out how he feels about you and how he feels about you fitting into his life. 

He might have gotten carried away by all his positive emotinos fo you, and now feel scared. 

While this may be frustrating, it’s a good sign: it means that he cares enough about you and your potential relationship together that he wants to explore it fully before investing more of his heart. 

It also means he’s human. 

We all hesitate and have fears. 

Being honest and committing to someone takes a great deal of trust and courage. 

He needs to check in with himself to make sure he is doing that he says, with both him and you.

3) He knows that you’ll be in his life long-term 

He’s trying to figure out if he wants to keep you around in the long-term, he might need to step back and get a wider perspective. 

He knows that he won’t be able to shake you and that he’ll have an opportunity to get to know you in a very intimate way. 

It means that he cares about the details. He might be thinking about old flames, finances, career goals, and what kind of life he can share with you. 

He might be looking for a long-term relationship and is trying to factor you into his life for years and years to come. But he needs the mental space to gain his confidence and make his plan. 

You might be triggering his “hero instinct”, and driving him to commit to a relationship, but he’s not sure how to provide for you. 

The concept of the hero instinct is generating a lot of buzz at the moment. 

If you haven’t heard about it yet it’s an instinctive need that men have to step up to the plate for the woman in their lives. 

When a man genuinely feels like your special hero, he’ll become more loving, attentive, and committed to being in an honest relationship with you. 

And this will make him treat you differently from anyone else he has ever met. 

But how do you trigger this instinct in him?

The trick is to make him feel like a hero authentically. And there are key things you can say and special messages you can send to him to trigger his innate biological instinct within. 

If you want some help doing this, check out James Bauer’s excellent free video here.

The hero instinct is one of the most fascinating concepts I’ve come across, because sometimes I stay too focused on myself and forget to think about what my partner truly needs in our relationship. 

Here’s a link to his unique video again.

4) He knows that if it doesn’t work out, it may kill any hope of a future with him

If a man says he needs time for himself, he might be trying to do the right thing by you and by himself. 

He might be afraid of losing his friendship and relationship with you. So often, our romantic relationships can go sideways and cause us a great deal of suffering and pain. It hurts to lose someone we care about. 

If he’s taking a moment to step back, it can mean that he’s concerned with whether or not a relationship is right rather than trying to excuse his behavior. 

This shows that he cares about you and about the relationship you have together. 

He knows that if he isn’t careful, it will negatively affect your relationship or may even lead to heartbreak down the line.

5) He knows what he wants

A man might step back from a relationship because he wants to make sure that he’s making the right decision. 

He might be dating other people, or have other ambitions that are taking priority over you

While it may sting right now, realize that he’s going to focus on himself

This is also a great reminder that you can do the same. You don’t have to let his decisions hold you back from living your life. 

6) He’s more interested in someone else

If a man needs time away from your relationship, it can be a sign that he is interested in someone else. 

Perhaps he has a woman in his past that he is still not over. 

Perhaps he has a friend or someone else that he dates that he has feelings for. 

He needs time away from you because his heart might be with someone else. He needs to explore this. And he should do this while he’s not in a relationship with you. 

This relates to what I mentioned earlier about the hero instinct

When a man is made to feel needed, wanted, and respected, he’s more likely to step in and commit. 

It might take him some time to figure out how to do this, but if he isn’t coming back, it can be because he doesn’t feel like you fundamentally need him. 

Learning more about the hero instinct can help you see if it’s something that you are overlooking in your relationships. 

And it’s as simple as knowing the right things to say to help him feel like man he’s always wanted to be.

All of that and more is revealed in this excellent free video by James Bauer. 

Here’s a link to the free video again

7) He’s trying to fight his attraction to you

If a man says that he needs time, he may be uncomfortable or even afraid of the feelings you evoke within him.  

You might make him feel like he loses a sense of power and control in his life. 

He might be trying very hard to push you away and wants space to re-evaluate how he feels about you and your relationship together. He might not be ready to want to commit and connect with someone. 

He simply might not trust you. 

He might need time apart to figure out if he has feelings for you or if his feelings are something that he can trust at the moment. 

8) He doesn’t know how to break up with you

When a man says “I need time” it means that he is trying to decide whether or not he likes you and the idea of dating you.  

To be honest, if he’s questioning this, he probably isn’t so into your relationship at the moment. 

There are really only two ways that relationships go, we either move towards one another or diverge away from one another. 

He’s choosing to diverge at the moment. So let him. 

You can’t control how someone feels or do anything to win their love and affection. The hardest thing is to accept reality as it is. Is it so terrible that he doesn’t want to be with you

Nah, it’s ok. Thank you, next!

Time to check in with yourself

When a man says that he needs time for himself, how do you react? 

Do you feel rejected or hurt? Does this cause you a great deal of suffering? 

Feelings of abandonment and rejection are normal reactions, but they don’t have to be the only ones. If you are having a difficult time letting go of what you thought you had with this man, it’s a great time to check in with yourself. 

So often we wait for others to fix our lives or come in and rescue us from issues we are facing. 

So often we feel lonely and want someone else to uplift us and make us feel better.

But that raises the question:

Why does love so often start great, only to become a nightmare? 

And what’s the solution to feeling more at ease with being alone?

We all feel lonely. But we can also feel lonely even when we are in relationships. 

The answer is contained in the relationship you have with yourself. 

I learned about this from the insightful shaman Rudá Iandê. He taught me to see through the lies we tell ourselves about love and become truly become connected with our glorious being. 

As Rudá explains in his talk on Love and Intimacy, love is not what many of us think it is. 

Many of us are self-sabotaging our love lives without realizing it. 

We can get upset when someone leaves us, even when the relationship is difficult and toxic. 

We wait around for someone else to try to make us feel better when we have the power to do that for ourselves. 

We need to face the facts about why we hold on so tightly to our ideals of being in a relationship. 

Far too often we chase an idealized image of someone and build up expectations that are guaranteed to be let down.

Far too often we fall into codependent roles and we lose our sense of self while trying to “fix” our partner. 

Far too often we end up in a miserable, bitter routine with someone because we think it will make us happy. 

But the reality is, the more you can tune into yourself and offer yourself the attention and care that you crave from someone else, the less it will matter if you are in a relationship or not. 

You can both be free to be as you need and please with one another. 

Remember, ultimately, the most important relationship you have is the one with yourself. 

If you’re heading back into the dating scene after a long time, it’s really hard to get used to new people and interactions. 

It can feel intimating. But the more you can love yourself, the easier this will be. 

The best thing to do is just keep your head up and be glad that you aren’t being strung along with false hopes. 

When a guy says he needs time, don’t worry too much about it.

Just move on, living the one glorious life that you have. 

Can a relationship coach help you too?

If you want specific advice on your situation, it can be very helpful to speak to a relationship coach.

I know this from personal experience…

A few months ago, I reached out to Relationship Hero when I was going through a tough patch in my relationship. After being lost in my thoughts for so long, they gave me a unique insight into the dynamics of my relationship and how to get it back on track.

If you haven’t heard of Relationship Hero before, it’s a site where highly trained relationship coaches help people through complicated and difficult love situations.

In just a few minutes you can connect with a certified relationship coach and get tailor-made advice for your situation.

I was blown away by how kind, empathetic, and genuinely helpful my coach was.

Click here to get started.