Girl Talk: How Much Space Is Too Much In A Relationship?

We’ve all dated a jerk at some point in our lives, and if you haven’t yet, you will. Like they say, you have to kiss a bunch of frogs to find your prince, right? Well, needless to say I’ve kissed my fair share of frogs and still no prince. But each frog I’ve dated has taught me at least one valuable lesson, if not more. One lesson I learned from an ex-frog is that if you give a guy a little rope to work with it might actually bring him closer to you, but give him too much rope and he will hang himself. My ex and I had been dating for a little over a year and while the relationship was not too healthy to begin with, my clingy habits and his lack of attentiveness simply did not work. I was a little princess who wanted a prince on a white horse, not a derelict without a college degree. When it came to how much space we needed as individuals, we were opposites.

He liked his space, and a lot of it. He often lied a lot about silly things like when he would call or what time he was going to come over. He was very selfish, he wasn’t emotional, and he hated talking on the phone. On the other hand, I am what some would call an attention whore. I liked talking to him all day long. Whether it was via texting, BlackBerry messaging, emailing, or on the phone, I wanted to know what he was doing, who he was with, and where he was at all times. I don’t know if this was because he cheated on me with some chick while on Spring Break or because I was simply crazy.

Eventually he had any excuse in the book to not call or hang out and was taking more space away from our relationship than ever before. He claimed it was my clingy behavior that pushed him away. It never occurred to me that maybe he just wasn’t the one for me. After countless arguments and tears, we decided there was only one thing left to do. We sat down as a couple and decided to discuss what we both wanted to change about each other in order to make our relationship work. I asked him to be a bit more attentive with me. I wanted him to call at least once a day and if he couldn’t answer a text message or email right away, simply tell me he’s busy, rather than not answer at all.

He told me that he would do the things I asked of him and in return he did not want to be hounded all day at work. He also asked that instead of causing a fight over every little thing, I pick and choose my battles wisely. At that time, I guess this seemed like a fair proposition and I would try my hardest to comply. I gave him the space that he wanted and he was a bit more attentive in return. However, all in all, he was getting space and less arguments and all I was getting was one phone call from my boyfriend daily and the occasional response of “I’m too busy right now.”

For the first month of this new deal, I thought we were happier than ever. We were talking daily, he was telling me about his day at work, he wanted to spend time together and only ditched me once a week rather than having numerous excuses why he couldn’t hang out at the last minute. Then I stopped expecting things of him, but still gave him his space. He slowly but surely returned to his old ways. He stopped calling and became too busy for our relationship again. I convinced myself that everyone makes mistakes — but that was mine. I didn’t put my foot down and demand he follow through. Instead I gave him too much rope to work with and eventually he took complete advantage of me. After two years of these stupid games, I left that frog.

I realized there is truth to the statement if you give your partner some rope they will come closer, but too much rope and they will hang himself. If you allow someone to do what they want to do and how they want to do it, just know they will probably go back to their old ways. You can’t change others — the only person you can change is yourself. Thankfully, I did.