Space is an important part of any healthy relationship. Yet many couples struggle with when and how to give each other that space. If your boyfriend is suddenly acting strange, try not to panic. In many cases, guys just need a little breathing room to process their feelings or to work through personal dramas.

The Disappearing Act

Guys who are feeling overwhelmed often resort to pulling a disappearing act. If he stops returning calls and texts, is always busy with his friends or comes up with excuses not to see you, something is definitely on his mind. It is possible that he already has one foot out the door, but your reactions can have an impact on how things ultimately play out. Avoid the urge to push for more closeness, suggests relationship expert Kristin Marchant in her article "How to Act When He Needs Space" on YourTango.com. Instead, vent your feelings elsewhere and then take the opportunity to focus on your own needs and interests.

Having “The Talk”

Some guys take the direct approach. Your boyfriend might tell you directly that he wants space. This talk generally takes one of two directions. Some guys claim that the break is their fault, while others try to blame you. However he approaches the conversation, try not to argue or beg. Maintain your dignity by thanking him for his honesty. Asking questions about his thoughts and feelings is fine, but pressuring him to reconsider will only cause him to retreat. If you want to express your continued desire to reunite, write him a letter.

Creating Emotional Distance

Some guys are so subtle that is tough to discern what they really want. This type of boyfriend will continue to spend time with you, return calls and even initiate texts. Yet your conversations seem less personal than they did before. Figuring out that your boyfriend wants space might mean trusting your gut. If you feel a subtle shift in the nature of your relationship, ask him about it in a clear and direct yet loving manner.

Building Healthy Space

To move forward, take active steps to build healthy space in your relationship. It is easy to get so wrapped up in a relationship that you lose track of your separate interests and needs. Make the intentional choice to honor your own needs and those of your partner. Create time in your relationship for each of you to act independently, such as a weekly night out with your individual friends. Foster open communication in which each of you feels free to express your feelings and desires.