What Does It Mean When a Guy Says He's Confused & He Needs Time to Think?

Try not to overreact when your boyfriend says
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Relationships are always challenging, but especially so during the discovery years when you are trying to answer the questions “Who am I?” and “What do I want?” Everything you choose, from school courses to a job to whom you date, says something about who you are. Making those choices can be difficult. So what if you are confident you are with the right guy, but he says he’s confused and needs time to think. What exactly does that mean?

1 Don't Assume It Is You

It may mean exactly what he has said -- that’s he’s confused and needs time to think. True, he may be struggling with whether you are a good match, but he may be struggling with something entirely different, even unrelated. His friends may be pressuring him to be single or his mother to get married. He may have a lot of things on his plate and feel he can’t be a good boyfriend or give you all that you deserve. The most important thing is to try not to overreact or start assuming the relationship is doomed.

2 Vulnerability and Control

Realize it’s natural for a guy to pull back at times. It can be a form of healthy boundary setting. Relationships require vulnerability, which can be uncomfortable and unsettling. While it’s possible there is a relationship issue, it’s also entirely possible he just needs a little space to re-ground himself.

3 Tension Is Good

Balance requires tension, whether you're walking a tightrope or doing a yoga pose. You may be moving toward him too much too fast and he is looking to establish a counterbalance. The best thing to do is step back and give him the opportunity to move inward again.

4 STEP Back to Consider

STEP is an acronym for Stop Think Evaluate Proceed, and is a commonly taught decision making strategy. Whether he is considering moving the relationship forward or ending it, take comfort in the fact he is taking time to consider rather than rushing forward in a relationship that might make you both miserable.

5 What Does Your Response Mean?

Take a moment to stop wondering what he means, and ask yourself what your response means. His request probably brought up a lot of emotions in you. Honor those emotions, but once you've let the raw feeling out -- away from him! -- sit down and ask yourself why you are feeling it. If you are panicked, you may discover that you are in the relationship because you are scared about being single again, not because he is the most wonderful thing since sliced bread.

6 Just Breathe

The fact is, until he is ready to share, you can’t know what is on his mind. Trying to guess what's going on with him will only make you crazy. So try to simply take him at his word. He’s confused and needs time to think. It’s not good. It’s not bad. It’s just how it is at this particular moment. Remember that old saying: "If you love something, set it free. If it comes back to you, it’s yours. If it doesn't, it never was.”

Sherry L. Huckabee graduated from the University of Miami School of Law. Although much of her career has been in the law, her BA in psychology has also served her well through raising birth, step and adopted children, and in endeavors including managing, teaching and traveling. She writes regularly on law, health, yoga, fitness, relationships, psychology and travel.