Everything is going great! And then out of the blue, she suddenly pulls away, acts cold and indifferent, maybe even says things that are hurtful, says she needs “space.”
It’s like the sun was shining and then a cloud came over it and took all the warmth away.
Is it the end?
No! She’s just Girl-Caving and the good news is that it’s actually a sign that your relationship is going great! How weird and crazy is that?
In this blog, I’m going to teach you all about the Girl Cave, why it’s a crucial element to a healthy relationship (good job!), and how to communicate around this phenomenon so that no one’s feelings get hurt.
Ready? You’re going to love this. 😉
I started a new relationship 2 months ago. We’ve spent a large amount of time together in bliss, and we both seemed to really enjoy the attachment. My girlfriend has recently had out of town family members come to visit and between me and them had little time for herself. Is it appropriate and healthy for the relationship if she indicates she needs time apart from the relationship to take care of herself? It also seems on other occasions when she wants to take time for herself she pushes me away. She may say things that are hurtful just prior to or during our time apart. Is this normal?
Yes, totally normal and actually pretty common for women to go into “the girl cave.” I call it “Me-Time,” and I’ve created an entire 6-week course for women to honor their Me-Time in a healthy way to support their relationships!
Men Don’t Have a Monopoly on “The Cave”
Usually, when we speak of “the cave,” in MarsVenus lingo, the man is the one pulling away to regain his sense of self and independence — which is no surprise since Martians tend to love autonomy and Venusians tend to love community.
But this doesn’t mean men exclusively love being alone and women exclusively love being in relationships. Oh, no…we’re far more complex than that!
Sometimes, women feel the urge to pull away from a relationship when the intimacy gets too intense too quickly or the couple spends “too much” time together. At this point, SHE needs to reassert her sense of self and independence. And here’s why…
Why Women Pull Away
It feels wonderful to a woman when a man is attentive to her needs, when he takes care of her and makes her happy. He is literally sweeping her off her own two feet. But without solid ground beneath her, a woman can get lost in the strength and comfort of the arms holding her up.
At this point, the danger lies in becoming dependent upon her partner’s love for her. She loves herself through his eyes and forgets to do the work to love herself through her own.
Because he makes her happy, she becomes dependant on him to make her happy. With him taking care of her, she forgets to exercise the muscles she needs to take care of herself. At this point, the man has no room to make mistakes or pull away because her sense of worth and happiness is tied up into how well he loves her.
How HER Cave Time Benefits YOU
Let’s be honest, no matter how perfect you are, you are going to eventually make a mistake, have a bad day, say the wrong thing, or pull away for your own cave time.
And when that happens in this dynamic, “brown stuff” is gonna hit the fan.
Nobody wants that.
So, it is a woman’s responsibility in the relationship to create a sense of balance so that she can be receptive to your love but not become dependent upon it. (If you’re a woman and you’d like to learn how to do this, click here.)
You are lucky! You landed a woman with a built-in alarm system. At the times when she gets a little too comfortable with you holding up her weight and her “self-love” muscles start to weaken, a little alarm goes off in her subconscious. Uh-oh…the beginning of dependency is rearing its ugly head…BEEP BEEP BEEP!!!
The moment she hears her alarm go off, she jumps out of your arms and lands on her own two feet, determined to strengthen the muscles that have weakened through disuse.
She pulls away to reassert her joy in taking care of herself, her capability to fulfill her own needs, and to remind herself that she is more than just a relationship; she’s a full exciting person with lots going on and lots to fall back on should YOU ever pull away. Or you know, to continue the metaphor, should you ever drop her!
Why She Says Mean Things
The reason she gets kinda mean right before pulling away is that she doesn’t yet understand this need or her alarm system. She’s in the moment with you, feeling shmoopy and intimate, and suddenly she gets whiplash and has to get away from you.
WHAT is going on?!
So she lets little things you do get on her nerves so that she can justify pulling away — which in turn PUSHES you away.
Tada! Mission accomplished! She has time to herself!
It certainly gets the job done but it’s far from graceful, and it leaves you very confused with a little lingering whiplash of your own. There has to be a better way!
A Better Way
Instead of lashing out, it’s her job to set her boundary by asking for what she needs: time and space.
At the moment, she doesn’t have those tools, and she probably doesn’t know what’s happening to her. On a surface level, it appears you’ve suddenly gotten more annoying — but that’s not really what’s up. So it’s your job to have her read this blog post and initiate the conversation of finding a good way for her to set her boundary that works for both of you.
I recommend her saying something like this (with a smile and a hug):
“I am so enjoying my time with you — but I need to take some time for myself. It’s not that I don’t want to spend time with you, it’s that I need time alone. I love it when you make me happy, and I also love making myself happy, and right now I need to indulge that part of me. I would really appreciate it if you didn’t call or text me for a while. I promise to let you know the minute I’m ready to be close again.”
The Most Important Thing You MUST Do
You need to respect her boundary.
If you pout, show any signs of having your feelings hurt, if you try to talk her out of it, or become needy and follow her into her cave, you will pay the price. She will do one of two things:
1. She will never trust you again as you have shown your true colors. She asked you for what she needed, and you didn’t respect that request. She will apply this to the future and probably leave you.
2. She will feel guilty and will sacrifice her own needs to make you happy. This is not what a woman does for her man; this is what a mommy does for her son. She will lose attraction to you, and you can kiss your intimacy goodbye.
So handle her with care, sweep her off her feet until she feels the need to walk on her own. Then let her go. Just remember, the more balanced she feels, the more confidently she can fall in love with you. (And the more freedom you have to make mistakes!)
Want to strengthen your self-love muscles?
Increase intimacy with your partner?
Express your needs confidently?