Find answers to some of the more frequently asked questions on the Forums.

Forums guidelines

Our guidelines keep the Forums a safe place for people to share and learn information.

Feeling of safety after separation?

Community Member

Hi Everyone,

I have a question which confuses me. Is it normal after the finalisation of a separation that you feel a very strong need to have your safe space (e.g. at home)? My partner has recently finalised his marital separation (e.g. house packed up etc.) and he had always felt safe in my place and stayed over many times (they were already separated and living separately then but not all finalised). But five weeks ago, when everything was finalised and she left, he kind of ended up suffering a lot emotionally. Not missing her but just the whole loss thing. Since then, he has been anxious about staying over at my place and so he always leaves in the evening when we see each other. He says it is nothing to do with me at all and that he really enjoys his time with me but then, all of a sudden, it is like a voice in his head says "Ok, it's time to go to your safe space at home now". And then he needs to leave shortly after because he becomes restless. Is that normal?

I am scared that this is the new norm. We had trips away planned and had to cancel them because he is terrified of travelling with me. He would be fine to visit a friend and stay at his place but he's scared / uncomfortable staying overnight with me. I do not understand this. He is a fearful-avoidant attachment type currently working on childhood issues that probably caused him to fear vulnerability. But he doesn't understand himself why he feels like this although we had already done all these things. He isn't afraid of intimacy at all, he just does not feel comfortable staying overnight.

I find this very hard because I don't understand and because I am scared that this will stay. Is it possible that he is just too emotionally overwhelmed and needs a bit more time to process everything? He is often emotionally drained, tired, lacking ability to concentrate, having a million thoughts, feeling like he constantly has chores waiting for him which makes him stressed... So I was just wondering if anyone can make sense of this for me. I am not pushing him at all but I am really scared that this will all stay in this strange new rut. Why does he need his safe space so urgently although he says he trusts me 100% and thanks me for my support all the time? I don't get it... he usually preferred being at my place over his because everything there reminded him of the failed marriage. Now it's like he is seeking it and he says, sometimes he just spends hours there in peace and silence. Is that it?

1 Reply 1

Community Member

Hi LifeTimeDreamer,

This is a big question. It is so difficult to understand what another person is going through after a relationship break up. The finalisation of a separation can bring a lot of emotion. It is perfectly normal to feel worry if a person you care for suddenly has a change in their behaviours. It might be that he just needs so space and time in his new role as an 'official' single person. This is difficult to say with out asking him directly. I am sorry that you are feeling so worried and stressed. Waiting for someone to work things out can be such a hard time.

What you can change is the support you can give to yourself during this time. Sometimes taking the focus back onto you can be really helpful. What could you do to re-centre your energy onto what makes you feel good? I wonder if you have a close friend or someone you trust who you are able to talk with regularly? Or a hobby that you engage with that makes you feel strong? If it feels good, maybe post more of your story on the forum?

Finding balance in a relationship is not always easy. Sometimes the balance can tip one way or the other when there are difficulties or big changes. Finding the balance again after a change can take time and energy from both parties. I hope that you and your partner are able to work together and find the right balance.

Wishing you the best possible outcome,

Nurse Jenn