“Dear Dee…” He needs time and space. Trouble being heard.

By Donna Rustigian Mac, “Dear Dee” Advice Columnist

Dear Dee – Episode 13

Well hello—it’s Dee…with your communication advice for the week…so you can speak your truth, be clear, forthright and influential. Let’s create healthy human connections….and trusted relationships in your personal and professional life.  

Listen to my advice, by clicking on this audio – or read it, below!

Dear Dee,

My friend is currently in a relationship that he does not want to be in. It is not because he doesn’t like this person but it’s because he says he needs space for himself. The problem is he doesn’t think his partner can handle separation at this time. How do I communicate with him that he needs to do what’s best for him without him getting stressed out?

Good Friend in Mass.

Dear Good Friend,

Stress is part of life. Clearly your friend is staying in this relationship even though his “wiser self” know he needs time and space.

Your friend would so benefit from some honest communication—with himself and his partner. If he’s staying in his relationship to avoid hurting someone else, plus he’s going against what he knows he needs for himself at this time, he might be getting what we call immediate gratification…the ability to avoid the stress and pain of putting this relationship on hold…but inevitably, that’s only going to make things worse in the long run. Resentments may build up between your friend and his partner and he’ll have no one to blame for this except himself.

Tell your friend that the time to become clear about who he is and what he wants is NOW. Both people in a relationship need to take time to do this. In fact, as people get deeper into their relationships, this should be a “must have” conversation. Both people should enjoy each other’s company plus have “lives of their own” including friends outside of the relationship and some alone time. They should think about…and know what they like, don’t like, what they stand for and what they won’t stand for.

These might sound like heavy contemplations for your friend…so the best thing he can do before getting thoroughly honest with his partner is to take some time and get honest with himself.

Dear Dee,

Is it Ok to move on from someone that you always listen to, but they never listen to you?


Dear Unheard,

My quick answer is yes. You have every right to move on because a healthy relationship is one where both people are seen, heard and valued.

But before you close the door, I’d like to know what you have done to be heard. Have you told this person how you feel? What you need? Very often, people are so wrapped up in themselves that they don’t know what we need unless we tell them. Clearly.

My experience also tells me there’s a chance that you might be more reserved, or introverted while the other person is more outgoing, or extroverted. It’s my hope that you both understand the difference between the two. Now, extroversion is not better—it just means that communicating comes more easily. If this scenario sounds familiar, ask the other person to give you a little more time to speak…because you need it…and you both need it, if you want to maintain a healthy connection.

Otherwise, if you’ve already asked for what you want and what you need and consistently aren’t listened to, leave. If you stay in that type of relationship, it could lead to you feeling quite unworthy, and continuously devalued.

Remember we teach people how to treat us.

Dear Dee is published every week. To send your “Dear Dee,” question – in complete confidence – just email: – Put “Dear Dee” in the subject line. Please keep your information private in not identifying specific people – and sign your note with your initials or as you would like it to appear – such as “Perplexed in Providence”.

This is Dee, signing out for today, creating healthy human connections through high level effective communication. You can find me at That’s the letter i…Voice