When a man starts to withdraw or act distant, a lot of women reflexively panic and try to do whatever they can to reel him back in. Although they have good intentions, most women inadvertently end up pushing their guy even further away.
It is a crushing, miserable feeling. You feel powerless and scared and have no idea what the right move is. (MORE: What to Do When He Says He Needs Space)
There is something magical about meeting a guy that you actually click with. It doesn’t come around every day, so when it does you latch on tightly and feel grateful, and at the same time, afraid. But your fears are soon put to rest because things seem to be going so well.
The chemistry is strong, the vibe is good, you spend a lot of time together, you know he cares about you…and just when you’re starting to settle in and relax, he seems to be pulling away a bit.
Maybe he doesn’t text as often… he doesn’t seem as enthusiastic about you or the relationship…or maybe it’s nothing you can put your finger on, just a feeling in the pit of your stomach.
The first question when this happens is always: why?
There are two main reasons why a man will pull away: 1) he just needs space to work out his own emotions (this is healthy, there’s no problem), 2) he is losing interest in the relationship (this is what most women fear). It’s important to correctly identify which is which, but if you don’t know, it’s better to assume he needs space to work out his own emotions, this way you don’t make things worse.
Men naturally cycle between wanting to get close and wanting to spend time on their own. A man needs a balance between the two in order to feel happy in a relationship. And you probably need time to yourself as well so it’s not necessarily strictly a guy thing. Men just seem to shift more dramatically between the two.
Now that you know the why, let’s address the next question: what should I do about it?
Here are the five steps to stop a man from withdrawing and bring him closer.
Take The Quiz: Is He Losing Interest?
Step 1: See this as an opportunity to focus on yourself instead of trying to win him over.
A lot of women react to a man pulling away by trying to win him over again. She thinks maybe if he re-discovers how amazing she is, then he’ll come back. She is extra attentive, goes above and beyond, tries to be what she thinks he wants. This is useless for several reasons.
First, acting this way infringes upon his freedom and makes him feel smothered (and makes you look desperate).
You need to realize that him pulling away might have nothing to do with you, so you don’t need to prove anything to him. When you’re in a mindset of trying to win him over and figure out how he feels about you, you turn him into a prize that you’re trying to win over. This is so not sexy.
You are essentially lowering your own value, which is an incredibly silly thing to do. You’re saying “I’m not worthy of you, but I hope you’ll pick me anyway!” Now would you want to date someone who was sending out that message? Exactly.
When you’re in this headspace you send out a desperate vibe that he will pick up on. Even the most obtuse, most emotionally oblivious men can pick up on vibes.
Again, it’s not something he will be able to easily identify. He won’t even know why he’s losing interest in you and he wouldn’t be able to give a straight answer if asked. He’ll just say something feels off, he doesn’t know what, but it just doesn’t feel good and his instinct is to get away.
Never put a man on a pedestal. This is not how you get a lasting, loving relationship. This is how you end up perpetually heartbroken and alone.
Step 2: Keep obsessive thoughts under control
Stop wasting your time trying to figure out if he likes you, spend that time literally doing anything else, anything. Worrying about how he feels makes the situation worse. Not stressing about how he feels is what solves everything.
You have better things to do with your time than stress. So go do anything else. Read, write, go for a run, a swim, a bike ride, go shopping, go to the spa, go out with your girlfriends for a drink, go to a concert, just do something fun that you enjoy and that makes you happy. Isn’t this so much better than making yourself feel miserable over some guy that you don’t even know that well?
The way to reignite a man’s interest is actually quite simple, be interesting. There is nothing interesting about a woman who is desperate for a man and pining away for him. What captivates a man’s attention is a woman who can be happy on her own and doesn’t need a man in order to feel good about herself.
Step 3: Give him the space to move toward you
The biggest mistake is to cling to him even tighter when he’s pulling away. This will just make him run farther and faster. In order for a man to truly commit to a woman, he needs to invest in her and the relationship.
When we put effort into something, we are investing in it. He can’t move toward you if you’re right there in his face. You need to give him breathing room and let him take steps toward you.
Just back off and give him space. And you should use this time to your benefit as well by spending it doing things you enjoy and that make you feel good.
Don’t smother him, don’t beg him to talk to you. Respect what he needs and do yourself and your relationship a favor by working on your own happiness during this time. And I can’t say this enough: don’t stress and obsess over the relationship!
Step 4: Keep your anger in check
When a guy withdraws, you will feel a lot of emotions, one of the most poisonous of which is anger. Anger destroys everything it touches.
Yes, you’re hurt, you feel neglected, you’re uncertain of what’s going on. But realize a lot of this is self-generated and not necessarily his fault. He doesn’t owe you 100% of his time and attention. And it’s not his fault if you get upset because he needs to deal with things on his own.
Try to be compassionate, understand he’s doing something that is natural and necessary for him. If the feelings reach a boiling point and you can’t contain them, then you can speak to him about it but be mindful of how you come at him. It’s not usually what we say, but the way we say it, that causes conflict. Don’t come at him with blame and accusations. Just tell him where you’re coming from.
I know it can feel personal, but it really isn’t. Men have a much harder time processing and handling emotions than women do. They don’t have the same kinds of support systems, and sharing their innermost thoughts and feelings just doesn’t come naturally to them. For him, escaping from his feelings temporarily is sometimes more beneficial than trying to sort through them.
Step 5: Be OK with the outcome
There is a chance this guy is going to leave and not come back and you know what? It’s really not that big of a deal. The reason it feels like such a big deal is because you’ve attached so much of your sense of worth to his opinion of you. This is just an illusion. Your sense of worth can only come from within. When you panic over the prospect of losing a guy, you send out a desperate energy and this, in turn, causes the guy to lose interest.
Yes, your biggest fear may be the reality. He may be withdrawing because he’s losing interest. Panicking about this isn’t going to help your case. You need to be OK with the outcome no matter what. You need to be OK with him staying or leaving.
Imagine the worst case scenario unfolding, and don’t care about it! Be fine with it. Indifference can be incredibly sexy!
At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter why your man is withdrawing. The solution is always the same: give him space and focus on loving yourself and your life. This is what creates attraction and interest above anything else. Focus on being a genuinely happy and confident person. A person who doesn’t need a man in order to feel good about herself, but wants a man to share her already full and happy life with.
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