Why Men Pull Away: Top 3 Reasons post image

Why Men Pull Away: Top 3 Reasons


Almost every woman has experienced the panic and uncertainty that occur when her man starts pulling away or withdrawing. Maybe it happens out of the blue, maybe something sparks it, either way, it’s a miserable feeling, one that leaves you feeling powerless and painfully insecure.

You question what happened, why he’s doing this, and what you may have done to cause this sudden shift. The most common questions we get involve some variation of a guy suddenly backing off and the girl going into a tizzy over it.

I totally get it, I’ve been there. Looking back, all those feelings of worry and confusion were a waste because the answer is surprisingly simple and applies to almost every situation.

So what’s the deal, why do men pull away and what can you do about it? Every guy is different, and every relationship is different, but in general men pull away for three main reasons. 

1. He’s Stressed
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It’s pretty widely known that when a man is stressed, he retreats to his “man cave.” However, there is a big difference between knowing something and really understanding it. Most women have a hard time accepting that this is how men deal with issues because when we are having a difficult time, our first instinct is to talk about it and seek comfort from friends or loved ones.

Men don’t operate this way. When a man is having a hard time, he needs to pull back and work through his issues on his own. The biggest mistake you can make is not giving him the space to do this.

If you harp on him and pester him to talk to you and open up he will see you as another source of stress in his life and will pull away even more. This creates a vicious cycle of you pushing him, him pulling back, you pushing more, and on and on until he either distances himself from you entirely or the relationship continues with an underlying tension. You can’t force someone to open up to you, especially when it comes to difficult emotional topics. You can invite them to open up, but you can’t badger them into it.

If your guy is having a hard time, be it from external sources like his job or he’s having some internal emotional issue, you have to give him the space to work through it on his own. If he wants to talk to you about it, he’ll seek you out. And if he does, make sure you listen to him, don’t use this as an opportunity to voice your opinions on the matter and try to solve it for him. If he wants your advice, he’ll ask for it.

Remember, when a man pulls away due to stress it has nothing to do with you or his feelings for you. I understand that you think he should open up to you, but you can’t place these expectations on him. Why? Because he is wired differently than you. You wouldn’t appreciate being forced into doing something that went against your nature and the same is true for him. When someone forces us to be a certain way it’s violating and invasive. It’s a breach of our bondaries and it’s disrespectful.

So as much as you want him to open up and think he “should,” you can’t demand it of him. The best thing to do is back off and give him some space. Spend that time focusing on yourself instead of worrying why he’s pulling away from you and what to do about it. Work on recharging your batteries so that you can put positive juice into the relationship.

Putting pressure on a man is never a good strategy and will often drive him away. But when you give him the space to just be, then he usually takes steps toward you.

TAKE THE QUIZ: Is He Losing Interest? 

2. You’re Being Needy and He Feels Suffocated
why-men-withdraw-reasons-2A man doesn’t have to be dealing with personal issues to feel the need to retreat. Sometimes too much neediness from you is enough to cause him to back away.

Neediness isn’t so much a set of behaviors as it is a state of mind. If a man feels like you need him in order to feel OK in your life, or that you need him to fill some sort of emotional void for you, he will instinctively pull back.
Men want to feel wanted and desired, not needed. This is a very important distinction that most women overlook.

MORE: 5 Things Every Girl Needs to Know About Men

Men do enjoy being in relationships (when it’s with the right woman, that is), but at the same time, most men have a huge fear of losing their freedom and getting trapped in a situation with a woman who sucks them dry and leaves them feeling drained and uninspired. A man will feel “free” in a relationship when he’s with a woman who is whole and fulfilled in her life and doesn’t rely on the relationship to meet her every need.

If you start to act needy, an alarm bell will instantly sound in his head warning him that he’s losing his freedom and he will instinctively pull away from you.

Now you might be wondering, how can I fix this and undo the damage? The answer is the same as above, just pull back, give him space, and focus on yourself. Working overtime trying to undo the damage caused by acting needy is still you acting needy. It’s you being desperate for his approval and for his love and affection. Guys hate feeling that sort of pressure from a woman, the feeling that they need to be a certain way or she will get upset.

Instead of trying to fix it and reel him back, forgive yourself for being needy, acknowledge that it’s OK and everything will be fine, and give him some space to come to you. Don’t inundate him with texts or snap chats or G-chats or anything. Just let it be and give him the space to find his way back to you. And in that time, enjoy your life and find ways to be happy. Do not spend this time obsessing over him and wondering if you ruined this relationship forever. Be confident in yourself and try to internalize the fact that you deserve an amazing relationship and with the right person it will happen freely and won’t need to be forced.

 

3. He’s Having Doubts About the Relationship
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Doubts are normal, especially as a relationship deepens. It doesn’t necessarily mean anything about you or how great of a girlfriend you’ve been. Maybe he’s not ready for something so serious, or maybe he’s a little unsure if you’re really the woman he sees himself spending the rest of his life with. And that’s OK.

Two people can love each other very much and still not be right for each other in the long run. Maybe something happened to spark these doubts (a fight, jealousy, lack of trust, etc.) or maybe it happened out of the blue. Don’t waste your time analyzing the situation to pinpoint exactly what you did wrong, this will only make you crazy.

Instead, give him space and continue to be the best you that you can me. If you’re at your best and he decides to throw in the towel, then there’s no reason to have regrets and to play the shoudda, wouldda, couldda game.

In order for a relationship to work, both people need to be committed to making it work. That means you both try, you both put effort into the relationship, you communicate openly. You work together. One person can’t carry the team when it comes to relationships. A relationship is a partnership, a unit, and it just can’t be done alone.

If he’s having doubts about you or has some sort of issue with the way you are and how you live your life, then he most likely isn’t the right guy for you and there isn’t much you can do about that. The right guy for you is a guy who likes you and accepts who you are. Remember that.

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. If you do this, he will most likely come around and will go back to being that sweet, caring, attentive guy that he was in the beginning.

Be sure to take our “Is he losing interest? quiz to find out exactly where you stand and what you can do to get your relationship back on track!

Want more? Follow me along on Snapchat for daily relationship insights and much more! Username: Sabrinaalexis23.

And be sure it check out our Instagram account- @anewmode.

31 comments… add one

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Mira

Welcome to Calabria! The region where there are too many road signs that all point in different disrtcione, or none at all! Where abouts in Calabria will you be moving too?

Reply July 18, 2016, 1:52 am

Deanna

Ok so I met this guy on tinder (yeah I know) so anyways we talk for like a week and a half we meet we both become infatuated, he pops the I love you (first) and I go along with it even though I feel it’s early. So we were “talking” for a month became fb official and a month after that I met his parents briefly, everything is hot for about a month then it slowly starts to die off. Ok well during this whole time of talking and being bf gf we only talked on the phone say 4 maybe 5 times (not including if we had plans and called each other for quick info or what not) all of our conversations were through snapchat and text…. So slowly the text and snapchat is dying off and I’m like and he not making plans as much and he’s flaking out on me… So I told him I felt him pulling away and he sends me very short replies to my messages and now he won’t talk to me at all. I’m thinking now that I’ve typed this all out. Leaving him alone would be my best bet… Huh?

Reply February 13, 2016, 11:47 am

Amber

Okay so I am not sure if this will even be seen or responded to but I will give it a try because I am going crazy. My situation is kind of difficult.
I have known this guy, we will call him Steven for the sake of this article. So Steven and I have known each other for 4 years, we met in a small town in Alberta, and hit it off, he was 19 and I was 21. He said he had never met another girl that was so like him and he really liked me, but at the same time he partied and did things he shouldn’t have been doing so I never got into anything serious with him. Things ended up happening (He moved out of the staff house, I met someone else who was more down to earth and settled – no serious relationship became of this), we grew apart from each other (about 75% my fault and I regret this and I think this may be why he is so standoffish today) and then he got this possessive girlfriend and completely cut me out. I moved away and then a year later we started talking again. We then talked on and off for a couple years. He had finally gotten away from his crazy girlfriend and then got in to another relationship where he was cheated on, and then into another relationship where he was cheated on again, and on Christmas day too. So here we are, 4 years later and we still talk on and off and I am realizing that he is the first guy I have ever loved. I literally can’t stop dreaming about him and thinking about him and it’s driving me nuts. I know most would say to move on because he obviously doesn’t like me enough to try but he is also going through a really stressful time in his life right now and he lives across the country. I really just wish I could go up to him and tell him that I want to be together but he lives too far away. What should I text him without scaring him off. We were texting the other night but he stopped texting and then I haven’t heard from him since. Forgive me guys, my last legit date was June of 2014 (and before that was November 2012) so my experience in dealing with men is so bad haha I am also sorry if all of this is all jumbled and makes no sense.

Reply February 10, 2016, 11:46 pm

Gabbie

I met this guy at a program and at the beginning he seemed so sweet and kind and so interested in me, things were going great between us. I mean, he really wanted to be my boyfriend when I asked him, but now it was 3 weeks after Christmas and he hasn’t texted me and I’ve waited. And he still hasn’t. Should I move on? I still do like him

Reply January 27, 2016, 12:37 am

jackie

I have been involved with this guy for about a month now. I did have sex with him I really do like this guy he is brushing me off because of a certain issue we had went through and now he tells me not to call or text him. I believe he is scared that i will hurt his feelings but i am not what should i do

Reply January 26, 2016, 7:11 am

Miichii

@ Jackie if a guy ever tell you to STOP calling/texting him give him just what he asking you for which is no contact It seems to me he got what he wanted sex from you and was No longer interested in anything other that. I know as a woman it hurts to be treated like that it happens but learn from it, next time take more time to get a real feeling of what a guy true intentions are in my opinion 1 month is too soon to give a guy your precious body too he obviously has moved on and so should you. Keep in mind he may reappear but you have to be a Strong woman and not go back to his way of treating you distancing himself from you be more available for the right guy to come into your life. Forgive him and dont look back go on with your life.

Reply February 13, 2016, 9:35 am

Sam

Great article, so my situation started out last week with him pulling away, first day I was asking him what going on why so distant, and he explained he was stressed and they he didn’t want anything to change between us and regardless we would make it. Unfortunately the distant behavior never changed and I was giving him space, I was going to the doctor about a health issue and that when I let him know about it, his lack of concern for me and my health too me by suprise. I understand you need to handle your life but I would think a moment of empathy could succumb the moment of space needed (just a follow up text that he actually cared I wasn’t asking for the world) welp he just gave me a two answer text then I was I asked about his lack of empathy he apologies saying he did understand the message. So I broke off the realatiobshio bc I refused to be with someone who didn’t care and he had never responded to the message and it’s been five day. Please advise?

Reply January 24, 2016, 10:55 am

Miichii

@ Sam after reading your post I really don’t understand your question because you did say you refuse to be with someone who showed you he doesn’t care about your health if only we women really Focus on men ACTIONS not his words ACTIONS tells us the Truth… I think you really know he doesn’t really care about you and you should treat him the same with the I Don’t Care Attitude and move on.

Reply February 13, 2016, 9:49 am

Lauren

Hey Sabrina. Great article! I’ve gotta say, the emails I get from you and Eric help a lot. There’s this guy that I met while I was at university, there was definitely a mutual attraction between us but we never acted on it. We’re good friends, but everytime we see each other I feel this spark whenever I’m around him or talk to him. I don’t want to scare him off because I really value his friendship and also I like that I can just be myself around him. He also helped me get through a tough situation a couple of years ago. I’m confused because I get a vibe from him that he wants to be with me but he never says it outright.

Reply January 11, 2016, 6:25 pm

K

To a degree I understand the the above. I now how I deserve to be treated, I now what my worth is and I’ve told my guy I deserve better if it makes him run for the hill so be it. It’s ok to retreat to man gave but get a little bit of communication in any relationship I called respect. Even if it’s I need time out. I’m sick off of hanging in the side line while he tries to figure wither I mean enough or not. I beleive I myself and respect myself enough to know when enough is enough. Xx

Reply September 3, 2015, 1:44 am

Amalia

Good article!
however it does not explain for how many days/weeks/months can a man pull away?
And second: usually when a man pull away, he does not give us a reason. We have to guess whether is it his career or is it us?
If a guy disappears for almost 3-4 weeks, sending short and nonsense messages for this time and suddenly call you and invites you for sex, how do you women react on this? How to you turn this point? Do you speak with him, invite him at your place or react the same way he did?

Reply June 29, 2015, 9:52 am

glitz2z

I met this guy 6 weeks ago via tinder and we hit it off after 3 weeks. He said he wanted to be exclusive with me and we text and talk everyday even when he’s travelling. The thing is, he is always travelling for work and when I met him back after his 2 weeks of travel (1 week ago) , I was excited to see him but I was facing with a lot of family problems (family member has cancer) that time. He was telling me how much stress he was facing during the last biz trip and I listened and comforted him. Before we parted, I said I needed a break from this relationship as is moving too fast, instead of telling him my family issues. He looked disappointed and said OK and left. He did not initiate any contact with me for the past 1 week except when he just text me arrived safely at the airport that time. The next day I text him saying I am stressed out and feel bad abt what I said to him, he didn’t reply. I text him 2 days later asking is everything OK, he said all good and he’s tired. Then 4 days later I text him that I wanted to rekindle the relationship again, no reply. I’m thinking is he pulling away as I demanded space? But I already said I want to start again. He is coming back in 5 days time. I don’t know what should I do then? Shall I wait for him to contact me or if he doesn’t, means he wants to end with me?

Reply June 1, 2015, 9:31 am

Andrew Imlay

Sadly, too many men feel ashamed of themselves to feel worthy of a relationship and of raising children. I’ve heard and read this first-hand. I don’t understand it, but I very much believe it, especially after watching poor boys being berated and cursed by their single mothers — routinely — as “stupid”, “good-for-nothing”, “n*****”, and far worse. I cannot imagine the scars left by words like that *from their own parent*, usually accompanied by gestures and tones of voice that treat the child like intrusive trash. Maybe even more important is the inability of many men to hold jobs and to cultivate careers. Since the eighties, jobs and opportunities (for high school graduates) are truly constricted, and while some men will definitely overcome the odds, the fact is that it is impossible for all men to find the types of middle-class jobs American men thrived on yesteryear.
Then, for every ten black women, there are only nine black men in society. Many die young. (Which means that many more have seen their friends die young). Many — but not most — are in prison. Many more are tagged with often scurrilous criminal records they don’t deserve — “resisting arrest” or “suspicious behavior” or “fleeing police in a high-crime area” — which prevents them from being considered for jobs, voting, or feeling like equals to their fellow male citizens.
And lastly, many men are from poorer school districts which graduate young men from high school unable to even read at a fourth-grade level. If you’re from a poor neighborhood, your school doesn’t have nearly as much money to hire good teachers as do schools in wealthy neighborhoods; nor will your parents likely read to you. All this leaves semi- or illiterate men feeling chronically inferior to other men, and undeserving of the blessing of raising children and being in a good marriage. As one man told my mother, being illiterate means that anybody else has a knife that they can stab you in the back with any time they want.
None of this is to excuse men pulling away, and this covers only some men. But it does explain why many, many men feel more comfortable with their “hanging buddies” — who are in all the same predicaments they are — more than they feel comfortable with they women in their lives. I think many men both desire and feel profoundly uncomfortable with women, and terrified of being judged. Because they’ve already judged themselves.
We rise or fall as entire communities, and as entire societies.
BTW, this is from a gay guy.
Good luck to all those who read this.

Reply May 7, 2015, 9:37 am

Munchkins

My man is going through a withdrawal period now, and I won’t lie, it’s tough. But anyway the fact is that when he withdraws, as a woman you feel like he doesn’t care anymore, he’s pulling a slow fade, he’s toying with me. This may be true, especially if he’s generally uncaring, treata you like crap, i.e. if there was never that connection between the two of you. However if the man has never given you a reason to not trust him, then maybe you must acknowledge that yours fears are just fears – not based on any factual evidence.

The fact is that it hurts when he withdraws. As women we tend to take that shit personally, and it makes sense given our nature.

But FACT is that you have 2 choices (regardless of whether he’s a jerk and blowing you off, or if he genuinely cares about you and just needs space), you can chase after him demanding answers, or you can just breathe and get your own space, some me-time, rejuvinate yourself, get happy again outside of him. In time he will either disappear, never to be seen again, or he will come back. The point is that either way you will be fine because you’re happy anyway. This compared to chasing him, hunting him down, where you lose yourself in trying to get him/get answers/get even <– this is not healthy, and you end up sadder than if you just let go.

I'm not saying that men are right in pulling away, they also need to acknowledge the part they play in bringing out the worst side of a woman's fears. But just for your sake, for the sake of your mental and emotional health, just let go… anyway this is not the time to be having "talks" about the relationship because he'll most likely be unable (or unwilling) to have such deep convos during such a time.

Reply April 30, 2015, 2:46 pm

LolAtTheseWomen

If you want to know the type of people who end up on this article, read the comments by Julia and Shirley. Just wow. Deep underlying resentment towards men oozes with their every sentence. These are the EXACT type of women men want to withdraw from.

They’re overbearing, nagging, and completely disconnected from their man by refusing to acknowledge he has feelings of his own. Women tend to forget that women are generally emotional trains waiting to derail any second. What a self-centered attitude to tell a man to “get over it” whenever they feel mad, hurt, or sad. You are literally commanding him to.. *drum roll*… WITHDRAW!

Just let that settle in for a second. Men NEED their own space to work out their problems alone. By demanding “he get over it,” your man will probably use the SINGLE hardwired coping-mechanism he has: retreat into the cave. The more you do the worse it gets.

If he’s going to do it anyway then accept it. When he “comes out of the cave” and you’re right there waiting, he’ll know you’re a long-term keeper. Remember: stand by his side, not in his face.

Reply April 14, 2015, 9:48 pm

Julia

Ok ladies, I get really sick of these articles telling us we need to put up with these men that have ego problems and a lot of other problems that need to be worked out with therapy. Yes a man might withdraw a little bit if there is a problem, but a man who really loves you and is secure with himself is going to want to work things out with you, not ignore you. If a man withdraws, don’t always blame yourself like these articles tell you too. This man you’re dating probably has psychological issues, maybe so deep-seated that he’s unable to have a relationship at all. I mean a real man is going to tell you he has a problem, he’s not just going to ignore you. A man who does not explain himself and chooses to just ignore you when he knows it’s making you feel bad is a mean and sadistic person, plain and simple. This does not mean that you can stalk him though. That’s a different story, gotta be reasonable 🙂

Reply February 25, 2015, 9:07 am

shirley

Julia you hit the nail on the head I feel the same way .too many times i have heard its all the woman”s fault let him have his pity party while we set back and feel like crap because they cant handle emotions .well personally i think men should stand up and face things they are no more emotional then we are we need space and time too but do they let us? yes by never coming back because they didnt get the cake and eat it too so they go on to the next and next and the first poor women is left picking up the peaces while him and new women are flying high .i think we need to stop babying them

Reply March 4, 2015, 12:26 am

Kim

This is one of the best comments I’ve read here Shirley. While I don’t think these articles are trying to blame us for the reason why men pull away. They do always seem to be like “oh he’ll come around”. Maybe in the land of unicorns and rainbows he will. In reality if the guy has made up his mind that they don’t want to be with you anymore no amount of space will make him change it. My ex ain’t coming back to me after his vanishing act. Was seeing him for a few months. Everything was fine until I didn’t want to have sex on the couch when he wanted me to after that I didn’t hear too much from him. Is he coming back to me? Probably not. Not unless he can’t find anything better. I wasn’t needy in that relationship. I only got pissed off when I hadn’t heard from him in a few weeks which I thought was a bit out of character. Then I tried to find out what was up and got zilch. His silence spoke pretty loudly.

I wish this guy could face up to leaving me out of the blue, but as you say Shirely most of them have no guilt over it and just move onto something better not caring how much they hurt you.

Reply June 9, 2016, 10:47 pm

Pamela

I FEEL GUYS SHOULD BE HONEST AND MAN ENOUGH TO TELL WHAT’S WRONG INSTEAD OF PLAYING THE GUESSING GAME. I THINK THESE MEN ARE BOYS TRYING TO BE MEN

Reply December 25, 2014, 10:07 am

Dexter

Coming from the sex that consistently says “I’m fine” when they clearly AREN’T.

Reply January 29, 2015, 2:47 pm

Rachel

I have a question, more than a comment. I’ve been dating this guy off and on for 4yrs it’s been really hard for him to find a job. He had asked me for some money to fix his car. I asked him to give me the name of exact part that was needed he asked why. I responded and said so I can look for it on line. He said no. Next day I said well whats the game plan, when will you get your car fixed? I suggested I’ll pick you up you can stay at my house, drop me off at work and you can get the part you need. He said no. Finally the next day he said his grandma will let him borrow the money but she expected it back the next day. Well I had agreed to give him the money to pay back, but after thinking about it I decided not to go along with it. Before letting him know I wasn’t willing to give him the money I had asked will you be staying tonight when you come get the money? He said no, but I will this weekend. That’s what drew the line, and I told him he’s either lying or had something else going on that he didn’t want me to know. After all this I was the bad person and he called me every name in the book. I did apologize for what I had done but that he was being very wishy washy and I didn’t understand was he was up too. I did let him know our relationship was over and it was beyond repair. My question is, how do you see this, was I wrong? Was he just using me?

Reply June 19, 2014, 8:35 am

Chelsea

So if we’ve been in a relationship for almost a year and he says he needs space should I stop texting and calling him completely until he finally reaches out to me?

Reply September 24, 2013, 3:41 pm

mo

Yes!!! I made this mistake with my boyfriend when he said he wanted some space and instead i just kept pushing and pushing to fix things. Everything just got worse. It’s absolutely torture to try to not interact with the person you love but if he is having doubts, bugging him will prob make him pull away more and if he is having doubts in the first place maybe things aren’t meant to be. My whole philosophy is that if someone doesn’t enjoy being with me then I don’t want to be with them either.

Reply October 2, 2013, 10:46 pm

Guy

Guys become distant because we lose interest in you. It might be the way you dress, how you talk about the same problems over and over again, etc. If you wouldn’t cry, whine, cause drama about it, etc, we’d be up front and move on. But because it’s a process with potentially more talking, complaining, crying, etc… we just start to ignore you more and more until you decide you’re mad or over it. It’s just easier.

Reply September 6, 2013, 5:59 pm

Julia

This “guy” will be alone for the rest of his life. I get sick of having to undersrand men but they never make any effort to understand us. A lot of men have ego problems that they need fix before trying to be in a relationship.

Reply February 25, 2015, 8:52 am

shirley

Guy did you ever think that you are not worth having with that attitude ,if you are in a relationship i feel sorry for them because you have a bad complex about you .at least we get it out you men have to go in a man cave like ape men and lick your Ba double ls grow up you and others like you .

Reply March 4, 2015, 1:07 am

summer

GUY, sure you want to avoid “DRAMA” and find the easy way. Well, a true man who has integrity and respect of others, does not always look for the easy way but the right way. So goodluck to you with that attitude.

Reply August 18, 2015, 1:42 pm

Kim

Guy, yeah it might be easier if you just avoid the situation. Everything’s easier if you just run away from it. It’s not right though and a very childish way of ending things. There’s something to be said for a bit of honesty. If you ignore the person rather than saying “I’m no longer interested” it shows that you’re not honest. It says more about you than it does about the girl who you’ve just left out of the blue. Been out with a few guys who for some reason or another have realised that it’s not what they want and they were honest about it. Didn’t like it because I really liked them so was a bit hurt but I got over it eventually.

Reply June 10, 2016, 3:32 am

jessica

Well, I hope that one day you meet a wonderful woman with whom you fall deeply in love with who loses interest in you and decides to ignore you. I hope you get to experience how “easy” that will be for both you and her.

Reply September 15, 2016, 4:29 pm

Ashante

I really wish that I had seen this article maybe three months ago because it helps to see/understand what I was feeling. Too late to do anything about it now since he’s moved on but really great read and thanks for sharing!

Reply August 28, 2013, 6:49 pm

Chloe

Great article! I wish I knew all this sooner. Thanks Sabrina!

Reply August 15, 2013, 9:08 am

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