Ask a Guy:  My Boyfriend is Stressed and Pulling Away… post image

Ask a Guy: My Boyfriend is Stressed and Pulling Away…

My boyfriend has become withdrawn lately. He’s really stressed with not working, his dog dying, best friend’s dad having lung cancer, and everything just adding up.

He’s been pulling away for a couple weeks and has recently started going a day or two without texting me.

Should I stop texting him all together, or will that be showing that I don’t care and that I’m not supportive? I want him to know I’m here for him and that I’m not going anywhere, even though it’s tough. What should I do? 

Here are a few things to consider:

First, remember that his situation is tough for him (independent of whether or not he’s in a relationship).

It’s important that you don’t take his being withdrawn personally. It’s most likely not about you at all.

When a woman is upset about something, most women talk to their friends and lean on their support group. It’s culturally accepted, which helps.

Guys, on the other hand, typically view themselves as weak and incapable if they voice their feelings or lean on other people for help or support. A guy might do it, but he’ll typically feel like a loser or weakling for asking for support or even talking about his feelings.

The way women handle difficult emotions is much more psychologically healthy and healing, but it is what it is.

MORE: What to Do When a Guy Withdraws 

With that said, when a guy is under a lot of emotional or psychological stress, he will want to withdraw socially until he’s figured out his situation. Guys don’t like to be around people when they don’t think they’re at the top of their game. Plain and simple.

So just remember that his withdrawing is a result of him not wanting to appear weak or out of control and just allow him space for that.

Next, make sure that you give him space the right way. 

What does that mean?

Well, remember what I was saying before about guys not wanting to appear out of control or needing of help/support?

If you start offering help or support to him, a lot of guys will actually resent it. They won’t resent the gesture in it of itself, but they’ll resent the fact that they feel like they’re an object of pity … like they can’t handle their situation themselves.

MORE: What to Do When He Says He Needs Space 

Instead, the best thing that you can do is admire and appreciate all of the good parts of him. If you are a well of appreciation, love, and admiration, he’ll feel good around you and it will have a healing effect on him. He’ll feel relief and he’ll appreciate that you’re not trying to play therapist with him. (Playing therapist typically backfires for the reasons stated above.)

Just remember to be a source of relief for him without directly trying to “help him” with the problem. When he feels relief from you, it will be easier for him to work out his own issues.

Finally, on that same note: Don’t bring up his stresses or struggles – he’ll bring them up himself if he wants to talk about them.

On that same token, if he wants to talk about his stresses or struggles, just listen. Feel free to ask questions, but seek to understand and not help solve.

When a guy shares something with you, his main desire is for you to understand him and his experience. He doesn’t want your help – he wants to feel you understand him.

One last thing to keep in mind: It’s unfortunate, but sometimes in an effort to help, women actually cause men to retreat deeper into their shell because of how they react to his withdrawn behaviors.

Women either try to be helpful (which makes the man feel emasculated) or they take it personally and start becoming really insecure/needy (which makes the man feel burdened even more).

So just remember: don’t try to solve and don’t take it personally.

Just be a well of admiration, appreciation, and love and give him the space to come around.

Also, if you’re still unsure what’s going on in your relationship, then definitely take our “Is He Losing Interest?” quiz and find out exactly where he stands…and what you can do to get things back on track!

Hope that helps,

eric charles

Written by Eric Charles

I'm Eric Charles, the co-founder and co-editor of A New Mode. I love writing articles to help people free themselves from suffering and have clarity in their love life. I have a degree in Psychology and I've dedicated the last 20 years of my life to learning everything I can about human psychology and sharing what gets people out of struggling with life and into having the life they really want. If you want to contact me, feel free to reach out on Facebook or Twitter.

120 comments… add one

Leave Your Comment Now...


I know that him not working is stressing him out and makes him feel useless. But I asked how I should feel if he’s stressing out on something I keep on telling him he’ll achieve. He’s respond was it’s not about me, what do I do

Reply December 19, 2021, 5:38 pm


My boyfriend is really stressed out and he is pulling away from me. At the same time though it hurts because he takes all his time to destress and relax with his mates. It feels like he is not relying on me but on them. I am trying to give him space to feel better and sort out how he feels, but this is starting to have a lot of consequences on my well-being. Would it be ok for me to talk about it with him, or would it just be like adding more pressure on him?

Reply November 7, 2021, 4:54 am

Cindy Davis

This really helped me understand him better. I will have to watch the videos on more things going on .thank you

Reply July 16, 2020, 8:50 pm


My boyfriend of 4 years shuts down everything he’s stressed. Well the last episode has lasted 2 months now. We were supposed to be moving in together and getting married this year. He’s blocked me from all social media accounts except gor one. He doesn’t return my messages and has also blocked my number. This has gotten old. I know this is his coping mechanism but I can’t cope. I’ve ranted and pleaded and cried. He just promised me a few weeks before this happened he wouldn’t do this anymore. I love him so much. The other 300 days out of the year he’s my soulmate. When this happens and it’s happened 2 times already in 3 years I question everything. I know his job is beyond stressful. But I have extra stress when he disappears. What to do? What to do?

Reply April 26, 2020, 9:59 am


Two things need to happen. 1. Tell him this behavior is extremely hurtful. He needs to find healthy coping mechanisms for his stress and/or anxiety. It’s one thing to ask for space while he deals with a stressful situation, but he should TRUST you to give him that space. 2. You need to be okay with giving him a little space when he’s stressed (within reason). Find your own healthy coping mechanisms! Relationships are all about finding solutions that work for both of you. It’s unfair for him to totally block you.

Reply April 19, 2021, 1:14 pm


Hi I’m in the same boat & it’s killing me please can we talk together my boyfriend of 5 yrs gets stressed cos of looking after his 86 yr old dad who’s very demanding & takes a lot of my boyfriends free time up & with lockdown as well he’s ended it again last time was 2 mths ago we got on perfectly then out of nowhere it’s over he was very stressed then

Reply May 26, 2021, 1:40 pm


Hi my boyfriend is exactly the same he can’t deal with stress I’ve been with him 5 yrs he has a stressful job he looks after his dad he’s stressed with that then he dumps me I’m blocked through everything I don’t know what to do I love him so much I need help too I’ve said ill give you space when your stressed but he says hurtful thingd and throws me out

Reply January 24, 2022, 2:17 am


I have been dating a very successful professional, who also does a lot of additional work in non-profit and education. We went on 7 dates over 8 weeks, and he was always romantic and generous on these dates ie. expensive restaurants, shows, serenading me on his guitar, flowers, telling me he was in love with me and addicted to me, flirty texts… After the 5th date, I noticed that he messaged me less frequently and sometimes took days to respond. He mentioned that he was going through some stressful family stuff, and I assumed that it was related to a family illness. On our 7th date, he told me that his parent had collapsed a few days before and was in hospital from an illness that was related to addiction. He told me that he was extremely stressed because it was bringing up old issues for him, and he warned me that when he is stressed, he pulls away from everyone and needs time and space alone. A week before Christmas, he told me that his father had been admitted into a clinic and that he was concerned that his father would not commit to the program. He was sick with the flu and would sometimes message me just before midnight to say hello and that he had just gotten off work. He did not ask to see me, but he was taking time to see his friends. I messaged him now-and-then with appreciative texts, to which he responded positively, but then would not continue the conversation. By the fourth week of not seeing him, I was at the end of my rope, and I messaged him that I understood that he was going through a lot and that he was also busy with work, but that I would like to meet him to catch up because our communication was not what it used to be, and it had been 4 weeks since we had seen each other. He replied that he was aware that he was pulling away, and that he needed some more time to himself as he was struggling to find grounding. He told me that the family issues were still ongoing and causing a lot of stress. He said he would love to see me in the future but that right now he needed time alone. He told me that he understood if that was unacceptable to me, but that he hoped that I would wait for him and give him a little more time. I replied that I had been hurt and confused over the holidays because we did not see each other, but that I understood he needed space and time. I appreciated that he gave me some clarity and I would like for us to communicate better. I told him that I respected, cared for him and wished him happiness. Since our last text conversation 2 weeks ago, neither of us have reached out to one another. I’m finding it really hard to not see or talk to him, but from what I have read in relationship articles including this one about giving a man space when he is pulling away from stress, it is the best course of action. Some days I am so busy myself that I don’t really have time to think about him, but when I do, I become quite depressed. Any thoughts or advice would be much appreciated…

Reply January 28, 2018, 7:57 pm


Hey Luna, what did you end up doing? Did things get better with your guy? I’m in a similar situation and I’m not sure what to do :/

Reply September 17, 2018, 10:10 pm


Hey ….so my bf is going through a rough time n he has shut me out …he has done this before too n he takes a month on an av to b back normal …although he recognizes tht he is being selfish but he still keeps doing it …he is kind of handling his own problems on his own person n m opposite i always need someone n i feel like this is only thing tht can sabotage our relationship …m so frustrated and m not able to focus on anything n vud surely use some help …anyone with a suggestion pls leave a comment

Reply November 6, 2017, 9:19 am


Ive been causual friends with the same man for 7 years now.but the last 6 mouths we have been getting closer.seeing more of each and staying over at both homes. When we are together he is so loving and we are happy. Just lately he told me he doesnt what me to meet anyone else.the next he ignores my text messages.or just text me to say hi and that it im very confused he doesnt like to be asked questions .what should i do

Reply July 30, 2017, 5:09 pm


Eric this is so well said… So true. My boyfriend is going through a really tough time and he has flat out told me it is not me it is him. By nature I am a nurturer but your advice about not making him feel pitied is so accurate. Although it is difficult some times to give him his space, I do. Thanks for confirming what I thought is the right thing to do. Now women….listen up!!!

Reply June 10, 2017, 2:13 pm


I am in the same situation
I wanted to know please if anyone has a suggestion?
This guy says that I deseves better but I can’t let go of him?

Reply May 7, 2017, 2:53 pm


And he have things that troublle him and I really wish I could help him
But idk what they are exactly
And we didn’t contact for a week and I miss him so much.
I looked at his fb he had no relationship status and now it writes single.
I am very worried for him.

Reply May 7, 2017, 2:55 pm


I’m sorry but men need to grow up. We all have problems so your answer is to push away your partner? Now I have to be alone and sexless because you are under stress? What would happen if the tables were turned? Actually, I already know the answer. After You have the baby and you are “stressed”, breast feeding, etc. that man-boy will start complaining, “What about my needs?”

Too much responsibility falls into the woman’s lap. If your man is doing this he is immature. Wait it out at your own risk.

Reply February 24, 2017, 1:54 pm


While I understand what you are saying …but all relationships are due a little compassion..and that goes both ways. Loss, financial issues, illness, are all very stressful issues and sex honestly would be the last thing on my mind.

Reply September 14, 2022, 1:47 am


I Think this article just helped me figure out my situation with my guy… he recently has been going thru financial issues, issues with his daughters mom, child support, mortgage increase.. etc.. basically stuff to stress him out.. and i get it.. ive been in his corner from day one, and have showed that Im here for him to help him, but he became more and more withdrawn. He would get up set when i would try to offer help, or tell him i was praying for him, or wished him luck or tried to help him solve his problems.. and he would also tell me hes not the guy for me.. and to go on and enjoy my life .. without him.. cause he said hes hurting inside.. and I would tell him, let me decide if hes for me or not.. I feel his pain.. hes my best friend, but he has completly shut down to this totally diff person, and I dont know how to process it. Yes, i admit, ive taken it personal, because ive been more than kind and caring to him during this time. I never expected anything from him.. ive been more than patient with him, i listen to him when he would talk about his issues.. and just try to understand, but now hes gone silent.. ive tried to call , no answer, no response to text or email.. do I just back off?? im so worried about him, i cant do anything else.. my natural instinct is to help him cope.. what do you suggest I do?

Reply February 21, 2017, 6:09 pm


Hi. I’m going through the same situation. I’ve been waiting to meet a perfect guy my whole life and I finally found one who is my yang. We talked about getting wed and our families know. Unfortunately from a month, he has been going through finances issues. I mean he is about to lose his house, business is underwater. He is worried if gets married, he wouldn’t be able to make me happy or provide a life for our children. He was shutting me off and would say hurtful things like “I deserve better” or he want to left alone. Although initially I poked him, trying to “solve his problems” and offered help. Through this article, now I realise I shouldn’t have done that. Anyway I already told him, I would give ample space for him to figure the things out. He still calls me daily. And I don’t bring his “stressors up”. Whether you have just begun dating or have plans to get married, best solution is to be “be there” without offering him solutions. Because once he gets through things, he would be so happy that a wonderful person has been supporting him all along.

Reply September 26, 2018, 1:13 am


So Thankful I Found This Article!!!!!

Last year (2016) my boyfriend really went through it! It began in January, he got sick with pneumonia and due to the severity of it, he was placed on medical leave until everything was back to normal. (mind you, he’s a truck driver, so for him not to be on the road, took a toll on him)
Let’s fast forward 2 months (March 2016), his favorite cousin is killed in a hit and run accident. He is tasked with putting up the bulk of the money for funeral arrangements and also taking over the property left behind. It takes another month to bury his cousin (family wars). After all issues and finally, the burial of this cousin is finished, he learns yet another family member has passed. (April 2016) Thankfully he wasn’t asked to put up money for this one.
After all of this has taken place, I find that he’d become very distant (rightfully so) so I tried not to bother him too much. One week though, something was gnawing at me to contact him, I couldn’t sleep the night before, I needed to know what was going on. I called him that morning and come to find out, his mom had passed from a stroke. (May 2016) In the midst of helping cousins and aunts, he was also dealing with his mom’s health issues. (This I didn’t know) Of course with a life-altering event like this, one is going to retreat.

Let’s fast forward to this new year (2017) babe is still withdrawn. I’ve talked to him a few times but he says he’s going through a lot and just not really in the mood to talk, he says he’d rather pray about everything (Which I wholeheartedly encourage) and when he’s ready to talk he will….from this point forward he’s gone into complete Shut Down Mode! No call, text, email, smoke signal, nothing.
Before stumbling upon this article, I did like most, I took that as a sign of he didn’t want to be bothered with me anymore and what have I done? Had I been too harsh on him, asking him to please talk to me about it. Had trying to contact him, caused him to retreat even the more. I simply didn’t know what to do at this point. What I was doing, clearly was not working, so I needed to STOP and re-think. That’s what lead me to search for HELP! I’m sooooooooooooooooo thankful to you Eric. I now know what to do. As the saying goes, when you know better you do better! Thank You!

Reply January 27, 2017, 11:09 am


I really need help so my year and i half bf has changed he’s not caring anymore he always find a way to fight he even called me a liar i got sick but its like nothing did happen to me he changed completly he’s been ignoring me for almost 2 month now and when i told he that he’s being mean and bit of an as even though i didnt give up on him that i was eight and he said that he needed time that we need time im lost i dont know what to do i even want to break up with him even if i still love him help me anyone pls

Reply January 19, 2017, 6:58 am


Wow this made me feel 10x worse. How do you fix it? Ive been all of the above to my BF of 2 years and started to be so drained i judt couldn’t handle all of the resistance so we broke up. Now i read this and understand fully but what can I do about itnow. I love him and don’t want us to be over.

Reply December 24, 2016, 4:27 pm

Cassandra Lawlor

I am struggling and reading this is helping a bit. My story is my man and me have known each other since kids and the first boy to kiss me and skip 23 yrs he was a drug addicit and was domestic violence in his previous relationship. He called me to ask for help and get clean and deal with his relationship ending and needed help finding himself again and getting ckean and help with not committing domestic violence and over the past 6 months things between us become more involved and we are together planning futures and doing everything together living together but last friday he was upset and we didnt really fight but he walked out and hasnt been home since. His is staying with his mum and she is telling him to take a step back and on monday he said we are still together but he is staying with his mum and needs to find his independence but not talking to me and i am lost and i trying to give space and i am afraid i am losing my best friend my partner pls help

Reply November 22, 2016, 10:36 pm


So, what if pulling away is really a sign of depression?

My man was pulling away a month ago. He since found out about having severe depression and Im the only one that he’s opened up to about it.

He says he needs time to get better without me.
Ive had depression in the past, and yes you do push people away because emotions are difficult to process when overwhelmed with issues.

So should I check in to see how he is in this case?

Reply August 21, 2016, 6:31 pm


i agree with jessica’s post. i understand what your article is saying but how does a girl stop being angry and maintain patience.i personally feel like walking away, its so cold when theres no evidence of him trying to keep a connection with feels like he wouldnt even notice if i did leave the rel, but then i feel mean at the same time, feeling this way knowing his situation, and a big part of him being jobless is to try and get work nearby me instead of interstate. when we are togethor its brilliant, but in between that, now, can be weeks of being stuck behind an invisible brick wall. i dont like it. i know im choosing to be in it. i just dont know if/when its time to say ive had enough. right now would be mean. and it seems crazy to leave someone who’s personality nature is perfect for me. but i feel like my love and attention is being ‘returned to sender’ with no or not much acknowledgement.

Reply August 9, 2016, 8:11 am


Hey anon..i totally agree with u actually it seems like u r in my head or something cuz u literally took my words ….i m toi feeling the same i wanna stick around cuz i knw hes going through a tough time but at the same time i feel like i shud ask him to stop doing this or take some harsh steps …reading ur comment made me feel soo good cuz now i knw m not alone …so yeah wht shud i do …how did u handle it

Reply November 6, 2017, 11:00 am


This guy and I work in the same office , hmmm few months back we decided to get into the whole friends with benefits kind of ., prior to that we used to text occasionally
So we began to meet abs spend time together one fine day we did it and that was the last time we had sex, although we did plan on doing it in the future , we spent more time getting to know each other. Soon everyday calls started to flow in to check on me and basically talk to me before the day ends he used to say I make him happy and that he enjoyed my company , I found it weird cause we were connecting on a different level and not in one that friends with benefits do
But at the same time he used to say stuff like “don’t fall for me ” and one day I just looked at him and said “if you tell a person not to fall for you doesn’t mean they won’t or vice versa ‘ he responds “maybe I’m just using reverse psychology on you”
We then had a small fall out but we cleared it up since it was a misunderstanding , he then headed for a trip and during that time we didn’t text it talk much since he was in another country but when he got back things resumed .
This month was his friends wedding and he was the best man so he used to practise his speech on me and I feel he does share alot of his future plans and stuff with me things were going okay even we haven’t met since he got back as he’s been pretty sick we still talk everyday
Recently this week I asked him if he was free since we had movie plans he responded saying “got home early was throwing up ,I shall talk to you tomo ” I responded saying “ahh again ? Cool take care ” he suddenly just snaps at me and goes “I don’t need to be told that but thanks ”
Hmmm the following day he was back to normal but then again we had a small TIFF when my ex came into the picture he said it was putting him off but at the same time he was stating that he doesn’t care and diesbt wanna know anything and that it’s a petty issue and I should worry but it’s putting off for him
Now he’s off with me so I haven’t really texted ne
But I am super super confused cause I kinda feel I’m in a relationship without the label cause most things he says differs from his actions , I like him and I don’t mind saying it but I would at least want to know what could possibly be on his mind cause things dint add up for me

Reply June 28, 2016, 3:10 pm


My BF is going through financial issues caused by his ex and wants to be left alone until he can figure it out. How can I just leave him alone? I’m not doing anything to him? How can I support him and make sure he doesn’t just end it?

Reply May 27, 2016, 10:41 am


This article helped me a lot, I feel better and I appreciate it so much thanks :)

Reply April 26, 2016, 1:53 am


How do I got about getting clarification on my situation? Because I have a feeling that I know what to do and what has happened to my relationship but I don’t want to just assume while I’m that emotional type of person.
Thank you

Reply February 22, 2016, 4:53 am


I have been in the push pull position now for a few months. I have never had this experience before and have to say it has been quite the education.

I met a guy who was the coolest, funniest, most organic, open, complimentary and honest. We clicked immediately which I felt made him feel comfortable enough to share things that perhaps a newly dating man wouldn’t.

Much of what he told me were in passing, with not much detail. I was so wrapped up in the excitement of meeting him, I didn’t ask questions and perhaps didn’t take it all that seriously, or just didn’t want to hear it.

These are some of the things he said..
He is depressed everyday.
People like him commit suicide
I never want to see him mad
His family thinks he should be medicated
He attended anger management
His daughter wants nothing to do with him
He has major trust issues
He’s paranoid
He watches porn too much
He can’t get a job
His ex wife would not agree he’s a good guy

OK…when you hear this stuff in passing one at a time it isn’t too alarming but when I list them…OMFG.

I noticed a change in him very soon into our knowing one another. It started to really invade my thinking and good judgement. I kept making excuses for him and blaming myself for maybe coming on too strong….or not really listening to his signals he was clearly trying to warn me about.

I care about people, especially ones that I have started a history with. I realize we can never be a couple. It I sure hope to be a friend.

A friendly distance is OK especially when you are feeling overwhelmed. It doesn’t mean you don’t care, must means you have to care for yourself more

Reply February 10, 2016, 11:47 pm


Super helpful read, explains a lot of what I have recently gone through after flying to see my potential guy. He’s going through a ton of stressful situations which have caused him to retreat into his cave until he knows what to do. I feel like this is a ridiculous question but I’m going to put it out there anyway; each person is different in how they handle their stress but can it cause a guy who was affectionate to not be affectionate?


Reply January 6, 2016, 2:09 am


Yes! I’m going through that now. In my experience, when men are under stress, they pull away. It has nothing to do with you. They are not always capable of expressing themselves the way us women do. I have two brothers and also see this pattern with them. Of something in their life is rocky, they go I to their shell and get very quiet. If I try to talk to them, I am most often met with resistance and then saying they don’t want to talk about it.
Dating is the same. Just give him space.

Reply February 11, 2016, 1:53 am


We’re long distance… We text every day normally and send each other pictures regularly, and we’ve both expressed how much it makes our day when we receive pictures of one another. He’s going through a tough time right now and last night I told him to take all the time he needs and I’m here when he wants to talk. Do you think sending him a smiling pic and saying have a good day! is a good way of being a well of love and admiration, and letting him know im thinking of him but letting him sort this out?

Reply December 8, 2015, 12:04 pm


Just recently found this article and wanted some insight.I was with a guy for over a year we always had a good relationship if anything it was the distance that felt heavy at times, we did hav disagreements but we did resolve them like two mature adults. Fast forward to now he’s been pulling away from me right after he told me he had this very lovigng dream of me and I didn’t txt him for a whole week we usually would speak not everyday but majority then I realize he’s depress so I never texted him I kept my composure but he did update his whatsapp status and I messaged him simply asking if he ws okay and then I said if you ever wanna talk I’m here, not sure if saying that was a bad idea or not but I do lovee this guy I’ve just been trying to keep my calm and be understandig but I don’t know what I really should do, I just feel confused also I know his studies and work and family life is a struggle for him seeing that his dad passed away when he was a kid and he somewhat looks after his family. Help please :( what should I do?

Reply November 30, 2015, 4:31 pm


No, if the guy really cherish you and care about you and mature enough like a man, he shouldn’t leave his woman high and dry out of blue anytime. Sure, he needs space to get himself together, he needs space to heal, but it is not right while he heals himself but hurting his woman. He leaves her wondered, unrespected and hurt. It is not love. If you really love her, tell her before you pull away, advise her you are in a tough situation and need strength to sort it out, tell her you love her and you will keep in touch but not out of in touch. People always say, women are insecure, needy, but now I see, a man with this kind of behavior is more insecure than a woman and he is the one to bring the insecurity out of a secure woman. He doesn’t trust the woman he has been with, he doesn’t trust what they have together. I am a woman, I have my tough times too, most of time, harder and tougher than your guys’, I go silent, I go depressed, I go distance, I go cold, but only to the ones I don’t care that much, to the ones who can’t touch my heart. But I never did it to the one I deeply love, cause no matter what I have to face in life, no matter how hard and tough I am in life, there is always a tender soft spot for that guy I love, I melt. So if there is a real deep true love, there shouldn’t be sudden pull-aways, instead, it should be a smooth, caring, peaceful and trustful experience for both the man and woman, a valuable time to connect deeper with each other.

The pull-aways out of blue only damage the relationship, trigger the insecurity of both parties and break the trust that you have built with each other over time.

Reply October 20, 2015, 3:36 pm


I’m reading this several months later, but I must say you are absolutely right. Finally some common sense in the comment section!

Reply June 28, 2016, 11:16 am


I’ve used this site a few times and it’s helped tremendously! Thank you!!!!!!!!!

Reply October 5, 2015, 6:37 pm

Eric Charles

Great to hear – thanks!

Reply October 5, 2015, 7:53 pm


I need to ask about men backing off and pulling away. I dated a man 21 years ago that I was crazy about. At the time, I had no idea how he felt about me. We crossed paths in 2011 but at that time I was married. Three weeks ago, he crossed my mind. We work in the same field. I reached out to him via email and he responded. We exchanged a few quick emails as to how we have been, and after he learned I was now divorced, he asked me to call him. I did and we talked for a bit. He proceeded to tell me that he would love to meet for a drink, that he always had a place in his heart for me and that I was the one woman that he looked back and wished he could do it over. He wanted to meet that evening, but I had already had plans. My plans were canceled late and I texted him. He immediately canceled his plans and we met for drinks. Neither of us were drunk. We sat and talked until 2am in the bar and laughed and then when we went to leave, he walked me to my car and kissed me. He was taken aback and almost looked in shock. I asked what was wrong…and he stated “how is it that I can kiss you and it feels like I never stopped kissing you….like 21 years never passed?” We ended up sitting in his truck in the parking lot talking til 5am. He held me in his arms, told me that I was the one that he always felt he let get away, that he didn’t want to let me go then or ever, that he always felt connected to me, that he wished he could go back and he would have never let me walk out of his life (he broke up with me back then). He told me that he broke up with me because at that time, he was a few years younger and felt that he didn’t have a career or anything to offer me. We left that night and he immediately text me when he got home, that he cant wait to see me again and missed me already.

He has called me 2x since then, just about everyday stuff…how have I been. But no mention of seeing me again. Now it has been almost a week since I have heard from him?!

I need some insight as to why he is obviously backing off??

Reply August 19, 2015, 4:54 pm


I am going through a very hard time right now. My boyfriend of 7 years who I care about and love dearly is going through depression due to losing his job, totaling his car, losing his grandma, all within a year. He can’t seem to find a job because he doesn’t want to settle for less. He was making pretty good money. Well he goes through these episodes of deep depression where he wants nothing to do with anyone. He snaps out of it but then it happens again. I’m getting so sick and tired of it. I’ve been letting him have space and all he does is text me randomly hateful messages. Not exactly towards me, but it hurts my feelings. For example, he sends me anti religion pics. I know he does it on purpose because I always tell him I pray for him. I have been feeling so hurt and alone. Sometimes I feel like I’m about to have a heart attack, I get these sharp pains in my chest, my stomach turns, I’m so disgusted by him. I’m 29 and I feel like I’ll never find anyone if I leave him. I’m so lost. I don’t understand how someone can treat the person they “love” in such a horrible way.

Reply July 28, 2015, 8:37 pm


Im sorry you’re going though this. Honey if he loved you he wouldn’t be taking you though these changes. It seens like his taking his frustrations an personal issues out on you… If i were you i would do no contact for awhile….. Then when he messages you tell him how you feel. He knows what he is doing is wrong .

Reply September 1, 2015, 1:37 pm


Me and my bf/hubby have been together for almost 6yrs. The first 3 were amazing. I had caught him watching porn. Which he knew I hate. He apologized…I told him I would leave him over that. Anyways, about the last year or so, I have been going thru some things. Found out that I have uterine cancer. Found out my dad is terminal with 4th stage pancreatic cancer. My hubby is my rock.. he’s been my best friend. But thru all of this. He will not make time for me. His job requires him to travel ALOT. So when he gets to come home. Our conversations are not very often. A lot of his off time is on the xbox. It really bothers me that he seems so different then when I first met him. When I try to talk to him, about our relationship or sex/lack of. ..he immediately gets offense and won’t talk l. Or says he didn’t know I wanted to. I’ve repeatedly told him that I’m always wanting it. Especially since I don’t see him often. It’s like no big deal to him. It really bothers me. I’m love him more than anything in this world, yet I’m so unhappy. I’ve told him these things. But, nothing. So I’m pretty sick of trying. I’m seriously about to leave him. He is an awesome guy. But he knows me, how I like romance… I have got rid of all my friends for him. Made many exceptions for him. I’m not gonna keep begging. Never done it before, I will not start now. Please help? What to do?

Reply June 7, 2015, 7:14 am


Thank you for your article Eric. I welcome the male perspective. Please forgive me, as I didn’t intend to write such a long message. I believe that a lot of the men the women have here been speaking about suffer from depression and not a simple case of “feeling blue” or “feeling a bit sad”. It’s not something that they can just snap out of. It is a mental health issue. I have been with my boyfriend for 3 years and he goes through depressive episodes – feeling worthless, hopeless, the world is awe full, suicidal thoughts, withdrawal, the works. He refuses to get help. I have to constantly read about depression to get clarity and to ease my fears and yes anger and frustration. I encourage people to get educated on the subject as it helps tremendously. It requires a lot of love, patience and understanding. It is a constant battle and from what I understand and what I’ve been experiencing, you have to be truly committed to stay the course as it can be heartbreaking and cause you to even experience depression. We are cautioned that we have to take care of ourselves and don’t lose who you are, don’t stop doing what you love and have a life outside of the relationship. It has been extremely stressful but I made the choice to stay. One aspect that I can’t understand is this: nobody else knows my boyfriend goes through depression, he says I’m the only person he can talk to, that I’ve always been very supportive, kind and understanding – however, he cuts me off and doesn’t respond for days, even weeks on end but he still communicate with others. Take for example (and imagine my surprise), I asked him earlier in the day how he was feeling and he said he’s not doing good, but later in the day on my Facebook page, he’s tagged in a photo hanging out with friends cheesing (toothy smile). That’s over a week ago. He hasn’t responded to a single message I’ve sent, but he’s still communicating with others. Someone please explain. On another note, Eric, there needs to be more articles that tell men how to treat women, what THEY can do to help the relationship, etc. The onus is always on the woman to make things work. What are the man’s responsibilities?

Reply May 9, 2015, 7:42 am


Hi Angela. I can totally relate to you. My bf also has these depression issues and cuts me off because “he doesn’t want to be around anyone” yet he goes to his friends house and there’s always a bunch of ppl there. I sometimes feel like I’m part of his problem but he tells me I’m not. I don’t understand how he can cut off the person who loves him the most. (We’ve been together for 7 years)

Reply July 27, 2015, 10:33 pm


Could it be his cheating an doesn’t want to be with you… Im sorry but how his acting isnt normal at all i would cut him off

Reply September 1, 2015, 1:47 pm


This helped me to understand why he’s more withdrawn (because I did the needy thing)

But I have one question: HOW CAN I BE A WELL OF APPRECIATION AND ADMIRATION when my boyfriend just “huffs and puffs” and seems generally uninterested with me or anything else ?
Me, I DO take it personally because I think I deserve better treatment than that. I’m willing to appreciate and admire, but frankly his attitude is really shitty and if I bow down to that, well that would be going against MY pride… Why is it that men are allowed to be prideful but women must be nurturing and submissive even when they guy is acting like a sucky baby ?

Reply May 5, 2015, 2:44 am


Man oh man. This article literally answered my questions & let me know what I’ve been doing wrong.


Reply April 19, 2015, 11:46 pm


Hi, Eric
I wanted some added advice on this from my personal experience lately,
My bf and I have been in a relationship for a year now. We talk every day through phone calls and texts but he recent got fired and has had a hard time getting a job the past couple of weeks, along with car issues and family dilemmas, so a lot is on his plate and I’m usually very supportive of that, and not pushy or over bearing, but I’ve also have had so stress so we’ve been arguing more the past week, and I’ve been kind of accusatory on and off, which I’ve made known, that I’m sorry for, but he’s been growing more distant, even when he says he misses me, and now is ignoring me after I asked him a simple question. I don’t know how to resolve this without coming on strong. I’m not used to being ignored much because I usually can step back, without conflict, so I’m at a loss. I know I was too much. All I can think to do is leave him be but it gives me anxiety.

Reply March 3, 2015, 6:48 am


This describes EXACTLY what I’m going through with my partner right now. To a T

Reply February 20, 2015, 2:40 pm


Dump him! This is a bunch of crap. I just went through the same thing. I was there the whole way. The day of the funeral he went alone. His choice. I then found out he did nothing but lie about the whole time before his death. We made plans he would cancel at the last minute. Said he was staying the weekend with his dad and his dad was in a nursing home. I called, text and he did nothing but ignore me. I started looking at sites about grieving partners and if he was that into you he wouldn’t shut you out. Many women have been ignored and dumped when these immature men do this. They don’t have the decency to tell you that it’s over and this is the result. So get out now. Tell him he is a jerk and move on! There is someone out there that will want to be with you and not treat you like this.

Reply February 1, 2015, 10:44 pm


Please help Eric,

I have been in a LDR. We are both single parents. He came down this past wknd to meet my family and my girls. I was to go to his home town in Feb to meet his family. The wknd was great, until the day he left on Monday. He became distant and emotional, saying that he was depressed about leaving and going back to reality of work, bills being late due to a discrepancy with PTO pay and missing me and my girls. When I dropped him off at the airport, he became emotional and kissed me and told me to go quickly bc he didn’t want to drag out the goodbye and cry in front of everyone there. I left and while walking away texted him saying how much I love him. He replied ” I love you too honey”. He made it home safely and texted me. He had to be up at 5am the next day for work and was not feeling well going from tropical weather to freezing, having a lot of sinus issues. Tues he was in surgery cases all day at the hospital, I texted him mid morning saying I missed him and was thinking of him and he replied “Hey babe, sick, been in long cases”. He texted me that eve giving me a heads up of what time he may be out of work, then later texted with “bad day”. I said I was sorry and he said “it’s ok”. I knew he was home and tried to call him an hour later and he didn’t answer. Never got a reply until the next day, mid day. He said “I’m not feeling well, sorry I have been out of commission and my phone was turned off temp, I’m depressed and struggling with some things. I didn’t pay my bill and woke up to a phone turned off.” I texted him reassuring him I was there for him, loved him and we would get through whatever was going on together. The texts went from every sec to barely 2 a day, I cutely asked if I could get an I love you and he responded ” I do love you. I’m at work and miserable, in long cases. I may be on call every wknd in Feb, just found out”. Again, Feb was when I was to go see him. I again apologized that he was going through a rough time. Later he replied and said it seems his position is apparently no longer avail after Feb, his mom was looking into a medical traveling company for him, things were really, really bad and he has to work all he can. He said he def wouldn’t be seeing me in Feb and it was made very clear on the schedule, he wont have any free time for a while. The pull back is so strong and I am starting to take it personal, this is someone who texted and called me 24/7, telling me how much he loves me and wants to marry me, to now almost nothing. He has barely been on facebook, which is something he was constantly on before, and I mean constantly! He will log on for a split sec once a day. He hasn’t changed his relationship status with me and hasn’t removed any tagged posts from his trip here. I went in panic mode yesterday and texted him that I was becoming worried about him and I needed reassurance from him, just an I love you would make me feel safe. Something to let me know it is not me or that our relationship is in danger. The behavior is so abnormal. How do you go from being in love to shutting me out. I tried to call him once last night and he texted he was at work and couldn’t answer, he just got out of an 8 hr case and about to go into another case. I texted back and said I am just concerned about you. Again, this is someone who said he was so in love with me, wants to marry me, our daughters are attached and his daughter tells me she loves me, he would always make sure his daughter was part of our talks, we FaceTimed every night! I am backing off as of now, hopefully it is not too late though. What do I do??

Reply January 16, 2015, 11:12 am


Hi iam very fany
Very hot

Reply December 29, 2014, 8:43 am


Sex my Hobbes just like

Reply December 29, 2014, 8:40 am

melan kumar

Sex my Hobbes just like

Reply December 29, 2014, 8:30 am


I wish I saw this a few weeks ago! I’ve been on and off freaking out internally because I keep worrying that my boyfriend of 3 years doesn’t want to be with me anymore. He’s been acting so different lately and I know it’s because he’s stressed out at work and other various things. I tried talking to him about it and got upset that he wouldn’t talk to me about his problems or tell me anything that’s been going on in his life. I kept trying to reach out to him but it made him withdraw more. That in turn made me clingy which made things even worse. I know he needs space but every now and then my emotions get the better of me and I start thinking he’s sick of me. This post reassures me that if I give him the space he needs everything will work out eventually. Thank you again!

Reply November 24, 2014, 5:42 pm

Beautiful 7

I am in a brand new relationship, a little long distance but our schedules between the both of us consists of school, work, and our own kids. So even though we don’t see each other much, our relationship has been mainly mental…which is great!! We love each other very much but lately, I have noticed a change in him. Not really texting much or calling, sometimes not answering the phone for me. We’ve talked and I expressed how I felt and even asked if maybe we should just part ways, seeing we’re both busy and he doesn’t seem to have much time for me? He said,” he loves and wants to be with me” and that he will show me! I am trying to be patient and not seem needy or upset with him. He expressed that he was angry a few days ago, that he was going through something personal. I didn’t offer help, just that I understood and that I was here for him no matter what, and when he’s ready to talk; I am here. Now two days later, no texts back, ignoring my phone calls. Should I just continue to let him be, and wait until he reaches out to me? I don’t want to feel like I am smothering him.

Reply November 22, 2014, 8:13 pm


I recently went through this situation with my boyfriend. He had been really stressed because he’s currently unemployed, he’s having family issues, etc. I noticed he started pulling away because he was barely calling me or texting me, he didn’t want to hang out and when he was with me, he used to go quiet for long periods of time. It was hard because he was always all over me. Just like all of you, ladies, I freaked out thinking he didn’t love me anymore. He even tried breaking up with me! Because he said he felt uncapable of giving me what I deserved, luckily he snapped out of that attitude and just asked me for some time alone.

Eric, I read this article and I just told him to take all the time he wanted, that I would be there in case he needed me. It was hard but I just hung in there. I only texted back whenever he texted me and I tried to keep the messages short responding in a positive way.

Well, guess what? He came back to me saying he missed me a lot. He seemed to be in a better mood, he said he wasn’t stressed anymore and he started going to the gym again (he had stopped during those days). He’s been planning dates and he even surprised me with a beautiful silver necklace! He’s affectionate again and he says he feels like he loves me even more than before. :)

Thank you for this article, Eric! It helped a lot!

Reply November 12, 2014, 1:43 pm


This sounds a lot like what I’m going through with my boyfriend. How long did it take until he started coming back around to you?

Reply November 28, 2014, 5:02 pm


Oh it luks as if it has been written down on my situation.
very few things on internet make such impression on my mind.
yes! I will try to follow all this.
God bless you

Reply September 29, 2014, 2:23 pm


Eric/Fellow stressed out ladies,

This question fits my situation to the tell. But add in the upcoming anniversary of his mother’s death (which he flew home) + sick + longer hours at work. At first (known each other since the start of the year, exclusive as of about a month ago) he was sweet, affectionate, great at communication, always wanting to hang out and the last few weeks I’ve barely seen him, sporadically sweet and actually has gone days with either a text or two or nothing at all. Its so hard for me to fathom that if he loves me, which he says he still does, but can go MIA, not want to hang out or be sweet/affectionate…hard to not take in personally. I do know that he’s not dealing well with his mom’s death and especially the anniversary which was this weekend. He kept saying its not a good time and he’s not in a good place and the classic “its not you its me” which I panicked thought he was ending it .At first he didn’t want to see me at all, but then we went out and had drinks and talked. He did admit he’s a person who when he gets in his “bad place” does not want to see anyone or do anything. Any add’l tips on dealing w/a guy in mourning?

Reply September 16, 2014, 12:09 pm


Eric, Thank you so much for this article. I needed this bit of encouragement, hopefully my relationship will take a turn for the better in a while.

Much love

Reply July 25, 2014, 12:00 am


My boyfriend and I have been together for about 9 months now, everything was perfect and great up until 3 months ago when we had a huge fight about his best friend (who he calls his “little sister”). In the beginning of the relationship he had told me he only gets along with girls because the guys in his school are incompetent and I do believe that he is more mature than most of the people at his school (by his school I do mean we go to different schools) he seemed sincerely sorry for the fact that he had to have me deal with the fact that his only companions were girls but I told him it was alright because it really truly was! He was such a sweetheart about it and would even ask me for permission if he wanted to hang out with a group of his friends (a group a girls) if they all planned to go out one night (I never asked him to do things like this he chose to ask all by himself, so it made me feel secure). Up until three months ago, his best friend whom is the only girl I’m threatened by (because of her inability to keep her space from his comfort zone for me) put a picture of herself on snapchat to his story which I asked him to tell her not to do that, she was also number one best friend which I also asked not to have that happen because it just seems like he is more interested in her than me. He told me he yelled at her and I was completely done with the situation until he kept nagging on and on about how he was an awful boyfriend and it made me mad because he wasn’t. One thing went to anther and he basically ended up thinking I was giving him an ultimatum between me and his best friend which was NOT what I was trying to do, I was asking him simply to just pay more attention to me after school since he sees her all day and only sees me very rarely! (Which I found very suspicious but I did not tell him). Ever since then he has fought with me about her and refuses to talk about her when he brings up a story of him and her doing something that makes me feel uncomfortable. For example, her parents hate her being around my boyfriend because they find him as a bad influence and one night they were at a play together (which he also did not tell me that he was going to be with her there) and apparently her parents barged in, took her phone and took her away after seeing her with my boyfriend. He came home that night and texted me distraught about the whole thing and apparently he dreamt about her because he felt it was his fault and also began stressing about her wayyyy more than he’s ever stressed about me. Even when I had a minor heart attack that same day he didn’t seem nearly as distraught about that as he was about her. I know he may not want to talk about her to not start a fight but we use to never fight about her before he would usually see that I’m hurt , understand and we would fix it together. A week ago he finally heard back from her from the night of the play (meaning he’s been trying to get in constant touch with her) and she said she was fine and not to worry, she’ll her phone back before school (she did this through a friends phone , why would your friend feel such a need to text you through another friend over something like that? It is important but not that important right?) then recently he also told me the reason he would not let me see his ipod was because he has him and his best friend as a background chilling and I would have “freaked” if I saw it, but he still remains to not let me see his ipod. He tells me he has nothing to hide and that he feels like I’m invading his privacy when I ask to look through it but it just makes me even more suspicious! Ever since the fight about his best friend he has not done nearly half the things he use to do such as send me loving goodnight and Goodmorning messages, nor does he seems as affectionate as he once was when we would meet up in person…what did I do? Does he have something going on with his best friend?

Reply July 7, 2014, 6:46 am


The whole point I’m getting towards with that is the fact that because of such a minor thing like his bestfriend having her phone taken is the stressor that is causing him to be distant. He said she’s his one source of comfort and she’s gone causing him to be more stressed. But she didn’t seem that important 3 months ago when he would literally block her on snapchat and not text her just for me.

Reply July 7, 2014, 6:55 am


Thank you so much for your response Eric. I am going through a similar situation and have been feeling very insecure. My boyfriend is a very romantic sensitive man with a huge heart. He lost his wife in 2008 and then had a bad break up with a very unstable woman last year. Him and I have been friends for 31 years and it became more. He is such a wonderful man and has been very good to me, although the past couple of months he has been withdrawing more and more after his ex girlfriend posted something nasty about him on Facebook. He says he loves me everyday, however normally he calls me an affection name and hunny or sweetheart, but the other day he told me that those types of things are redundant in an adult relationship. This is not like him. He is normally very affectionate. He did tell me he knows he is still broken, plus he has a lot on his plate. I haven’t told him how I have been feeling because I don’t want to add to how he has been feeling. He is also normally a very happy go lucky fun person. Joking around, smiling, etc… but he doesn’t do that very much anymore either. I am so worried about him. I love him so dearly and want him to be ok. I do support him and tell him that he is strong and a man of integrity and that he will be fine. I know he loves me dearly as well. I just want to be a good partner to him.

Reply May 1, 2014, 1:14 pm


Ive been seeing my bf for 11 months now. His mother died 10 days ago and he is completly withdrawling from me. I know he needs space and time but I dont want to loose him. Each day our communication gets less and can I show him support that will not push him further away. In what ways can I show him my admiration to help him pull himself up from how low he is feeling?

further away? I know trying to help him through his pain will not work so what can I say to him s

Reply February 2, 2014, 1:53 am


Great advice, thank you so much. My bf is going through a stressful time right now due to some unexpected developments in his life. I read similar advice before (and double-checking because I don’t want to mess it up!). I’m doing my best to apply it. Seems to be working as he is not withdrawing from me, and even opening up a bit. I’m simply loving, the way I always am with him, and when he does open up I sit quietly and listen. I give him his space and I respect his wishes. He wants me around though, and that tells me I’m doing something right, for him, and what he needs right now.

Reply January 26, 2014, 11:14 am


I’m pretty much with Amy, May 14 2013 on this one, especially if this is a repeated behavior. First, sometimes the woman has every right to take pulling away personally if this behavior follows a disagreement in the relationship and this is consistently how the man handles it. Next, if there’s something going on outside of the relationship and needing space is his MO, then he needs to at least say that much–a decrease in communication or availability really does require some kind of explanation, even if it’s just a simple statement, because it is a downgrade in companionship, and any normal person would question this. I’m with Amy, that IS being a grown-up, and a guy doesn’t get off the hook because “it’s a guy thing” any more than I should get off the hook for, say, wanting to over-talk things just because I’m a woman. I think accepting these stereotypes is damaging to a relationship and maintains an unhealthy status quo.

So, if my boyfriend and I usually talk daily and spend two evenings a week together, for example, and then our talks decrease to just a few times a week, and our evenings together turn into quick coffee dates, yes, I need to know why. Of, if his availability is the same, but he is unusually quiet, unresponsive, or in other ways emotionally absent, I need to know why. Upon learning the reason, I may be just fine and the conversation can end, but we cannot be shut out. If I were with someone who responded this way to stress and did not find a way to open up to me, I’d be gone.

Reply December 1, 2013, 2:28 pm


I so needed this article. Eric, thank you. You have turned my day around hopefully for the better.

Reply November 10, 2013, 4:48 pm


Our wedding is in a month but one week before something major occur and boyfriend is very stress and shutting me out… Usually I would love to give boyfriend space, but tomorrow is the date we meet parents for wedding! I rather him to quickly give me an answer then moping and being sad! Is he still coming or rather postpone!? I properly make a mistake by chasing him for answer but I can’t wait anymore! I am so worry and scare…

Reply September 12, 2013, 11:06 pm


I agree with this article, but still not sure. My situation is a little different. My boyfriend and I met online back in August. We started dating in January. Everything was good and then he made the decision to move to Atlanta which is a few hours from me. He is a truck driver and has told me that he has been stressing about working and living arrangements. Before the move, this started changing and we use to talk everyday on the phone and now we basically only text in the morning and maybe sometimes at night. Throughout the day, there is no communication. I’ve never question what he was stressing about or thinking about because I think that he would let me know when he was ready. I just feel like I can’t do anything and I feel bad that I get mad that he isn’t talking to me about anything. When I did say something to him about something about me he changes that subject or just says that he will talk to me later and I never bring it back up. I just want to know if I’m doing the right thing with giving him is space, but how do I not get mad about it though!!!

Reply July 22, 2013, 12:06 am


Hum I found this interesting but still wondering what my role is and what I can ask for and what’s too much or too little? I’ve been seeing this guy for about 2 yrs. Recently he’s really stressed and has been pretty vague about his issues although, I know theyare complicated and hasn’t made any attempt to get together or say hello for the past 6 weeks. I’ve tried to contact him a few times and he’s just said not to stress everything is fine but his mind is on his issues. 3 weeks ago I told him I understand and I won’t pressure him cause he needs to do what he needs to do but just dont be stranger and say hello….. well he hasnt and its driving me crazy. I finally got up the nerve to text him a hello after 2wks and he says he’s still going through his stuff. So I say I miss u and its been a long time….. did I make a mistake? He never responded to that and has given me no time frame or assurance again. I just don’t know what to do? He’s done this before but never for this long. This is not easy! !!!! And just don’t see why his stress must also stress me when I just need to know me & him are ok. What should I do?

Reply July 7, 2013, 2:13 pm


I think I’ve ruined my relationship. I’ll try keep it short…

My boyfriend was in a relationship with a girl about three years ago. She had a young son from a previous relationship and he said that the kid started to see him like a father. When they broke up he said it took him about a year to get over it – that he took it really badly.
They were together for about a year. From the start of our relationship (9 months) I have had insecurities about her. I bring her up a lot and he had been patient in dealing with me. But today it came to a head. He is really angry that I keep bringing it up. He says he wasn’t thinking about her before but because I kept pushing and pushing I have made him think about her a lot more. He says that he feels like he will have to grieve the child all over again. I didn’t realise that what he was not over was the child and that he felt he had lost one.
He blames me entirely for making him think about and deal with this again. Rightly so. I feel terrible, he is so angry. He said that he needs someone stronger and doesnt know if il be able to change… ( I’m seeing a therapist for the last few weeks). He said he is only willing to give it a shot is because we live together but if I ever snoop on him again – it’s over, he’s gone. He doesn’t want to deal with drama and shit in his life.
What can I do? I’m determined to change my thinking. He is sleeping on the couch tonight, he didnt want me to go and stay with my parents for a few days but is ok to sleep on the couch. I will give him that space. What if he changes his mind and decided to leave? How do I deal with this situation? I’m so full of shame and guilt – I never realised it was the child and not the girl that he found so hard to get over. I’ve been stupid and I hate myself right now. He thinks I take pleasure in sabotaging my own happiness. :’-(

Reply June 5, 2013, 10:57 am


Well, I think that’s kind of crap, Eric. If the guy’s half the relationship, it’s up to him to be a grownup, get some help, figure out how to communicate, rather than cutting the woman off and expecting her to be a nurturing angel. I suppose this is where you say yada yada things even out over time, but in general what I see is that if a man can’t handle the communication responsibilities of a relationship in tough times, then no, things aren’t going to even out.

I’d suggest she just be straight with him: say look, I know things are tough for you, but I’m a person too, and if we’re going to be together, I need for you to be present in the relationship. If you’re having a tough time, I get that, but you need to find a way to deal with it that doesn’t involve putting me in the “girl I don’t want to deal with” closet until your life rights itself and you feel like Popeye again. I’ll be patient a while longer; after that, I love you, but I’ma go live my life.

Reply May 14, 2013, 11:25 pm

Eric Charles

Some of what you’re saying I agree with, so I think we’re more on the same page than you might think.

When I right these, some of the times I need to cut down the questions for space reasons. Still, I respond personally to the woman asking the question and when I do, I try my best to give her what she needs for her situation.

So yeah, there’s a time and a place for having a frank discussion and being on the same page.

In this case, the issue I was speaking to primarily was not to take it personally. There’s lots of situations where a woman sees a guy pulling away because of his own personal stress response. She assumes that she did something wrong and gets into a cycle of paranoia – she feels worried the guy is losing interest in her, she tries to get validation that he cares, he’s not in the head space to give her the type of response she wants, she gets more paranoid, fishes for more proof he cares, and on and on until the relationship takes on a life of chasing, worrying and reassurance.

Another trap is the woman sees the guy struggling and wants to “help”. Most women *want* to be nurturing to the man that they really love. In that regard, all I’m saying is she doesn’t need to do anything… just step back and let him handle it.

The way you wrote it, you make it sound like the guy is actively cutting the woman off like he’s trying to be an immature *sshole. That’s not the reality… personally, when I get overwhelmed with life, it can be hard for me to be all “there” in my relationship.

It’s not that I can’t (or don’t) communicate. It’s not that I’m not mature. It’s not that I’m not a “grownup”. And it’s most definitely not because I expect her to be “a nurturing angel”.

I just look at it as a fact of life. I have to deal with mine, she has to deal with hers and we understand that we can’t both be shiny objects all the time.

I do think your approach of talking frankly is far better than trying to play “emotional detective” by observing his micro-behaviors and things he said, then fishing for clues if he cares, etc. Much better to put your thoughts on the table clearly and succinctly IF that’s your nature and IF you have the ability to speak so clearly. Not everyone does well with that…

Reply May 15, 2013, 5:13 pm


Hi Eric, I have dilemmas here I hope you can voice out your opinion. My boyfriend recently resigned from his job and now jobless. He keeps saying he wants to find job but he never works it out.

Everyday all he does is just watching tv and eat, yet he always complains about how he’s wasted his days and he wanted to sort things out but he never able to.

One thing I don’t understand is, he never really works it out yet he whines to me everyday about how he wastes his days. He even asks me help for him.

In this case, should I help him? Yet on your article, I learned that I should give him space. And yeah, I give him space. A LOT of it, since I am busy with my works also. But when he asks me for a help, does that mean I should help him?

Well, up until now what I’ve done is to encourage him to not take it stressfully and I told him to do things that he loves. Does that work?

Thank you very much :)

Reply April 21, 2013, 12:42 pm


ok what do i do?! my boyfriend is mad at me for something i didnt do. I was sleeping and someone hacked my facebook account and said somethings to him. now he wont even talk to me. i tried to tell him it wasnt me, i tried giving him space. but he just wont talk to me. he is ignoring me like im not even there

Reply November 27, 2012, 11:16 am


This was really helpful. My boyfriend’s former mother-in-law just passed away. He had been very close to her for a very long time. Now his ex-wife is telling him that not only can he not come to the funeral but he can’t send flowers. He’s the type of person who values those kinds of rituals in order to say goodbye and now that he doesn’t have them he’s not in a very good place. I REALLY want to be there for him but whenever it starts to get to him he doesn’t want to see me. Part of me is hurt by that and honestly, I was raised to believe that relationships aren’t supposed to work like that. I was taught that everyone is supposed to talk everything out. But I’m going to take your advice and stop offering help and support he doesn’t want. Instead I’m going to wait for him to signal that he’s ready to see me and then I’ll “admire and appreciate all of the good parts of him.” As long as I know my role in this I can deal.

Reply November 4, 2012, 4:54 pm


Hi Eric, I enjoyed reading your article and you brought up good, reasonable points. However, I do have an additional question in mind… you stated that men withdraw although it personally has nothing to do with his significant other. Why do some men punish only their women and not everyone else? My boyfriend treats me this way and I don’t understand why; he even said it is a ‘not you but me kinda deal.’ When he is stressed, he hangs out with his friends or does something else. I still trust him somehow. We are close and talk about personal issues but I guess this is a big deal— he did mention family. I want to be by his side but he pushes me away. Its frustraiting

Reply August 22, 2012, 10:23 pm


What if his pulling away from stress is causing him to slow contact? Should I just leave him be and when he does reach out pretend like nothing’s wrong?

It is really hard not to take something like this personally, especially when I’ve asked him to be better about communication.

Reply May 19, 2012, 4:09 pm


My boyfriend and I have been together for a year and a half now. Last year he moved to another school and eversince he hasn’t been the same. He can easily go 4 days without texting or calling me, not even answering my efforts to contact him. He is either working or laying around at home all day, but he doesn’t seem to want to spend time with me. I miss him. He is straying from me. He barely wants to have sex anymore ad when we do it, he almost doesn’t climax anymore. I miss the old him, but the more I try to understand and support him, the more he pushes me away. It hurts so bad.

Reply April 17, 2012, 11:39 am


I just split with my boyfriend of 9 months the other day and I cant understand why. Im in a lot of distress about it going over the details of what I might have done wrong. He had a very stressfull week and was pulling away so i panicked and got needy, I called him and texted and worried. but i tried to be nice about it. Then on saturday he was supposed to come to mine but he called to say he would be late, so I shouted at him and then he shouted back. Ten minutes later he phoned me back to say he couldnt do this anymore, and that a relaitionship was too stressful. We agreed it hadnt been the same for a month or two now since his uncle died. then he said he was sorry and needs some time before we can talk or be friends again. Basically we said we loved each other in october, upto that point it was perfect! then his uncle died and he became a little less attentive to me, workload increased, people were pestering him. In late december I brought up that I was unhappy because he was barely paying attention to me and let me down several times. We had big fight but it was solved. Two weeks ago it got better, he started doing all the things he used to do. Then this last week he was so stressed out and suddenly he wants to break up?
Any insights as to why he really dumped me, or what may have triggered it? Because he seemed happy the night before it happened.

Reply February 6, 2012, 5:33 am


I met a guy a back in August who works for the same
Company as me and had just moved back to the city were in for a job. He knew a friend of mine and she had given him my number. He of course never called. Then in the beginning of January he messaged me on a dating website, not realizing he already knew me. I messaged him back calling him out on it, he did not reply. He then came into work and talked to the girl who had given him my number before and told her how he felt like an idiot and really wanted to ask me out. So he immediately messaged me on the dating site and after a couple of messages we exchanged numbers. We texted and talked that whole weekend and on Monday we went on our first date. We had a great time, talked for hours, and both had the best kiss of our lives (exact words coming from his lips). We talked after the date and he wanted to see me the next day. So we had a day date and then hung out the next night. We then went out two nights later on a Friday and spent the whole weekend together where I met his friends and he met mine. We spent five out of seven days in the next week together. We spent the whole weekend together again. Staying in on Friday night and watching movies, going to a work function together all day Saturday and having an impromptu dinner with my dad and grandparents and then going out with his brother and friend. All the while he has been telling me how scary it is how much he likes me, how he’s always going to spoil me, how he’s so thankful for me to be in his life, how awesome I am, and how happy he is with me. He even got off the dating website three days after our first date and a week after our first date he wanted to be exclusive. Everything felt so natural and easy with us and I had never been swept off my feet like this so I was willing as well. I hadn’t felt this way in a really long time. He even bought me a pillow for his house and we were making insignificant plans for when it gets warmer outside. He was suppose to meet my mom and sis this past weekend at a mice race event. He started transitioning to a new position at work last Friday while continuing to do his current job and finding a replacement for him. We spent the whole
Weekend together and everything was perfect. Monday he worked 8-8 which he continued to do everyday this week. We were suppose to have a dinner date on Tuesday but we had to cancel so I brought dinner to him and we stayed in and watched movies and I stayed the night. Everything was great. On Wednesday he felt distant and we talked about him being overwhelmed at work. On Thursday he told me that all He could offer me right now is a friendship. We talked about it face to face that night after he got out of work and we both cried and he begged me to be his friend because he didn’t want to lose me. He promised that once things settle Down at work that he would give us a chance. He wants to be the best boyfriend he can be and spend every waking moment with me or he thinks I’ll leave him so that’s why he wants to be friends and not date bc of all the stress. Well with me being a girl, I was too pushy. And he texted me yesterday and told me to
Just relax about all of this and that he just needs some time. Then an hour later he texted me and said his feelings have changed, this has to end now, I’m sorry. Then the last text he sent me after I was trying to get answers was “this has gone completely out of control and I’m at work. My job is really important to me. I’m really sorry.” Did I mess things up too badly? Could his feelings have changed that quickly or is he just trying to push me away bc he needs his time? I need some help. He is amazing and I don’t want to lose him for forever. I can stand being without him for a short time but I need help on what to do to get him back. Did I screw it up by being too pushy after he asked for time? Any help or advice is much appreciated. Thank you

Reply February 5, 2012, 11:30 am


I’ve been reading through some of the comments and I’m a little distressed at some of the mistakes I seem to have made with my current boyfriend. He has been through a hard time and I think all I’ve done is put pressure on him to try and get him to open up and tell me what’s been going on with him and I think it’s made it worse. He says I’m putting him on the spot and that he always deals with things on his own but this was making me unhappy because in my last relationship all we did was tell each other what was bothering us and it was a bit of a shock to then be with someone who emotionally shut down and in essence was pushing me away and if I’m honest I was worried it was also me that was making him unhappy and it go to a point where things were so bad between us that, that’s all I asked him-if everything was okay, was he happy with me? etc and I now hate myself for it because I don’t think I’m a needy person but I know I was coming across as needy but I just wanted reassurance because I had a dramatic breakup and partially left my last boyfriend for him and was worried that he was already bored of me.
I would like to perhaps bring it up and apologise for it but he’s the kind of guy who when an argument’s taken place he kind of wants to forget it’s happened and hates it being continually brought up( we’ve had a rough patch recently which I really hope we’re coming out of no). I don’t want to bring it up per se I’m just the type of person that when they feel they have screwed things up won’t feel etter until they’ve at least apologised but I don’t want to antagonise him. So I’m not sure what to do: let it lie or try to apologise for putting unneccessary pressure on him?

Reply January 26, 2012, 6:33 am


Basically, I have known this guy a year now(we go to the same church so I see him 2times a week or 3), the first few months, I’d just say hi as I didn’t know him. But after around 5-6 months- I don’t know how but we began but we were talking many times, after every meeting session he would come straight up to me and wouldn’t go up to his friends etc. We would have such laughs and I was certain he liked me, he would come up to me all the time, stare at me etc. I then went on holiday for 2weeks, when I came back I went into hospital for 1 week, then after that he was away for 2 weeks, so we went ages without talking. Since I came back, he did try to get back that spark we both had but i shunned it due to fear of rejection because I began to start falling for him.We haven’t spoken at all but he stares at me constantly, my friends have verified this. They all say I am too good for him (in the looks sense) but that doesn’t matter to me at all as I find him attractive to me. He will always hover around me and sometimes stand on his own (something he would do then we would both go up to each other the few months before) but I turn my back on it and I don’t know why I am being like this, even when he tried to brush his body past mine , I looked at him like he’s weird.- I don’t want to lose him! I feel something is still there but I don’t know. When he stares and I catch him a few times, he will either hold out the stare and I just look away or he will look away very quick. I cannot keep going on like this but I have no courage to go up to him, although I know nothing bad would happen but I am stubborn and think he should make the first move he is a guy! ….help me!!! email me

Reply December 30, 2011, 4:44 am


Me and my boyfriend have been dating for about 2weeks now,he told me a week into our relationship that he has a baby on the way with n ex gf,He just recently came to see me a little after his son was born he stayed with me for 3 days then went home which he lives 2 hours away from me.when he did get back home i barely herd from him he don’t text me or call me like he use to,he son is premature and i know he spends a lot of time at the hospital but even when he is not there he don’t bother with me, a lot of times he ignores my text messages.i did ask him last night if he really did want to be with me he tells me yes i asked him why he don’t bother with me and he tells me his busy.I don’t know what to do i really don’t want to lose him and he also admits he is still in love with his baby momma but tells me he does not want to be with her cause she has cheated on him in the past.I texted him once today to ask how his son was no reply from him so what do i do.

Reply December 5, 2011, 8:59 pm


if he is not fully over someone or the situation even if they’ve been separated for days, months or years, you will be his rebound girlfriend. He may want to be with you, but he will be and wants to be apart of his baby and the baby’s mother’s life. You can be supportive of him, but don’t expect a big commitment. His big commitment is his child and senario at hand right now. It’s a lot overwhelming him. Don’t take it personally, just be there for him. Time will tell what happens, but it’s more important to be there for him and let him open up and trust you when he feels he is ready. That can help form a great relationship.

Reply February 3, 2012, 4:03 pm


My boyfriend ask for a 2 week break from me and where getting married in 6months but the whole reason why he asks for that break so he can study but im scared im gonna lose him or he fall in love with other girl. BTW he in college and im back in Cali

Reply November 30, 2011, 9:11 pm


Dear eric,

Im experiencing something like this with someone i am exclusively dating. Lately he is unhappy with his new job. Misses his old one. And now currently he is broke adding more stress on him. Parents nagging on him. Then suddenly he told me that he wants to date other women. When i told him that he can do that it makes him happy. And then he responded in a pissed off manner that if he does that i will be unhappy and will go MIA. But the thing is i have yet to go MIA nor gotten unhappy because that situation has yet to happen.

He is now withdrawn. Has yet to reply or text me.

What does this mean and does he mean what he says?

Reply November 23, 2011, 6:06 am


wow, everything stated in the article are the mistakes i made. I knew something was wrong when he was pulling away and he retreated even more when i started to take it personally and tried to “help” him …i feel like crap

Reply November 9, 2011, 9:54 pm

Eric Charles

I understand why you might feel like crap – you regret the actions you took.
But the fact is, you did everything you did because at the time you thought it was the best option… or maybe the only option.
Now you have a new approach and a new perspective. For the rest of your life, you’ll be able to handle this type of thing better and get better results in your relationship-life.
So really, this is a time to celebrate and feel good. From this point forward, you know something that will get you better results than ever before.
It’s all good, don’t worry.

Reply November 12, 2011, 4:59 pm


Hi Eric,

So I need your insight into what my boyfriends thinking…

Some background: Me and my boyfriend have been together for a year. It’s been really great despite some ups and downs. I give him a lot of space, and we just hang out like friends most of the time. All and all it feels like a great relationship.

We’ve had some struggles because his parents got divorced two years ago, and he is still struggling a lot with that.

Also my dads been having an affair on my mom so I’ve been dealing with that, and it’s put stress on our relationship.

We both get along with each others families really well, and it seems that we are getting pretty serious because he and I stay over at each others places quite a bit. *He mentioned that he’d want to live with me in the future, and a week before my dilemma arose was complaining about living with his buddies this year and said he doesn’t want to live with them next year. Also he even said he sees a future (i.e. marriage) with me*

The Problem: Recently I got really stressed out about us because he seems depressed because of his family issues, and that has lead to him seeming not engaged in anything really. I mentioned this to him and we seemed to come to some what of a resolution. I suggested it might help if he talk to a counsellor, and he agreed that would benefit him. I decided I am going to too because of my family issues as well.

After this we went back to getting along very well, laughing together and so on, and then we went to a bookstore for a date, and had a great time. We started looking at children’s books together from our youth, and both bought children’s books. There was an unspoken sort of implication I think we were both aware of that the books would be for our hypothetical children. We didn’t say much about it, so it was a good night.

The next day when we woke up he was complaining about how I leave and bring too many clothes to his apartment because it clutters his room, which it really does, considering it’s a small room, and I got frustrated and said well why don’t we move in together?-that way I don’t have to bring clothes back and forth. (In my mind I felt light hearted about the situation though, not as if I was really intending we would move in together soon).

Later that day we walked to get my brother a birthday present, and he said, “so when would you move out of your house?” I assumed because he’d already mentioned his desire to live with me he was inquiring because he was impatient and looking forward to my moving out. The I freaked out a bit because I felt like I was being light hearted about the whole idea of moving in, and felt like he was being serious, so I said, “Oh you’r bringing this up?” (again light hearted) and he said, ” Don’t act as if you didn’t bring it up first” (frustrated). (Still light hearted) I said, “Oh I dunno, I have to save up some money first.” He responded, “Well I didn’t think you were thinking anytime soon…” and I responded, “no like I say it will take a while to save some money.”

I didn’t give this conversation much thought, because I still was under the assumption that he wanted to move in together.

After we bought my brothers birthday gift, he quickly diverted me and said he had to go to buy groceries and left. I felt like he was being really weird, but didn’t pay much attention to it because he’s been so stressed out about his family.

Then two days later I texted him good night I love you, and he texted, “you too hun” which is really uncharacteristic of him. After this I just began to worry. I proceeded to call him…WHICH wasn’t the right thing to do, but I was stressed because tonight, of all nights, I was totally aware my dad left to cheat on my mom, so I called my boyfriend in seek of help. He talked to me a great deal about my dad and really helped a lot, I didn’t ask my boyfriend about the text because as we talked I forgot anything was wrong, and then I said “alright I’m going to bed, love you”. And he got all weird about the I love you again…he said it, but in a very rushed, unnatural way.

We hung up, and I began to worry again, I was still baffled as to what he’s feeling. Then I started to think of everything in context…and wondered have all of these events led him to feel trapped? Did he take me very seriously when I joked about moving in? Why is he freaking out if he suggested he wants us to move in?!?!? How can I repair the damage I’ve done? I don’t want him to feel trapped, I’m not even sure I want to move in, I mean I’m just enjoying our time now…and if thats the way things go for us I’d be happy, but I definitely want us to just continue enjoying each others company, and see where that takes us. Why do guys say they want things for the future and then freak out if the girl reciprocates? Is this about the future, or IS it about his other stresses with his family?

Thanks :)

p.s. sorry for the novel ;) seems like you get that a lot^. i guess its a chick thing.

Reply November 9, 2011, 3:24 am


My boyfriend & I have been seeing each other for just over 4 months. He is 42 & I am 29. We live about 2 hours apart, so we are not seeing each other often. The 1st month & half he was super lovey dovey & called/texted all the time! He really showed his interest. Then it seems he quickly fell into comfort zone. The calls dwindled to every other day, which is ok because my life isn’t that crazy to talk for extended times every day. Also september & october, because of work & family obligations we were not able to get together except for every other weekend. When we are together in person he is great! Completely in the moment, he takes care of me, he’s affectionate… The month of October I really started to feel disconnected from him (my perspective & point of view. He probably is just in comfort zone & doesn’t see anything wrong). We couldn’t see each other much, he wasn’t asking when can I see you again like he used to (I guess its just assumed that when it can happen it will). And our phone calls were very superficial because we aren’t integrating each other into our lives due to the distance (again, my perspective).

Then, about 2 weeks into October he called me & said “I just wanted to let you know that I’m not blowing you off, I’m sorry I haven’t called as much as usual but I just found out my mother has pancreatic cancer & spots on her liver & lungs. Also, her brother has it too! So this is what I am dealing with & I will probably be spending more weekends out of town with my folks.” I thought it was really considerate of him to call and tell me that.

Now, I was feeling the disconnect (from my perspective) prior to us having knowledge of his mother’s illness. FYI, my grandmother died from pancreatic cancer. Fast forward to now, the beginning of November. I spent last weekend with him, friday, sat, sunday. We had a snow storm, he lost power for days & it was a cold crummy weekend. But we made the best of it, seemed to get along famously as we always have. I know he was stressed about his house & pipes bursting & being too cold. I noticed his father calling often, & over all he has a lot going on. But he had not shut me out.

Then on nov 2 his mother had a biopsy on her liver & lungs. We exchanged 1 text the day before. Since then he has disappeared. This is the longest I haven’t heard from him, nearly 5days. I am not the kind of girl to blow up his phone with texts & calls. I fret with my friends & my mother. I sent one text on friday morning. I had forgotten about his mothers procedure so in my text I asked how he has been & did his power come back on. Later that evening I was trying to figure out what changed between us & I remembered his mother’s medical procedure. But my girlfriend’s say don’t pressure him so just send a simple xoxoxo text & let him be. That is what I did. last night, saturday, I sent xoxo and now its sunday afternoon and I still have no idea what is going on.

I don’t know what came of his mothers procedure, I don’t know if my BF left town to be with his parents. I don’t know if he has been going to work like usual, I don’t know if this has anything to do with me. I dont know if I pressured him somewhere about meeting his parents. He seemed like the type of guy to tell me if he decided he didn’t want to see me anymore, this ignoring thing seems out of character for him. I’m a little concerned. I’m concerned selfishly, wondering if this means he doesnt want to see me anymore, if its now a bad time. I’m concerned for him, how is he doing, handling this. I’m concerned for his mother & father, how are they….. How hard is it to send a puny text just to give me a heads up.

I don’t want to break up, I want to support him however that is. I will wait for him through this but I dont even know if he is interested anymore.. My experience is when a guy goes this long with no contact they are done with the relationship, or will be very soon…. wtf?!!!

Do I let him be & when he gets back to me try to understand what happened to him? What if he tells me hes just been busy at work? if that is the case I will be pissed because 4-5 days with no contact in a long distance relationship isn’t enough for me. If his mother’s health is worse than they thought how do I support him without emasculating him? How can I support him when I am so far away?

Reply November 6, 2011, 1:13 pm


after 5 years he left now he calls and says he needs his clothes says a day he’ll pick them up and then doesn’t , what’s going on???

Reply October 31, 2011, 2:03 pm


Recently, I just got back together with my ex. We were together 9 1/2 months and then broke up because he thought too many people were interfering with our relationship. After 2 months, we got back together :) we are together now and have been for 2 weeks. But in the past few days something hasn’t been right between us. He has been ill with the flu which could explain things but it seems like he can’t be bothered to initiate contact with me. In a way i do feel like i am being needy because i’m missing our old relationship so much and i just want those old long conversations back. But It seems like he is relying on me to make contact but our conversations don’t even last long. I fear i’m losing him all over again and i could not deal with that. I know he does love me but i am sick of being pushed aside and left to hurt. How can i get him to come after me again and get that deep love and energy back into the relationship?

Reply October 26, 2011, 7:02 am


I got back together with my boyfriend from 21 years ago. It was a terrible break up back then and I saw him after all those years, he’s divorced now for over a year, and he apologized for how awful he was and could we get together for dinner. I gave him a clean slate and he has been wonderful but its only been 3 months. We lived together for 4 years and bought a house together 21 years ago so it was pretty serious. Im 51, he is 46. I have a 25 year old, his children are 11 and 17. He just left for Kauai because he is a General Contractor and building a home there, will be gone for about month and a half. I care deeply for him but wondering if Im wasting my time with him again. I know he cares but is this just something new for me and thats why I got so excited and its starting to sizzle a little now that he is gone. Im just confused because I am very ill with an auto immune disease and dont need to stress out over something I have no control over. Should I just let it happen in stead of making it happen. The sex could be a lot better, but how do I tell him without hurting his feelings. Thats a big problem. My last boyfriend was the best lover ever but turned out to be a much better friend that lover and we are the best of friends now. I wish I had that kind of sex with this guy

Reply October 20, 2011, 4:40 am


A well rounded response to the poster and an interesting male perspective. In my experience I’ve found a lot of these things to hold true of men in my relationships. This is particularly evident with my current boyfriend who is very much the ‘blokey bloke’ and finds emotive communication very difficult. At first I found our differing approaches very frustrating and would push for him to open up to me, much to the detriment of us both! In the end I realised that although I was concerned, I was doing this more for my benefit than his; I wanted to feel like I could help him, and I was trying to approach it in a way that would help me – this was only pushing him away. I have since grown to better appreciate our differences and respect his manly space, and in doing so have gained his trust and he will now approach me to talk about the things in his life which are upsetting him. I have found that vocabulary is an important consideration. Instead of asking him how he feels about things, I ask him what he thinks. He likes to solve his own problems and feel on top of his game, so if I’m offering input I’m careful to make very broad suggestions to help him come to his own conclusions, leaving him with a sense of ownership over the solution. I also find that he is very responsive to praise in these times and that reminding him of his better qualities and how well he has handled difficult situations in the past is helpful to him. Crucially, I find that these discussions are no less revealing about how he feels and he is able to vent, just on terms and in ways that are acceptable and not immasculating to him. I have been mindful to use this approach with my boyfriend recently while he has been facing redundancy and have found him to be very open with me and that this has deepened our bond. I know these things won’t work for every guy as all are different, and even for those it would it won’t work every time, but I would urge all women struggling to cummunicate with their guy in a difficult time to reflect on the way he prefers to cummunicate, and try to mirror his language and approach. You will learn to better understand your guy and might just help him to open up, too.

Reply October 19, 2011, 8:40 pm


Sarah, I pushed away a very masculine guy I’d been dating because of my neediness when he pulled away. It sounds like you did a great job figuring out how to communicate with your guy. I’m curious how things are going between you two? My guy asked to stay friends and reached out recently to invite me to a bbq at his house, and I’m hoping to reconcile. Your advice is very helpful.

Reply September 3, 2014, 2:47 pm

Sumit Arora

Well for Agirl as i am a guy i can tell you he is holding himself from you, try to give him some hints or just say wat you want, many guys like when girls are free to talk, they feel that girl is close to him, try to make him feel that he is special and then things might start working.

Reply October 15, 2011, 6:24 pm


i have a question about this guy. i met him a month ago. He was nice, caring and he even cooked for me. But we werent dating. Everything started when i told him i cant sleep with him TWICE. he wanted to do it and asked me to sleep with him twice and my answer was… well NO. its not because i didnt like him, it was because i was afraid that the next morning, he would be gone. I asked him afterwards what we were and he was like ‘i dont know, do you want boyfriend right now and what do u think we are? ‘ sth like that. well his behavior changed ever since, it was back to friendship zone and i dont like that. we are still friends now, but he doesnt ask me out, or ask if im hungry or anything. we have same classes and thats all. but he never talks about girl or anything. we talk about… school etc. Is it because i said no to him twice and he is afraid to get rejected again, or sth else? I really want him back. i want to get in relationship with him but im afraid he is not willing to do that anymore. Is it because cultural differences or what? i dont think it is since im asian. /japanese/ lol

PS. he is 4 years older than me and anti-socialized lol

Thank you!!

Reply October 10, 2011, 1:00 am


I’m really glad that I found this site.

Reply October 9, 2011, 11:29 am


I lean on “him” when I’m upset about something that he’s done and I get mad and he knows why I’m mad. I don’t make him guess. He is the love of my life. He empowers me to overcome my struggles and my life, when he decides to be in it, is truly beautiful – it’s what women dream about. Then, he drops the ball. See, I’ve figured him out. I will not be there for him for sex because, I know, if I give myself fully to him that he has the power to hurt me. That happened once. I refuse to have sex with him because I know what that means to me and what that means to him. With me, it’s something special and I give myself because I want him; but, he’s just looking for sex and can find it on any social networking website on line. Do I want to be his next victim? No. I won’t allow myself to. And, it’s not because I don’t want him; we’ve had sex. It’s because I know it’s nothing more to him than sex and he’ll move on to the next woman. I know his routine and I know he pouts when I don’t give in. I’m in love with a man that won’t allow himself to love or be emotionally tied to any woman. Why? It could be that I’m not the right woman for him and he just liked the idea that I’m there and that I love him. He is my best friend and someone that I share my bad days and good days with. Being vulnerable allows us to open our hearts and love someone, but it also allows us to be hurt. I’m SO confused about “him” and have a difficult time of just letting him go. I thought if I loved him long enough and hard enough, that my dream would blossom into full living color. I love him enough for both of us, but that’s not what his heart is open to at this point in his life. (I guess!)

Reply October 9, 2011, 11:27 am

Eric Charles

Hey Donna, I understand and I appreciate your comment about this.
I think you have a good grasp and perspective on the situation, so I’m not going to comment directly on it. You know what you want, you have a good understanding of where he’s at right now and even though it’s disappointing and not ideal, you aren’t emotionally overwhelmed by it.
It was a hard lesson for me to learn, but it doesn’t matter how much you like or love someone. They might appreciate your liking and loving them, but it won’t change the “page” they’re on. And some people are on a different page than you.
In fact, sometimes it can actually end up holding you in exactly the situation you’re in – even if you’re not happy with it.
I don’t advocate or discriminate against any relationship arrangement. If someone wants a booty call relationship, go for it. If they want to have an open relationship, go for it. If they want a committed, traditional long-term relationship – go for it!
But I do advocate people being honest with themselves and living a happy and fulfilling life.
There are many cases where a person might be looking for a relationship to fulfill them or make them happy when in fact they should be looking within themselves and their own life for that happiness and fulfillment.
There are other cases where a relationship just won’t work for someone and it’s better to move on to a better fit (and it sounds like this might be your case).
To tie up my point, when you were saying that you love him so much, but he’s in a place where he’ll just move onto the next woman… well… by fixating on him, that’s more incentive for him to not do anything differently.
I knew a dude who was a real asshole in general. Every time I’d see the guy, he’d have some new girl telling him that she was in love or obsessed with him and he would just be a jerk about it.
One of my female friends said to him, “OK… after all these girls, haven’t you learned to do ANYTHING differently? I mean, girl after girl, every one of your relationships end in a train wreck.”
And he responds (and pay close attention), “Why would I act any differently? I get exactly what I want… their emotions are their problem.”
Now again, the dude is an asshole plain and simple, but he actually stated his point elegantly.
Anyway… hope that tangent on your comment was helpful.

Reply October 9, 2011, 12:25 pm


And if she sees ‘who’s the gf’ will it be enough to make her give up on trying to get him back? Or will she just continue to persist?

Reply October 6, 2011, 3:08 am


Sasha, I must say, you are a cute one. If she really wants to get him back, nothing can stop her but your bf. You can meet her only when your bf asks. Never deliberately meet her yourself. There is no point meeting her unless it’s for your bf’s request, since she is your bf’s best friend and he wants you to meet her. Remember, just think about things between you two and never let the ex issue bother you. I know its hard, but love is never easy. :)

Reply October 18, 2011, 11:13 pm


Ms. V, thank you so much :) I feel so much more relaxed about everything now. Just a few weeks ago i let my anger and stress get the better of me and broke up with my bf over the phone but realised i had made a horrible mistake as soon as i hung up. But the love of my life knew i wasn’t serious about breaking up and we were able to reconcile. I talked with him about my fears and insecurity regarding his ex and everything has been cleared up. She is finally over him. It is such a relief to know she doesn’t love him anymore. My love and i have been through many misunderstandings, many disagreements, many arguements and many fights but all of it has helped us to become stronger. We’re looking forward to our 6th month together :D

Reply November 1, 2011, 3:57 am


That sounds great :) Congrats!! I am really happy for you even tho we dont know each other. I guess what you both been through counts the most in your relationship. It’s gonna stay and go strong in a long term. No worries!! Happy semi-anniversary!! lol Have a good one!


Reply November 2, 2011, 1:08 pm


Aww thanks :D You’re right. Love is never easy and for me it never has been and never will be but that just makes me want to try harder :)

November 3, 2011, 1:40 am


And btw should i meet my bf’s ex? Do you think it might help to alleviate some of my fears if i meet her? Maybe if we meet it will show her ‘who’s the girlfriend’ and ‘who’s the ex’. Or would that be a bad idea? Will it make me seem overprotective? Will it make me seem like i’m picking a fight with my bf’s ex? And will it make my bf feel like i don’t trust him?

Reply October 6, 2011, 3:07 am


Ok so my bf of 5 months says he’s over his ex. They dated for 7 months and that was 2 years ago. They still keep in touch eventhough she’s now in a different country. I trust my bf that he’s telling me the truth that he really is over her but i get the feeling that she’s not over him. He told me she said she still loves him and recently she had a relationship with another guy but it didn’t last and she ended it. I feel she is still in love with my bf. She knows he is with me (she and i have not met) but I fear that if she is still in love with him she will do everything she can to get him back no matter what. I cannot compete with my bf’s ex. She is prettier and smarter than me and a whole lot more. I can’t ask my bf to cut contact with her. They are close friends and i respect that. It’s her i’m more worried about than him. Even if he’s over her, if she’s not over him could that be a problem to our relationship? He says he loves me and wants to be with me. I trust him but i wish there was something i could do to get his ex out of the picture. She tried to move on with another guy but she just can’t forget her ex (my bf). She wants him to visit her and he said he would. I’m scared that she might try to win him back and that he might give in to her especially if i’m not there with him. I can’t tell him not to see her and if i insist on going with him would that make me seem like an overprotective gf? I love him and trust him and i want him to have a good time catching up with his ex but i’m scared. If she tries to reignite the flames and bring back the spark he just might give in eventhough he doesn’t love her anymore. You know how guys are physical creatures. That’s what i’m worried about. If he can’t control himself and gives in to her that will be the end of us. It will break my heart to lose him to his ex. One more thing that she has that i don’t have is a much longer and seemingly stronger friendship with him. They knew each other since the beginning of high school and were friends for 3 years before they dated in their final year of school. On the other hand i only knew him for 2 months before we dated. But he says i am the exception and that just because we were friends for only 2 months doesn’t mean that we can’t be lovers for a lifetime. He says we clicked instantly unlike with his ex it took a few years for them to click. I truly do believe him. But i just feel so powerless over his ex. What she has is a childhood friendship with my bf which i don’t have. What i have is the love we share which she no longer has with him. What she has is a one sided love for him. Can i truly rely on our love to hold us together and keep us together? Is it strong enough to pull us through? Is our love stronger than their friendship? Can love be stronger than friendship? Our 5 month love vs their 5 year friendship. Who will win?

Reply October 6, 2011, 2:52 am


Remember you are the one who is with him now. Dont over stress yourself. There is a reason why she is the past. Personal experience, when a guy/girl has full confidence of him/herself usually is more attractive and made his/her partner feel relaxed. When you doubt yourself, you are making him doubt about himself too. He might think maybe there was still something between him and his ex and you see it, which is actually nothing, but not him. Plus, if he really loves you, he wont leave you. So, why should you trouble yourself thinking about the “what ifs” when there is nothing happening? Won’t it be better to spend those time and energy thinking about how to make you two happy than thinking about his past? :) It is not a competition and he is not an award. He is a person that you love who loves you back. Just be yourself and relax and you will be just fine.

Reply October 18, 2011, 11:04 pm


Hey Well i’m single but theirs this guy i really like he says he likes me but i don’t know if he does or not. Like i’ve been texting him the past few days and he hardly ever talks to me anymore like he’ll hardly text me back. And usually at night i’ll text him and say goodnight but thats when he wants to talk. We’ve hanged out 3 times and we have dated before but we didn’t take it real we were kind of young then. I can say we haven’t really hanged out a lot like we should but this weekend i am planning on it i hope so? But sometimes he acts like i get on his nerves because i text him a lot when he doesn’t reply back but today the only time i have text him was tis morning and i said i hope you have a good day and i haven’t said texted him but that text today? should i just give him sometime or move on?

Reply October 4, 2011, 7:32 pm


I have been on two dates with a guy, following this he was sending me sweet texts telling me how happy he is signing them xo and telling me he missed me. We live about an hour and a half away from each other. Suddenly after his parents came down for a weekend I did not hear from him for three days. He finally did call me up and told me his father has cancer which is why his parents were down, they came to tell him. He has not called me since that day however every three or four days will send me a text message. When i respond he will stay wait days to write back. He is no longer signing the texts xo and has not said anything about getting together again. I am willing to be there for him during this time however as we don’t know each other well i don’t want to push it. For now I have just been letting things go responding when he texts but am unsure how long I should let this go on for? I am not taking it personally however we met online and he is still signing into his online account several times a day, my thoughts being if he has time to sign into his online account he has time to send me a text. What should I do?

Reply October 3, 2011, 11:18 am


Youre not alone Les. Sometimes it could be tempting to think such relationship is goin stagnant or sinking and im unsure how much space wud a guy really need when having low days. Difficult for a long term relationship, less communication.How confusing. All i know is keeping lines open.

Reply November 2, 2011, 11:21 pm


I think this is great advise. The guy I’ve been dating fir the past 4 months does similarly. Things were going great until his personal life became really stressful. Everything in it just blew up on him so he started pulling away from me. Of course I thought I did something wrong but after talking about it, he admitted his whole life just feels out of control so he can’t put any more effort into “us” until he gets life together again. I’ll admit I have a very hard time giving him the space he needs and finding the balance between enough space and too much space is nearly impossible. So for now, I try to follow his lead. Since we’ve talked about the situation, we both know we’re on the same page and want the relationship to work. I Judy have to constantly remind myself to hang on when it’s hard…it’s not personal. Thanks for a great response and to the OP, good luck and hang in there!

Reply October 3, 2011, 5:27 am


on august 18 2008 miguel alked jenny to be his gf by phone. it was his first gf. they only had seen eachohter for 3 days and they went out after that. they were so in love that they would even get made fun of in church and in their homes. sometimes they would even get in trouble at church for being “to in love” they texted eachother everyday. 3 years later shey wold have arguments. jenny would want things her way. and once he inveted his gf to go to his mom wedding so she could renew he vows. she couldnt, jenny said that he couldnt txt her al all. bc she was a very pride person in a bad way. miguel would snet her txt such as i love u ect. and she would reply saying to not txt or she whouldnt call him. later he sent her a text that he wanted to brake up. she called until he answerd and he explaind that he was tired of her acting mean. that nigth jennies mom called miguel. he explaind what happend and she agred but she said either if he would help jenny out with their relationship or he had to completely forget about her. at the end he took her back. a monht later jenny noticed he wasnt loving as before. she kept asking and asking what was wrong. all he would say is nothing. then she aksed him again. he had told her he didnt love her anymore. jenny decided not to fight and said ok. during this time jenny had a health problem. he stomach grew largly. she tough it might had been bc of her period. and she knew she wanst pergnant bc she and her bf are absitence. one night she couldnt help but think that the guy she had so much in common and whom she loved and thought he loved her had left. she began to feel worse. she didnt eat for 3 days and bacame dizzy and felt like vomoting all the time. that same night her dad took her to the emergency room. they had givin her a CAT scan. they found out she had a cist that coverd her whole stomach. they had said that she was going to need a surgury to remove along with her ovary since it came from it. a day before the surgury she called her ex to apoligize since her mom had sent him a mean txt the day they broke up. she explaind what happend and he wanted her to call him asoon as her surgury was done. when she did they talked he had told her that he loved her. and said that he knows it might b confusing to hear that but he was going to lwt her know when he meant it. soon they became freinds with benifits on that day. they talked and soon they attented the same college. they are talking huging kissing and he asked her out. jenny said no bc she didnt want to seem desprate. he said that he would try again… but now amonth has passed and he hasnt asked her yet. the other day she saw him coming out of class with a lady. she didnt see her but by her voice jenny thought she might have been young. she got jeaoluse. and mad. but then it passed.he knew jenny was there. but he still showed her affection.. however. she notices he dsnt ask her to call him or anything. and on phone he treats her normal. he said he would make her fall in love with him much more than she was now. but for jenny it dsnt seem like he is trying. what should she think what should she do.?
help me decide. is my love to big for him?….

Reply September 28, 2011, 4:26 pm


Thank you! I’m really weary of hearing “let them have their space”. A man really must consider their partner’s needs before retreating into their little mental man cave. The best cure for stress is to stop whining and moaning about their pain and reach outside of their self pity and do for others – it takes their focus off themselves and makes them feel part of Team Humanity

Reply April 10, 2017, 1:28 pm


First off, I just want to say somehow almost all of your articles seem to hit home with and i treasure your advice you give, especially your recent email about how women tend to read more into text messages than men.

I’m currently dealing with a similar situation where (I think) stress is pulling him away. The guy I’ve expressed interest in is actually a professional athlete so his life is constant stress. He’s new to the profession so he has the demands of fighting for his job everyday, evaluating if the new people in his life are in it for the fame and money or for him, and the constant pressure of going from a student athlete to having a full-time high pressure job. Unfortunately his team’s performance has been poor and the members of the team are definitely feeling the brunt of it which means harder practices and more to study.

After a loss he’ll shut down and disappear for a day or two. We’ve discussed the important factors between us, that we like each other, that we’ll do our best to try and remain on the same page and discuss (like adults) when we’re not. I’ve also expressed to him that when he “disappears” I’m never worried about another woman or that I’ve done something wrong, I just miss him as it is a long distance relationship-in-the-works. We’ve also discussed him coming to visit me, and me going to see him but since I am stubborn about showing him his money isn’t the reason for my attraction I requested he let me pay for my trip myself which is why the trip is currently delayed at the moment. He’s introduced me to his best friends through skype and even requested that when I go to a friend’s wedding this weekend I go without a date since he won’t be able to attend with me.

Lately though, since our discussion, I tend to panic slightly when he withdraws. I wonder if it’s just me. I wonder if he’s saying what I want to hear, or if he’s genuine. Again, he has done NOTHING for me to not trust him, I just have general trust and abandonment issues.

Please help. I’ve done a good job of not showing him my concerns. I’ve kept them to myself, because by the third day he comes back around and we’ll end up skyping once or twice a week for hours at a time. But the stress when he’s gone is draining.

Any advice will be much appreciated. My self induced panic has been the cause of a lot of bad endings to potential relationships and I am trying what I can to avoid that and know that IF it doesn’t work out with this particular person, I can look back and know that it wasn’t my fault.

Reply September 27, 2011, 8:17 pm


I am kind of in the same situation or maybe worse. What I did was still text him once in two weeks. Most of the time he won’t reply unless it’s something serious. I thought about the same things as you did, wondering if he is just being nice. But I believe no one knows him better than I do and that also apply to you. Sometimes other people’s stories affects our judgements. I just try to be calm, work out constantly and believe what my gut is telling me. What I am doing is simply stop texting and let him take the control. Keeping myself beautiful and successful is important either way. A relationship takes two to tango and I cant force him to stay. I love him and if time or others is what he needs and makes him happier, I should let him have it. That’s what true love is I assume. :) At least you guys are still talking and everything. Hang on and be strong :)

Reply November 3, 2011, 9:43 am


I am going through that now. Kinda heartbreaking because we are so close. But he went through a divorce with two kids and things has been hitting him alot lately with money, work, kids, ex-wife so he has been stressed out. I try to offer support and encouragement, but he still is stressed and lately been withdrawn because he feels bad that i am going through this with him. I care for him alot. I don’t know what else to do, but to give him space, workout, and try to stay busy. Which has been very hard to do when I’m used to communicating with him 3-4 times a day and we been together for 7 months and was planning a future together. If anyone has any advice on that..I’m open to it.

Reply July 23, 2013, 5:43 pm

Leave a Comment

Recent Relationship Forum Activity


Sign up for our
free newsletter
and get a free chapter
of our book,"He's Not
That Complicated"