You’re seeing a new guy and everything is going great, but then something shifts and he seems to start pulling away.
This happens to a lot of women and it can be incredibly frustrating. You have no idea what could have caused him to behave this way or how to fix it.
Your first instinct is probably to pore over every detail of your last few interactions, looking for clues. You consider all the possibilities: is he losing interest? Did I say something to turn him off? Does he think I’m not interested in him? Is he just testing me to see what I’ll do?
That last question really gets you spinning. You don’t want to pretend like nothing’s wrong and just accept him pulling away as the new status quo, but you don’t want to bring it up and make a big deal out of something that could end up being nothing.
Basically, you don’t know what to do or how to react—you’re terrified of making it all worse.
I’m going to cover what to do, but here is one thing to always remember before anything else: the more you chase, the faster he’ll run.
Take The Quiz: Is He Losing Interest?
Is He Testing Me by Pulling Away?
The short answer is no, he’s not.
If a guy is acting distant, most of the time it has nothing to do with you or the relationship. You need to have the default mindset that he’s crazy about you (why wouldn’t he be?!) and be happy in the relationship. Unless his behavior is drastic—as in not treating you well—you need to assume the best, not the worst.
So why is he acting distant?
Men deal with stress differently than women. They usually prefer to retreat and work things out internally, not work things out by talking. It’s possible he’s stressed about work or having family issues and he’s pulling away because he doesn’t want you to see him when he’s not at his best. He would rather work it out internally and then come back into the relationship strong and confident.
While you’re stressing and obsessing and thinking you’re losing him, he’s not even thinking about the relationship because in his mind the relationship is great … he’s focusing on other things.
Now, it’s always possible he is losing interest. He could be having doubts or he might not feel ready for a serious relationship.
If this is the case, there are two really important things to keep in mind. First, your thoughts are powerful. If you start having negative, insecure, and fearful thoughts like you think he’s losing interest in you, it will affect the way you are with him and he will lose interest, even if he wasn’t losing interest, to begin with. Second, whether he’s dealing with his own stuff or losing interest, the advice is the same: play it cool and give him space.
Why Do Men Pull Away?
The reasons vary. As mentioned, most of the time it’s because of a personal issue, not a relationship issue.
Also, what looks like pulling away oftentimes isn’t … it might just be him settling into a more natural and comfortable routine. Once things have gotten more serious, it may not be natural for him to call and text constantly. In the beginning, he brought he A-game because he was trying to win you over, once he’s “won” you, he can relax and be himself, and this is a good thing!
If you’re concerned about him pulling away or losing interest, or you’re hypervigilant about his every interaction with you, such as how often he’s texting, this could be your own insecurities at work. You need to ask yourself if you’re typically insecure in relationships, and if you are, focus on that, not on his behavior.
Maybe he’s pulling away a bit because he feels the pace of the relationship is too fast, but him wanting to slow things down isn’t a big deal. It only becomes a big deal when you make it one.
It’s also possible you’re doing something that’s causing him to retreat. Maybe you’re being too clingy or desperate or needy. If that’s the case, you can still turn it around, just get to the root of what’s causing you to act that way and try to solve it fast!
But most importantly, as said at the outset of this article, do not chase! That is amping up the neediness and turning all your attention on him, when it should be on you. Focusing on your own personal development, like figuring out why you’re being clingy and coming up with ways to change how you act when you feel insecure, is actually a great way to give him space because your attention will naturally be diverted to something else.
Know that he is most likely not pulling away to get you to chase him. Men don’t think like this. This is something a woman might do if she’s insecure and trying to figure out how a guy feels. A guy won’t do this. He doesn’t strategize like that. And if a guy does play those kinds of games, he’s not a guy you want to be involved with.
What Should I Not Do if He’s Pulling Away?
Your first instinct when you feel him pulling away will probably be to look for clues to why things changed. This is what we call playing “emotional detective.” You obsessively analyze every interaction to figure out where he stands and how he feels about you.
Playing emotional detective stems from fear and insecurity. You’re afraid that he won’t want you, that he’ll leave you, and this thought is crippling. The only thing that gives you some relief is holding onto hidden clues that tell you he loves you and is invested and won’t ever leave.
When you spot good signs, you’re elated. When you don’t see good signs … or see warning signs … you’re terrified.
When you ride this emotional roller coaster, looking for good signs and warning signs, you become increasingly dependent on the guy acting a certain way. The problem is that your insecurities can make you interpret normal behavior as warnings, and if you’re not emotionally healthy, you might even have unrealistic expectations for what “good signs” should be. Basically, you’re unequipped to be a good detective to start with. Even emotionally healthy people can’t always get these things rights, because everyone is different, and his actions don’t necessarily mean what you think they mean. Trying to force your guy to act a certain way all the time isn’t the answer.
If you’re looking for clues about how he feels, he can’t feel relaxed around you. It won’t feel good to be around you, because no one likes to be around an anxious, nervous energy. it’s unnatural and unsettling, and it’s definitely not fun.
When you’re in the mode of watching his behavior like a hawk and analyzing it, it pushes him further away because he won’t want to be around you, and he’ll start shutting down. Remember, men move toward what feels good.
Focus on being in a happy, confident place yourself, and bring your best self into the relationship. This is ultimately the best advice for any relationship problem.
So What Should I do If He’s Pulling Away?
Relax and give him space.
This may be hard on your emotions, but it’s easy to do because it involves a lot of things you don’t do. Don’t chase him, don’t try to win him over, don’t retaliate by being cold or mean or passive-aggressive, don’t blow things up into a big argument or demand that he behave a certain way.
And most importantly: don’t obsess over the relationship. Instead, focus on your relationship with yourself. Think about yourself in a positive light, know that even if he is losing interest it doesn’t say anything about your worth–your worth is not dependent on another person choosing you-—and take care of yourself.
If he’s pulling away from you, it’s because he wants space. So give it to him.
You don’t really have any other choice. You can’t force feelings out of someone, you can only inspire them by being your best self.
I hope this article helped you understand the real reasons why men pull away. The fact is, every guy will pull away at some point. He may even start to lose interest. This is usually the point where most women reflexively panic, but panicking doesn’t solve anything. If you want to know exactly how to get things back on track, read this next: If He’s Pulling Away, Do This...