Why do men pull away after getting close?
Is it something I did? Something I said? Is he losing interest? Is he going to break up with me? What’s doing on?!
Any of those questions sound familiar? You’re not alone. I’ve asked them many a time and so have countless others!
The fact is, men pull away sometimes. It can happen early in a relationship, it can happen further down the line. And it isn’t necessarily a bad thing! Relationships have ebbs and flows, just like everything in life.
Most men deal with things by retreating, that is just the nature of a man and something about men that completely baffles and frustrates women. The big mistake here is making is all about you when really, it’s about him. But we all do this!
Women tend to take way too much responsibility in a relationship and we blame ourselves whenever anything goes wrong. If a guy is pulling away, it must mean we did something to cause it. And then we become little detectives trying to piece together clues as to what we did to cause his sudden shift and we participate in this whole drama that is fully fictional and self-generated!
Rather than torturing ourselves, let’s take a close look at what’s really going on and how we can handle it the right way.
Take The Quiz: Is He Losing Interest?
Why Do Men Pull Away After Getting Close?
There are three main reasons a man will pull away after getting close. I put them in order of likelihood.
1. It has nothing to do with you. This is usually the most likely reason. The sad thing about this is most women drive themselves crazy trying to figure out why he’s pulling away and what she may have done to cause it, and usually, it had absolutely nothing to do with her. This is just how men cope with stress and difficulties. Men don’t like talking about their problems, they prefer working through the issue on their own, and then coming back when they’re feeling strong and confident again. What looks to you like him withdrawing, is really just solving a problem so he can be a better man for you.
2. He’s easing into a more natural rhythm. At the beginning of a relationship, a man will go full force because he’s trying to win you over. He’s always texting, he’s super attentive, he’s lining up one date after the next. Once things get a little more comfortable, he doesn’t really need to pull out all the stops. It’s not that he is losing interest, it’s just not sustainable to maintain that level of pursuit. And once you’re in a more established place, it just isn’t necessary anymore. Instead of panicking, try and enjoy this more relaxed and comfortable next phase of your relationship.
3. He’s having doubts about the relationship. Now this one is the one everyone fears, this is the one that causes those feelings of terror and panic but really… it’s not that big of a deal. So he’s having doubts. He’s not sure if you’re the right girl for him. Maybe he’s not sure if he wants to be in a relationship right now. OK, fair enough. There really isn’t anything you can do about it. Now the caveat here is if he’s having doubts because you were acting very needy and clingy. If that’s the case, then try to get get to the root of why you were acting that way and try to fix it, fast!
What You Should Do When He Pulls Away After Getting Close
The reasons a man might pull away differ, but the solution is always the same: back off and give him space.
I know this is hard because your instincts are telling you otherwise.
You feel him slipping away, you don’t want to lose him, so your knee-jerk response might be to pull him close. Maybe you try to get him to open up to you, maybe you do sweet romantic things for him, maybe you try to show him what an amazing girlfriend you can be so that he realizes he doesn’t want to lose you, maybe you passive aggressively retaliate by going cold on him, all of these are bad strategies.
If a guy is pulling away, it’s because he wants space. He’s not doing it to see if you’ll come running after him. So just look at it in those plain and simple terms. He knows where to find you when he wants you. You don’t need to keep texting him or showing up places you know he’ll be to remind him that you exist. Just let him do what he needs to do and also … stop taking it so personally.
The fact is, most men take a little space when a relationship really starts to deepen. It’s perfectly normal. Relationships can be emotionally fraught and maybe he just wants to step out of the whirlpool and gather himself and decide what he really wants. Maybe a part of him is afraid of losing his freedom, maybe he feels a little attached to his single life and he’s just a little worried about the changes ahead.
This is totally fine. It’s also not in your control. If this is how he feels, you can’t convince him otherwise. All you can do is bring your best to the relationship. If he’s the right guy for you, then being with you will outweigh any perks of living the single life.
If he has continued, unrelenting doubts, if he just can’t seem to decide, if he pulls away from the relationship more than he’s actually in the relationship, then he’s just not the right guy for you and that’s fine too. Not everyone is a match, that’s just the reality of dating.
If You Give Him Space, He Will Come Back (Most of the Time)
If a guy really likes you and you give him space, he will come back to you. He will see you as a rare and valuable woman because he knows that giving space is hard for most women. His time away from you will make him appreciate you even more.
If a guy isn’t so into you, or if he’s on the fence about you, then a little bit of space might make him realize that this relationship just isn’t for him. And that’s a good thing because now you’ll be free to move on to someone better suited for you.
What turns this into a problem is when you make it a problem. Meaning, you see him taking space as meaning you did something wrong, or something is wrong with you. And you let those negative thoughts flood your being. This makes you anxious and on edge and totally kills your vibe. This will only make the guy move further away from you. And if you weren’t the problem to begin you, you will make yourself into the problem when you react to him pulling away by freaking out about it instead of handling it with grace.
The worst thing you can do is chase after him when he needs space. This will just annoy him and make him feel resentful toward you. I mean, wouldn’t you feel resentful if someone refused to give you something you really needed for your emotional wellbeing?
A lot of women forget that men also have needs in a relationship. And just like you want him to respect your needs, you need to do the same for him.
When you panic over him pulling away, you operate from a place of fear, and fear can put us in a very selfish frame of mind. We only see our needs and our pain and we do whatever it takes to get over it. At this point, you can’t be a good partner in the relationship, you’re caught up in your own wants. You want him to come back and as attentive as he was in the beginning, and you disregard what it is what he wants and needs.
MORE: Why Men Pull Away
Exactly What to Do to Bring Him Back After He Pulls Away
When a guy pulls away, the best thing to do is give him space and focus on yourself, rather than obsessing over the relationship.
You can let him know that you’re there for him. Either tell him in person or shoot him a text saying something like, “You seem like you’re dealing with some stuff right now. I just want to let you know that I’m here if you ever want to talk” and then just leave it at that.
Don’t put pressure on him or guilt him or chase him or annoy him or any of the above. Just let him know you’re there, and then gracefully take a step back and spend some time focusing on yourself. Do things you enjoy, spend time with friends, just find your own inner happiness.
When you do this, one of the following will occur:
1. He’ll sort himself out and will come back better than ever. This is the ideal scenario. He has used his time away to get perspective and now he’s feeling clear and confident again and the relationship is stronger than ever.
2. He won’t come back and will either end the relationship or disappear. I know this one is the greatest fear here, but really, you need to accept it if that’s the decision he’s made. If he continues to shut you out, it’s because he doesn’t want to let you in. Try not to take it too personally and just accept that this wasn’t right and there’s nothing you can do about it.
I hope this article helped you better understand the real reasons men pull away after getting close. But there is something else you need to be aware of. There are two key moments in any relationship that determine if it’s going to last, or if you will get your heart broken. As you may already be experiencing, at some point he will pull back and may even lose interest. He just isn’t as attentive or excited by you anymore. It seems like he’s fading away and will soon be gone… do you know what to do? If not, your relationship could be in big trouble so read this now: If He’s Pulling Away, Do This...
The second issue can potentially arise when a man asks himself: Is this really the woman I want to commit myself to? The answer has huge implications. Do you know what makes a man decide if a woman is girlfriend/wife potential? Do you know what makes him excited to commit? If not, you need to read this next: The #1 Things Men Desire in a Woman