Why do men pull away? This is one very common, and it’s honestly not our fault. You see, for the most part, we are quite optimistic. We believe that if everything is going okay, we have great chemistry, and seem compatible, then the relationship should not be hard to navigate. Based on this, and other factors, it’s quite baffling when men pull away and we suddenly find it difficult to reach them both physically and emotionally.
The worst part is that this isn’t just a phenomenon that affects new relationships, but it also affects men in committed relationships and that extends to marriage. Also, it is important to note that men not only do pull away physically, they also do so emotionally as well. So, don’t assume that just because you see him every day, he is present in your life.
With all this in mind, let’s now address the question of why do men pull away. No doubt, this will have more than one answer ranging from a fear of commitment to feeling suffocated. But, we’re here to look at the reasons for this behavior and what to do when he pulls away. Hopefully, you will further pick up one or two ways to deal with it.
- 1 Why Do They Pull Away?
- 1.1 1. He’s not that into you
- 1.2 2. He’s scared of his feelings
- 1.3 3. He’s a player
- 1.4 4. There’s some hidden stress
- 1.5 5. He wants to be independent
- 1.6 6. There’s no conflict
- 1.7 7. He is a commitment-phobe
- 1.8 8. He’s getting lost in the relationship
- 1.9 9. He doesn’t want to get hurt
- 1.10 10. It’s moving too fast
- 1.11 11. He doesn’t feel in control of anything anymore
- 1.12 12. You’re too clingy
- 1.13 13. He has doubts
- 1.14 14. He needs to recharge
- 1.15 15. He has personal troubles
- 2 FAQs
- 3 All In All
Why Do They Pull Away?
1. He’s not that into you
This is a pretty difficult to swallow, but what if he’s just not that into you? Typically, when a man likes someone it is pretty evident and they tend to do all they can to win their affection. So, there will be boatloads of attention, calls, dates, and so much more. In some cases, they’ll even overdo it, which can either read as awkward or cute depending on how you feel.
Therefore, it is only logical to assume that the absence of attention, care, and respect are signs that he didn’t like you that much in the first place. As you may already know, men are not the most expressive beings, and while it might be more civil and reasonable to say he’s not interested; the reality is that men often revert to subtle signs to show interest or otherwise.
So, if he’s not returning your calls, or he’s pulling away emotionally, and you’re not sure what to do. Simply give him some time and space, and if he disappears, it just means he didn’t like you as much. Nothing good will come out of chasing him, so it’s time to move on!
2. He’s scared of his feelings
Feelings are scary, and if they are scary for us ladies, imagine how it must be for guys who aren’t wired that way. Generally speaking, people tend to run in the opposite direction when confronted with things they do not understand; be it people or feelings. Based on this, if a guy is pulling away from you it might actually be a sign that he loves you.
Men are not unfeeling robots who don’t care about anyone; they just process things differently. What’s more, when they feel something as unfamiliar as intense romantic love, they might not deal with it healthily and tend to sometimes pull away in a bid to protect themselves.
3. He’s a player
Sometimes, the answer to your question isn’t that complicated after all. He may just be playing you and someone else (and probably five other girls). No one wants to date a player, that’s for sure because nothing good comes out of it.
That’s why it is very important to look out for red flags, one of which is him pulling away. Some men are only in it for the thrill of the chase, and once they have had their fill of that, they detach themselves and move on to the next person.
If you noticed a decline in attention and general presence, you need to ask yourself some difficult questions. For instance, did you both ever enjoy the pleasure of an in-depth conversation? Or did you park it on a surface-level talk? Also, before pulling away, was he kind? Was he attentive? Did he make plans with you and follow through? These are the questions you need to answer.
If the answer turns out to be no a whole lot, then he probably wasn’t looking for a relationship and was just in it for something else.
If your man is distant, it has absolutely nothing to do with you, and everything to do with stress! Certainly, stress is a part of our lives, whether we want it or not, and it stems from several situations. It might be a new job that you’re just coming to grips with, a family issue, or even something health-related. However, because men and women handle stress differently, the reaction your boyfriend might have to stress will be wildly different from yours.
The differences between how men and women react to stress are hormonal as women tend to release more oxytocin when stressed which leads them to reach out and ask for help more. On the flip side, men, release less oxytocin and would rather compartmentalize their struggles while figuring out ways to solve them.
Hence, it is not uncommon for a man to emotionally distance himself from the person they’re with while dealing with a stressful situation. If this is the problem you face, then talking to them and asking about the problem could be a good way of coaxing them to let you in.
5. He wants to be independent
There is a strong belief that being in a relationship is the death of independence. Once you start dating someone, you have to spend time together, while your friendships with other people wither. Though it’s obvious that this is not true, it is a notion that has burrowed deep into our collective psyche and is a scary prospect for most men. Even more, society worships the concept of independence and smirks at the thought of depending on another.
With the way society regards men, there’s a lot more pressure on them to be independent. So, once they start a relationship, and begin to feel like independence is slipping away from them, their solution is to start pulling away. However, the truth is that dependence is necessary for every relationship and it only strengthens a couple.
That said; it might be necessary to show your boyfriend (potential or not) that you aren’t going to be clingy and that you have your own life with your own support system. This gesture could go a long way in fixing the pulling away problem.
6. There’s no conflict
Let’s make things clear – men are weird! That said; one of the reasons why men pull away is when they find the relationship a bit too easy. Too easy? What does that even mean? I hear you ask. Well, the truth is that they are competitors and they like to feel like they worked to earn something.
It could be anything from a promotion at work to sex with a girl they like. All in all, men want to work for stuff. So, if your relationship started off a bit too smoothly, it could turn them off.
While that may sound silly, it stems from the fact that men tend to try and solve problems and, therefore, approach decision making differently from women.
So, your man wants you to be a puzzle (one that can be solved), and this keeps him on his toes and ensures he stays honest.
7. He is a commitment-phobe
We have all heard the common cliche that men are less inclined to get into a committed relationship than women. While it’s not a theory etched in stone, what is true is that there are men out there who afraid of commitment. So, what does it mean to have a commitment phobia?
People with this phobia long for deep connections with someone, but due to anxieties that stem from ugly experiences, they are unable to pull the trigger. In a way, some women have this problem too. But for the most part, only men get a bad rep for it.
So, what really causes commitment phobia? There are quite a few of them, but some of the most common ones stem from experiences where a relationship ended without any warning. It could equally go as far back as abandonment issues from childhood. So, when the relationship starts going well, and the feelings are deepening, anxiety creeps in and the next thing you know, your man starts to distance himself from you. One of the best solutions here is to find out the root of the problem and deal with it as a team.
8. He’s getting lost in the relationship
If your man pulled away from you and you are trying to get him back, it could be that he has started to get lost in the relationship. Getting lost in a relationship is something that typically happens with us, so, we don’t mind. But when it happens to a guy, they get confused and start to pull away.
This is closely tied to their sense of independence and it’s no secret that many guys guard it with pride; so, once they feel that the relationship is getting too deep, they look for solutions that usually involve running away. For instance, a guy that used hang out with friends or sit around playing video games suddenly finds himself going to the farmer’s market or accompanying you to do your shopping.
This simply makes him feel like he’s losing his identity altogether. In a bid to get parts of himself back, pulling away might seem like the solution. If your man feels this way, the best thing you can do is nothing – except for being as understanding as possible. In other words, your approach has to be a bit more delicate, but it all starts with you figuring out that this is the issue.
9. He doesn’t want to get hurt
Relationship PTSD is no joke, and it has been ruining great relationships long before we were here. You see, when relationships end, things can get pretty messy, and feelings are hurt.
So, if similar problems start to surface in your relationship, your man might feel that the only way out is if he runs.
The thing is, guys get hurt too and since they aren’t as expressive as we are, it hits them a bit harder. In fact, men hurt so much that they are statistically more likely to take their own life after suffering a heartbreak than women.
So, just to ensure that they don’t go through that pain again, such guys will run for the hills. Of course, it’s not healthy, seeing as there’s no relationship in the world that’s void of conflict. But, you have to try to understand that he simply doesn’t want to feel that pain again. This is where you come in.
Having a discussion with your boyfriend about your collective problems goes a long way in reassuring him that things can be sorted. It may or may not save the relationship, but it chips away at the walls he’s built.
10. It’s moving too fast
When a relationship with someone is moving too fast, guys tend to get freaked out and pull away. So, you have sex on the first date, and by the end of the week, you’ve already moved half your stuff to his apartment. These, along with other things can feel threatening to a man and his next instinct is to bolt
Therefore, in such a situation, you need to be a bit more considerate of your partner and respect his wishes if he prefers taking things slow. This means no rushing to say the ‘L’ word, or taking huge steps like introducing them to family members. Even more, no moving in before you know each other better. If you maintain a steady pace, you’ll be amazed at how much smoother things will go.
11. He doesn’t feel in control of anything anymore
Men are used to being in a position of leadership, and while they all love an independent woman, they are less likely to pursue a relationship with a dominant woman. This does not mean you should put up a meek and mild act. But by all means, pick your battles, a relationship is a two-way street. You don’t have to win every argument with someone or dictate every move. Let him have his way once in a while, it’ll give him the sense that he’s still in control.
You see, guys have a need to provide and protect while we tend to be a lot more nurturing and compassionate. As such, men feel like their masculinity is in danger if they feel they don’t have a voice or are not in control of anything in the relationship.
Most importantly, we need to differentiate between roles in a relationship and traditional gender roles. While the former is the balancing of roles and functions in a relationship, the latter is a construct that boxes both parties in. Once you’ve sorted all that out, you can better understand your man’s need to have a role that he can be proud of and revel in.
12. You’re too clingy
No one likes to feel suffocated by a needy person, even though love exists. And yes, neediness is different from dependence as the latter is normal in a relationship and is even a means to strengthen it. Neediness itself is considered a subset of dependence and can also be described as ‘dependency gone wild’.
For the most part, it works on the premise that you are not okay without the other person. Interestingly, sometimes we don’t even realize that we are being clingy with someone and are taken aback when our man starts acting strangely and pulling away. So, if you realize that you’ve been going a little overboard, try your best to break free of being clingy and talk to him about it.
You can even develop a system of communication that allows you to politely point out when things get weird. So, he can tell you he needs a breather and you can tell him he needs to pick up after himself a bit more (or any other point of contention). All of this should come from a good place, don’t bring out a long scroll just to make it seem like he has flaws too.
13. He has doubts
Hands up if you’ve ever had doubts about someone you are in a relationship with. Ah, everyone? That’s normal. When doubts creep their way in, guys tend to stay away. So, it isn’t something you need to worry about too much, and once they have sorted themselves out, they come back, and everything goes back to normal. However, you need to look out for some signs of doubt that are deal-breakers and in turn, are impossible to recover from.
For example, it can be difficult to trust you again if you have been dishonest with him in the past. But, if your boyfriend still can’t trust you even after you have shown remorse and worked on yourself, then that’s a serious red flag. All in all, if your hubby has doubts about the relationship, there is no need to panic. All you need to do is let them figure it out while being as supportive as possible, and you two will get back together in no time.
14. He needs to recharge
Relationships take work, compromise, and a whole lot of other things to work like a well-oiled machine. This could cause stress levels to rise or feelings to intensify. In the middle of all this, your man might start to feel the heat and require a little recharge to feel like himself again.
So, that’s probably why he planned a guys weekend or agreed to a gaming marathon with his buddies.
It’s not necessarily because he doesn’t want to spend time with you, but then again, it is.
As women, we need to understand that emotional vulnerability isn’t always easy, and it is especially difficult for guys. So, if you want an emotionally available partner, you need to allow him to indulge in some of his more ‘masculine’ desires with his friends.
Best believe that as he reaffirms himself outside of the construct of the relationship, things will get better within it. That said, it is a little easier to understand the need to recharge if you live together and a lot tougher if his idea of recharging means cutting you off for a period.
Consequently, to ensure that the relationship runs smoothly, let your man know that you support him. Also, let him know it’s okay to communicate with you about his need to recharge or indulge in manly stuff.
15. He has personal troubles
We have mentioned stress and how we react to it differently. Also, closely related to this are personal problems. While it’s a form of stress, it usually goes a little deeper. For instance, if your man has just lost someone close to him, he might be unable to communicate effectively with you and will instead shut himself away.
Guys handle grief very differently than women and they also tend to deal with personal troubles on their own without asking for help. Therefore, in a bid to figure out what to do about something, your man might clam up and pull away for a bit. Therefore, we need to understand how they deal with these things and how we can help them overcome it.
What do you do when a man pulls away emotionally?
If he starts to pull away emotionally, rather than panic, you can instead focus on yourself. If he genuinely loves you or is into you, he’ll come back and try to make things work. While you should always be open to dialogue, never try to force it as it never helps.
How do I stop him from pulling away?
There are a few things that can be done, but the first thing you need to understand is that it’s not you. Whether it is stress in their lives or fear of commitment, these are all things that the guy should deal with. Instead, show yourself some love and give him time and space to deal with whatever the problem is.
When a man is stressed and pulls away?
As we have already discussed, guys tend to deal with stress differently, right down to the science of it. Therefore, if he is stressed and pulls away, ensure that you support him and understand his process.
Why did he pull away when things were going great?
There are various answers to this, but more importantly, try your very best not to blame yourself. Some guys believe that if it’s going too well, then it is too good to be true. Also, they sometimes pull away when the going’s good because they’re scared of their feelings. Sometimes, it’s just another manipulative jerk move.
How do you know when a guy loses interest in you?
The signs are usually too stark to ignore. For instance, if he stops spending time with you, listening to you, or supporting you, then it’s likely that he has lost interest.
All In All
I hope you enjoyed the post, and please feel free to leave a comment if you have thoughts or other reasons why men pull away. Also, if you liked the post, please share it with the people that need to see this or someone else that might be going through the same.
As hopeless romantic I struggled tremendously in my love life. After many years of searching, trial & error, and countless failed relationships, I finally found my Mr. Right. It wasn’t an easy road, but one that has taught me an incredible amount about the workings of relationships between men and women, and this is what I hope to share through my writing on this blog.