42 Signs & Reasons Why Men Pull Away & How You Need to Behave to Fix It

Have you ever wondered why men pull away? One minute they’re all in and the next, they’re gone. Figure it out and never wonder what you did wrong again. 

why men pull away

Anyone who has ever dated a guy has wondered at least once, “why do men pull away?”

Everything is going along fantastically, at least, that’s what you think. Your relationship is moving along, you’re on cloud nine, and you’re beginning to see a real future with your guy. Then it happens: as if out of nowhere, he starts to pull away.

Guys are way more complicated than anyone gives them credit for. Predictably unpredictable, our first instinct is almost always wrong when they seem to lose interest and pull back. In fact, the very behavior that is making him pull back just may be the thing that you’re doubling down on.

When you feel him start to fade, your response may make the difference between getting him to come back full throttle and watching him dash in the other direction.

To know how to respond to a guy’s elusive behavior, it’s important to understand the reasons that guys seemingly ditch a relationship without any sign of trouble or forewarning. [Read: 18 critical signs of an unhealthy relationship]

What are the signs he’s walking/walked away?

Sometimes it’s difficult to know whether a guy is pulling away or whether he’s just being a little elusive. But if you spot these signs, you could have a runaway on your hands.

1. He literally walked out

If a guy just walks out of the room or walks away without any explanation, he’s pulling away. He sees no point in explaining himself.

2. He tells you he needs space

Ah, red flag! If a guy is really into you, he won’t need space, he’ll want to be close to you. [Read: Does he need space? The subtle hints guys give when they want space]

3. He starts becoming less responsive or ignores you

For sure, he might be busy or have something on his mind, but it’s probably more likely that he’s pulling away from you for one reason or another.

4. He starts to invest more time in other things

Maybe he’s pouring all his time into his work or business, his favorite sports, or his hobbies. Either way, he’s not pouring attention into you.

5. He constantly leaves you on read

It doesn’t take long to reply to a message, so if you’re always left on read, there’s a reason for that.

6. He hangs up the phone on you and doesn’t call back

Apart from anything else, it’s just plain rude! But it’s also a clear sign that he’s pulling away. [Read: Why do people ignore me? 29 truths and must-do’s when someone ignores you]

7. He doesn’t respond to your calls

Again, rude. He doesn’t have the time to speak to you, or he just doesn’t want to?

8. He starts talking to or pursuing other women

A man who’s interested in a woman won’t be bothered about trying to speak to others. If he’s doing this, it’s because his mind is elsewhere.

9. He becomes more avoidant

If a guy is avoiding you, he’s pulling away from you. [Read: Clearest signs he’s avoiding you and has something on his mind]

Reasons why men pull away

There’s a reason the question “why he pulls away?” is one of the most frequently searched phrases on the internet. It’s a typical response from guys that is very misunderstood and mysterious to women.

Men do not communicate in the same manner as women, which can leave us scrambling with fear and worry.

The problem is that the more questions you ask, the more irritated he will likely become, and thus, the more he will withdraw. Often, the first thing women want to do is try to “fix” it, but usually, it just makes it worse.

No matter the reason a guy pulls away, there is one response that will work and one that will get you the very opposite of what you want. Here are the reasons why a man might retreat, and productive ways of dealing with him when he does. [Read: What makes someone a player? The 21 sly signs of a player’s mind]

1. You’re too pushy

If you are coming on too strong and he is not in the same place in the relationship, he will likely start to withdraw. Guys don’t like feeling pressured into being with someone.

Wanting to maintain control, if they feel as if you are moving too fast, trying to persuade them to take the relationship to a point they aren’t ready for, they will begin to pull back and try to create distance. [Read: 20 glaring signs you have a control freak in you]

2. He doesn’t know how to communicate with you

If there is something on his mind or something that is bothering him and he doesn’t know how to express it to you, then he might start to push you away. The biggest problem in this situation is that he’s often unaware of what is going on, how to explain it, or how to fix it.

Lacking the capacity to express his feelings or needs, a man often decides that the whole thing is too much trouble and will retreat instead of dealing with it. [Read: Ways to get your man to start communicating with you]

3. He has lost attraction

At the beginning of a relationship, all a man can do is dream about having sex with you. At this point in your relationship, the brain releases a hormone called dopamine in response to dreaming about being with you.

After about three to four months, however, the brain’s production begins to taper off, and it’s like the drug has worn off.

When that happens, he doesn’t understand what’s going on. Afraid that he is no longer attracted to you, he may begin to pull away. [Read: Spicy sex positions to heat up your bedroom romps]

4. He is attracted to someone else

If nothing happened and he is suddenly pulling away, then it may be that he is attracted to someone else. When thinking about another woman, he may try to find a way out of the relationship.

If you notice that his habits are changing, he is no longer interested in sex, or if he becomes more secretive and rarely spends time with you, then he may have found someone else. [Read: Should you ever forgive a cheating partner?]

5. He is stressed out at work

Men are not like women. They are not multi-taskers. If he is preoccupied with something like work, he probably isn’t capable of keeping his focus on two things at once.

If you notice that he’s no longer as interested as he used to be, it’s important for you to start looking not only at his behavior but also at what is going on with his family and work life. It may have absolutely nothing to do with you at all. [Read: Stress ruining your relationship? Signs and quick fixes]

6. The hunt and chase are over

Men love a challenge. If his initial attraction to you was based on conquest and he has now gotten you, then the thrill may be gone. It isn’t a conscious thing—it’s just that once he wins you over, he may feel that some of his virility is gone. [Read: How to keep a guy interested in 30 super sexy ways]

7. He has low self-esteem

If you’ve been together for a while and things have not gone financially the way that he thought they would, he may be feeling inadequate.

When a man feels like he can’t provide the way that he wants to, the pressure of being with someone he loves can become overwhelming.

Transferring his feelings of inadequacy to you, he may unwittingly be pulling away due to his own feelings of inadequacy, blaming you for his failures. [Read: Common male insecurities that women don’t realize]

8. You are at different stages of the relationship

There are varying levels of a relationship, and if you are on stage 10, but he is still stuck at stage 3, he may be pulling back because he just isn’t ready or capable of being where you are.

There are all different reasons why people aren’t willing to commit. If he’s not and he senses that you are, he is going to try to pull away and find some space. [Read: The best-kept secrets to making a man commit to you]

9. He knows it isn’t right but doesn’t know how to tell you

He may love you, but not be in love with you. Yes, that sounds like a cliché, but it’s a real thing. He cares a great deal for you, but that romantic love for you just may not be there.

The last thing he wants to do is hurt your feelings, so he may become distant while he tries to figure out how to approach you about it. [Read: 16 signs it’s time to move on and end the relationship]

10. He’s not that into you

Sure, you may have had sex and acted like a couple, but at the end of the day, he wasn’t that into you. We know, it’s really harsh, but it’s usually the reason why men pull away right before they need to take the next step.

He didn’t expect to get serious with you. Now he thinks the only way out is to disappear. Not the most mature move, fellas. [Read: How to stop being strung along by a guy and take a stand]

11. He’s changed his mind

This happens to all of us. Maybe, in the beginning, we like someone, but then things change. Maybe you argued or he realized that this isn’t what he wants.

If he had a change of heart, pulling away from you was the best for you. You don’t want to get emotionally attached to someone who isn’t sure if they want to be with you. [Read: Guys to stop dating if you want real love]

12. He’s back with his ex

This is always a possibility. The ex has a stronghold over him, and even though they broke up, they can always get back together.

Maybe his ex found out he was seeing people and decided to make a move. There’s always the chance of that happening, especially if it was a recent breakup. [Read: Secret signs that he’s not over his ex yet]

13. You were an option

Ouch, this one stings a bit. If he’s single, odds are he’s been openly dating and meeting new people. This is totally fine as long as he told you he’s casually seeing multiple people. But if he didn’t tell you that, and then pulled back quickly, he probably has other options he doesn’t want to let go of.

14. You don’t fit his plans

He may not have a detailed plan of what he wants in his future, but maybe, his goal is to travel the world while you prefer to stay in your city.

This isn’t necessarily a dealbreaker, but if he sees you have completely different lifestyles, that’s a good reason for him to pull back.

For him, he doesn’t see you two on the same page. [Read: Here’s why chasing a guy never, ever helps]

15. He’s immature

Men tend to mature later than women, which, again, isn’t a bad thing. Everyone has their own pace. But, this also means the guy you’re seeing may not be ready for what you want.

He could simply be immature or emotionally unavailable. And if he’s either of those things, it’s best to end things now. [Read: The 23 signs you might be dating a manchild]

16. He’s a player

He loves the ladies, big time. He has a phone full of women that he alternates. You were the “lady of the week” last week… But that was last week. Over the weekend, he met someone else and is investing his time chasing her.

For him, it’s all a game, and right now, you’re waiting to play your turn. [Read: The warning signs a player just can’t hide]

17. You were too easy

You were attracted to him on the first date and slept with him. This isn’t necessarily a bad move, the body wants what the body wants. But not every guy is going to continue seeing you.

You gave him what he wanted from the very beginning. Now he doesn’t have to chase you, the excitement is gone. So, he’s slowly pulling away because he got what he wanted.

18. He got scared

Men get scared easily, trust us, we know. If you’ve talked about commitment, slept over at his house, or made him breakfast in bed–you probably scared him.

A man who’s ready won’t be scared by these actions or conversations. But if he’s immature, he’s not going to handle this well. When you’re trying to take the relationship to the next level, if you’re too forceful, he’ll get scared. [Read: How to tell if a guy feels emotionally attached to you or not]

19. He’s just not sure

That’s really it. He’s just not sure. He likes you, he really likes you, but he’s not sure if he wants to give up his single life and invest his free time into you.

In other words, he ain’t into you enough. If he’s not sure, he’s not the one. You want a guy that’s positive about their feelings for you. Not a guy making a pro and con sheet with your name at the top. [Read: Accepting that he’s just not that into you]

20. You display too many red flags

We’re not saying you’re messed up, you’re flawed. We all have flaws that would send red flags to some men as well. This simply depends on what a guy sees as a red flag, and what he doesn’t want in a partner.

But he does not see you as a match. He decided to go his own way and move on. [Read: Hidden signs we ignore when we’re in a one-sided relationship]

21. You’re a risk

You’re a risk for him. If he chooses to be with you, who knows what will happen? We know, not much will happen, but for men, it’s a big deal. Maybe he sees how amazing you are and realizes if he chooses you, he’s done. You’ll be it for him.

Though for women, we can handle that, men can’t. They have this fear of missing out and this causes them to not go for the girl that’s perfect for them. [Read: All the reasons why chasing a guy never helps]

22. You were not a priority

You weren’t someone he saw being with on a serious level. Sure, he likes hanging out with you and having sex with you, but this wasn’t supposed to become something intense.

If he never treated you like a priority or he’s now treating you as an option, you need to cut him as soon as possible. [Read: Why you should never make someone a priority when you’re only an option to them]

23. He doesn’t feel wanted but needed

Men want to feel desired and wanted, right? Same as women, we want a guy to desire us. Now, when someone stops feeling desired and starts feeling needed, it’s different.

Feeling needed adds responsibility to a situation that they may not be ready for. Feeling needed also makes the situation permanent and can freak anyone out. It’s like he feels once he’s in it, he can’t get out. [Read: Signs he wants a relationship but is scared]

What to do when he pulls away

Now you know why men pull away, what should you do if it happens? Well basically, you can’t force him to stay where he doesn’t want to be. We know, it’s painful, but do you really want to be with someone who’s not all in?

Here’s what to do when the guy in your life starts to edge away:

1. Do not poke him

By constantly questioning what is wrong, you’re just confirming in his head the reason he’s pulling away. Be chill and carry on with your life, it will make him think twice.

2. Vent out

Speak to someone you can trust, such as a friend or family member, and get it all off your chest. That way, you’re far less likely to scream it at him instead. [Read: How to express your feelings – 16 must-know ideas to speak your mind]

3. Empathize and understand

Now you know why men pull away, try and empathize with the possible reason. For sure, some reasons are pretty hard to empathize with, but if he’s feeling stressed or there’s a genuine reason for his behavior, try and be as understanding as possible.

4. Give the benefit of the doubt

Basically, don’t jump to conclusions. You’re probably thinking all sorts of things, but give him the benefit of the doubt for now. Maybe he’s just stressed and he’ll make his way back again.

5. Couples counseling

If the two of you are willing to make it work, why not give couples counseling a go? It can help you work through the issues and reach a place of harmony. [Read: Relationship counseling – signs you need it to save your love]

6. Give him space but not the silent treatment

Give him some breathing space to work things out, but don’t give him the silent treatment in the meantime. Just be normal.

7. Prioritize yourself

Focus on yourself for now and stop obsessing over what is going on. You’ll drive yourself crazy otherwise and self-care is vital in this situation.

8. Talk to him

You could try and have a conversation with him and say that you have noticed him pulling back. But, it’s important to use the right kind of language here and to keep your emotions out of it.

If he senses any type of hysterics, he’ll just leave. [Read: Communication exercises for couples – easy games to be a better lover]

9. Speak up if you feel you’re making too many adjustments for him

Never bend over backward to keep a man in your life. If you feel that you’re making too many adjustments for him, say so. Remember, you have a right to be comfortable in this relationship too.

10. Evaluate your own feelings before pulling away

In the end, you need to know how you feel. If you’re fed up with it all and you’re tired of fighting, just let it go.

Life is too short. However, if you feel that giving him a little space might work, stick with that. [Read: How to let go of a relationship – 17 things to do to walk away unhurt]

How long will it take for him to come back and how should I act?

If he does pull away and disappears for a while, will he come back? Well, we don’t have a crystal ball, so who knows? But if he does, he has to know that it’s not something he can keep doing and expect you to accept him back into your life.

Usually, when men pull away, they don’t go away for long. If you carry on with your life and show that you’re not too bothered, he’ll probably come running back.

It might take a few weeks, a month, or even more. But you can’t sit around and wait for him.

As for how you should act, well, just like yourself. But this time, you have to make some boundaries and stick to them. If he starts to pull away again, you pull away instead. You’re not his toy. [Read: Give him a second chance? How to know if he’s sorry and won’t hurt you]

Do all men pull away?

No! But most men do at some point. It’s not always a massive problem, but in some cases, men just like to test their options.

The best thing you can do is focus on yourself during this time. That way, no matter what happens, you’ll get through it with a lot less heartbreak than you would if you focused all your attention on the guy.

[Read: The honest truth why it’s easier to get over someone if you dump them first]

Relationships are complicated and can be made even more so when you’re wondering why men pull away. The worst thing you can do is overreact or aggressively try to pry his emotions from him.

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Nicky Curtis
Nicky Curtis
Having stumbled from one relationship drama to another throughout her 20s, Nicky is now somewhat of a guru in the crazy world of life and love. Telling it how i...
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