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, when they begin to seem to lose interest and pull back, our first instinct is almost always wrong. 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 out of a relationship without any sign of trouble or forewarning. [Read: 18 critical signs of an unhealthy relationship]
Reasons why men pull away
There’s a reason the question of “why he pulls away?” is one of the most frequently searched phrases on the internet. It’s a typical response from guys, and one 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. Oftentimes, the first thing women want to do is try to “fix” it. But many times, in trying to do so, we just make 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, as well as some productive ways of dealing with him when he does. The key is to figure out what is driving him away.
#1 You are 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.
Answer: Stop being so aggressive. The more you push, the more he is going to pull away. Give him some space to figure stuff out without all the questions and accusations. If you push him too far, you are going to lose him. If you take some of the pressure off, he may just find his way back to you. [Read: 20 glaring signs you have a control freak in you]
#2 He lacks the skills to effectively communicate. 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 himself of what is going on, how to explain it, or how to fix it. Lacking in 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.
Answer: Sometimes all he needs is a little coaxing to figure out what’s going on. That involves being patient and giving him space and time to figure things out for himself and to discover what it is that he’s feeling. If you keep questioning him, things are going to get more jumbled, which will only lead to more confusion and will keep you two at odds. [Read: 9 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.
Answer: Just because dopamine is not being produced naturally, that doesn’t mean you can’t find ways to create it. You have to turn on the heat sometimes to bring the magic back. A relationship takes work, especially in the sex department. Find ways to turn him on and he will be running back into your arms. [Read: 13 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. If he is thinking about being with another woman, he may be trying 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.
Answer: Cut him loose. If you think that he’s cheating on you or is interested in someone else, don’t pursue him. If you take the time to step back and he doesn’t show any effort to reel you back in, then, either way, it wasn’t meant to be. If you think that he’s attracted to another woman, find someone who will be fully committed to loving you. [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 at what is going on with his family and work life as well. It may have absolutely nothing to do with you at all.
Answer: Don’t make the situation worse by putting more stress on his plate. Give him time to work out his other issues, and you can take that time to focus on you. The more you pressure him to let you in, the more you are going to be overloading his already overwhelmed psyche. [Read: Stress ruining your relationship? 10 signs and quick fixes]
#6 The hunt and chase are over. Men love a challenge. If his initial attraction to you was based on a 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.
Answer: Remind him what he was chasing you for. Show him that just because he’s won over you doesn’t mean he gets to keep you. Instead of groveling and chasing him, turn the tables and make him work to get you back. If you remind him that you can be just fine without him, he’s likely to begin the hunt and chase all over again. [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.
Answer: If he’s feeling low about himself, then the last thing you want to do is make him feel even worse by being upset all the time. The only thing you can do is to hang on, try to boost his confidence, and encourage him to follow this dreams. Being supportive will help him to feel accomplished and will let him know that you are happy with him and have all that you could need. [Read: 12 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.
Answer: You can’t make someone be at the same place as you. The only thing you can do is give him the space he needs to figure out if he wants to join you or move on. Let him go and figure things out, and if he is ready to move forward with you, he’ll let you know. Pushing him is only going to drive him farther away and will make him think you aren’t the one. [Read: The 10 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 may 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. That 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.
Answer: Stop trying to make something happen when it isn’t right. Most women who find themselves in this position know in their heart that something isn’t right. Instead of pursuing him to find out what’s going on with him, it may be time for you to find that person inside of you who knows you deserve someone who is completely into you, not just staying to avoid hurting your feelings. [Read: 16 signs it’s time to move on and end the relationship]
Relationships are complicated and can be made even more so when your man pulls away and isolates you from his thoughts and feelings. The worst thing you can do is overreact or aggressively try to pry his emotions from him. As hard as it is, step back, give him space, and take the time to focus on your own feelings and wellbeing.
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