“I Said The Absolute Wrong Thing, He Pulled Away— What Do I Do Now?”

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How Do I Repair My Relationship

Hi Elizabeth,
I am or was in at what I thought was a good place in a relationship that has been growing with a great, thoughtful guy for a little over a year.

Plans were changed because he had something come up with his mom (and plans seem to get changed a lot), who is a tad overbearing to put it nicely. So I had my limit and let him know it.

Unknowingly I said something that hurt him. So now we are both hurt and he said that he needed some time and would be out of touch. I am trying to give him space, but how much is enough and when should I contact him again or should I just wait for him.

Our last contact was via text and he said that he felt pretty closed off and would be that way for a while. I was ready to talk after a few days. I know guys take things differently than we do, but how do we start to repair this? I am willing if he is.

-NotSureHowToRepairThings

Hi NotSureHowToRepairThings,

So he’s been withdrawn for 4-5 days as of your message?

Foot in mouth is a crappy feeling. I sense here that you’re really beating yourself up over this, and understandably so.

The thing is that we all have these moments where we say “the thing” in the heat of the moment and then live to regret it. In your relationship, there has to be some ability to screw up on both of your parts without the other person completely withdrawing as punishment.

When a rift like this happens, it’s really tempting to feel so terrible that you continually chase him, apologizing. I trust that you already made your apology, and now, as hard as it is, he has to come to you with the emotional part of it. That doesn’t mean you can’t talk to him, it just means that you have apologized and now it’s time to start the water under the bridge thing. The alternative is that you keep groveling, chasing him, and he runs further away.

It’s right now, during dating, that you learn whether he’s capable of coming back, working with you to repair things, or if he’ll stay permanently gone (or distant). How he handles conflict and screw ups by you is a really important thing.

And that’s something that you deserve to know about him before you take your relationship any further, should that be on the menu.

Pulling away and licking one’s wounds is one thing, but totally detaching and not letting you make amends to repair things— is unacceptable. Punishing your mate like this for a long time (and what you’ve described is a long time for something like this) is unfair, even if they did screw up.

That’s why you have to decide on your personal stop-loss limit– i.e. the amount of time you’re willing to wait before determining that you can’t tolerate this. How much pulling away and withdrawing are you willing to stand for? How long is too long for you? Those are questions only you can answer.

Now, if this is a relationship ender for him, then he has more issues brewing below the surface that would eventually sabotage your relationship one way or another. If he’s willing to automatically bypass you over his Mom (and I sympathize, my MIL is no walk in the park), that’s a problem too.

But let’s not put the cart before the horse.

Right now, I’d send him a little feeler, a light message without a lot of emotions and see how it’s received. Air-clearing type stuff. “Hi, I’m here, how’s Saturday” but not “Hihihihihihhi OMG TAAALLLKKKKK TOOO MEEEEEEEE PLEAAAASSEEEEEEE.” You get the picture. The more withdrawn but friendly you can be, the better.

Then pull way back and take this time to focus on yourself. Let him come to you after that. Prop the proverbial door open for whatever amount of time feels right to you and get really busy with anything you’ve neglected to do lately in lieu of couples time.

Men usually take about twice the amount of time that women do before they are ready to talk. Then see how it goes when he comes around. You can’t force a man out of his cave, nor should you try. Once it gets too long, or if he keeps punishing you after making amends in good faith, you’ll have to decide what feels right to you about how to proceed.

Keep in touch and update me on how it goes. Sending you love!

-Elizabeth

About Elizabeth Stone

Elizabeth Stone is an author and founder of Attract The One.

Her popular program Ex Attraction Formula, has helped hundreds of women reunite with their men. She is thrilled to have helped so many people reignite the spark in their relationships.

Tirelessly focused on helping people improve their love lives, her work has been featured on EHarmony Blog, YourTango, Thought Catalog, Mogul, Fox News Magazine, Ravishly, Femalista, Popsugar, Read Unwritten, Medium and many more.

One Comment

  1. Pat Riarchy

    August 31, 2015 at 12:18 am

    You have crossed the line.

    He knows what you are capable of. He definitely does NOT want that.

    He will mull it over and over to try to find the solution of how to trust you ever again. There isn’t a solution. He will not come back to your sorry ass.

    In future, I would suggest you try and grow up before you try adult relationships. You WANTED to hurt the man you “love”. You succeeded. Live with it.

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