If you’ve dated a man at any point in the last 50 years, you most likely understand how awful it feels when a man pulls away.
One minute you’re on on the best date of your life and the next minute wondering why he became so cold and distant.
So, why do men pull away from relationships?
This phenomenon is common enough that entire books have been written about it. Oprah has done at least four dozen shows on it. Dating columnists and relationship gurus have made entire careers out of helping women understand why men pull away from relationships and what to do about it.
Here are the several of the most common, sneaky reasons why men pull away:
1. He Feels Pressured
You might have reached a point in your relationship you feel like it needs to either move forward or stop moving.
This sense of inevitability will freak him out, even if he thinks you walk on water. He might feel like you’re pressuring him for more, even if you’ve never brought it up.
If you have mentioned a larger commitment recently, it may have caused him to withdraw. He might be having his own private freakout about it.
Rather than push for more commitment (and those little “hints” qualify) make sure you’re nurturing the relationship itself.
Nothing is more unattractive to a man who is actually thinking about committing than the feeling that marriage and kids are more important to you than he is. Men are very tuned into the idea that women have been conditioned to think about marriage. Staying quiet about it can be to your advantage.
Rather than chase him for a commitment using charts, diagrams and logic, it’s better to withdraw from the relationship a bit yourself.
Notice I’m not saying, “withdraw from relationship and nag him about the reasons why.”
If you feel like you have to pursue a commitment from a man who isn’t certain whether or not you’re The One, the logical thing to do is to pull back, take care of yourself, and see what happens.
2. The Uncertainty Stage
Dr. John Gray, says in his bestselling book Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, says the uncertainty stage is an actual stage ALL long term relationships go through, and it’s a very important one.
According to Dr. Gray, this is a time when your guy generally feels uncertain and just trying to figure out where the relationship is going himself.
He’s torn between taking things to the next level, and losing his freedom. The best way to get through this stage and come out WITH your man still on your arm is to let go of the pressure cooker talks. You must encourage him to have his own freedom. He must feel like being with you is an exciting bonus, not a trap .
3. He’s Actually Busy
Is he actually running away or is not answering your text messages in 30 minutes your version of neglect? You must be realistic. You have to allow him to have his own life. If you’re feeling clingy and needy, you need to stay busy with your own work, hobbies and goals. You do not need more of his time.
What feels like withdrawal might just be actual busyness. He might need to put in extra hours before he loses his job or he wants to help his buddies move on the weekend, you get the picture. Once again, pressuring him for more time together and getting upset when he fails to fulfill your unrealistic expectations will make him pull further away.
4. Your Support Has Faltered
Simply put, men don’t stay where they aren’t appreciated. They fall in love with and marry the woman who they feel is their biggest fan. If they marry that woman and life starts getting in the way of her admiration, they will have the affair with the next woman who is their biggest fan. This isn’t right, it’s simply reality.
You like being appreciated, right? So does he. Try your best to be his biggest fan 100% of the time, and he won’t want to lose you.
People naturally gravitate towards people who make them feel good.
The best way to keep someone in your life is to make sure that your interactions with them are on average five times positive to each negative interaction. This is based on Dr. John Gottman’s research. Dr. Gottman is founder of The Gottman Institute and author of several important relationship advice books, including The Relationship Cure.
5. There’s Someone Else
Unfortunately, people cheat and have emotional affairs. Sometimes this happens when a man starts to look outside of his relationship for the admiration and appreciation that has gone missing.
As the newness wears off, sometimes women get naggy and stop doing the loving things that they used to when the relationship was new. Sometimes a woman will pursue a man’s love when he backs off. Unfortunately, her pleas for more love and time together come off as naggy so he runs even further away.
If he has met someone else, that doesn’t mean that hope is lost. It just means your work is a little more cut out for you– depending on your particular situation.
Why Men Pull Away – The Bottom Line
Often when a man withdraws from a relationship, it can make a woman chase him and do even more damage.
Remember that when a man feels pressure, no matter what the situation is, he resists.
So if you’re chasing after him in panic mode, he’s naturally going to flee.
Allowing your man to have as much freedom as he wants is your best bet for preventing him from ending your relationship completely.
That song “hold on loosely” comes to mind.
If has already withdrawn from your relationship completely, stop chasing him. I know how hard this is, especially when his distance has struck terror into your heart. Pressuring him to make a larger commitment or forcing the issue as far as why he seems a little more distant lately will backfire.