A reader wonders what the heck is up with her man and what to do when a man pulls away.
Okay so I read the book (Why Men Lose Interest), and I have a situation. I met a guy and things were great— constant text, calls, I knew he was into me. We had a disagreement over a miscommunication and didn’t talk for two weeks. We started talking again and the communication wasn’t as heavy as before, but when we would see each other it was.
So I tell him I need a little more on the communication side…he ignores me for four days. I am thinking its over so I unhide my online profile, he blows up over that. So we see each other and I’m thinking he is very into me (oh and we have been physically intimate) but the communication is still lagging.
We had a maybe plan for dinner since he is going out of town for work for 8 days, he texts, “sorry I have to work late.” I tried calling him twice over a 6 hour period to say “Hi” and see how his day is… nothing in response.
I really like this guy but how can I get him to communicate better and more with me? Or do I chalk it up to a lost cause?
This is so frustrating! I can really sympathize with you here on feeling terrible when a man pulls away.
I think you have a couple things working against you in getting his attention again, but it’s definitely not impossible since you did have underlying attraction at the start.
First, it sounds like you have a case of unintentional negative reinforcement going on.
After your initial argument about that miscommunication, he was slower about getting in touch, so you tried to solve this with words— by communicating verbally that you wanted more communication.
The problem is that this actually conveyed the idea that he wasn’t doing it right— which you saw evidence of when he pulled way back and dropped communication for four days.
But, you saw each other, it went well and he still seemed into you.
And as far as your “maybe plans,” after he put in a boundary by texting that he had to work late, you called him twice, which comes off to him like hot pursuit.
Think about it. When anyone calls you twice in a row, it almost gives you anxiety right? It feels like they’re going to say something is wrong. Same with him.
He already told you he was busy. He didn’t drop you cold, he communicated with you– about being busy.
Guys are not usually huge multi-taskers. If he said he was busy with work, he probably wanted that time to himself to work. When you call twice just to say “hi,” he can feel that needy, anxious energy of you wanting more from him. Even though you don’t mean it, it’s pressure.
You have a little bit of a chaser dynamic going on here. Since you really like him like you said, it makes sense that you would want more time with him.
After all, what women doesn’t want more of a man they are falling in love with?
I don’t say this to beat you up, I mention it because I’ve been there and know how crappy it feels when 95% of a relationship works, but that other 5% just isn’t there yet.
Unfortunately, this fear-demand-withdrawal cycle is the exact opposite of what gets a man to pursue you.
People want what they can’t have. The less attention he’s giving you, the more you start to feel spooked, then drawn get in touch and ensure that he cares about you.
He must think about you and want to talk to you, for you! The more he feels hunted down by you, the more he will back away. You don’t want him to talk to you because you guilted him into it, right?
Now, he very well might be gone at this point, but I don’t think we should pronounce this dead and react out of fear. Fear is the enemy! Fear is what makes us reflexively try to get a man to prove his feelings for us by asking for more.
Going forward, instead of writing him off in frustration and giving up, how about just removing all expectations, letting him come to you and releasing all requirements for what he does?
Let’s stop and consider a few actual realities so far:
1. Lately he’s been a little slow on the communication front. His slowness doesn’t need a larger meaning assigned to it, because if you start thinking about WHY this is happening, you’re more likely to create that exact situation rather than ride anything out.
2. Pursuing him has resulted in frustration each time you’ve tried it, but each time he has come out of his shell more when you have stopped the pursuit.
3. When you actually see him in person, you both seem to enjoy it and you said you really like him.
So, instead of worrying about what he’s doing or WHY, instead, dial the intensity down several notches and just date him and others and see what happens?
You don’t have to decide the romance is over or ask for more or anything. Nothing is ever urgent, especially when a man has been ignoring you!
Just do nothing (which in this case is definitely something). Don’t announce that you are “letting him do all the contact” either. Just let it be and allow him to initiate 99% of the communication with you. When he does get in touch, joyously invite his energy and have fun with him.
What To Do When A Man Pulls Away– But He Might Not Be Gone Forever
Instead of complaining about the way he’s contacting you, think positive reinforcement of what he IS doing.
From now on, simply act happy to hear from him and thank him for getting in touch.
Don’t mention his absence or complain about anything around the way he has chosen to contact you. Just be happy and light. If he wants to make plans to see you, then let him make the plans. The more positively you treat him, the more of you he will want. You get more communication by having more and more positive communications without added drama.
It helps a great deal to release all expectations of what he’s supposed to do to “prove he likes you” on the communication front. I understand the temptation to try to judge what a man is doing by a ticker tape in your head, but this is fear talking!
Don’t let your fear and doubt sabotage any potential connection that you could have going forward.
Best of luck! Keep me updated on how it goes.