What To Do When He is Pulling Away

You feel like it is finally happening: you have met the man of your dreams. You are compatible. You get intimate. You really like him. He seems to be interested in you and showers you with attention- phone calls, dates, hand holding!

And then, something happens.

You might not even notice it right away. Casually, he starts to pull away from you. It starts with a few missed calls and you think, “No big deal, he’s just busy!” But then he is canceling plans and seems distracted when you hang out. You are sensing a shift and, quite frankly, it does not feel good.  You don’t know what to do.

As a partner, our first response is to try and fix the problem. (And by that, we really just fixate.) While responding with worrisome questions feels like the right response, many men feel pestered or cornered. And so the cycle begins- distance, hurt feelings, questions, tears, distance.

The answer is somewhat obvious but counter-intuitive- let him have some space. Here are a few things to keep in mind so that your guy has the space he needs while you are still managing your own vulnerable feelings.  This is what you need to do to keep your man committed.

Keep Yourself Grounded: It is Natural For a Man To Go Through These Moments

why MEN-PULL-AWAYIn fact, for a lot of women this is a natural part of a relationship too. It is really hard to be “on” all the time. For a man, having seasons of drift is totally normal even if he is madly in love with you. Falling in love can make him feel vulnerable and distance is sometimes a natural response to that fear of closeness. He’ll come in and out as he works out his feelings and becomes comfortable in the relationship.

Meanwhile, we all try to establish our sense of self both inside and outside our relationships. So the first step is to remind yourself that these phases in a relationship are normal. Especially during the early stages.  So don’t stress, let go of your fear and doubt. Stop recounting every last minute of the phone conversation you just had and find things in your life that you enjoy. Fill your time with meaningful distraction.

Put Incentive Into the Relationship

Incentive, not ultimatum.

Whenever we feel like someone is pulling back from us, our first response is to lean hard and close to reduce the space. But inevitably, it causes resistance. Instead of drowning out the silence, eliminate the tension and let the relationship lull a little. It should give him the incentive to move back towards you.

For reminders this includes:

  • Not calling incessantly
  • Not sending random emails
  • No unannounced visits to his work/place

Express, Don’t Blame

When we feel rejected, it creates all sorts of emotional responses. We feel uncertain, hurt, and angry. When our guy comes back, it is easy to feel resentful and we want to express our hurt. Rest assured: it is okay to express your feelings because keeping him shouldn’t feel like a game.

Two things can happen. You can either deepen your connection with him or drive him further away. Choose your words wisely so that he is more mindful of your feelings when he needs space. The trick is to center on your feelings and leave out the blame.
For example, instead of “Why didn’t you call me back?” Try, “I am really glad to hear from you!” When he senses that you didn’t let your emotions run the gamut, he’ll be motivated to listen to you. (And if he doesn’t listen, is he really worth your time?)

You want to come across as a woman who respects both his needs and her own feelings.

Your guy should trust you. Each relationship will open up differently and there will be times of passion and times of quiet. When you come to a fuller understanding of each other’s needs your relationship will deepen and get serious. In most cases, giving your partner space doesn’t mean he’s taking advantage of you. Keep your mind open, your expectations high, and your heart ready. Falling in love is hard work.