Why does a man pull away? It’s a question women have been asking for many years and, lucky for you, there are a few simple answers.

Before we examine the why let’s look at what it looks like.

why does a man pull away

Is Your Man Pulling Away?

There are signs that your guy is pulling away, some more obvious than others:

  • He literally walks out the door (if you live together)
  • He’s less responsive or he ignores you most of the time
  • “Babe I just need some space”
  • He digs into work or a hobby, spending less time with you
  • You see signs that he’s looking for your replacement
  • He avoids you
  • He hangs up on you and doesn’t call back

Kate and Jack had been married for ten years but things were slowly declining. Kate spent days taking care of their four children while Jack worked. As the days went on, Jack worked later and later into the evenings, leaving his children to miss his presence and Kate to pick up the slack.

When Jack was home in the evenings, Kate went off to their bedroom, where her computer was stored, to work. Even when they were in the house together, they were usually apart. Jack spent more weekends at work and less at home.

Finally, Jack moved out and Kate was so relieved. She didn’t realize how much unspoken tension was filling their home until Jack was gone and she felt it leave like a big swoosh of air. Jack had been pulling away for months until his only next step was to move out.

Is Your Relationship Over?

Do you think your relationship is teetering on the edge of disaster? Has he aleady left? This is a great article for sure, but there are others! Just click the button to read them.


Why Does a Man Pull Away? He Has a Fear of Commitment

For some men, a fear of commitment will freeze them in their tracks. There is a name for this. It’s called gamophobia.

When you’re experiencing gamophobia, you have an irrational and uncontrolled fear of being accountable to a partner or spouse.

For much of your relationship up until now, you’ve been getting to know one another, and this is fun for men. They love the mystery of uncovering who you are beyond your looks. That’s what’s important to them.

But as the relationship advances and he senses you want a commitment; he distances himself and seems less available. Texts go unanswered or sit for hours, even days before you get a response. Your phone calls are answered, but not nearly every time.

He’s facing a moment of truth with you. He either needs to make a commitment or bail and his fight or flight mechanism tells him to fly.

Of course, the fear significantly outweighs any perceived threat. How can a happy relationship be threatening?

Perhaps you’ll see how if we look at the causes of gamophobia.

Causes of Gamophobia

He’s Had Negative Relationship Experiences Previously

One of two things most likely happened if this is the cause.

Either he experienced a childhood with chronically unhappy parents, perhaps including domestic abuse or, at the very least, lots of fighting; or he experienced his own very negative relationship and he’s afraid of another.

His Childhood Attachments Weren’t Healthy

If your guy didn’t have healthy attachments to his parents or caregivers, it could cause his gamophobia.

When a child grows up not having his needs met by his caregivers, he develops insecure attachment styles. This causes him to have a difficult time forming relationships and to feel less secure in any relationships he does engage in.

Additionally, he might have a fear of abandonment or rejection if either of those things occurred in his past.

It’s In His Genes – or History

Sometimes, it boils down to nature or nurture. There is research that suggests phobias might be passed from one generation to another genetically, making him more susceptible to phobias like this one.

He might also have learned this phobia because someone in his family experienced it. By watching someone else experience this phobia, he developed the phobia himself.

What Can You Do?

Unfortunately, like other problems your guy may experience, there’s nothing you can do to fix this. He needs to fix it for himself and with phobias, the best course is to seek professional help.

What you can do is try to gently point out that he seems to distance himself from your relationship anytime the commitment conversation happens. He might not really be aware that he’s experiencing this problem.

You can ask him how he feels when you talk about commitment. If he has gamophobia, not only will he distance himself from your relationship, but he might experience physical symptoms associated with fear, like hyperventilating, chest pain, choking sensations, feelings of impending doom, rapid heart rate or breathing, sweating, and trembling.

If he’s willing to seek help and you’re willing to wait, you can probably come out on the other side of his treatment with a healthy relationship.

why does a man pull away

He’s Afraid of His Own Feelings

For some men, managing their emotions is very challenging. When these men were growing up, they were taught to suck it up and deal more often than they were told to feel sad, disappointed, or frustrated.

For many, the only acceptable emotion was anger. For him to now feel love is scary. He didn’t date you with the idea of falling in love with you. He dated you because you piqued his interest. He found you mysterious and he has had a great time learning about you.

Then, WHAM! He realizes he’s in love with you and oh boy, does that scare him.

The thing is that men usually pull back when they need to process their emotions. While many women are open books when it comes to their emotions, most men are not accustomed to having these feelings. Processing them in seclusion feels the safest.

What Can You Do?

If you give him time and you nurture your friendships and hobbies, he’ll most likely come back to you, able to handle his feelings of love for you and ready to move forward.

The worst thing you can do is keep after him while he’s processing his emotions. Let him stew in things on his own for a while. I can’t give you a timetable. Every person is different. What I can say is that if you come to him before he’s ready, it won’t help.

Turn to your girlfriends. Enjoy time with them. Pick up an old hobby or find a new one. Engross yourself in those relationships and hobbies and patiently wait for him to return.

He’s Afraid He’ll Lose His Independence and Freedom

When you’re in a relationship, it’s easy to slip into some bad habits, like seeing one another to the exclusion of your outside friendships.

For your man, the thought of making a bigger commitment to your relationship might cause him to fear losing his independence and freedom.

Right now, if he wants to hang with the guys, he thinks he’s independent and free enough to do so without any repercussions.

This is where a concept I refer to as perceived freedom comes into play. Perceived freedom is when a guy feels he’s free to hang out with his friends whenever he wants to, but he’ll usually seek your permission or at least an okee dokee first.

If you go into a relationship forbidding him from seeing his friends or whining and complaining every time he wants to watch college football with the guys, he will not only fear he’s losing his independence, he’ll know he is.

What Can You Do?

Let him hang out with his friends. If it seems he’s doing a little too much of it, like more than one or two evenings every couple of weeks, you have things you can do that don’t involve whining, arguing, or complaining.

For example, if he says he wants to hang out to watch Thursday Night Football with his buddies, fine. Let him. But…

Plan something with your girlfriends for that same evening. Make sure he sees you before you leave, and make sure you look and smell great. Kiss him on the cheek and tell him you’ll see him later.

He’ll go watch TNF, but he’ll be thinking about how great you looked and smelled and whether any guys might see you. While he might be afraid to lose his independence, he’s probably more afraid of losing you!

You’ve dampened his time with his friends without complaining or arguing. He’s still hanging out with them, but he’s not having as much fun as he thought he would.

No, this isn’t game-playing. You should always maintain relationships with your friends, regardless of your relationship status. This is you doing what he’s doing – hanging out with friends. The difference is that you look and smell great and he’s going off with smelly men.

Why Does a Man Pull Away? Things Got Too Intense

I’m sure this has happened to you before. You meet a guy and there’s an immediate connection. Sparks are flying right from the start. You find yourselves wanting to spend every moment together and then, BAM. He’s nowhere to be found.

Even though he played a role in this accelerated pace, he’s now stepping back and wondering what the heck just happened.

He’s a little freaked out and needs a moment or five to cool his heels.

Men date first to have fun. They like to uncover the mystery behind who you are. Nothing makes a guy smile inside more than finding out something intriguing about a woman he’s been dating.

How Can You Avoid This?

Let him have that time. Even if you feel this drive to spend tons of time with him, back off. If he’s pressuring you to spend that time, gently slow things down. If you just went out last night and he’s texting for a date tonight, you can say, “I’m sorry Gregg, but I have Yoga class tonight. Are you available on Thursday?” This way, he knows you’re interested, but he recognizes that you have a life outside of dating him.

He might even recognize that he was pushing a little too hard and fast.

It’s okay to suggest an alternate day and time for a date if you do it as I suggested above. Even if you don’t have a Yoga class or anything else planned, seeing him every night will soon lead to him feeling that things are moving too fast.

It’s okay to say, “I’d like to enjoy an evening at home with my dog, Freddy. Maybe we can do a movie this weekend?”

When you suggest that alternate time, which is a few days out, you slow things down and let him know you’re still interested.

why does a man pull away

He May Need Some Man Time

When you’re single, you do what you want, when you want to. You’re a different version of yourself than you are when you’re in a relationship.

This is true for men too. When he’s in a relationship, a man may feel more vulnerable and emotionally expressive than he’s comfortable with. This is uncharted territory for many men and it makes them feel as if they need to retreat.

He might need some time away from your relationship to recharge his man battery. He needs to feel manly again, and he doesn’t see a way to do that in your relationship. This might be when he retreats to his man cave for a while so he can burp the alphabet, scratch himself and watch sports.

If your relationship is new, he’ll find this time when he’s at home. If you’ve been together for a while or you live together, he might spend time at a buddy’s house watching sports and hanging with the guys.

What Can You Do?

Your job is to let him do his manly thing. Don’t fight or argue with him about it. You should use this time to do your own thing. Pursue a hobby or spend time with your friends.

If you pant after him like a lost puppy, you’ll only aggravate the situation and make his need to pull back stronger.

Men need this man time for a variety of reasons. He might be dealing with something difficult, like the loss of a loved one or not getting the job or promotion he was going after. As you read previously, men have a tough time processing those types of emotions and often need time to themselves to do so.

He’s Dealing with Other Stuff

If you’re dating a man who’s going through his divorce still, he might retreat from your relationship so he can deal with the divorce. If there are children involved, there is a lot of emotion tied up with this past relationship.

By retreating from his relationship with you, he’s able to put all his emotional energy into the divorce. In most cases, he will come back to you once everything with his previous marriage is settled.

In other situations, he may be dealing with a significant loss or disappointment. He might be under a lot of stress or pressure at work, which leads him to feel tired and overwhelmed.

Other things like health, money, or outside family issues can sideline even the toughest man.

What Can You Do?

There is a repeating theme here, but that’s because it’s often your best course of action.

You allow him to retreat and lick his wounds or deal with whatever he’s got going on outside of your relationship.

The reason he’s retreating is that he doesn’t want to short-change you by worrying you or spending less time with you. For him, it makes more sense to retreat from the relationship altogether than to try to navigate the relationship and his stressors.

He’s trying not to hurt you, and while his retreat probably does hurt, understanding why he’s doing so should take a lot of the sting out of the situation.

why does a man pull away

Why Does a Man Pull Away? | He has Low Self-Worth

He may think you’re the most awesome woman he’s ever met, but that could also be the problem.

If your guy has low self-worth, he might not believe he deserves a great woman like you. He’s going to distance himself from you before you figure out that you can do better. While in some of the other situations, your guy is distancing himself to protect you, in this case, he’s protecting himself.

There are many reasons why someone has low self-worth, but they have nothing to do with you.

What Can You Do?

The first, and most important thing you must know is that this isn’t your thing to fix. Just like the other issues presented here, this is something he must fix for himself. Still, there are things you can do to help and support him.

Also, when he makes negative comments about himself, don’t be dismissive or try to counter what he said. For example, if he says he wants to lose weight, don’t tell him he’s fine just the way he is or that you love him just like he is. That type of statement doesn’t support his current belief.

Instead, ask him what he’s unhappy with. He might not like how his clothes fit, or he might feel discouraged that he’s winded when he walks around the office. Acknowledge his negative feelings, then offer something positive, “Jack, I know your clothes have gotten a bit tight, but really, I think you’re a very attractive man, inside and out.”

Another thing to be aware of is that he has some negative self-talk going on. He might wish he was a better golfer, like his friend. His rationale is that he can’t play any sport because his golf game sucks. In this case, encourage him not to compare himself to Jack, who went to college on a golf scholarship. Offer to take lessons with him or encourage him to try something different.

When your partner suffers from low self-worth or self-esteem, the best course you can take is to encourage him to engage in positive activities that will boost his confidence and belief in himself. Help him see the wonderful man you see, but don’t push it. Just be there to support him.

He’s Struggling to Identify as Part of a Couple

This works in reverse too, and it might be easier to explain it that way first. When you experience a breakup, one of the things that blindsides you is when people stop referring to you as you guys or you two because you’re single now.

If a guy has been single for any period, he identifies as a single person. He has that freedom you read about earlier. He can hang out with his friends whenever he wants. Vulnerability isn’t an issue. I could go on and on, but I think you see what I mean.

Then, suddenly, he finds himself in a relationship and no longer single. He’s struggling to put all those single pieces into new slots. It doesn’t have anything to do with you or your relationship. He might be very happy as far as that goes, but he’s still struggling.

He had routines centered around being single. He had guys’ nights and Saturdays to work on his motorcycle. Now, even though he wants to spend time with you, he can’t figure out how to do those things he also loves too.

What Can You Do?

Again, the answer is to give him space. Don’t make him feel like one hundred percent of his time must be with you. It should never be that way. Let him work on his motorcycle on Saturdays, or compromise and give him Saturday morning. Let him enjoy guys’ night, sometimes at your house even.

Make the transition from being single to being in a relationship a smooth one for him by not demanding too much of his time at first. Give him that perceived freedom and let him grow into being a partner.

He’s Confused Lust with Love

That early heat in a relationship is lust. It’s a strong physical attraction that pulls you both into sex, probably too soon. Now, that heat is fading and he thinks that means the love is gone too. How do you know the difference?

Lust is characterized by:

  • Overwhelming desire for sex
  • Lack of interest in the other person’s life outside sex with you
  • Hyperfocus on the present, no future thinking
  • Compatibility isn’t even on your radar
  • Your dates are usually in private, where sex is easier

Love is characterized by:

  • An emotional attachment or connection
  • Planning for your future together
  • Ability to be emotionally vulnerable
  • You want to know more about his life
  • It builds slowly

The truth is that no relationship experiences the same level of chemistry all the time, regardless of how long the couple has been together. Relationships naturally go in and out of those times, so just because the heat has faded, it doesn’t mean there’s no love.

What You Can Do

The best course here might be to explain to him that relationships naturally experience ebbs and flows when it comes to chemistry and sexual attraction. The bigger question he should ask himself is how emotionally invested he is in the relationship. How emotionally invested are you? Which category above best describes how you feel?

Sometimes our instinct is to fight for something that we don’t really want, just because it’s slipping away. Take inventory of your feelings before you try to talk him out of or into his.

why does a man pull away

Why Does a Man Pull Away? He’s Moved On

If your relationship is new, and by new, I mean less than a few months old, he might have decided to move on.

By pulling back instead of facing you directly, he’s avoiding hurting you. Those first few months of a relationship are all about getting to know someone and it’s possible that eventually, one or both of you recognize that there are sacrifices you don’t want to make or values that just don’t align.

These relationships can’t usually be saved because there isn’t enough history between you to be meaningful and enticing. Exiting the relationship slowly is easier than just breaking it off, which is what he should do.

What You Can Do

There isn’t much you can do in this situation. If he’s not attracted to you, your best course is to find someone new. It doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you. The two of you simply aren’t compatible.

If this is what’s going on, you also need to put an end to it. Kindly and without malice, invite him for a conversation. Then simply tell it like it is, “Hey Gregg, I think you’re a great guy, but I don’t see us going the distance. I think it’s better if we go our separate ways.”

When men talk to one another, they’re direct, so he’ll understand this and appreciate your honesty. He’s probably internally grateful that he didn’t have to hurt your feelings and relieved that it’s over.

How do You Maintain Your Self-Worth?

Most of the reasons a man pulls away have everything to do with him and nothing to do with you. As you experience this situation, you need to acknowledge the explanations above don’t diminish the pain of feeling his distance, but I hope most of them will give you hope. Just because he’s distant right now doesn’t mean he’s gone forever.

In many of the situations you’ve read about, he needs time or professional help to overcome what’s holding him back. If he’s willing to do the work, there’s still a chance for him to return.

The truth is that in most instances, a man will pull away and you’ll be left asking that first question, why does a man pull away? What I don’t want you to spend a lot of time on is asking yourself what did I do wrong?

His pulling away might be his way of working on an issue he has or of becoming the man he believes you deserve. He might be trying to be better, for you.

What Can You Do While He’s Away?

Instead of viewing this as a life crisis, view it as an opportunity to work on your own life. What would you like to improve upon? Is there a hobby you’ve been interested in? Have you lost touch with a friend or family member?

Take this opportunity to do those things, to make those connections. The busier you stay, the happier you’ll be.

Regardless of what shape you’re in right now, get back into a workout routine. This is a great way to pump some endorphins through your system.

It’s also a great time to go after a promotion or work on getting a new job if you don’t like the one you have.

You’re single, even if it’s temporary. Take advantage of this time!

What Shouldn’t You do While He’s Away

Don’t keep trying to get him to communicate with you. In fact, this might be a time to practice the no-contact rule, if he’s fully extricated himself from your relationship.

Will no contact make him move on?

If he reaches out to you, you reply, but if he waited two days, it’s okay for you to wait, but no longer than the two days he waited. If you reply and he waits two hours, you wait two hours.

At this point, you’re putting into it exactly what he’s putting in. No more and no less. It will do him good to see you out doing things, living your life, working on yourself, or whatever you’re doing.

If he cares for you at all, and my guess is that he does, his interest will be piqued by your behavior. Why? Because he expects you to badger him with texts begging him to come back. He expects you to be down in the dumps.

You’re his Plan B. Whatever his reason for leaving, he’s certain that you’ll be waiting there, still scooping out the Ben and Jerry’s, tearfully waiting for him to return. By not doing that, you’re behaving mysteriously. That will get his attention.

You should also avoid dating right now. This sends him a signal that you’ve moved on, and he won’t put a lot of effort into trying to win you back if he believes this to be true.

You’re not yet at a point of asking for your stuff back or sending his back to him either, unless he’s clearly moved on. If you either don’t want him back or you feel he’s truly done, go ahead, but if you hold any hope of him returning, hang onto that stuff for a while longer.

Why Does a Man Pull Away?

As you’ve now read, there are a host of answers to the question of why does a man pull away. Some of them require him to do some heavy-duty work on himself while others are more about him taking a break to recharge his testosterone again or sort out a problem.

Regardless of his reason, your actions are pretty much the same. Let him go do his thing. Most men go through this at some point in a relationship, so for you, it’s more of a time to wait it out.

Be supportive of him if he needs it, but don’t insert yourself into any situation where it seems he wants to be by himself. Your nurturing instincts won’t serve you well this time. Be patient. I know it sucks to feel the way you do right now, not knowing what the future holds, but I guarantee you better odds of him returning if you follow this advice!

To date a man, you must understand a man. Men and women do almost everything differently, and sometimes for different motivations. To a man, his financial status indicates how well he can take care of you and your family. It's a source of pride for him to be able to do so, even if you make your own money and can support yourself.

It's how he was raised.

Men also love differently. Many relationships breakup for the simple reason that a man is showing a woman how much he loves her, but he isn't saying the words she longs to hear. He's taking her car to get the oil changed, building the shelves she desires in her office and helping with the outside chores. You're probably missing many of these signs that he loves you.

You gain so much insight into the male mind that you'll be amazed at what you suddenly see and understand in the behavior of all men around you. Not just the man you're in a relationship with, but the men you work with and those in your family.

Read more about the book here or click the buttons to buy it today!

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