Just when you think everything is going gangbusters in your new relationship… Just when you start to let down your guard… Just when you are at your very most vulnerable… He starts to grow distant. His feelings run hot and cold. He behaves strangely. He seems less interested in you and no longer makes an effort. In short, he’s pulling away.
Was it something I said?
There are no definitive answers as to why men pull away. All men are different, as are all relationships. But chances are, the pullback has less to do with you as a person and more to do with his issues.
What’s the Problem?
He’s unsure about his real feelings.
This is one of the most common reasons men pull away – especially if your relationship began quickly. Often, men keep their distance until they are sure of how they feel because they want to be 100% certain they are making the right decision in having a relationship with you.
Fear Of Missing Out
Aka “FOMO,” aka “Commitment Issues,” aka “Gamophobia.” (Yes, there is a scientific name.) But I like to call it “Scarlett Johansson Syndrome.” This is a condition wherein said man thinks that if he can get wonderful, amazing you, then maybe he can get someone even better. (Not possible.) Maybe, just maybe, he can get – Scarlett Johansson! (Super not possible.) In short, he’s afraid of losing his freedom… just in case. (Note: he never gets Scarlett Johansson.)
Insecurities and self-doubts
Aka “Reverse Scarlett Johansson Syndrome,” as in, he thinks you’re just too wonderful for him. He has low self-esteem and cannot fathom why you’d want to be with him, so he pulls away before you have the chance to dump him.
Heartbreak, betrayal, rejection, and abandonment are just a few of the things that can leave lasting scars on a man. Maybe his parents fought a lot, or he’s the child of divorce. Maybe he survived a nasty divorce himself. Maybe his wife died or left him for another man. Regardless, men find it extremely difficult to talk about past traumas and often develop emotional walls as a defense mechanism. His fear of abandonment, disappointment, and pain is driving his decisions. So, if he thinks your relationship could end like those that have caused him pain, he may want to protect himself by pulling away.
Be it from mere exhaustion to having too much on his plate from work, family, and life – your man may be pulling away because he simply does not have the time for a relationship. Or worse, he’s stressed from all the pressure you put on him to spend more time with you. Stop it! If you’ve set up unrealistic expectations for the poor guy, he could feel suffocated and stressed. And he’s going to run for the hills.
Fear of losing freedom
In other words, he needs his space. While the chase may be fun, the forever that comes after can seem like a long, long time – especially if he’s only interested in casual dating. On the other hand, some men like to identify as “single” and would rather pull back on their relationship than give up all the bells and whistles that go along with that identity.
Fear of conflict, fights, and disagreements
Men and women have different ways of dealing with conflict. Most men freeze when an uncomfortable subject comes up. Additionally, men tend to be more solution-oriented, wanting to fix problems rather than delve into the emotional nuances of a situation. Further, given that emotional intelligence doesn’t come as easily to men, when faced with the intensity of love, they may feel ill-equipped to navigate the bumps in the road and pull away.
Need for independence
Autonomy and independence are highly valued attributes for men. When a man falls in love, he may feel a conflict between his desire for intimacy and his need for personal freedom. Further, commitment, effort, and time are needed in a relationship, preventing him from enjoying some of the things he loves (I.e., his bros, beer, and golf). He may retreat in an attempt to strike a balance between his identity and your relationship.
He very well could be the perfect man for you, but if the timing isn’t right, it just doesn’t matter. Some men are in phases of their lives where they are more ready, willing, and able to have a relationship. Others, not so much. And if he isn’t prepared for a relationship, for whatever reason, he will pull away from the one he just started with you.
He’s not ready to be vulnerable.
This is a biggie. So many men find it difficult to express their feelings. In today’s society, men are generally taught not to be vocal about how they truly feel. Sharing emotions and revealing vulnerability can be seen as unmanly or a sign of weakness. Or maybe this is the first time he’s had such strong feelings for a woman, and it scares him. Being emotionally exposed and potentially hurt can trigger a retreat as a protective mechanism. He prefers to play it safe by staying away.
He’s just not into you.
Ouch! Enough said.
Let’s face it, no matter the reason, it can be extremely painful when the man who was once so into you now so isn’t. Just know that his emotional retreat is not necessarily a reflection of you but rather a manifestation of many things. If you try to unravel the complexities of the situation by looking at things from his perspective, you can help forge a path toward deeper intimacy and connection. And if this doesn’t work, ask yourself why in the world you’d want to invest any more time in a man who doesn’t want to invest it in fabulous you and MOVE ON TO SOMEONE BETTER!