“Ladies, the right man for you will pursue you. Actively. He won’t leave you wondering whether he’s into you or not.”
~ Mandy Hale
When you see your man pulling away, first off… give him some space, and resist the temptation to flood him with text messages, calls, or the dreaded pop-in, as his distance might have nothing to do with you at all.
If he continues to be distant, you’ll want to communicate your concern and ask him if everything is OK.
Be specific and let him know what you sense as “different” – you might say,
“I’ve missed seeing you, and I’m missing the connection we’ve had. What’s happening over there in your world?”
The tough part?
Giving him the freedom and the space to share with you what’s really so for him, even if what he shares with you is not what you want to hear.
Three things need to be in place in order for a man to really show up for you as a partner.
- He needs to have “the hots” for you romantically.
- He needs to feel that you and the complexities of your life fit in well with his — that your worlds mesh well together.
- Timing needs to be right for him, for developing and sustaining a long-term partnership.
If he’s not fully healed from a past wound, or if he needs to be unattached / unencumbered for a while longer, you may need to relax and give him the space to experience life as a solo man for a while, tough as that is to hear.
Most importantly, be warm, kind, compassionate and supportive, even if you do find that he needs to pull away, as if the first two elements are in place for him and it’s just timing that’s off, then you want to be the one he can and will come back to when he’s ready.
Julie Ferman, B.A. – www.julieferman.com
When a man pulls away, you might panic and think, “What did I do? What did I say?” and double-guess everything about yourself.
You may not have “done” anything.
- He may just be establishing his sense of self within the relationship, rather than pulling out.
- He may be checking to see that he’s not pressured by you and is able to take healthy space.
- Or, maybe he has his own issues relating to being controlled, and wants to figure out if he can get enough space to manage this fear within your relationship. Perhaps, however, he is having doubts about this match working for him.
What is true in all cases is that his behavior is about him and not about you.
So, if you are in any way disturbed by it, ask yourself,
- “What message about me am I reading into his behavior?
- What is the message about me that is making me feel this way?”
Your own past experiences, and the way that you have interpreted them, left wounding recordings inside of you that say things like,
“You don’t deserve to be loved”, “you’re not want-able”, “you’re discardable”, or “you’re not worth sticking around for”.
These old recorded messages are the reason for your distress now– no matter how remote that may seem.
They are the reason you end up doing things you regret–like expressing anger at him, putting a demand on him, or calling and leaving several messages.
The key here is to help the parts of your mind that are stuck reacting to old recorded wounding messages.
Consider that this is the only authentic reason to enter a love relationship in the first place. If not, we are seeking a mutual agreement to sucker (meant humorously) someone into meeting our emotional needs, with the agreement to be their sucker as well…..as if that erases both people’s self-doubts, or brings us an eternal “high” of being “in love”.
No one on either end can keep this up forever.
This type of arrangement only causes both partners to feel obligated, oppressed, angry and disappointed, and in the end makes a relationship fail.
There are numerous ways to heal.
One of my favorites for self-help is talking to your inner child and informing her, for example, that *you* (the adult self) want her and love her and want to be with her.
If this doesn’t feel natural or do-able, working with a therapist will help. Some therapies (such as DNMS found at dnmsinstitute.com) actually erase the message so that no more disturbing reactions may occur.
The greatest value in love relationships is the mirror that they provide for you to see yourself, so that you can use that information to become whole.
And as you do so, you actually become the person you are seeking. Then….just like bees to pollen…everyone is drawn to you. In this light, everything he does that distresses you becomes a gift back to you.
Dr. Nadine Winocur – www.drnadinewinocur.com
I’m going to share an embarrassing story, so please don’t tell anyone.
This particular morning, I felt good and pretty as I was getting dressed for the day; and although I checked out my reflection prior to leaving the house, I became uneasy. I arrived at work, making my usual rounds saying hello to my coworkers and supervisor. The day went as planned and I thought I was on fire and in the zone.
So here is when my day came to a screeching halt.
As I was using the restroom I noticed I could see the floor through my pants (I was squatting at the time) immediately becoming horrified. The seam of my pants was split from top to bottom.
The only reason I did not show any body parts or my Spanx was because I had a long white shirt to cover my backside. I sought out the assistance of a close colleague who assured me she could not see any visible parts. Needless to say, I spent the rest of the day locked in my office until I could escape.
This experience taught me a few lessons:
- Trust your gut (aka Spirit);
- Planning and preparation is essential; and,
- Seek support.
When our mate begins pulling away the prospect of losing the entire relationship can become scary; however, with a little attention and care the fear factor can be reduced and possibly eliminated.
So what do we do?
As pretty as I felt when I first put on my awesome outfit, it did not hold up; and, I did not trust that my spirit was telling me something was wrong.
Therefore you must first look at your entire relationship (i.e., ‘the good’, ‘the bad’ and ‘the ugly’) and process what you feel.
That is, you know when something is not right in your relationship and you should be willing to address those issues.
If him pulling away was your first inclination that there was possibly an issue, then you may only be looking at what was and is pretty (aka ‘the good’) in this relationship, ignoring what is currently presenting in the relationship (possibly ‘the bad’ and ‘the ugly’).
Ask and answer the following:
- Are we both being fed in this relationship (e.g., emotionally, spiritually, intellectually, sexually, etc.)?
- Secondly, after careful review and processing, develop a plan to effectively address (e.g., speak with your mate in a respectful manner, increase the listening and decrease the complaining, etc.) and prepare to receive feedback (e.g., taking responsibility for role, hearing results of your actions, etc.).
Now this does not mean you should remain in a situation in which you are blamed for everything or feel as if you have been beat up and disrespected.
However, it does mean there are two people in a relationship who feed off each other’s behaviors, resulting in an emotional rollercoaster.
Lastly, and possibly the most important, seek support from someone who has your best interest at heart.
This means the person who loves you enough to call you on your mess (e.g., confronting your behavior, redirecting your actions, etc.) while supporting you in it (e.g., encourages you to live in your truth, loves without judgement, etc.).
Take the time to see if it is what you are supposed to see and respond in the manner that respects you in your truth.
Address the seams, fix the fabric, and cover those Spanx!!
Dr. Maurita Hodge – www.movingmountainsconsultingllc.com
Those who have been reading my little articles are probably not going to be surprised when I say “not much”.
“How to deal with men…” implies that you can do something to change their behavior. I never think you can change anyone. It’s sad, because often we are able to see the problem, but are powerless to fix it.
On the other hand, it’s a lot less work when you give up managing others and just focus on yourself.
So how do you deal with men who pull away?
A glass of wine with a girlfriend? A good cry? Maybe a work out?
Personally, I am all for asking the guy what is going on.
It’s possible that he’s upset with something in the relationship and has withdrawn rather than confront it. While withdrawing isn’t the best sign of emotional maturity, it’s still possible that a useful dialogue can ensue. It’s also possible that this dialogue will lead to a remedy that brings you two closer.
Relationships don’t improve if either or both of the partners are too afraid to confront the issues.
What is causing the distancing?
If this is a very short relationship, it’s possible that it’s just not working for him.
There are any number of reasons why a relationship might not be working, some that might not even be about you.
Rather than worry, ask.
If a break-up is inevitable, I think it’s easier on everyone to just pull the plug. The on-going anxiety of reading the signs will probably put enough of a damper on the relationship to kill it anyway.
However, if it’s a longer relationship, one that you think has real potential, it’s a good idea to take a look at both of your styles of conflict resolution.
In the beginning, a new relationship is so exciting it can seem like there won’t be any problems to confront. You are both blinded by passion. It’s a wonderful time, but inevitably that initial excitement dies down, and the more authentic you(s) show up.
This more mature stage can be a bit sobering for both of you, so it’s really an important time to open the lines of communication.
Now you are each able to observe your relationship realistically. If there are problems, you need to talk about them. Pulling away is a premature response to potentially solvable problems.
So if you feel him pulling away, or if you yourself are creating distance, talk about it.
It may be that one of you is just no longer into it, but it is just as likely that there are issues that can be resolved. No relationship is perfect; there will always be something. But without a dialogue you can’t know if the something has to be a deal breaker.
Sally Leboy, MS, MFT – www.sallyleboymft.com
To be honest there is not much that can be done when we feel your mate pull away.
When we experience this distance it can be very confusing and it may not be what we want but it also may be a gift that we are unwilling to accept.
When our partners become distant we automatically assume it is because we said or did something wrong; we take it personally.
Most often it is not because of us at all, it’s them.
When this confusing dynamic happens there are two very important points to remember:
1. Talk to your partner and
2. Don’t go after him.
Start by talking with your partner and ask if something’s wrong.
Say something like “It feels like there’s been some distance between us, is everything ok?” that should open the lines of communication.
You can then find out if there is an issue between the two of you, if it is work problem or if something else on his mind. If he doesn’t open up, you can’t force it, just let him process his business in his own way.
Second, if you go after him, you will push him further away!
It is an energy dynamic similar to opposite ends of a magnet. Another thing to remember is that real men do not like needy women. So don’t be a needy woman who is pushing her partner away.
An important point is that if he pulls away he’s implying that he needs space so respect that and give it to him.
What if he doesn’t come back to you?
As hard and confusing as it is know that this is his issue not yours. Always, when we get into relationships all of our baggage from the past gets activated. For a lot of people, their fear of being hurt gets ignited and they pull away. Both men and women do this!
It is not our job to fix them or make them realize that you won’t hurt them.
It is their job to realize they do this and fix it themselves. I am sure this is little comfort when you are the one who this is happening to. Maya Angelou said, “When a person shows you who they are believe them.”
So if you want more from a relationship/partner, see it as a gift that you find out now.
While allowing the process to unfold can be very painful, it may be necessary to go through this for your future health and happiness.
Cynthia Pickett, LCSW, LADC – www.cynthiapickett.com
What do you do when a man pulls away after you’ve been dating for a while?
Aside from discussing how he’s feeling and what he thinks caused the change in the relationship, there is really nothing you can do.
If his feelings have changed for you, or if he’s scared of a more permanent commitment, you can’t force or coerce him to stay.
Of course, couples counseling, individual therapy, improving communication skills and some compromise are always good strategies to help in understanding why a relationship shifts from loving and caring to aloof and stand off-ish. Sometimes the best and healthiest thing to do, however, is move on and start anew.
Here are some things you should never do under these circumstances:
1. Don’t be a martyr, sacrificing yourself of behalf of your lost love.
Take care of yourself, above all else, to ensure you maintain your health and well-being. No relationship is worth disrupting your life and compromising your integrity to keep someone around.
2. Don’t stop your daily routines.
Always preserve your connections when it comes to your friendships, personal activities and interests. If you become single again, your friends are the strong social network of people you can trust and depend on.
3. Don’t feel guilty about focusing attention on yourself at this challenging time.
Honor yourself fully. But don’t use that as an excuse to bully, abuse, ignore or manipulate your partner. You CAN maintain a sense of yourself in any relationship, while still being an equal half of the partnership.
4. Don’t ignore your intuition.
If you feel something in the relationship is not right, it probably is justified. Trust your intuition, which continuously sends you messages and vital information geared to influence your life. Your intuition connects you to a greater knowledge that has your best interest and well-being at heart.
What can you learn from this difficult situation?
Know that relationships take a lot of work, time and effort and that it if your partner is showing signs of pulling away, somewhere, something shifted and you weren’t aware of it.
Next time, don’t let any part of your relationship be unappreciated or lost and you will keep the excitement and interest going for a long, long time.
Amy Sherman, M.A., LMHC – www.yourbabyboomersnetwork.com
Think of the classic cat and mouse game and you will see why even the most committed men have a tendency to pull away from us at times.
A succulent little mouse makes a move and captures the attention of a nearby cat. Hmmm. He twitches his whiskers and devotes his full attention to that delightful warm body. He instantly becomes both hunter and kitten.
He stalks the mouse and the game begins.
The mouse, of course, takes it quite seriously, not realizing that there are components of the interaction that are just a game to the cat.
His Majesty the Cat waits and pounces, tosses the mouse up in the air and bats at her. He plays with her, smells her, and tastes her. He is totally engrossed in her. Then suddenly, for no apparent reason, he turns and walks away from her, sitting down with his back to her and grooming himself.
Now notice the behavior of the poor little mouse.
If she just lays there waiting for him to come back to give her more attention, he may just leave the room, or walk over, bat at her a little, then yawn and leave. However, if she shows some spunk, if she gets up and tries to run away in spite of her wounds, she immediately gets his attention and he’s fully engaged again.
For obvious reasons, we can’t take that analogy too far.
But if you can see your relationships as a sort of cat and mouse game, it will be easier for you to know what to do when your man turns his back and starts grooming himself.
And, when you’re deciding what specific behavior to pursue, remember that a mouse is always a mouse. It’s never a lion— it never jumps up and chases after the cat.
Dr. Loral Lee Portenier – www.linkedin.com/in/loral-lee-portenier-phd-62897b17
When you are dating, there is little expectation for one partner to carry the burden of the relationship.
If this expectation does exist, it would be helpful to examine the commitment of each partner and the long term plan of the relationship.
Oftentimes when the scales of responsibility are tipping, the relationship is one of deep commitment, monogamy, trust, and love.
Furthermore, the tipping of the scales moves in either direction, creating a long term balance where each partner will take turns moving forward and pulling back.
In the dating world, this type of relationship has yet to be established.
Therefore, the trust, love, and commitment needed to share the responsibility is not present. When you sense that your suitor is pulling away there are two simple things you can do.
First, be upfront with your partner in what you are sensing.
It could be nothing, it could have nothing to do with you, or it could be serious. The last thing you want to do is ask everyone around you to tell you what is going on with your partner, without asking him.
You are not dating everyone else. Go directly to the source. This will enhance your level of communication and demonstrate your willingness to address concerns head on.
Second, stay put.
After you share your concerns and have determined (or been told) there is no need for your assistance, stay put. Don’t chase after anyone, don’t change who you are, don’t make yourself into something you are not. Honor who you are, respect your partner’s need for space, and continue to be your fabulous self.
One of two things will happen:
your partner will work out what is happening for them and resume his fulfilling life of dating you OR the dating will end, you will each move on, and you will continue to be fabulous. Either way, you win!
Brynn Cicippio, MA, LMFT – www.therapywithbrynn.com
What to do when he pulls away?
This is a difficult question because there are so many other questions I have to ask, and things I need to consider.
- How long have you been dating?
- What are the boundaries of the relationship?
- Are you friends with benefits, or are you dating to be in a serious relationship?
- Are you just exploring one another?
- Have you even discussed commitment, monogamy, and boundaries?
If this is a long term relationship:
If he is pulling away, what would happen if you just gave him that space? In Esther Perel’s book “Mating in Captivity”, she talks about the notion that sometimes separateness can create closeness.
In long term relationships, sometimes we need a separate space to create that sense of closeness and desire again.
If this is a new(er) relationship:
If he pulls away and this relationship is in the beginning stages, then that’s where I go back and ask about what are the boundaries or what is the context of the relationship.
I would also say speak up and let him know how you are feeling and ask him to be honest with his feelings.
If he is unsure of the relationship then he needs to tell you instead of doing the push and pull dance of relationships.
The push and pull is simply saying, “I am going to pull you close and then push you away”.
If you feel you are caught up in the dynamic it would be important to step back and ask yourself,
- How I see myself in this relationship, and what are my own relationship boundaries?
- Most importantly, what I am hoping to get out of this relationship?
Once you can answer these questions on our own, I think then you can talk to your partner to see where he is in regards to the relationship.
Then you’ll be ready to make the decision as to whether or not the relationship is worth working on.
Both parties should get a say in what they want the relationship to look like and the only way to get a clear picture is to communicate openly with each other.
Monica Burton, MS LMFT – www.monicaburtonlmft.com
When a relationship seems to be going well and the man seems to “suddenly” pull away it can feel jolting, confusing, and frustrating.
For many women, the instinct is to ask lots of questions or take some sort of action with the hope of re-establishing connection and have the relationship “go back to how it was”.
However, in working with many men, having brothers, and male friends, I can confidently suggest the following:
Allow the man to pull away, focus on self-soothing, and manage your own anxiety without going to your guy to “fix it”.
What?!…you might ask.
Every man has his own processing style when it comes to relationships.
Meaning, that they tend to experience, internalize, process, and reflect differently than women about the stages of a relationship. Therefore, what seems or feels like him “pulling away” may simply be him taking some time to reflect and decide how he’s feeling about the relationship, which is healthy.
His “pulling away” may not be indicator that you did something “wrong” but instead an indicator of his need to reflect without your influence.
As he pulls away use it as an opportunity to further reflect on how you really feel about the relationship, what you need, and what you want.
If after some time it seems he is continuing to distance himself and be uncommunicative about his process then I invite you to do a reality test.
“So, I can appreciate that we all cope with things differently and I’ve noticed you distance yourself recently. I realize I might be imagining things, but it’s feels like your feelings for me have changed. Is that accurate or is there something else going on?”
A man pulling away does not have to be the cue to panic.
Instead it can be the following: a cue for you to further reflect on your needs and wants, a wonderful opportunity to practice being vulnerable, an opportunity for building trust, and an opportunity for more intimate communication.
If your guy isn’t communicating or rebounding back then that is probably your cue to decide if he’s the right guy for you.
Laura Rinset, MS, LMFT – www.linkedin.com/in/laurarinset
One thing to keep in mind in most relationships is this: just because things are “going fine” for you doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re fine for your partner.
Actually, when things start to feel smooth and stable for one of you, the other may find his anxiety spiking. There are myriad reasons why this could be happening, but one thing is fairly certain-your partner won’t be able to tell you.
Most of us aren’t so connected to the “why” behind our emotions, which is frequently what brings a lot of us to therapy.
While the answer isn’t stock or simple, here are a few ideas about what might be going on:
1. He’s afraid of losing his freedom.
Do you know people who have a dramatic blow-up, or even separate before they decide to tie the knot? That’s usually a fear of loss convulsion.
2. The thrill is gone.
You may have experienced this. (Of course you have!) The passion slows down and the “flaws” start revealing themselves. It’s a hard come-down when the rose colored glasses shatter, and that human suddenly looks so…human.
3. He’s trying to make space.
If he’s not great with communicating boundaries, he may be setting one without words, but with actions.
4. He’s trying to bring you closer.
In some dynamics, he may be moving away to bring you closer. He may need to see evidence that you care, but not know how to ask.
If we assume that the above are possibilities, what can you do to fix it? First, check in with yourself. What do you want that you’re not getting, and how does it make you feel?
The worst thing you could do is to conform your behavior to give him what you think he wants. You are doing a disservice to yourself and your partner by shape-shifting.
The best thing you could do is:
1. Say that you notice it.
2. Express-genuinely-how it makes you feel (sad, relieved, discouraged, scared, threatened are some possible emotions).
3. Give voice to your hopes for yourself and for him.
This all takes a LOT of courage, I know.
Just remember: you each chose each other. You would not have made it this far if it didn’t matter. It’s worth defending, not by changing yourself or him, but by saying what you see, feel, and wish-for both of you.
Elizabeth Baum, M.A., MFTi – www.elizabethbaumintegral.com
Dating can be exciting, yet scary and tough at the same time because you are putting your heart in someone else’s hands.
Like any situation, where there is reward, there is a risk. In this case, the risk is heartbreak. But, despite the risk, you take a chance because the ultimate reward of possibly attaining true love outweighs the negative. So, you put yourself out there, and one day, you unexpectedly meet this amazing man, to whom you have a great connection with.
You both hit it off right away; never running out of things to say to one another. You are happy beyond words, often bringing up his name in random conversations with other people; he is always on your mind. To you, everything is going great, but you start to notice a shift in his behavior, he is not calling as much.
The first question that comes to mind, is what did I do?
I must have done something to cause him to pull away. When our mind goes here, we want to know the answer, so that we can fix things.
With this said, we want to talk to him, so we call, text, email, something to get his attention. However, all of this attention, can cause him to pull away even more. No one wants a person who is pushy or needy.
What is the solution then?
The answer is to give him what he wants, space.
At the risk of getting hurt, we have a tendency to try to hold on to something or someone. But, if you have to work so hard to keep someone in your life, they were never yours to begin with.
Don’t assume responsibility for a whole relationship. Have trust in yourself and in the dating process.
Space is a good thing because you both can learn something about yourselves, as well as each other as a whole.
Dating and relationships are like a yo yo, they have their ups and downs, but if it has a strong foundation, it can stand the pressure. If not, the string will break, and no matter how much you try to put it back together, some things just can not be fixed.
If you take anything away from this post, it is to remember, as I said above, trust in yourself and the process!
Robin Ennis, LCSW, CPC – www.linkedin.com/in/robinennis
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