In this article you will learn:
- The 15 true reasons why men pull away – and what to do when he becomes distant and cold.
- The answer to your question “When he pulls away should I do the same or nothing at all?“
- How to bring him back when he becomes distant.
- Why guys pull away before they commit.
- What it means when he isolates himself and doesn’t talk to you.
Women are often accused of demonstrating unpredictable behavior. One moment they can think a man is amazing and the next they are ice cold.
But let’s be honest:
Women are not the only ones who sometimes show behavior that makes absolutely no sense.
Men do this too. And sometimes the reason behind it is just as puzzling.
Most women don’t know what to do when he pulls away and becomes distant and cold
One of the incomprehensible behaviors of men is when they pull away. A man suddenly becomes distant without you having any clue as to why.
- Sometimes this means that you will not hear from a guy after a few dates.
- Other times he distances himself after you’ve slept together.
- And occasionally, it can even be your husband or boyfriend that isolates himself from you, even if you’ve had a relationship for a long time.
When it happens, it’s hard to understand what’s wrong.
So why do men pull away…
Let’s have a look at the two different variations of that:
- The emotionally distant man: He doesn’t behave as he did at the beginning of your relationship. He goes somewhere else mentally during conversations and is often quiet, withdrawn, and uninterested.
- The physically distant man: He seems to avoid any physical contact. In the past, you couldn’t keep your hands off each other, but now he seems to do just the opposite. He won’t hold your hand when you’re walking down the street together. And when you’re on the couch, he’ll sit in the corner as far away from you as he can.
Both types are equally common and for a variety of reasons. In most cases, he’s doing a little bit of both. But there are exceptional circumstances that result in only one of the two types.
It’s very different for men than it is for women. In this article, I’ll give you 15 various reasons why he is pulling away with my best tips on how to best handle this.
So that you’ll have a better understanding of your man and his behavior. And what you can do to save your relationship or marriage and bring him back to you.
Is distant behavior a sign of him cheating on you?
I just have to mention this first. A lot of women are afraid that a guy is cheating on them because he has become distant.
But this is rarely the case.
In fact, in almost all the statements you can read on affairs show that the exact opposite is true.
Men most of the time actually become much happier, more attentive, and more affectionate during the period they’re cheating.
This is usually mainly due to feelings of guilt. And sometimes because they’re terrified that he woman will figure out what’s going on.
It’s very rare that a man pulls away when he’s cheating. So I wouldn’t worry about that if I were you.
It might be hard to hear the truth as to why he is becoming cold and distant. And it might sometimes be unpleasant. But it’s better that you know now rather than in a year’s time.
After all, you don’t want to let your life pass by because you’re still clinging to false hopes.
Here are the 15 real reasons why men are pulling away and what you can do about it.
#1 He has to process something
Men and women deal with their emotions and problems in a completely different manner. When a man has a complicated situation, he will not mention it to anyone anytime soon. Because men prefer to talk about facts rather than feelings.
But women often process their problems externally. That means they talk about it with others.
They process it, as it were, by sharing things. Many friendships between women are primarily based on sharing problems and feelings between one another.
That’s not the case for men. The biological predisposition and social pressure leave men little room to talk about their problems. Men want to solve their problems on their own.
He wants to be strong.
The guy who only discusses his problems when he has already solved it in his mind.
This is why guys sometimes pull away and then come back
He does it because he wants to look tough and masculine to you.
So he retreats inwards when he’s worried or stressed about something.
That’s something you often see with family problems…
A couple is going through a bad situation. And the woman thinks her husband doesn’t care, or that it’s not important to him. But in reality, he’s constantly trying to come up with a solution. He just handles the problem differently than you would.
#2 He’s distant because you’re different than you were in the beginning
Everyone is different. There are no two people on the planet who want the same exact things out of life. And there are also not two people who like the are attracted to the exact same things in the opposite sex.
- One might love someone with a certain personality trait.
- Another is looking for a person that has a certain body type, eye color, accent, and so on…
And let’s face it, appearance plays a crucial role in partner selection. Research has even shown that we like people that look similar to us.
(That’s a point we’ll come back to later…)
Because looks can definitely be a factor of why he is distancing himself from you.
Why your personality is very important to him
Your personality is much more important for your relationship or marriage than your appearance. Looks are like a bonus. It plays a slightly more significant role for men than for women.
And as a result, women sometimes forget that guys also want a woman with a great personality.
But any relationship can easily get into a rut.
Let me ask you this…
Why do you think he fell in love with you?
Yes, your looks did play a role in this. But do you think men are so superficial that he only dated you for your looks?
No, of course not.
Men want more than just a pretty face. But what happens when you’ve been together for a long time is that you start taking each other for granted. This makes you behave less nice compared to how you were when you first met him.
I understand why. Because in your head, you obviously already have him. But sometimes that’s enough reason for a guy to become distant. Since you’re no longer who you were and not trying as hard, why should he bother?
Think back to the time when you just started dating:
What did he like so much about you?
There is a chance that you are no longer showing these character traits. And take him for granted by telling yourself he should accept you for who you are.
But let’s be honest:
If you stopped doing your best and bringing out your good side. Why would he give you what you want?
How to bring him back when he is distant
Give him a reason to realize how much he likes you and how great you are:
- Show him the humor again that he loves so much.
- If you used to be ambitious, set a new goal for yourself.
- Wear the clothes he’s attracted to.
In other words: Do what you did in the beginning to get the man you had in the beginning.
This is one of the main reasons why he pulls away. But there are more.
#3 You’re not as intimate anymore
Sex is essential to men. I’m sure I don’t have to explain that to you.
Although guys may sometimes want to be politically correct about it, what we really want is a woman who is an animal in bed.
And no man on would say no to having sex with the woman he loves.
Men go crazy about a woman they have incredible good sex with.
We can even remove the word ‘incredible’ in this sentence, and it’s still true.
It also turns out that the better your sex life is, the happier you are going through life.
All the more reason to have sex.
How do you get better in bed as a woman?
For example, tease him in the morning that you have a nice surprise for him… stroke him by his belt and then tell him he isn’t getting it yet.
The result is that he thinks about you all day.
These kinds of small things can keep your sex life enjoyable.
What you want to do next is the following:
Men are biologically programmed to look for variety in their sex lives.
We want to try new things.
- Tell him about your fantasies. Men often love to play these out.
- Ask him what his fantasies are. Fulfill those too.
- Surprise him with something unexpected. Wake him up by crawling under the sheets or by wearing a sexy outfit.
Oh and by the way…
These are things you want to do anyway for a good relationship.
#4 He was a little distant, but you’ve made it worse by asking about it
There are certain things you shouldn’t do to an emotionally distant man. Some women respond to a guy who pulls away by desperately trying to communicate with him. But ironically, this can only make it worse.
“When he pulls away should I do the same?”
This is one of the worst things you can do.
Here is why…
Sometimes a man can be in a bad mood for a week. If you keep asking him why that is, or if you become distant or cold yourself (because you want to ‘get back at him’), then it can suddenly become a problem.
Although you may feel it’s entirely fair for you to act and behave this way, it’s not going to make things better. It may just have been that he was having a bad week. So he became a bit distant for a little silly reason. But because you responded by constantly asking about it, or becoming distant yourself, now you just made it worse.
By doing so, couples can very quickly end up in a ‘passionless relationship,’ without there being any real reason for it.
The process looks like this:
- He’s in a bit of a bad mood.
- She asks about it and receives an unsatisfying answer.
- She resonates, if he’s so distant, then ‘whatever.’
- He reacts to this attitude by becoming even more isolated.
- She gets angry and tries to get back at him by becoming more distant herself.
- The circle repeats itself.
Avoid ending up in this circle
You’ll just give him all the more reason to be even more isolated. After all, if you go to war over it… Both of you’ll get the confirmation that things aren’t right between you.
When perhaps there was nothing wrong at all.
So don’t make it worse by asking about it.
Adding fuel to the fire only makes things worse.
So should you do nothing when he pulls away?
Look for reasons why he is distancing himself based on information from this article.
Control your emotions and see what you can do to solve the situation.
Don’t wait for him to fix it either, because that day may never come.
And since you want him in your life, you have to take the first step to bring him back to you.
#5 He pulls away because he thinks you’re complaining too much
This is always a fun conversation topic at birthday parties. Men almost always think that women complain too much. Does that mean that women are actually whining too much? Not at all.
But men see everything as nagging. They’re hypersensitive to negative communication. I’ll try to explain to you how the male brain works.
Here are some examples.
- A woman wants to communicate better and mentions this to him => Man thinks: complaining.
- A woman asks if the guy can be a little more attentive => Man thinks: nagging.
- A woman wants a man to change something for the positive in his behavior => Man thinks: whining.
Men see almost everything as nagging, and they’re allergic to it.
NOTE: A man doesn’t care if your criticism is justified or not. He doesn’t care if you’re right or wrong. He sees all forms of negative communication as complaints.
Why men can’t stand it when you are ‘complaining’
Men have a brain primarily based on recognizing and solving problems. So if you’re complaining, a guy wants to be able to fix it. But if you nag about something he can’t fix, then he feels like he’s failing.
To a man, whining feels like you’re constantly taking shots at him. And it’s not good for his ego at all.
If you do it a lot, he’ll eventually get tired of it. And then he’ll distance himself so he doesn’t have to hear it.
How to communicate with him without it coming across as ‘whining’
- Speak in a friendly tone: Men hate it when you raise your voice in a hostile matter. If you ask or say it in a friendly way however, then it resonates much better.
- Say “I have a problem with X” instead of complaining: Be clear in your speech about what bothers you exactly. And instead of focusing on the problem, focus on a potential solution. And what he can do to fix it.
- Count to 10: Sometimes it’s better not to say anything.
#6 He needs a short break to find out if he wants to be with you
It might sound like a huge problem when your husband or spouse is becoming distant.
Fortunately, I can tell you that it doesn’t have to mean anything at all.
It is impossible that you will have a relationship for 50 years that only consists of positive experiences. There are going to be low points here and there. And it’s the rule rather than the exception.
Is this a bad thing?
No, not at all.
After all, people are emotional beings. That includes men too. We may not always show our emotions, but we certainly have them.
Men also have doubts sometimes. And because of this, we can become distant.
This is sometimes why guys pull away before they commit
It can even go so far that we want to leave you ‘for a while’ because we need to sort ourselves out.
Although this is sometimes a difficult decision to make, it’s not an uncommon thing for couples.
It turns out that for couples who lived together and later broke up, 37% of them got back together again. The same thing happened to 23% of married couples.
Sometimes you only realize what you have, when you miss having it.
That’s why it’s good to give a man time to sort things out for himself.
And I’m not going to lie to you. There’s a chance that he doesn’t want to be with you anymore.
But you also shouldn’t underestimate how much a man loves you, just because he doesn’t always show it.
I hope you understand that he chose to be with you for some reason, right?
He may have forgotten this. And during his period of ‘time for himself’, he’s going to get reminded of why he likes you so much.
It’s very difficult to predict how long it lasts when a man pulls away.
Please don’t make things harder for him than it already is by constantly asking him if he has already made up his mind.
Just let the chips fall where they may. If you’re made for each other, he’ll choose you.
#7 He thinks you’ve developed annoying habits
“Even at 68, people think, ugh, I’m not the person I was at 58, but I’m sure I’ll be this way at 78.” – Daniel Gilbert, Stumbling Upon Happiness
Humans are fascinating creatures. We want to believe that we’re very different from what we were in past. But that we’ll remain the same in the future as we are now.
We think this year after year.
However, research shows that between the ages of 30 and 70, we experience several changes in our personality.
The Five Big personality dimensions are:
- Extraversion (versus introversion)
- Mildness (versus bossiness)
- Orderliness (versus disorder)
- Emotional stability (versus emotional instability)
- Autonomous (intellectual autonomy) (versus non-autonomous)
The chance is as good as 100% that you are no longer the person you were ten years ago. You have certainly changed at least one of the above aspects.
So this means that:
Your partner doesn’t date the same ‘you,’ as ten years ago
You may have developed less attractive personality traits during that time. That could explain why your husband or boyfriend has become emotionally or physically distant.
He doesn’t live with the same person anymore, and neither do you.
It’s only logical that he’s not as spontaneous with you anymore.
And finding out where it went wrong is difficult, especially if you try to do it yourself.
Because we people like to lie to ourselves. It’s easy to point fingers at others. We want to tell ourselves that we’re perfect and that it’s always somebody else’s fault.
But that’s obviously not true.
The best thing is to ask your partner what has changed about you as a person in recent times. Don’t ask him ‘what he thinks of you,’ because then he’ll always give you a positive answer.
Instead, ask him what annoying personality traits you’ve developed over the past year. And because you are already indicating that you’re looking to hear some negative things in your personality. Then he’ll be more inclined to be honest with you.
A win-win situation.
You gain insight into your personality, and he can express any built-up frustrations.
Be prepared that he might be ‘too honest.’ So don’t get angry if he says things you don’t want to hear. But the things you don’t want to hear, are the things you HAVE TO listen to.
#8 He doesn’t like you as much anymore
How realistic is it that you spend the whole life together?
About 40 to 50 percent of married couples in the United States divorce. The divorce rate for subsequent marriages is even higher.
The percentage has only increased in recent years. People have more and more reasons to break up, or at least it has become easier.
What’s the explanation for this?
They blame everything. Money. Culture. Media. Changing standards and values.
But the main reason is that nowadays we’re much less willing to accept a partner we don’t like that much.
People used to stick together because breaking up was ‘shameful.’ These days we are much less concerned about that. We don’t have to settle for a lesser partner anymore.
Is it realistic to stay together for an extended period?
The real ‘love’ phase of us humans lasts about two years. Then the fun’s over.
After that, you stay together mainly because of the love hormone oxytocin.
So don’t expect to be ‘in love’ with your partner forever.
And the same is true the other way around. Don’t expect your partner to be in love with you forever either.
What to do if one of you is unhappy in your relationship
As I mentioned before it’s very common that one of the partners is unhappy in their relationship.
But there some simple steps you can take to fix it.
- Talk to your partner about why you’re unhappy.
- Get a more fulfilling life outside of your relationship.
- And more…
I recommend that you read this article with 9 simple steps to repair your unhappy relationship, if you want to know more about this.
#9 You spend too much time together
When a guy pulls away, it doesn’t always have to do with him.
Your relationship can also be a reason he’s the way he is.
Men love to be with the woman they love. He wants to do all kinds of things with her.
But men don’t always want to do everything together. They also want to have time for their friends.
And above all, they need to have time for themselves.
If they didn’t have time for themselves, they would go crazy with all the thoughts they haven’t been able to put together.
That’s why men usually retrieve inwards and become quiet.
Women often say what they think when they want to sort things out. Men start a conversation with themselves in their mind to do that.
That’s why it can help your relationship if you hang out with your girlfriends again
This achieves several things:
- Because you meet up with your great friends, you’ll bring new energy back home to the relationship.
- He’ll get his ‘me-time.’
- You’ll get your ‘me time’.
- He gets the opportunity to miss you.
If you always do everything together, there is no way for him to miss you. And you’ll eventually get tired of it.
Take food, for example.
If you love fries, it still doesn’t mean you can NEVER get tired of it.
If you have it with every meal every day, it will lose it’s taste very quickly.
Only when you have not had it for a while can you appreciate it again.
The same goes for your distant husband or spouse.
Give him the opportunity to miss you, and this will make him appreciate you more. You’ll find that he wants to spend more time with you after that.
Previously I wrote this article about how to make your ex miss you. But you can replace the word ‘ex’ with ‘distant man’, and get him to want to be with you again.
#10 He wants to break up
There is a whole science that studies the likelihood of a relationship to succeed.
Research by John Gottman has found an interesting fact about healthy relationships:
In other words, you have to experience five times as many ‘good things’ in your relationship as ‘bad things.’ These can be events, statements, or even facial expressions.
It’s possible your relationship doesn’t meet this ratio.
And it’s a good chance that you are not made for each other. That’s also the reason why he is distancing himself.
“Is he pulling away or breaking up?”
No matter how unpleasant it may be, it’s sometimes the very uncomfortable truth.
He simply doesn’t want to be with you anymore and wants to break up.
You can’t force a guy to be with you even if you’ve been together for years. That’s not a reason to stay together any longer.
Every person deserves to be happy. And if he’s not happy with you anymore, there’s no point in forcing it.
You’ll just give him more reason to leave you.
Does he want to break up with you?
Then it’s often too late to save it. It’s been too many frustrations, and negative events to recover from it.
You may also have noticed that your husband, boyfriend, or spouse has been distant for some time.
And during all this time, he’s been feeling like he needs to change ‘something.’
It usually doesn’t take much longer before he brings this to your attention.
If you want to know where you guys stand, the best thing you can do is to subtly ask him what’s going on.
If he dares to be honest with you, he’ll tell you.
Perhaps you’ll find out that it’s something else entirely.
#11 He doesn’t want to feel like he’s wrapped around your finger
Women are not the only ones who are influenced by their environment.
Men do this, too. But they don’t show it as openly.
One of the things they can’t stand is comments that make them feel like they’re not ‘the boss’ in the relationship.
Colleagues and friends who tell him he’s ‘wrapped around her finger’ make him doubt his masculinity.
These remarks can make him a little distant. Purely because he wants to prove to himself that he doesn’t need you.
He wants to confirm to himself that he really is the man in the relationship. That’s usually just a phase that guys go through.
It is also possible that it just resurfaces every few months because another one of his friends made another comment about it.
He will then close himself off to protect his ego.
And after he has convinced himself that he’s the man again. Then you will see that he is coming back to you.
During the period when he’s isolating himself, he’ll also notice what it’s like to miss you. And that gives him more reason to stay with you.
#12 He needs space to do his own thing
You know that phase in your relationship when you have butterflies in your stomach, and you’re crazy about each other, and you want nothing more than to hang out together?
That’s the love stage you go through when you are dating someone new.
But unfortunately, it doesn’t last that long. It’s even surprisingly short: about 1-2 years, as I mentioned above.
Then the fun is over.
How are most relationships during that first year? Amazing.
You feel good, and you never doubt each other. But simultaneously, people often also neglect their friendships during that time.
You’re not doing that on purpose. You just really want to be with your new man or boyfriend. And he feels precisely the same.
But after a certain point, a man is not on cloud nine anymore and wants to continue with his life.
One reason why guys pull away when they like you is simply because of that: they want to be with their friends that they’ve been neglecting.
They’re essential to a guy, and he may feel guilty that he hasn’t spent time with them.
That’s why, all of a sudden, a man can become distant. Not because he doesn’t like you, but because he needs to do other things too.
Hanging out with you and having sex with you is great. But it won’t pay the bills or keep his friendships intact.
He needs to find a balance between you and his friends
This allows him to spend a large part of his time with them and then again rediscover that he is not giving you enough time.
By doing so (with your help), he’ll find the balance between you and the other people who matter to him.
Help him in ways that will allow him to be less distant.
One thing you can do is to schedule one ‘date night’ and/or, one ‘movie night’ every week.
That way, you ‘force’ him to give you attention at least one day a week and eliminate the feeling that he is pulling away. And you allow him to be free to do whatever he wants the other part of the time.
Simply because you show that you have your own life and things going on, and is not dependent on him.
Which is a very attractive quality in a woman.
#13 He’s afraid of commitment
For many men, it’s pretty scary to be with only one woman their entire lives.
There are different reasons why a man can have a fear of commitment.
You need to focus on whether he has this or not. Because distant behavior can be a defense mechanism to avoid getting his heart broken.
But there can be several reasons why he behaves this way.
It’s important to find out what type of relationship anxiety he has. Only then can you estimate your chances of having a successful relationship with him.
And I’ll be straight with you.
Some guys are just plain hopeless to be in a relationship with. There’s simply too much that’s wrong with them. Therefore, my advice is to dump these men. Sometimes you don’t even want to know why they’re pulling away from you. It’s just better to protect yourself by distancing yourself first.
It will eventually turn bad anyway. And you’d better be the one who puts an end to it. Instead of ‘suddenly’ being surprised by him breaking up with you.
#14 He wants to date other women
Are you seeing a guy who gives you the feeling that he is always looking at other women, even though he is with you?
Your husband, boyfriend, or spouse may have an insatiable desire for other women. (I don’t think that’s very likely, though.)
It’s more probable that he got into a relationship before he felt satisfied with the ‘amount’ of women he’s been with.
Because of this, he will always feel that he has missed out on something in his life.
This causes him to pull away from you since he may already have his eye on another woman. And he’ll undoubtedly sleep with other women if he gets the chance.
There are three things you can do about this:
- End the relationship because you can’t come to terms with option 2 or 3
- Bury your head in the sand and pretend that nothing’s wrong.
- Let him date other women without sacrificing your relationship.
I wouldn’t recommend the second one, that won’t end well.
So that leaves us with option number one or three.
I’ll focus on number three because that’s the only thing I can help you with.
One way to let him date other women is to agree on a so-called open relationship.
For example, you agree that in the coming year you can both date other people and sleep with them to get it ‘out of your system.’
Because you’re both dating other people, you’re going to experience several things:
- You find out what else the world has to offer.
- You find out how fun or terrible your current partner really is.
- You gain more sexual experience.
All in all, it has advantages. Are there any disadvantages? Yes.
There’s a chance that this could ruin your relationship.
Both of you may find someone who’s better suited for you.
Is this a bad thing? No. Since you’ll find somebody, who’ll suit you better.
This option is challenging for jealous people. But being jealous should be seen more as a sign to work on your self-confidence, rather than as a reason not to do it.
Because research has shown that people in an open relationship are happier, healthier, and have a better sex life than in ‘normal’ relationships.
#15 He’s having a midlife crisis
When men have a midlife crisis, they can become more distant. They’re in a stage in their lives where they have to reinvent themselves.
During that phase, he needs time for himself to find out who he is.
It’s precisely during this period when he is extremely insecure. And he doesn’t want to show you these insecurities. That’s why he’s closing himself off to you.
Is this a bad thing?
No, not really. But he knows his behavior might change and that you’ll judge it.
Does he suddenly buy a motorbike or dress overly fashionable?
That’s not a problem. But don’t forget that a man’s ego is an incredibly fragile and vulnerable thing. So if you joke about it or say any slightly funny remarks about it, he might take it the wrong way.
The best thing you can do is just to support him and pretend nothing is going on.
This phase will pass.
Now you know what to do when he pulls away and becomes distant and cold
There can be a lot of reasons why a man pulls away. But the 15 I’ve just listed are the most common.
As you can see, it often doesn’t have to become a problem.
Many women interpret the distant behavior of men as something bad. But that doesn’t have to be the case at all.
A woman often pulls away when she’s angry with a guy or when she doubts the relationship. With men, other factors often play a big part.
If you don’t know why he’s distant, I wouldn’t worry about it too much.
Usually, it just takes time and then the problem resolves itself.
It could be for a variety of reasons.
But now you have a much better understanding of his behavior and what to do when he pulls away from you.
I hope he’ll find his way back to you.
Remember to give it time, and don’t immediately imagine the worst.