Single Sisters Speak Out

The Modern Life of the Single Sister

Why Men Withdraw from Relationships August 14, 2009

Filed under: Single Sisters On... — Holly GoLightly @ 8:11 am

Today’s post is from my coveted newsletter, eHarmony! To new readers I don’t subscribe or use the service but they send me newsletter with great advice and tips that a single gal (living a SATC life) like moi can use… Currently I am dating someone, a revisited someone in my life, and this week I brought up an issue that was important to me. Instead of hashing it out and getting perhaps some clarity, it feels like homie has become recluse. This may not be the case and I may just feel a little guilty but I happened upon this article and it definitely peaked my interest... So read below and ladies tell how you handle the withdraw bug, men why do you withdraw if things are going fantastical….

Why Men Withdraw from Relationships

Does this scenario sound familiar? You meet a guy. You go out. It’s clear that you like each other, and you begin to open up more and more. Things get increasingly serious, and you make yourself emotionally vulnerable.

You feel like the relationship is progressing. Then, out of nowhere, he withdraws. You can feel it in the way he treats you, in the length of time it takes him to return your calls, in the excuses he’s using, in the difference in his touch. He’s withdrawing.

Pretty soon, you find yourself unsure about how to respond. You want more from the relationship, but you’re nervous about asking for it, because you don’t want to push him even further away, making him withdraw even more. You’re not alone. This is an old story that many people–both men and women–have been through.

There are any number of reasons why a man withdraws, and most of these can be categorized under three main headings. Let’s talk about these reasons a man pulls away, and how you can respond if he does.

1) He’s Lost Interest

This is pretty much the worst-case scenario for your relationship: when your man withdraws because he’s become disenchanted with how things are going between you two. Maybe he’s found some fundamental incompatibilities between you, or maybe he’s simply decided that you aren’t exactly what he’s looking for. He might have even met someone else who has captured his interest.

Whatever the specific reason, if your man is withdrawing because he’s doubting the future of your relationship, you probably ought to begin to face the fact that this may not be your one, true, love. We’re not saying it’s impossible for a guy to overcome his doubts about you or the relationship once they crop up. But usually, once those doubts become so strong that it makes him pull away and become distant, it’s often too late to salvage something strong and long-lasting.

2) He feels Rushed

This scenario isn’t nearly as bad as the first one. Yes, it has the potential to doom the relationship. But there are steps you can take to turn things around.

Your man may be withdrawing because he feels like you’re pressuring him to move the relationship along more quickly than he’s comfortable with. If this is the case, there’s a clear and obvious step you need to take: back off. Give him space, and allow things to progress at a speed that’s more comfortable for him. You might even think about directly communicating with him, and explaining that you didn’t mean to put pressure on him, and that you’re happy to allow things to progress more slowly. Offering space won’t always turn things around, but it often will.

We know it’s hard, when you really like someone, to pull back instead of rushing forward with everything you feel in your heart. But if your man is withdrawing because he’s feeling rushed, then you have to let things calm down and create the opportunity for the relationship to develop at a pace that feels good for both of you. (And keep in mind, playing hard-to-get is a tried and true strategy that’s been effective for centuries!)

3) He’s afraid

This third reason a man withdraws is likely the most hopeful one for you. Your man may be withdrawing based on fear. Maybe he’s been hurt in the past. Or maybe the idea of commitment simply petrifies him.

The good news is that whatever fear is motivating your significant other to pull away from you, it can often be overcome. If you two can discuss whatever the issue is and begin to deal with it, there’s a good chance that you can then begin to create something real and lasting together.

Yes, there’s a chance that he’s simply unwilling – or unable – at this point to move forward towards a committed relationship. But often, fears crop up in a relationship because a person wants to deal with those doubts and move past them. If you can be a steady, reassuring partner that isn’t pushing too hard, while he deals with what’s scaring him, you two just might build a foundation together that will lead to years and years of happiness.


32 Responses to “Why Men Withdraw from Relationships”

  1. With number 1, shouldn’t he just go ahead and dump the chick????? Prolly so. but no one wants to be the bad guy.

  2. Holly GoLightly Says:

    Effe that Nick I say left it go cause it only makes it worse if you pretend everything is great!

  3. thecomebackgirl Says:

    Good question. If Im really feeling a dude, try not to get to where I have to find a cure for the bug. If im not feeling him then bye bye.

    But in those instances where he’s withdrawn, doesn’t call as frequently etc. etc. I match behavior. thats not the time to be blowing up his phone. If he doesn’t want to be bothered. I go find myself something to do. I used to be famous for “disappearing”. If a man is really interested he will self correct his own behavior and try to figure out where you are and what you’re doing.

  4. “match behavior. thats not the time to be blowing up his phone. If he doesn’t want to be bothered. I go find myself something to do. I used to be famous for “disappearing”.”

    ME TOO! Yaw it really grinds my gears for a girl to tell me, I’ve called him three times and he hasn’t answered/ called back. Well uh.. why in the hell did you call him three times in the first place?

  5. thecomebackgirl Says:

    “I’ve called him three times and he hasn’t answered/ called back.”

    i’ve actually read this on places like VSB too. Like I usually call twice and send one email. Or I’ll call three times. If I don’t hear back then he’s not interested.

    Dam!n three calls is two calls too many. LOL

  6. “i’ve actually read this on places like VSB too. Like I usually call twice and send one email. Or I’ll call three times. If I don’t hear back then he’s not interested.

    Dam!n three calls is two calls too many. LOL”

    Exactly!!!! I give you one call and one call only… no response? I am out. lol

  7. andrea Says:

    That’s a hard one for me. Going through it right now. Had to actually delete his number from my phone so I wouldn’t call or text him. (Because who actually remembers phone numbers nowadays)? But when you call and call, you give away your power andhes sitting there grinning because you blowing up his phone! Better to make him think he doesn’t matter either.

  8. Cynthia Says:

    This was a great post and very helpful. I know so many people who have been in relationships, and feel it is love at first site, he is so in to me bla bla bla. Then fastforward a month later and the guy just starts acting funny…and eventually breaks it off. So this is great insight…i can’t wait to share.

  9. “Had to actually delete his number from my phone so I wouldn’t call or text him.”

    Exactly!!! I’ve done that several times myself.

  10. Holly GoLightly Says:

    @Comeback you are telling the truth but for some reason IDK if I know how to back off… like I dont get on stalker mode but if we have something established I’m like WTF going on now!!!! LOL

    @Nicki- I think Imma start going by the one call creed effective immegiately (yes I meant immegiately) 🙂

    @Andrea- Good point! But sometimes deleting doesnt help especially if you kinda know the number by heart! I put my phone away somewhere kinda like outta sight outta mind!

    @Cynthia- Thank u doll and EXACTLY!!!!!!

  11. thecomebackgirl Says:

    @Comeback you are telling the truth but for some reason IDK if I know how to back off… like I dont get on stalker mode but if we have something established I’m like WTF going on now!!!! LOL”

    @ Holly..i hate to say like this..cause i know some yoyo’s are gonna be gunning for me..but i think its partly a test when men pull away. I’m talm bout when there is an established connection. This is why i also believe that when THEY get attached sometimes you gotta “go missing” sometimes too. im not talking bout for days. But for a day, find something to do that doesn’t involve him, leav e your phone at home..and get gone.

  12. Holly GoLightly Says:

    @CBG- And that’s the truth! Cause you are talking away being constantly available for every beck and call! My best friend (who’s a guy) told me the same thing you saying…. he was like you gotta switch gears every now and then!

  13. andrea Says:

    Think it depends on the situation, too. Some guys who back off, it doesn’t really bother me and I have no trouble backing off too. But this one, for some reason gets to me. Its like I’m saying ‘you can’t forget about me this easily’! I don’t want the stalker label either! I’m usually really old-fashioned in the beginning, figuring if a man wants to talk to me, he’ll call. I don’t like to initiate too much to start off.

  14. “Nicki- I think Imma start going by the one call creed effective immegiately (yes I meant immegiately)”

    Please do.. the motto is never make someone a priority in your life when you are an option in theirs..I feel like if a man really wants to be bothered with you, you will have NO DOUBT about that.

  15. Holly GoLightly Says:

    @Andrea- Yeah I feel you and that’s kinda how I feel about my suitor at this moment too!!!

    @Nick- LOL! Didnt I write about this last Friday??

  16. “@Nick- LOL! Didnt I write about this last Friday??”

    LOL> I think you did!

  17. Holly GoLightly Says:

    LOL Yep! Full time benefits but a part time employee!

  18. Hol this converstaiton has inspired my post for next week. lol

  19. Jac Says:


    But for a day, find something to do that doesn’t involve him, leav e your phone at home..and get gone.


    But don’t change that number!

  20. Ms. Sula Says:

    I think I am in agreeance with cbg on this one. You match behavior. We have to live fulfillig lives to the point where one thing gets out of balance, there is still enough for us to keep busy and interested in our own lives.

    Granted, dating plays a huge role in the life of a single woman, but it shouldn’t play such a big role that whenever the datee/dater goes missing, we are left reeling at the wheel…

    Get out to dance. If he wants to come back, he will. If he doesn’t, he won’t. Men are simpler than most of us want to think.

  21. “But don’t change that number!”

    Now, I’ve changed teh number a time or too also. It is THAT SERIOUS.

    Sometimes, when your will isn’t strong enough, you have to do drastic measures.

  22. Athena Nike Says:

    I was listening to the audio book Greg Berhendt(sp) “He’s Just Not That Into You” – he had a talk show for a hot minute on TV. Anyway, he says basically any kind of flaky, shifty, funky attitudes and actions from men is essentially the cue that you are not the one. He’ll still come by and hit it if you let him – cause they have needs, still let you cook, clean, etc for them – cause maid service is a premium, maybe even invite you out once in a while for a good time- cause they like company too. But you’ll never get the deep connection, respect, or love you deserve.
    When the scared man/rushed man get it together, they should be beating down the door soon after you give them their space. But if not, like #1 they are a lost cause, and just not that into you.

  23. Holly GoLightly Says:

    “Men are simpler than most of us want to think.”

    I agree LP!

    @Athena- That was a really good book! I think the movie made people revisit it!

  24. Athena Nike Says:

    The movie was cute. I enjoyed it.

  25. charlene Says:

    You should read “men are from mars, women are from venus” and “mars and venus on a date”. They talk about how men pull away and need space and how important it is not to follow a man into his cave. All men go through these cycles all throughout a relationship, not just the beginning stages.

    Be confident ladies and stay connected to your life. 🙂

  26. why do women always ask the same ol’ tired questions. A man left the “relationship” because he wanted to. Get over it. Why doesn’t even matter. If it keeps happening to you, it’s something wrong with your standards, not the men.

  27. Jaci Says:


    Welcome and ….good point. We need to stop overthinking ish.

  28. Holly GoLightly Says:

    Hi undressingHER… I don’t think it’s so much as a tired question but more so men aren’t always upfront about things and they don’t keep it 100…. The article isn’t on why a man left but why he is withdrawing. Some men are too wishy washy… like the Katy Perry song Hot n Cold…

  29. @Holly. I agree, some people are wishy washy, but being upfront just doesn’t work for some people. SOME women say they want guys to be upfront, but if I just started going up to women saying, “hello, I’d like to bend you over my couch”……I’D NEVER GET ANY!!! Sometimes men say they don’t want a committed relationship and the women end up falling for the dude anyway. That’s fine……..but then the woman gets mad at the dude for not wanting to change.

  30. The Sphinx Says:

    I’ve definitely experienced 2 and 3, and in those cases, I told him that I needed to break up because I felt like he wasn’t as into the relationship as he was/I needed him to be.
    He said he didn’t want to break up, and that he wanted to be with me, but then started calling out all these other things about what was wrong.
    I think it was that he wanted some space to test the waters, but didn’t want to lose me. So Undressing Her, I think sometimes guys aren’t completely honest when it comes to stuff like that. In this case, I opted to use my “standards” and tell him we were done. A while later, he realized that he messed up and wanted to be with me, and came back.
    I do think that when men do stuff like this — whatever the reason is — women need to let go. And if these men know who they’re dealing with (if you’re a woman that deserves good) then they’ll come back. Or, maybe they just can’t appreciate you.

  31. Like you said, men sometimes do come back later on, after they’ve found out that it’s not that easy to recreate a great connection with a woman. It doesn’t have anything to do with how “good” you are as a woman though, because to one man, you could be worthless…just some sex and a nice cook…….and to another man, you’re the best thing that ever happened to him. Like you said, appreciate yourself first, then date and sort out the men who fit whatever your standards are. After you have that……you can start to see if he really appreciates you. If he doesn’t……leave him. Women have to learn to be comfortable with themselves and to not put up with stuff she doesn’t feel is right, because if you don’t, there will always be a man who can sense it and will seek you out.

  32. Racquel Says:

    I have been with him for 3years and know hw wants to find himself. He wants to become more spiritual and use it as an excuse. I have stood by him through all the bull and now he says that i am crowding him and pushing him towards marriage. Its more to it than that. The whole family has the samr issues. I should have looked before i leaped.

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