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.