In both new and old relationships, men are often the ones who pull away. But why do they do this and how can you stop them?
Girl meets boy, girl falls for boy, girl marries boy, girl and boy live happily after. It might be the oldest story in the book, but it’s not always how the tale goes. Many of us are all too familiar with the other version: girl meets boy, girl falls for boy, boy pulls away, girl wonders what the hell happened.
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There’s no way around it – the question of why men pull away is one of life’s dating mysteries, up there with what do women want and why is a golden shower even a thing?
Still, it’s a mystery that needs to be solved. This is because learning why men pull away will ultimately help you find the answers to other questions, such as how to understand a man, how to keep a man interested, and how to make a man fall in love with you.
But first, who am I and why would anyone want to listen to what I have to say on this subject of why men pull way?
My name is Clayton Olson and for the past 4 years, I’ve helped literally hundreds of women save their failing relationships with men. In some cases, we weren’t always successful, but in many of those it was best they ended anyways.
However, what I did discover over the years was a pattern. A pattern that reveals exactly what women may be doing that pushes the men they love out of their life. Once you become conscious of these patterns, you can break them and a whole new level of love and deep connection becomes available.
In the following paragraphs, I’m going to share the truth I’ve found about why men pull away and exactly what you can do to turn things around and get him to love you.
So that said, why do men pull away?
Before we can answer that question, you must first decide your individual situation. If you’ve just been newly dating the guy or entered into a fresh relationship, refer to situation one. If you’ve been with him for quite some time and you’ve past the “honeymoon phase” refer to situation two.
Situation 1: Why Men Pull Away from the New Relationship
In the first situation, you are in a new relationship. You just met someone or you’ve gone on a few dates. You’re in that initial stage where you’re excited when he calls, where you smile as you tell your girlfriends that you’ve met someone, where your stomach is so filled with butterflies that you’re afraid they’ll fly out the instant you open your mouth. You wonder how to make him want you and how to keep him interested.
You like the guy you’ve met. You like him a lot. The problem is he doesn’t seem to be reciprocating. He doesn’t return your calls (at least not with any urgency), he doesn’t make himself available on Friday nights, and everything else – his friends, his job, his Chia Pet – seems to take priority over you.
In this situation, what’s going on? Why do men pull away from a relationship that just began? There are several different possibilities.
The first one is that he’s dating other women.
He might have one that he’s more interested in or he might merely want to play the field and see what else is out there.
In fact, the need to roam is a common reason why men pull away: depending on where men are in their life, they may approach relationships like nomads, constantly in search of something else. They forage around like cavemen looking for food.
And, in many instances, when they say it’s not you, it’s them, they actually mean it.
Another reason why men pull away at this stage has to do with his career. Some men view their career the same way they view putting on their pants or brushing their teeth – with an air of indifference.
But other men view their career as something that defines them and determines whether they’re worthy of future love and a family.
A man who is in the latter category will make their dating life secondary to their job.
If they are unsatisfied with their rung on the corporate ladder, they will continue climbing before they make you (or any other women) too much of a focus.
A third reason why men pull away has to do with the stereotypical wild oats. As trite as it sounds, the need for a man to find closure in certain aspects of his life does exist.
Some men need to travel around the world, some men need to go out and do things that reek of independence (everything from skydiving to learning to cook), some men need to accomplish long-term goals, like learning a language or climbing a mountain.
Some men simply need to find themselves before they can picture someone by their side.
How Men Behave When They Want to Pull Away
When a man decides that he wants out of a relationship, he usually becomes one of three guys.
Guy number one is someone we’ll call Passive Pete.
He engages in passive-aggressive acts that tell you he’s not interested (but he never actually puts his thoughts into words). He won’t say, “I’m looking for something in a bigger breast,” or “I really want to play the field” even if he’s thinking it.
Instead, he’ll fail to return your phone calls, he’ll break off plans, and when he does text you back, he’ll do so with one-letter, acronymed answers
reminiscent of a teenage girl.
He’ll do anything to avoid confrontation, hoping that you’ll eventually get the hint and go quietly into the night.
Guy number two is someone we’ll call Sean Connery.
He’s mature enough to reason with you – he’ll tell you that he’s not interested or that he wants to focus on his career before he turns his attention towards his social life.
And though he might not actually speak in a Scottish accent, you’ll appreciate him for his honesty.
Guy number three is someone we’ll call Wasteful Wally. He’ll stick around, even when he wants to flee.
This type of man is the most frustrating of all because he does one thing: he strings you along.
He’ll say things that are in line with his emotions rather than his commitments. This might lead him to tell you that he wants to be in a relationship even when he knows that he actually doesn’t. He won’t leave you wondering why men pull away simply because he never really will.
At least not anytime soon. You’ll just end up feeling like there is something missing and wondering why the relationship doesn’t feel like it’s going anywhere.
What You Can Do
If the above are reasons why men pull away, there’s not a ton you can do.
Learning how to keep a man or how to make a guy fall in love with you just doesn’t apply here. At least not usually.
A man who is unsuccessful in his career won’t benefit from you doing his job for him; a man who hasn’t found himself won’t benefit from you holding up a mirror and pointing at his reflection. The best thing you can do for yourself, and your insanity, is to remember that dating is a numbers game.
There are plenty of fish in the sea – just try to avoid the larvae and move on not wasting your time.
Situation 2: Why Men Pull Away from the Established Relationship
In the second situation, you are in an established relationship. You have been dating a man for several months or maybe longer.
You are comfortable with him – you share intimate details and engage in many activities together.
Perhaps you even live together or visit his place so often that there’s tampons underneath his bathroom sink.
You might not have butterflies in your stomach each time his hand touches yours – at least not anymore – but you’re happy. You’re content.
You like this guy enough that you’ve started to envision a future with him. You think about how he’d be as a father or imagine the two of you in your golden years, sitting on your porch and yelling at kids to stay off your lawn.
The problem is he doesn’t seem as invested in the relationship as you. In fact, he seems less invested than he once was.
In this situation, what’s going on?
Why do men pull away from a relationship that he’s been in for some time?
Again, there are several different possibilities.
The first one is that the honeymoon phase is over and another chapter is beginning. He may have been wrapped up in the joy of the relationship’s initial glow, only to see it dim once the newness wore off.
He may have also met someone new. Unfortunately, being in an established relationship doesn’t erect a wall between him and other women and some guys go through life believing the grass is always greener on the other side.
Or he may be pulling away for reasons that have nothing, or very little, to do with your relationship. He may be stressed at work, he may be upset about his lack of accomplishments in life, or he may have a list of goals he wants to obtain before moving forward romantically (with you or anyone).
Then there is the possibility that he simply feels smothered, disconnected from you, or lost in the relationship. The reasons why men pull away can be that simple or that complex.
How Men Behave When They’re Pulling Away
A man pulling away from an established relationship may act very similar to the man pulling away from a new relationship. He may blow you off passive-aggressively, he may be honest with you, or he may string you along until he finally decides to man up and do both of you a favor and move on.
Of course, it might be more difficult depending on how close the two of you have become.
If you’re living together, he probably won’t be able to break things off by actively ignoring you, for instance. It’s much easier to ignore a text than it is a knock on the bathroom door.
Still, he might try other tactics, such as working longer hours at the office or finding any reason to stay busy.
He might volunteer for overtime, he might join a running club, he might enthusiastically offer to help a friend move.
He may also seem less connected to your needs. He might fail to ask you how your day was, he might turn into a selfish lover, he might go through the motions of your relationship without demonstrating any excitement or passion.
What You Can Do
When your man starts to pull away, it’s much more disheartening than the ending of a new relationship. For one thing, your feelings are typically stronger.
For another, you’ve invested more of yourself and more of your time. Both of these might give you reason to fight for the relationship and resurrect the passion.
We’ll discuss how you can do this towards the end of the article.
First, it’s important to understand what may be happening in your man’s mind AND the subtle things you may be accidentally doing that is causing him to pull away from you.
Once you do, you’ll have a real fighting chance at saving your relationship.
Why Men Pull Away: The Seven Deadly Roles
Now, no matter the situation you’re in – you’ve just began dating someone or you’ve dated so long that you pee with the door open – there is some considerable overlap in the other reasons men pull away.
Sometimes they do this because you’re unconsciously playing a role that looks no good on anyone. And you might not even realize it.
Ultimately, there are seven deadly roles that women play that turn men off, eventually explaining why they leave. These include:
The Ball Buster: The Ball Buster is the woman who seeks to control her man by putting him in his place over and over again. She fancies herself a problem-solver set on helping him become better, but she’s really just hurting the relationship and herself in the process because he feels subtly emasculated by her and then pulls away in retaliation.
The Mother: The Mother mothers her partner, doting on him like a proud parent. The problem with this is twofold. First, by assuming the role of the Mother, a woman makes it her duty – and hers alone – to make the relationship work. Second, if one partner acts like a mother, the other will act like a rebellious little shit.
The Love Vixen: The Love Vixen is charming, often luring men into her grasp through her sexuality. But she’s also controlling, getting men to do what she wants by opening and closing her legs. While some (if not most) men won’t complain about this, a relationship based on this subtle form of power dynamic isn’t usually all that healthy. The man feels manipulated and in turn pulls away to find some sense of personal power within the relationship.
The Damsel in Distress: Despite what the movies tell us, the Damsel in Distress shtick gets old after a while. Mendo like to play the hero role – it strokes their ego (which is their second favorite thing to be stroked). But it’s unrealistic – a damsel that is always in distress goes from charming to pathetic rather quickly. The man starts to feel inadequate because no matter how much saving he does, it’s never really good enough or solves the problem.
The Tease: The Tease is the type of women who lures the horse with the carrot, only to yank it away when he goes to bite. It can be fun from time to time, but it’s not self-sustaining simply because it never involves pure satisfaction or real connection.
The Accountant: The Accountant is about as sexy as she sounds. Perpetually
focused on the equality of the relationship, she’s a scorekeeper, tracking who did what for who and when. The problem here is that relationships aren’t business transactions. The healthy ones are built on pleasure and generosity, plain and simple.
The Princess: When a woman unconsciously assumes the role of The Princes, she puts love – true love – on the backburner and, instead, cares about adoration. She wants to sit upon a pedestal, and has a sense of entitlement that saps their relationship of the man feeling appreciated. She wants to be treated like someone in a fairytale and, in the end, that’s what she gets: a fictional story.
If you find yourself playing one of these roles from time to time, it’s okay and it’s not your fault. Some of them can liven up the relationship and add powerful positive qualities. It’s when you get stuck in them that the dynamic takes a turn for the worse.
3 Emotions He Feels That Cause Him To Pull Away
Of course, you don’t have to be playing one of the above roles in order to drive a man away. Some men leave even when you aren’t doing anything wrong. Or, at least, nothing that is overt.
In fact, there are three main reasons why a guy packs his proverbial bags and leaves a good woman. These include:
He Felt Too Much Pressure or Too Much Inadequacy: That male ego again – always creeping up! A man who doesn’t feel like he’s up to snuff in a relationship will simply leave one.
If you demanded more love or affection or even financial freedom than he was able to provide, he likely felt inadequate in the face of emotional pressure. And that’s a huge reason why men pull away.
Your Relationship was like a Tennis Match: Competition has its place in life and, when used properly, can be a force that drives and inspires us.
But a relationship isn’t a good place for the “me versus them” attitude. If a man feels like he had to compete with you for control of the relationship, he’ll likely throw down his racket and walk off the court.
This isn’t to say that you should just hand over the reins to him, but a relationship is a partnership. It can only work with an “us versus the world” attitude.
He Didn’t Feel Respected: R-E-S-P-E-C-T may be the war song of Aretha Franklin, but it’s also secretly sung by every male everywhere. Men want to be respected by the women they are dating but, moreover, they also want to be accepted.
In their weakest moment when they feel that life has wronged or defeated them, they want to know that you’ll stay by their side with a nonjudgmental eye.
What We Have Here is a Failure to Communicate
At the root of why men pull away is a breakdown in communication. It’s not exactly earth-shattering, extra-extra-read-all-about-it news to say that communication is the biggest relationship key.
But it will make you or break you.
On the breaking end are five types of communication not at all helpful to a healthy relationship. And, if you’re in the habit of using these 5 forms of communication sabotage, try noticing them when they come up and making it a practice to remove them immediately.
Blame: This makes your partner defensive while exonerating you from any wrong-doing.
Avoidance: This is a ploy for power that causes frustration and anger. Avoiding uncomfortable talks with your partner only causes him to close down.
Whining: This type of communication positions you as the victim which, in turn, automatically makes your partner the bad guy if the whining is about him.
Labeling: This sets a dangerous precedence, making it more likely that you will always see your partner in the same, unfair light. Labeling takes the form of calling him lazy, boring, an asshole, etc…
Sarcasm: This can be attractive when done correctly, but when it’s repeatedly used to cut your partner down, it only breeds contempt. It also makes you look passive-aggressive.
What to Do When He Pulls Away
Now that you know why men pull away, what do you do about it?
Getting a time machine probably won’t work, so you must be proactive going forward. You can do this by engaging in the following:
Step 1: Ask Him What’s Wrong: This seems easy enough, but it comes with a catch – ask him once and only once.
Trust him when he gives you his answer.
Don’t interrogate him or accuse him of being dishonest with you. If he has something on his mind that he isn’t willing to share, allow him the freedom to keep it to himself.
Step 2: Examine Yourself: There are probably no relationships were one person is perfect and the other is to blame for everything that went wrong.
Since you can only control your actions, work on that.
Examine your past habits – have you played any of the seven deadly roles?
Have you engaged in communication that wasn’t helpful? If you have, let it go. But be vigilant enough not to do it again.
Step 3: Honor his Space: A large reason why men pull away often has to do with space – they just seem to require it more than their female counterparts.
If he needs space or some time to think, give him that. But, it’s important that you stay connected. If he’s pulling away, don’t pull away too just to spite him.
This will only turn your relationship into a power struggle.
Step 4: Stay Emotionally Open: Tell him how you feel. All too often in relationships, people put their true feelings on the backburner and opt instead to play games.
They do this to protect themselves from getting hurt. Being open with your feelings and communicating without reservation is risky – of course, it is – but it’s also the key to true intimacy.
Other Things to Keep in Mind
As you wonder why men pull away and how to reel them back in, keep in mind that men, like women, have inherent needs. They’re not always good at expressing them, but they are always there, just under the surface.
These are needs he may not even be able to articulate to you because to tell you he may risk feeling ashamed.
To a guy, it's like cracking a combination lock; if the numbers don't line up, he'll be emotionally distant and unavailable, rather than all in.
When he finally comes across that one woman who creates the right sequence of “numbers” to unlock his commitment combination, he'll feel compelled to hang onto her. He'll commit because he doesn't want to risk losing her.
So what is the code? What are some of the ‘hidden needs’ men need met in order to see you as a long-term partner they’ll never let go of?
Click here for the next step: 5 ‘hidden’ needs you must meet in order for him to see you as irreplaceable.
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