It's YOU, not him. (Sorry.)
It’s an ultra common scenario in the dating world. You meet a guy and everything seems like it’s going great. Then, after what feels like a super intense connection and budding relationship, suddenly he cools WAY off.
Suddenly, he gets harder and harder to get ahold of or goes dark entirely, leaving you to wonder why he lost interest.
Now, there are as many reasons why anyone might pull away from a budding, new relationship as there are stars in the sky. However, I want to talk about one of the most common reasons why men lose interest in new relationships that previously seemed promising.
First, let’s talk about some differences between men and women when they decide to pull the plug on a relationship in the early phases.
When a woman loses interest in a man or decides he’s wrong for her, she usually knows exactly why. The guy might have turned her off somehow, he might have pressed for sex too soon, or she might not be physically attracted to him. Whatever it is, she usually knows exactly why she's lost interest.
Guys operate a little differently.
This doesn’t mean there isn’t a reason why men lose interest; it just means that his reasons are MUCH more subtle than a woman’s.
It has to do with a weird switch-over phenomena that happens sometimes when a woman starts to REALLY like a man, but he isn’t quite on the same page yet. He might be enjoying their budding relationship, but he might not have flipped over into monogamy, falling-in-love territory yet.
It goes like this:
Man and woman start a flirtation and go on a few dates. So far all is going well. There's chemistry and they seem to have things in common. At first, both are very chilled out, even if somewhat excited about each other. A few more dates happen and it seems like a monogamous relationship might be on the horizon. As things between them start to deepen, all of the sudden, it occurs to the woman that he might be “The One” (if not with this exact terminology, at that level of seriousness at least).
She starts to think about the future with him. Her hopes and dreams suddenly seem to have led her to THIS moment with THIS guy. This might be THE relationship. The one that changes everything.
She gets excited. And all of the sudden, she’s thrown into an emotional space where she starts looking for signs.
Signs that he’s right for her. Signs that he’s family material. Signs that he fits her like the puzzle piece that she’s been looking for … well forever. And unfortunately, these signs are highly up for interpretation.
Suddenly, it’s like he’s wearing a stud halo. Nothing he does is wrong, and he can basically do whatever he wants. So he does.
And very, VERY often, this includes withdrawing. Not because he is rationally shaming her for liking him so much (he might actually feel mildly flattered), but because suddenly she needs reassurance and might want more than he’s ready to give right that minute.
Reassurance that he finds her attractive. Reassurance that he wants her. Reassurance that he is on the same page.
This need for reassurance (even when not explicitly stated from her) stops the development of his feelings in their tracks.
Like a watched pot that won’t boil, being under the microscope sucks the excitement out of it. The mystery is gone. It puts him in a position where he’s suddenly propping up her ego. He stops fantasizing about her and starts expending emotional energy thinking about the level of imbalance in their feelings for each other.
Sensing that she has started to want something from him (his admission that this is their future and it’s meant to be), the imbalance in the level of feelings between the two gets to be too much. She’s suddenly throwing herself at him every chance she gets — even if it’s just emotionally. He might respond favorably at first, but the more reassurance she needs and the more energy she starts pouring into the relationship, the more he feels the weight of her feelings bearing down on him.
Very suddenly, it’s “oh sh*t, this woman REALLY likes me. I’m flattered but I’m not sure if I feel the same way.” And when he realizes that she’s way over the moon and he isn’t, it becomes more and more glaring each time they see each other. He starts to feel cornered and withdraws even more.
This spirals as she senses his reluctance and launches into triage mode. Frantic calls to her friends ensue. Analysis of “what he’s doing” takes center stage. Because she doesn’t want to “scare him off” by seeming disinterested and might be secretly worried that she did something wrong, there’s another woman, or a combination of all — she responds even more enthusiastically to any contact he initiates. She starts looking for even more reassurance in any form (the smallest emoticon tossed from him will do). Which turns him off further, precipitating even more withdrawal on his end.
Until finally, he’s either just texting her in the middle of the night or not at all. He might respond to her politely — even though the guilt has started to set in. He might meet someone else or initiate the slow fade.
Predictably, just as soon as it started, it fizzles out. And she wonders why yet another man who seemed to have so much “potential” has lost interest in her.
If you find yourself in this cycle with men withdrawing from you, get yourself a free copy of my book, Why Men Lose Interest and daily (almost) email series here. You don't have to keep dealing with guys who break your heart by ghosting you or disappearing.
This article was originally published at Digital Romance Inc. Reprinted with permission from the author.