Why Men Pull Away (And How To Make It Stop)

What you should and should not do if you want him back.

Last updated on Nov 30, 2022

woman sitting next to man who is pulling away Getty

In today’s dating culture, things between men and women often start out very well, and then suddenly, the connection begins evaporating into thin air.

Your good morning texts turn into not hearing from him for days.

You might be dating a guy right now who suddenly pulls away every time things seem to be going well between the two of you, leaving you to wonder if your relationship is doomed, or if there's something you can do about it.


Why do men pull away?

There are a number of reasons why guys pull away when they like you, such as fear of commitment, loss of interest, doubts about what they want, or unresolved feelings about an ex.

Understanding some of the most common scenarios that arise at various stages of relationships will help you decide how to respond and get your healthy relationship back on track.

RELATED: How To Get Your Man To Chase You (No Matter How Long You've Been Dating!)


So, what does it mean when a guy pulls away?

Here are 11 of the most common reasons men pull away:

1. He’s afraid of something.

The first thing to know is that the number one reason men pull away from good women they seemed to be falling in love with is fear.

Okay, but fear of what? You were having so much fun together! You have so much in common and every date was full of laughter, flirtation, and those butterflies in your stomach. Then, just when you believed you could really see this going somewhere, he started to pull away.

Now, he’s much harder to reach and he takes a long time to respond to your texts, and he’s rarely available to see you. When you do speak or see him, he seems distant, if not a bit cold, and you have no idea what happened or what you might have said to cause this shift.


2. He's had bad experiences with love.

Sometimes his fear has nothing to do with you at all but is based on negative experiences in his past.

These may be issues related to independence or insecurities.

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3. He's emotionally unavailable.

He may simply be too emotionally immature to handle the depths of intimacy you were entering together.

4. He's held back by lingering hurt or other feelings related to an ex.

Or he may still be worrying about issues from a previous relationship in which they didn't share the same value. Or maybe she was never physically attracted to him or thought his personality was too over-the-top, and he's concerned that you feel the same way.


Many men’s minds work a bit differently than women's. Not to over-generalize, but men often have trouble pinpointing exactly what is that's turning them off.

What’s more, whatever it is might have nothing to do with you, and yet he genuinely may not be able to put his finger on what it is that drives him away.

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5. He doesn't want to be in a committed relationship.

Additionally, many men pull away because the idea of a serious long-term relationship freaks them out, plain and simple.

This can be because of past heartbreak, insecurity, or trauma stemming from childhood. They may have once been taught or convinced they’re not good enough and have since struggled with allowing themselves to be vulnerable.


why men pull away

6. He enjoys being single.

Sometimes, it’s merely because they realize they prefer to remain single and free.

You could be a high-value woman and he would still just want to be single at the moment. It's not your fault, but it happens.

RELATED: 7 Reasons Why Men Ghost Women (& What To Do When It Happens To You)


7. He doesn't feel like a priority to you.

The ebb and flow of your daily schedule may make him feel as though he doesn't have a place in your life. He will begin to pull away if he believes he is last on your list.

There are times when life can get hectic, and you may unintentionally put him on the back burner. When things get crazy, you focus on maintaining your sanity and balance. It can be easy to let your affection and attention towards your man decline.

He may not be able to voice his issues or understand what is happening, so he pulls away.

8. He is just not into you anymore.

Your relationship may have started out hot and heavy. You called and text messaged each other regularly, went on dates every chance you got, and couldn't stand to be apart.


As time passed, problems surfaced, and you began to see one another through a different lens. You realize that you are talking less, spending more time apart, and left questioning where you stand. He realizes that he is not as interested in you as he was at first.

He becomes distant because he struggles to express these feelings.

9. He feels the relationship is moving too fast.

Commitment is major in a relationship. Women generally come into a relationship with clearer expectations than men. You exchange numbers and within weeks, you're spending nights, then days at a time at his place.

Although he enjoys this time with you, it may be too much, too quickly. If this is the case, and he pulls away, he is trying to tell you that things are going way too fast, and he is needs time and space to assess the relationship.


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10. He has someone else.

He may really like you, but he also has someone waiting in the wings. She can be a new girl or an old fling. He begins to pull away from you to grow closer to another prospect.

His new interest may be fresh, but she's not you. If he pulls away because he found another woman, his loss.

11. His insecurities have taken over.

He may not feel that he is meeting your needs or he is capable of loving you. Men pride themselves on making sure their woman is satisfied in every way. However, if he struggles with insecurities, his concerns can be solely in his mind.

If he questions your love and attraction, he will pull away as he believes he is protecting his heart.


RELATED: 5 Easy Ways To Get A Man To Be Vulnerable With You

How do you know if he's scared of being tied down or scared of being in love?

Some men pull away the moment they realize that they’re developing real feelings for you. Unfortunately, this can also happen at the very moment you're realizing that you're developing real feelings for them!

This fear of love happens because suddenly there are important stakes involved.

They begin worrying about potential outcomes of the relationship, and this affects their behavior. They become nervous, which leads to uncomfortable feelings of vulnerability many people don’t know how to handle.

At the same time, you may have begun fantasizing about your future together.


In doing so, you become more attached to the happy outcomes you hope for and begin feeling anxious at the thought of losing out on your dream now that it feels so close. As a result, you’re no longer in the present moment of getting to know him, fixating instead on how he feels about you — and this will affect your behavior around him.

Generally speaking, people don't react positively to shifts from spending time with someone who has a fun, charming personality to being with someone who always seems to be searching for reassurance.

When you recognize someone that you really like — someone who makes you feel comfortable and good — it’s normal to want to latch on. This often happens without you even realizing it, but it changes your vibe.

Guys can pick up on this.


He might not be able to pinpoint what it is exactly, but he might begin thinking of you as clingy. When a guy feels you're trying too hard to make things official and tie him down, he might panic and pull away.

RELATED: 8 Facts About Dating People With Commitment Issues — As Written By A Woman Who Has Them

When you’re still in the seduction phase with someone, the most important thing is holding onto your self-confidence.

Confidence is key, and here's why.

If you want to seduce a man with whom you’d like to construct a solid relationship, you’ve got to highlight your true personality. Too many people make the mistake of playing a role in order to make someone fall for them, and it always backfires because as soon as the other person realizes you weren’t being genuine.


Being truly confident keeps you safe from appearing to be needy or clingy, which are characteristics that may cause someone to run for the hills, especially if it's early in a budding relationship.

RELATED: 21 Signs He Has Strong Feelings For You

How to get him to stop pulling away: do's and don'ts


1. Do focus on yourself.

When a man pulls away, your first line of action is switching your focus away from him and back to the task of creating and living the life of your dreams. Make headway on your professional projects and goals. Go to the gym and get those endorphins flowing. Spend more time having fun with your friends. Try new things.

And, of course, don’t be afraid to post pictures or status updates on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat about all the fantastic things you have going on in your life. Stop reaching out to him quite as much, and give him the opportunity to wonder what you’re up to.


Social media can be an incredible tool for presenting yourself in a positive light — just be sure the light you're presenting yourself in is authentic.

People who are living life to the fullest and are happy with themselves leave a lasting impression, and that’s exactly what you want to do with your new, if currently distant, love interest!

2. Do make yourself less accessible to him.

You need to be a challenge. Instead of obsessing on why he doesn't seem as interested as he did, make sure he sees images of you and how life with you could be that make you practically impossible for him to resist. You don’t have to cut ties and disappear, but reach out to him less and make him wonder where you’ve gone. Don’t ignore his messages, but let him make the first move more often than you do.

By the way, this isn't something you should stop doing once your relationship gets back on track. The way to make a man fall in love and stay in love with you is by maintaining a fantastic life he longs to be part of.


3. Do let him know where you stand.

Men who pull away aren't used to being called out on this type of behavior. In fact, no one is. That’s why we see so much ghosting in the realm of dating and relationships today.

As you embark on your mission of staying busy building your self-esteem and living your best life, text him something like this, "Hey, it feels like you’re a bit unsure of what you want right now. It’s totally fine, but I’m going to take some distance."

You don’t have to use these words verbatim, but avoid adding anything like, "So let me know when you’re free because I’d love to see you again!"

Ending your message like this would put all the power back in his hands. You want to assert yourself with him while also reminding yourself that you are in control of what happens in your own life. By texting him a message like this, you’re not trying to play detective or figure out what’s going on, you’re just stating the obvious.


So be careful with your wording and make sure not to phrase things in a way that gives away your power. All you're doing is reminding him you don’t need him and making sure he knows you aren't going to wait around.

4. Do control your impulses.

Men, just like women, find the opposite of clingy behavior extremely attractive. The more he pulls away, the closer you'll want to get. When your last twenty text messages and phone calls were left on read or unanswered, you'll want to keep trying until you finally get a response.

It's understandable that his distance feels so incredibly frustrating. You've been spending so much time together, and now it’s not even a breakup — just sheer, utter and unexplained solitude — but you have to control yourself.

How to get him to stop pulling away


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1. Don't blow up his phone.

Give him space and avoid initiating conversations for a while. If you want the chance to get the ball rolling on a relationship with him again, avoid making this common mistake.

2. Don't harass him.

Harassing him won’t do any good. Sometimes, it isn't even communication you really want; it’s just a response. But nobody wants to talk to someone who makes them feel suffocated. Let some time pass before reaching out again whether through call or text.

3. Don't spy on him.

And please don’t send your friends to spy on him either, or worse, try to get information out of him for you.


4. Don't put him on a pedestal.

It’s normal to forget about someone's flaws when you're missing them, but don’t fool yourself into thinking he's any better or more worthy than you are. Focus on yourself right now.

5. Don’t ask his friends about him.

Word travels, you know. It's important to not allow your emotions to make you act in a disrespectful manner toward the person you have your eye on.

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Above all, the fact that he isn't picking up should never result in you insulting or threatening him.

You may feel overwhelmed by the desire to tell them everything that’s on your mind that you find it hard to control how the words come out, but you don’t want to wind up in this type of situation. Making this kind of irreparable mistake may give him a real reason to never contact you again.


Despite your frustration, it’s essential to keep your cool and not blow up at him. And when you do speak, stay focused on keeping the dialogue constructive.

Making it through this period will require a lot of patience from you, but you’ll be fine. Finding happiness was never easy, so don't let this period deter you from your happily ever after.

Filling your schedule and staying busy will help you keep things in perspective.

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Alex Cormont, founder of French Relationship Expert, is an expert in dating and relationships based in Miami, FL, who works with women to guide them to find the right man and have the relationship they've always dreamt of. His expert advice has been featured on Forbes, Huffington Post, GQ, and Elle.