Why Men Suddenly Go Cold On Women They Love

Plus what to do when he goes distant and cold.

woman putting hand on man's cheek standing against gate N.Melanjina | Shutterstock

If you’ve dated a man at any point in the last 50 years, you most likely understand how awful it feels when a guy pulls away.

One minute you’re on on the best date of your life, and the next, you're wondering why he suddenly seems so cold and distant.

So, why do men pull away from women in relationships?

This phenomenon is common enough that entire books have been written about it.

Oprah has done at least four dozen shows on it.


Dating columnists and relationship gurus have made entire careers out of helping women understand why men pull away from relationships and what to do about it.

RELATED: What It Means If He's Giving You The Cold Shoulder — And How To Make Him Want You Again

You don't have to sit idly by in confusion.


Here are five common reasons men suddenly go cold on women they love:

1. He feels pressured.

You might have reached a point in your relationship when you feel like it needs to either move forward or stop moving. This sense of inevitability will freak him out, even if he thinks you walk on water. And he might feel like you’re pressuring him for more, even if you’ve never brought it up.

If you have mentioned a larger commitment recently, it may have caused him to withdraw. He might be having his own private freakout about it.

Rather than push for more commitment (and those little “hints” qualify), make sure you’re nurturing the relationship itself.

Nothing is more unattractive to a man thinking about committing than the feeling that marriage and kids are more important to you than he is. Men are tuned into the idea that women have been conditioned to think about marriage. Staying quiet about it can be to your advantage.


Rather than chase him for a commitment using charts, diagrams, and logic, it’s better to withdraw from the relationship a bit yourself.

I’m not saying, “withdraw from the relationship and nag him about why.”

If you feel like you have to pursue a commitment from a man who isn't sure whether or not you’re "the one," the logical thing to do is to pull back, take care of yourself, and see what happens.

RELATED: 6 Subtle Signs He's About To Ghost You

2. You hit the "uncertainty stage."

Dr. John Gray, author of the bestselling book, Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, explains that the uncertainty stage is something couples go through in all long-term relationships and that doing so is essential. According to Dr. Gray, this is when your guy generally feels uncertain and just tries to figure out for himself where the relationship is going.


He’s torn between taking things to the next level and losing his freedom.

The best way to get through this stage with your man still on your arm at the other end is by letting go of the pressure-cooker-level talks. You must not only allow but encourage him to have his freedom. He needs to feel like being with you is an exciting bonus, not a trap.

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3. He’s genuinely busy.

Is he pulling away, or is the real issue that he's not answering your text messages in 30 minutes or less your version of neglect?

You must be realistic and allow him to have his own life. If you’re clingy and needy, keep busy with your work, hobbies, and goals. You do not need more of his time.


What feels like withdrawal might be actual busyness.

He might need to put in extra hours because he's worried about losing his job, or maybe he wants to help his buddies move on the weekend. You get the picture. Once again, pressuring him for more time together and getting upset when he fails to fulfill your unrealistic expectations will only make him pull further away.

4. Your support has faltered.

Simply put, men don’t stay where they don't feel appreciated.

Men fall in love with and marry the woman who feels like their biggest fan.

If they marry that woman and life starts getting in the way of her admiration, they will have an affair with a woman who becomes their next biggest fan. This isn't right or wrong; it’s simply reality.


You like being appreciated, right? So does he.

Try your best to be his biggest fan 100 percent of the time, and he won’t want to lose you. People naturally gravitate toward people who make them feel good.

According to research by Dr. John Gottman, "The difference between happy and unhappy couples is the balance between positive and negative interactions during conflict. There is a very specific ratio that makes love last. That 'magic ratio' is 5 to 1. This means that for every negative interaction during conflict, a stable and happy marriage has five (or more) positive interactions."

In short, the best way to keep a relationship going well is to balance at least five positive interactions for every positive interaction you encounter.


RELATED: 3 Juicy Secrets To Make Him Ache For You

5. He's met someone else.

Unfortunately, people do cheat and have emotional affairs. Sometimes this happens when a man looks outside his relationship for the admiration and appreciation that has gone missing.

As the newness wears off, sometimes women get "naggy" and stop doing the loving things they used to when the relationship was new. A woman may then pursue a man’s love when he backs off, and unfortunately, her pleas for more love and time together come off as even more nagging, so he runs further away.

If he's met someone else, that doesn't mean all hope is lost.

It might mean you have a little more work cut out for you, depending on your particular situation.


Often, when a man withdraws from a relationship, it can make a woman chase him and do even more damage.

Remember that when a man feels pressure, no matter the situation, he resists. So if you’re chasing him in panic mode, he will naturally flee.

Allowing your man to have as much freedom as he wants is your best bet for preventing him from ending your relationship completely.

That old song, "Hold On Loosely," comes to mind.

If he's withdrawn from your relationship entirely, stop chasing him.

I know this is hard, especially when his distance strikes terror into your heart.

But pressuring him to make a larger commitment or forcing the issue by telling you why he seems more distant will only backfire.


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Elizabeth Stone is an author, dating coach, and personal development coach who helps women restore themselves to improve their relationships.