I felt blindsided when my boyfriend broke up with me. I couldn’t figure out why he backed away from me and gradually withdrew from our relationship.
Everything seemed to be going so well with our relationship. We met each other’s families and got along well with each other’s friends. We took a vacation together, and it felt so blissful. We even said the magic words “I love you.” Relationship advisors would consider these all good things, right?
I thought our relationship would last. I thought if I waited him out, he’d stop pulling back from me and focus on us and our relationship. Instead, he called and texted less frequently. So, I called him to invite him out, but that just seemed to frustrate him. I thought if I took over the lead in our relationship for a bit, he’d soon feel more like his old self and bounce back to me.
Finally, I ended up confronting him about how he was withdrawing. The conversation was a short one—he suddenly broke up with me. This compelled me to try to figure out the reasons why men pull back from intimate relationships, and what women should do in response.
Why He’s Pulling Away
- He feels overwhelmed.
Men are able to compartmentalize their emotions more easily than women can. If a man is working, he can focus solely on work. If he’s facing a crisis in his life, he’s thinking about that.
If your partner is experiencing stress, you need to support him so he can deal with it. But that support will probably look a lot different than the support you would need. For a man, “support” may mean that he needs you to leave him alone so he can handle the issue in his way.
As an example, if a man is facing a crisis at work, he may simply be unable to handle his partner’s relationship needs or personal financial issues. He may need to back away from some issues while he focuses on getting others in order. If you become demanding or angry, he may feel as though you’re not supporting him, even though you were trying to.
- Your relationship is in an uncomfortable phase.
During the first few months or so of a relationship, things progress fairly easily. Both partners are generally putting their best foot forward.
Then, reality sets in. You argue, or one or both of you is getting stressed. Communication begins to feel strained. his often occurs around the three- to the six-month mark, and many relationships can’t survive.
Some men start communicating less often during this phase because they just can’t maintain the intensity level of the initial phase. It may feel as though he’s pulling back from you, but in reality, he’s becoming more comfortable around you.
- He’s feeling doubts.
Compatibility can be tricky. hen it feels as though everything’s going well at first, it’s tempting to assume that the relationship will always feel that way.
But as partners get more comfortable with each other, potential stumbling blocks become more pronounced. If he starts thinking about “forever” because he’s getting ready to settle in with you, incompatibility is significant.
You need to consider things such as: are your lifestyles in line with each other’s? Do you want similar things in life? Are you genuinely compatible with each other? If there are significant areas where the two of you differ, he may be grappling with the fact that even though he’s attracted to you, your relationship may not be able to last.
- He’s interested in somebody else.
The thought that he may be interested in another woman is probably the scariest reason why men pull back. Most women lose it if they suspect that their man is interested in somebody else. If you suspect he’s considering a “side dish,” the best thing you can do is settle down and get control over your feelings.
Don’t make rash decisions about making changes with him or your relationship. You need to calmly figure out what you want. If you still want to be with him and want to preserve your relationship, don’t get angry or confront him. Gather your facts and calmly talk to him.
This won’t be easy, but it’s crucial if you want to be with him. You won’t be any help in the situation if you react like a raving lunatic, and you may even drive him into another woman’s more welcoming arms.
- Men and women process things differently.
Men’s and women’s brains are wired differently. Women’s brains’ hemispheres have more connections between them, which helps women feel and think at the same time. That’s significant when it comes to romantic relationships because men’s brains are set up differently so they require more space and time to process everything. Men’s brains are optimized for spatial and motor skills, while women’s are optimized for analytical and intuitive thinking.
This is why it takes guys longer to call you back than you were expecting, or why men are so good at working out logical solutions but may not consider the related feelings you explained.
If he feels emotionally overwhelmed and is pulling back from you, it’s because he needs some time to examine his feelings, think things through, and work out a solution. There’s nothing you can to women force him through this process. You can’t rush men into making decisions before they’re ready.
What to Do When He Pulls Away
No matter the reason your partner has pulled back from you, the way you respond is key. Focus on something other than your relationship for a while. Sometimes this is just what he needed to draw back toward you.
Take advantage of the time alone to refocus on yourself. Make plans with your friends, take up a new hobby, get busier at work. Try to have fun without him.
It will be tempting to chase him or to do something to entice him to come back. But you need to remember that his decision to pull back is his choice. He needs some time or space, and if you attempt to force him close again and he’s not ready to come back yet, you’ll probably end up losing him for good.
Try keeping things in perspective when you suspect your partner is pulling back, or just isn’t as close to you as you want him to be. The more you push him, the harder he’ll pull.