Figuring out why men pull away is so much easier if deep down, you know that you’ve been in denial.

I used to be more scared of being physically alone than I was scared of ending up with someone who made me feel more alone than my self-hatred did.

And because I approached dating with a “grateful for any crumb” mentality, I continued to bet on potential instead of act on red flags.

I would convince myself that he was amazing; that I was in this great relationship and that we had this once-in-a-lifetime connection (despite my intuition knowing better). My fear of being alone made me turn a blind eye to lies, inconsistencies, cheating, and broken promises. Even gaslighting and other forms of emotional abuse were tolerated and excused.

This fear also made very avoidant. Especially when it came to the devaluing and gaslighting that I was doing to myself. All I knew how to do in relationships was settle, tolerate, and give at the expense of my dignity.

By continuing to act from a place of:

It was impossible for me to have any kind of care for my mental health. Soon, I lost all respect for myself. And when you don’t have any self-respect, what’s the point in prioritizing mental health that you don’t ever think you’ll be good enough to attain? (the same can be said for physical health).

I would then wonder why he was pulling away when I had done nothing but give everything.

My dating life became a humiliating nightmare and I was always the victim.

This victim mentality that I had adopted, as a result, fueled more bad decisions which always ended in investigatory obsession instead of Happily Ever After.

As far as wanting to know why men pull away, there were other instances that now, looking back, were a no brainer.

I would finally meet a good guy who was the complete opposite of the ones above. But because I still had unresolved issues with abandonment, trust, and crippling insecurity… I would sabotage the relationship.

Everything brought a reaction out of me. I wanted control over everyone and everything because I had no control over how worthless I felt.

These instances above are not what I am referring to in this post.

This post is about figuring out why men pull away when you both have a great, seemingly healthy and progressively serious thing going.

You can’t get enough of each other. The vibe is good and there aren’t any red flags that you’ve noticed so far.

And then one day… it’s no longer the same.

He’s turned cold. It feels like he’s miles away even when he’s right next to you.

His energy has shifted for no reason at all and you start to panic.

Why does this happen?

Why do men pull away when things are going great and just starting to get serious?

Read this slowly and remember it. Write it down if you need to…

Nothing ignites obsession, self-sabotage, and self-blame more than getting rejected when your self-esteem is nonexistent.

You become obsessed with getting answers.

Every article online says:

“Maybe he just doesn’t want to be in a relationship.”

“He might be a player.”

“He’s cheating!”

“He’s stressed out about something.”

“You fell in love too easily.”

“There are communication issues.”

“He might be gay.”

“You were needy and he felt suffocated.”

But you know that none of this applies and you haven’t seen any red flags so far. It’s impossible to think that him pulling away has nothing to do with you but you’ve been playing it so cool. This time was so much different than all the others.

How can this be happening?

He doesn’t respond to your texts and calls as quickly as he used to. It would almost be easier if he was being directly disrespectful because this passive ambiguity is killing you. The change in his energy hurts more than blatant disrespect ever could and you can’t help but assume that you did something to cause this.

Bottom line: *even if* you did something to cause him to pull away, the fact that you were that close, had that good of a thing going, and he’s pulling away without giving you one shred of communication…

This is a huge red flag and a massive turn off.

It’s selfish, it’s emotionally unintelligent, and if there’s that much of a handbrake when it comes to communication… a mutual, reciprocal, and mature relationship will never be a possibility.

Yes, you may have done something to cause him to pause, but the decision to not communicate is on him. (this applies to women as well. I have definitely behaved like this in the past and hurt really good people).

Here are the two main reasons why men pull away when everything seems to be going well…

1. This isn’t about playing the field or dating multiple people while he’s dating you. It’s about still being hung up on someone else and not realizing it until he got involved with you.

As far as why men pull away, a lot of the time it’s because while his feelings for you are growing, his heart is conflicted. I have definitely been there and it was never about doing anything calculated and malicious. It was a mixture of avoidance, a lack of self-awareness, and also, making a genuine effort to healthily move on.

Unfortunately, sometimes it takes getting involved with someone else to realize how conflicted and unresolved our feelings really are.

This may be with an ex or with someone he was dating before you. It’s a tough situation and I’m not exonerating anyone here – just trying to shed light on something that I have been on both the giving and the receiving end of.

Whenever I did this in the past, it was never because I didn’t like the guy I was with. I really did like and respect him and I really did NOT want to play games. But when I realized how hung up I still was, I would disrespect him by backing off (or even ghosting) instead of communicating.

Why?

I was emotionally immature, scared, ashamed, and avoidant. I didn’t like who I was. The thought of losing him and hurting him the way I had been hurt in the past was too much to face.

I was also, extremely selfish.

I wanted to pull back a bit while I figured my feelings out. I couldn’t deal with losing him but I also couldn’t deal with it getting any more serious. And all the while, I wasn’t communicating any of this to someone who was not only deserving of the truth but that I genuinely cared about.

No matter how much I cared and how in limbo I was though, all I had to offer were crumbs. I was a total contradictory joke.

2. Another reason why men pull away: control.

He pulls away just when things are starting to get more serious because he knows that this is how he can get more control.

He wants to know that he has all of you (because he’s so insecure and is most likely, working out childhood trauma that we all have) but can’t give you all of him (because he knows that he’d have to commit and do things that are not within his emotional range). So, whenever you want to calmly talk or respectfully hint about the relationship progressing, he overreacts and recoils.

When he does that, you react and then unjustly blame yourself. You are triggered by a painful history that is now repeating itself.

You then work twice as hard to prove that you are understanding of his concerns and wanting to “take it slow.” His last relationship traumatized him, his Grandmother just died, he just got fired, his dog has anxiety or whatever the reason may be, there you are accommodating at the expense of yourself and your sanity, every time. The problem with this is that he gets all of the benefits of you being a committed girlfriend (because you’re working so hard to prove yourself) without any commitment on his end.

Again, a lot of this can happen subconsciously and there is no use explaining it to a man (or woman) who is that triggered, lame, emotionally stunted, and incapable of introspection.

Sometimes, him pulling away is the first red flag that you’re exposed to. But just because it’s the first, that doesn’t make the shade of red any lighter or easier to look past. 

At the very least, you deserve someone who has enough respect for themselves (and for you) to explain why they need to take a step back.

If they can’t, they are giving you a gift – literally proving to you that they do not have the emotional intelligence and equipment to be in the relationship you deserve.

x Natasha

If you need further and more personalized help with your relationship, please look into working with me here.

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13 comments

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Great post, Natasha.

I have one question… I’ve read so many articles that say that men need to pull away at some point even if they want to commit, and that they eventually come back and that the woman must respect that need for space and distance etc. Me i’ve never seen this happen in a commitment friendly guy. Can this ever really been the case?

Xx

Reply

Hi 😊 So glad you liked the post. I can’t speak in absolutes for anyone or anything. I’m sure it can be the case but it’s very dependent on the type of person, situation and relationship so it’s hard for me to answer ♥️

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Natasha,

As always you have a way of writing what most of us cannot put into words. I always feel so much calmer after I come to this blog.
I left my job and him after he used me, ignored me, then got married. A YEAR ago. I’m so much more at peace, but literally a year later I still can’t
figure it out. I’d never want him now in any form, so not sure why I still think about him and wonder what happened. Perhaps because I still blame myself.
I wish the VERY first time he pulled back I would have just realized what an absolute scum bag he is, and saved myself the tears, years, and pain to come. For anyone experiencing this, then immediately googling to figure out why he or she is doing this – RUN! Literally just stop and turn around and head in the opposite direction of this person. Whatever “it” is, just end “it”. It never gets better. This kind of person will never turn out to be what you need, and this relationship will always have an element of just pure sh*t to it.

Sending you love Natasha from the other coast. Can’t wait to read your book 🙂
xox Christine

Reply

Hi Christine!

Thank you so much for sharing 🙏🏼♥️ I’m sorry that you’ve had to go through this all. I’ve been there. Feeling the way you do, even after more than a year, is normal. You made it through and learned so much. It doesn’t sound like he will ever change. I’m so happy that the post and this blog have helped in any way 💖 Can’t wait for you to read the book 😊 I’m working hard on it. Love you sister. You are never alone. Xx

Reply

Amazing post Natasha made so much sense ! I can see my younger self doing all those things you mentioned : doubting myself, trying too hard, being an emotional wreck from second guessing when communications slowed or stopped etc . It’s great to feel strong now 💪 I too always feel empowered when I read your articles. ❤️💕 Love you xxxxxx

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Love you too Jules 🙂 Thanks for being you. xxx

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I really needed to read this today! I had been questioning myself and this post helped to re-center my thoughts. Thank you Natasha!

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So happy it helped 🙂 Thanks Marianna! xox

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This is a great post (and topic) Natasha.

I think when anyone noticeably throttles back on communication, it’s safe to assume it’s because of something going on with them. And when someone chooses to hide what’s making them uncomfortable, they’re revealing their uneasiness with vulnerability. Perhaps that’s because they (mistakenly) believe their self-worth is negatively affected by what’s making them uncomfortable. Examples abound, and include things like “I didn’t get that promotion, ergo I’m unworthy” or “my ex cheated, so there’s something wrong with me” or “men should work out their problems on their own, and if I can’t do that then I’m failing.”

There are also toxic examples of hidden problems, like addictions, criminal behavior or infidelity. They may even be hooked on the “honeymoon” phase of a relationship, and therefore unwilling to enter that phase where their partner begins to recognize the differences that always exist between two people.

The point is that the behavior is likely due to some form of loss aversion – usually the loss of their unrealistic self-image.

The health of our relationships correlates with the amount of mutual vulnerability. Our partners may hurt us, have different feelings or say things we don’t like. We have no power over that, and if we don’t have sufficiently robust boundaries then it is difficult to feel comfortable enough to be vulnerable. And without that openness the relationship cannot progress, as you point out.

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Brandon,

My dear friend, I love you and every one of your comments. Your comments illuminate and expand on my posts. This one, in particular, was the perfect segue for the post I am writing next. Thank you for being here. I know that I speak for everyone when I say how much you are appreciated and how much your perspective helps.

Thanks for being you. xo

Reply

Hi Natasha.

Thank you for this post. I was reading this and it hit me like a ton of bricks. This lone especially!

Nothing ignites obsession, self-sabotage, and self-blame more than getting rejected when your self-esteem is nonexistent.

I feel like some fog cleared for me. It is so true. The act of someone just pulling away and abandoning the other person ignites pain and so many other emotions. I am pretty sure that the person who flees has no idea what a bomb they set off as they are exiting the scene. It makes sense though because they lack the capacity as you said.

Thank you for shedding light on this for me. It helps me so much!

I love you and appreciate all you give to support and make navigating all of this so much easier.

Be well. 😘💕🦄🌸

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I really dont know what to say about this article.. I have been looking for something that summarizes how i feel and how i see things.. and this …this is just soo acurate..
Thank you for this post. It helps to know that its not just me out there..

Reply

Hi Bibiqna!

You are not alone <3 so happy that the post served you. Thank you for taking the time to comment and thank you for being a part of this tribe. All my love to you. xo

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