21 Common Reasons Why Men Pull Away After Getting Close

check_icon Research-backed

You may be dating your beau for several months now, but there may come a time in life when you begin noticing some changes in their behavior. You may begin wondering about the reasons why they are trying to distance themselves from you. Read this post to know the reasons why men pull away in a relationship.

Changed behavior in men may lead to confusion and self-doubt in their women partners, thinking they did something wrong. Such thoughts may lead to increased stress and leave little room for a healthy relationship to flourish. However, it may have got very little or nothing to do with you.

You must take a break and figure out whether your guy is really drifting away or if your insecurities are the root of your doubts. Read this post where we tell you a few reasons why men pull away at times and some tips on how to sail through the situation.

In This Article

Reasons Why Men Pull Away

1. Gamophobia

Gamophobia or fear of commitment could be a possible reason, wherein your guy experiences an uncontrolled and irrational fear of being accountable to you. He might have jitters at the very thought of reporting to you.

Until now, it was all about spending time together, and it all seemed happy. But, when things start getting serious, and he is faced with the moment of truth, he is probably at his wit’s end, and his first reaction is to distance himself or make himself unavailable to you.

protip_icon Did you know?
According to research, gamophobia could be caused by a bad experience from a previous relationship or a bad marriage between parents. It could be a result of fears such as not being able to maintain a successful relationship or being with one person for the rest of their life (1).

2. Sense of bondage

Some men love to live on their own terms, and in no way do they like being in a controlling relationship. They become defensive and prevent anyone from intruding on their territory.

A relationship is a shared vision that never revolves around personal whims and fancies. It needs both partners to walk that extra mile and make things work, for which he may not be ready yet.

3. Abandonment issues

The notion that displaying emotional vulnerability diminishes one’s masculinity is highly mistaken. But that is what might have been engraved in his psyche. This instinct often triggers insecurity and the fear of getting hurt by rejection. So, he might prefer pulling away as a defense mechanism despite the real positive intent you show in the relationship.

An anonymous blogger who has been facing abandonment issues sheds light on this problem. He says, ”When someone leaves me, I get angry and blame them for abandoning me. But the worst part is when I turn on myself. I started to wonder what I did wrong, what I could have said or done differently, and what I could have done to make them stay. My brain goes into overdrive, searching for that one moment when I could have made a difference. Even when there is nothing to find, my brain still insists that it’s my fault (i).”

4. Resistance to change

While it is completely normal for life to change after entering into a relationship, it can often be quite intimidating and overwhelming. For some, a transformation is not desired. Some men enter a relationship unaware of what the future holds. There is a high chance of them feeling restless and walking away while putting up with the new normal.

5. Hatred for melodrama

Conflicts and disagreements are bound to occur in any relationship. Often, men might retract in their shell silently. Probably they consciously want to avoid an explosive argument, emotional breakdown, or melodrama, as they would call it. And walking away may seem to be the perfect thing to do for them.

6. Blurred vision

Being in a relationship may not always be a rational decision, leave alone sustaining one. Overcome by emotions, we often tend to act on our impulses with no optimal clarity of thought.

In case, at a precise moment in time, your man feels that the relationship is becoming a deterrent and simply dragging on would do no good to either of you, it might give him the perfect reason to pull away.

7. History of disappointments

He might have developed a sense of insecurity
share button

Image: IStock

Your man has probably been dumped before and might not be over it yet. He might pretend to be strong enough to embrace pain and hide his wounds, but deep down, he might have developed a sense of insecurity.

They may not let you into their soft-spot for fear of getting exploited yet another time and could pull away after getting close.

8. Unrealistic expectations

Remember, it is not about you or the relationship always. Beyond the warmth of love and romance, there exists a  world that can be excruciatingly cold, ruthless, and demanding.

Stressful work-life, performance pressure, not being able to balance all ends, etc., may impact his actions and thoughts and, ultimately, disturb the equilibrium of your relationship.

9. Dwindling spark

The early phase of a relationship is like a fairy tale. Everything seems to be picture perfect. But as the honeymoon period ends and gradually both of you start embracing the mundane, the facade fades.

It is no longer just about emotional bonding, but about the greater responsibility of sailing through the tides. Often, the irresistible charm that once held you together might vanish in thin air, and he might start losing interest.

protip_icon Point to consider
Don’t always blame yourself for the loss of spark in a relationship. A man may lose interest in a relationship for his changed priorities.

10. Difference in outlook

Often attraction and infatuation are mistaken as emotional commitment. A faulty understanding of something so integral to a relationship is unfortunate when one of the partners is serious.

Your man may like going out with you, but he might not be looking beyond that. When he realizes you are expecting more out of the relationship, it might give him cold feet, and he may pull away.

11. Lack of compatibility

It all starts with appeasing, pampering, and dreaming of being there for each other for life. But, peaceful coexistence isn’t a child’s play and requires conscious efforts.

A sense of belonging, mutual trust, and respect are integral to helping one another address the hurdles that life brings along. If your partner, for one reason or the other, feels that his goals are not being met, he might pull away from the relationship.

12. Lack of space

Men value their independence and personal space. For some, partying till the wee hours, being glued to the TV, playing video games for hours, or not cleaning up daily might be normal. Certain things that get under your skin may probably be the best ways for them to unwind and chill.

So, if you are a disciplinarian, it could be overwhelming for him, and he could take it as the perfect excuse to call it quits.

13. You are one among the many

Your man could be cheating on you the whole time
share button

Image: Shutterstock

In this day and age, with access to social media, dating sites, etc., it is quite possible that your man may have been cheating on you the whole time.

As long as you are casual, he is fine with your relationship. But, the very instance you start planning your future together, he backs off.

14. Emotional disconnect

A man may not be good at expressing what he feels, but being human, he too has his share of expectations attached to the relationship.

The moment he feels the relationship is not satisfying his emotional needs, he is on the back foot. While you celebrate the idea of commitment, he may pull away slowly and silently. This may impede the intimacy within your relationship.

protip_icon Quick fact
Opposites may attract but not necessarily sustain. If emotionally, you and your partner are not on the same page, salvaging the relationship may become an impossible task. So better let go.

15. Lack of fulfillment

A fulfilling relationship may be defined as one where both of you contribute to each other’s happiness, growth, and wellbeing without expectations. As utopian as it may sound, in reality, this is the very basis on which a good relationship flourishes.

In case your guy starts feeling that there are loose ends in the relationship, and you are innately self-centered, hostile to him, or envious of him, he might prefer pulling away than sulking or confronting the issue.

16. Unmet desires

Some men may look at a relationship as a platform to fulfill their insatiable desires, the sheer multiplicity and variations of which may be dizzying and difficult for you to handle. Your man may not have the habit of taking ‘no’ for an answer. When these desires are not met, he might feel hurt and choose to withdraw.

17. Communication gap

When both partners share a certain comfort level, it allows them to open up to each other and express themselves, helping them put across concerns effectively and avoid misunderstandings.

Often, the reluctance to step up and strike a conversation leaves a great void to fill. When unaddressed, this invariably leads to coldness, and gradually the chemistry that you share meets an end.

18. Presence of potential options

When you have already taken the leap of faith and committed to him, you tend to get blinded by the idea of love. You lose sight of reality and refuse to look through him.

One fine day, you might be surprised to find out that when you were busy celebrating togetherness, your man was exploring greener pastures and looking for the right reason to pull away.

19. Your overbearing nature

Well, that is for you to mull over. It is time to put yourself a bit under the scanner if required. Often, your behavioral traits may seem unpleasantly overpowering to him.

Now, if you say you can’t help but be your natural self, you need to assess yourself. Again, it is all about mutuality.

20. High expectations

Are your expectations from the relationship increasing by the day? He could lose it if he feels that he is unable to please you and live up to your expectations.

It could be the other way around too. You may feel that it is practically impossible to always make him feel loved, valued, and respected as he expects. If his expectations are unrealistic, remember that the problem is with him and not you.

21. It wasn’t meant to be

There is no sense of belonging in the relationship
share button

Image: IStock

It’s possible for your man to realize that the intensity of his feelings for you is fading away, and there is no sense of belonging in the relationship.

Despite having visualized a beautiful future together, he might have to pull away to remain true to you. While you have a hard time putting yourself together to deal with the sudden loss, he might have done what is just.

What To Do When He Pulls Away?

Frankly, there is no magic potion that can fix a troubled relationship.

However, now that you are aware that the situation is spinning out of control, it is necessary for you to address it to save yourself from further agony. But in the process, remember not to ignore your sentiments and lose your sense of self-worth by appearing desperate to win them back. You may use these handy tips to cope with the situation.

1. Stop being obsessed

The very thought that your man is pulling away after getting close can be frustrating and hurtful. But do not let your emotions overwhelm your rational mind under any circumstance. Continuously worrying about what would happen next may add to your worries and increase your stress levels.

Try focusing on things that you love to do. Take up a hobby, go shopping, unwind in a spa, take your girlfriends out for drinks, or hit the road.

Although these may seem trivial for a moment, they can help you let go of your obsessive thoughts and not only calm you from within but also bring out the best in you.

2. Vent out

Your friends who care may help you release the pent-up angst
share button

Image: Shutterstock

Rather than wallowing in pain, get it off your chest by reaching out to friends who care. Talking to people with similar experiences may help you release the pent-up angst.

Letting others into your personal space may initially make you uncomfortable, but it could instill in you the feeling that you are not alone and that there are others who can make you feel loved and valued.

As you let out the negativity, you will be able to get over lingering thoughts of insecurity and better cope with the situation.

3. Nurture compassion

Probably it is just your insecurities that are clouding your mind and making you fume. Before hurling accusations and derailing the chances of working it out, try understanding his stance. Maybe he is just preoccupied with other important things in life and is unable to balance all ends.

Try processing your feelings and emotions in a way that at least gives him the benefit of the doubt, without fretting.

4. Sever contact

This might make you feel that you are unnecessarily hard on yourself. But, it will give you ample time to assess yourself, the relationship, and most importantly, him. Contemplate how it all started, his approach towards you, and how you feel.

This can put a hold on your massive assumptions and significantly help you in two ways. Firstly, you get an incredible opportunity to dissect your stand in the relationship and develop the strength to embrace any outcome. Secondly, if he is still interested in you, he will sense the void, and it won’t take too long for him to come looking for you.

5. Seek counseling

Consult a relationship expert
share button

Image: Shutterstock

If you feel entrapped in conflicting emotions and can no longer handle it, it is wise to consult a relationship expert.

The person may not be able to give you a clear answer to why he pulled away. But, just a patient ear to your problems and a few words of wisdom may become important for your confidence.

The counselor may be able to instill in you the confidence to pull through the odds and help you see the problem as just another bump on the road.

Stay positive, whatever it takes. A positive approach will keep your morale high and give you the strength to take everything in your stride and move on without cynicism, grudge, and self-pity.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the signs of a man pulling away?

Some signs that may indicate that your man is pulling away may include:

  • His texting frequency and promptness have reduced
  • He refrains from initiating plans
  • His attention levels are low and are giving you mixed signals
  • He has a new group of friends or is being secretive
  • He seems irritated all the time and doesn’t ask normal questions such as “how was your day?”

2. What to text him if he pulls away?

Try not to present yourself as needy or clingy if you feel your guy is pulling away. Avoid hurling him with several text messages. Your text should make him feel that you are ready to give him space and will be there to support him. Additionally, you can tell him that you are worried about him and ask him for an honest discussion. However, if this doesn’t work, you may try showing him that you are moving away politely.

3. How do you know if he will come back after pulling away?

Some men may be phobic of commitment and pull away abruptly. They may still come around after some time. He may show signs of coming back, such as texting, behaving positively, showing interest in your activities on social media, calling you, and taking an interest in your life.

4. What communication strategies can help when a man pulls away?

Try to talk to him either through texts or personally. Tell him that his behavior is making you feel concerned for him. Ask him if anything bothers him, and assure him you will support him. You can even leave him a handwritten letter to make him feel more special. If this does not work, then do not nag him anymore. Instead, give him the time and space he needs.

5. How can men handle the emotions of pulling away in a relationship?

Emotions leading a man to leave a relationship can be complicated and overwhelming. Tackling them needs patience. They should be patient with themselves and their partner. If they still have feelings for their partner, they should try not to give up too soon. Instead, persevere and make efforts to come out of it. Wait until there is better clarity on the relationship.

6. How can couples rebuild trust after a man has pulled away?

To rebuild a relationship, the couple must first address the issue that led the man to pull away. Next, they should consider ways to ensure the issue is not repeated. The couple must then leave behind negative feelings and give another fresh start to their relationship, this time being more mindful of each other’s feelings.

7. How can a woman prevent a man from pulling away?

Firstly, ensure that he trusts you and can confide in you without the fear of being judged. Keep him happy and content in and out of the bedroom. Be open to fulfilling his desires. Do not pressure him for commitment. Commitment is essential, but avoid badgering him into doing it. Lastly, give him your attention and respect to make him feel wanted. Despite all these efforts, if he still pulls away, then know it’s not you; it’s him.

8. What are the biggest mistakes women make when a man starts to pull away?

The biggest mistake women make after a man begins to pull away is panic. In this panic mode, women can trouble men with incessant questions to know what is the matter with them. Crying only worsens the situation because not all men can handle tears. Lastly, getting angry and screaming further pushes men away from them.

9. Can a man be pulled back into a relationship after he has left?

Yes. Men who have pulled back from a relationship can return when the issues are external and have nothing to do with the connection. For instance, a man could have pulled back because he was stressed at work, and the uncertainty may have bogged him down. However, once his work pressure eases and he feels more confident in his career path, he can appreciate how patiently his partner waited for him through his low period. He may even work harder on making the relationship work.

It is painful and depressing to find that a man you have been dating is growing apart or avoiding you. Fear of commitment, apprehension of losing control over their lives, or bitter past experiences may be responsible for such behavior. He may need some space before committing and may not be sure if he feels compatible or emotionally connected with you. Your overpowering traits may also worry him. A positive and honest conversation may reveal why men pull away. You can try to make things work but do not go hard on yourself and move on with your life.

Infographic: He’s Getting Distant: How To Address

There are no quick fixes in relationships, but the right step at the right time may prevent damage. There are some measures that you may take if you feel your man is growing distant. Analyzing the reason is of prime importance. Check out the infographic below to know what to do in such cases.

what to do if he is distancing himself from you (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Get the high-quality PDF version of this infographic.

Download Infographic in PDF version

Key Pointers

  • Men could pull away from a relationship due to compatibility issues, lack of space or emotional connect, unrealistic expectations, or difference in opinion.
  • Based on the reason he is pulling away, you may take an action – either talk it out, take a break, or make adjustments.
  • Use a positive approach, but do not lose yourself.
Why men pull away_illustration

Image: Dall·E/MomJunction Design Team

Are you wondering why men pull away when things seem to be going great? Uncover the reason behind this behavior in this enlightening video, offering insights into this common relationship dynamic.

Personal Experience: Source


MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. Assessment and Management of Fear of Marriage among Young Adult); University of Lagos.
Was this article helpful?
The following two tabs change content below.