What To Do When He Pulls Away: 8 Steps To Bring Him Back
I hear from so many women who are dating a guy that things are going well, then one day, everything changes. He becomes distant, he calls less, and in your heart, it feels like something is off.
“Was it something I did or said?”
“Is he cheating on me?”
“Does he want to end things but doesn’t know how to do it?”
And these endless worries and doubts can lead you to do crazy things that end up pushing him further away.
Stop panicking. Put your phone down. And quit asking your single girlfriends for advice (unless you want to stay single). In this article, I will explain why men pull away, what to do when he pulls away, and what not to do.
There are several reasons why a guy might pull away:
- He’s stressed by external circumstances (work, family, health, etc.)
- He’s scared (of his feelings for you, intimacy, and commitment)
- It’s just a natural phase of the relationship
- He’s playing games
- He’s losing interest
- The relationship no longer feels like a good fit for him
What not to do when he is pulling away
First, I will tell you what you should never do when a man pulls away because this will have the opposite effect that you want.
1. Don’t try to fill the space
Ever notice when someone feels uncomfortable with silence, they’ll talk and blurt out anything to avoid a pause at all costs?
Well, that’s an example of someone trying to fill the space. And the same thing can happen when a guy starts to pull away. Your natural urge may be to fill that space by texting, calling, and asking for the hundredth time, “is everything okay???”
Fight this urge to fill the space. Let the space exist. Don’t fear space.
2. Don’t try to immediately seek closure on a problem in the relationship
If you’ve had a disagreement or an argument about something, you might be looking to fix it immediately.
Honestly, I’m like that in my relationship with Jessica. I always want closure instantly. I can’t stand it when there’s tension between us or we’re not 100% aligned on the issue, even if it’s something as minor as what color we’re painting the kitchen.
But the truth is, instant closure is not always possible when you’re in a relationship. Sometimes one person needs some time to reflect. After that, you can reunite, discuss things again, and come to an agreement.
So if this sounds like you, let things marinate for a while longer. Chicken that’s marinated for an hour is okay. But chicken that’s marinated overnight? Finger-lickin-good.
3. Don’t assume that you’re the problem
What I’ve noticed in my 12+ years as a dating coach is that women tend to assume that they are the problem when a guy starts acting distant. But assume that it’s not you.
There could be so many other things going on in this man’s world. He might be stressed about his business, feeling under the weather, or dealing with a personal family situation that he isn’t ready to tell you about yet.
Now I know that when you’re stressed about something, you want to talk about it. But research shows that men are the total opposite. We go into fight or flight mode. We become more self-centered. And we need our own space to figure things out.
4. Don’t respond with fear
When we feel like something we deeply desire is being ripped away, some of us cling on even harder for dear life. But this is rooted in fear, scarcity, and insecurity. We don’t believe we’ll be okay if we no longer have that thing we desire. And we don’t believe we’ll be able to find something better in the future. So we struggle to let go.
This can also show up when a man you like starts pulling away. All your dreams of getting married, having kids and building a future with this man feel under threat, and this terrifies you. So you act out of fear. Maybe you send him a message saying, “you’d better text me today; otherwise, we’re over.” Or, “if you’re cheating on me, I’m gonna throw all your sh*t out of the window and light it up real good. It’ll be the best bonfire you’ve ever seen.”
5. Don’t chase him
When the guy you’re dating pulls away, resist the urge to chase him.
In the early stages of dating, it’s best to mirror a man’s actions. If he invests in you, then you invest back. So if he texts or calls, then you text or call him back.
But if the texts, calls, and dates come to a halt, then you should too. Back off when he pulls away and put your energy elsewhere. Because even though you think that chasing him will draw him back to you and make him forget about every other potential single woman out there, it won’t. It’ll have the opposite effect and push him towards those other women.
Don’t give your power away by investing in a man who’s not investing in you. High-value women never do this.
6. Don’t check his social media!
Put the phone down, slowly step away from it, and keep your hands where I can see them at all times.
When a man pulls away, avoid checking up on him online. I know you want to see what he’s up to and whether there are any clues as to why he’s been a little distant. Maybe you also want to know if he has been in contact with his ex or another woman. Perhaps you’re secretly hoping he’s been posting sad photos accompanied by crying smiley faces, confessing how much he missed you 😢.
But trust me, you’re not going to see what you want to see, and there’s a good chance you’ll end up even more frustrated or paranoid.
Anyway, surely you’ve got something better to do with your time than stalk this guy online?
What to do when he pulls away
Here’s how to handle it when he pulls away (the right way).
1. Reflect on the situation
Pause, step back, and take a much-needed breath. Whatever conclusion your mind is jumping to might not even be close to the truth. When you give yourself some time and space (and calm down), you might gain a new perspective on the situation. Put yourself in his shoes for a moment. What could be going on for him?
Even if you’ve had a bad experience in the past, don’t assume the worst about this guy. He is not any of your exes.
2. If you’re not exclusive, continue dating
Unless you have sat down and defined your relationship (i.e., agreed that you are exclusive), you should be dating other guys.
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Because you’re single! And it’s too early to decide whether this guy is the man for you.
I see too many women make the mistake of pinning all their hopes on one guy, and they’re devastated when things don’t work out.
Be so busy talking to other guys that you don’t even have time to think about one of them pulling away. John, who now?
Let the right man move toward you and invest in you; if he doesn’t, then NEXT!
3. Give him some time and space
I recommend you give this guy a week before reaching out. He might need a bit of space to deal with whatever is going on in his world. And if he sees that you’re able to give him that space and not suffocate him or manipulate him into coming back, it will help to build trust between you.
If a week goes by and you still haven’t heard a peep from him, send him a message like this:
“I’ve noticed you’ve been a little distant over the past week. I thought you might need some space, so I backed off. But I just want to check in to make sure everything is okay?”
You’re not making it about you, and you’re communicating to him that you care about him.
4. Focus your energy elsewhere
One of the best things to take your mind off something (or someone) is to channel your attention elsewhere. Get busy and get distracted—in a good way.
Spend more time on your hobbies, try a new class, and spend time with people who lift your spirits. Maintaining your own life and independence is essential outside of a romantic relationship. Think of it this way, your life should be the entire ice cream sundae, and the man should be the cherry on top. Your life should be incredible already, and he’s just a bonus!
There’s no better time than now to try a spin class, learn how to make pottery, go surfing, get a cooking lesson, book a last-minute vacation, or a much-needed pampering day.
5. Let him come to you when he’s ready
I know you’re probably a go-getter, type-A personality, take charge kind of woman. And that’s why it’s so hard for you to take a step back and wait around for this guy to pursue you. This relentless confidence and drive work great for you in your career and other areas of life. But here’s the deal: dating is a little different.
When you do the chasing, you don’t give him the chance to show you how he truly feels about you. If you want to know where his heart lies, you need to create some space so he can pursue you. If he wants you, trust me when I say he’ll come back. And if he doesn’t?
It’s his loss.
Repeat after me: NEXT!
6. Offer your support
As I mentioned earlier, if you haven’t heard from the guy in a week or longer, it’s time to check in. But don’t go OTT here. Keep it short and sweet. Cool as a cucumber. Ask him what’s going on, but don’t accuse him of anything or demand anything from him. Try to be a support for him and offer to help him.
If he’s emotionally mature (which any grown man should be if he has any chance of building a healthy, successful relationship), he’ll be able to open up and share with you what’s going on.
7. Communicate your needs
When a man takes a step back and pulls away like this, it might trigger abandonment issues or eat away at your self-worth, especially if it happens frequently. A lot of women would not be okay with their boyfriend or husband regularly disappearing for days or weeks at a time. You are not overreacting here!
So if he does come back, you’ve got to communicate your needs to him by being open, authentic, and vulnerable. Share how it made you feel (in a high-value way). It’s okay to admit that it bothered you. You’re not a rock; you’re a human being! Talk about how you can better deal with a similar situation in the future. If he cares about you and respects you, he will be willing to make changes so that he doesn’t cause you to feel this way again.
Healthy, committed relationships are built by setting and communicating boundaries (also known as Little Love Step #6). If you struggle with this, working with a dating and relationship coach could make a world of difference.
8. Reignite that flame and move forward together
Commit to resetting, starting over, and building your connection again. It’s normal to need some time to regain that trust and security and let your guard down. But if you are both committed to making things work, you will get there. Patience is key here. Don’t expect things to magically get back to the way they were in a day.
How to prevent him from pulling away
Okay, so now that you know what to do when he pulls away, how do you avoid this from happening again?
Little Love Step #5 is crucial to prevent men from pulling away.
Pacing. It’s all about pacing.
At this stage, you’re talking to many guys and exploring your options (make sure you are!). Your instinct might be to speed things up as you start to like a guy more. But blowing up his phone with texts or being available all day every day screams low-value, and so naturally, he won’t value you.
What I want you to do at this stage is slow things right down. Stay calm and create some space. It’s not about playing hard to get; it’s about actually being hard to get because you’re a woman with options.
This will do two things.
- It will give you the time you need to decide which guy is worth giving up your sexy, single life for and being exclusive with.
- It will make men pursue you harder because distance really does make the heart grow fonder.
Yes, it can be frustrating when a guy goes mute on you without warning, but the choices you make when he does will either bring him closer to you or push him even further away. And your choices will affect how you feel, too. When you act from a place of lack and fear, you won’t feel good. But when you act from a place of confidence and self-respect, you’ll feel strong.
Have you ever experienced a guy pulling away from you? What would you do differently knowing what you know now?
Tell me all about it in the comments below.