It’s normal to not know how to react when a guy pulls away.
On one hand, you want to turn the tables around, yet, on the other hand, you want to maintain a healthy dynamic in your relationship.
Depending on your ways of coping with this, you’ll be faced with difficulties while trying to decide what to do about it.
Leaving things not communicated and ‘solving’ them in a passive way will only lead the relationship to an end without properly ending.
So, should you leave him alone when he pulls away or should you do something about it?
Here are 7 steps to take when a man pulls away from you:
1. Ask him if everything’s okay and let him know you’re there for him.
Research has shown that couples are more likely to stay together if they turn toward each other instead of away from each other when there are issues in their relationships.
Communication plays a fundamental role in romantic relationships.
If you’re sensing emotional distance, talk to him, instead of acting or reacting to it based on a projection of ‘something you’re sure he’s up to’.
When he pulls away, it’s crucial to create a safe space in which a discussion can develop calmly by considering one another’s feelings.
A conversation with him will give you a distinct picture of how he acknowledges his behavior and how he handles your concerns regarding the relationship.
This will help you understand his point of view and the reasoning behind why he’s pulling away.
You should address the questions that are bothering you, rather than thinking about them and coming up with a conclusion that doesn’t fit the bill.
To communicate your concerns to him more clearly and confidently, try seeing which part of his behavior is indicative that he’s pulling away.
Is he acting differently, is he being less affectionate, and is his behavior directly linked with you?
- Try to listen to his explanation and try to express and articulate your thoughts and opinions as well-defined and clearly as possible.
- Avoid accusing him of mean intentions right off the bat. Let patience be part of your discussion.
- Offer your support if seen as needed. Don’t forget to say “I’m here for you. You can talk to me about anything.”
- Ask him whether it’s something you’ve done that caused him to pull away.
- Let him know how you’re feeling without accusing him of a particular mal intention.
- Use “I feel” or, “I think” statements to prevent an accusatory tone.
2. Give him space: respect his decision.
He’s pulling away, so this can make you feel like you’re responsible for it, or that you have to take action to not let this happen.
Such relationship problems are not easy to deal with. You want him to stay, yet, he wants his space.
Despite the urge to convince him to stay, win him back, or convince him that he can’t afford to walk away from you, you’ve got to give him space.
When he pulls away, let him go.
Don’t be persistent on “I want you to stay” because it can draw him away even further.
Give him the space, and respect his decision despite the effect of his absence on you.
- Cut off the unhealthy mind games to “make him chase you back”.
- By letting him have his space you maintain dignity and prevent yourself from seeming desperate.
- You give the relationship a chance to reconcile and your partner time to figure out what he’s trying to do.
3. Re-shape and re-discuss your boundaries together regarding ‘Me Time’.
Professor of psychology, Robert Coplan, says that alone time is very much needed for people to grow and have a sense of individuality.
Intimacy can be interpreted in a myriad of ways. It is manifested differently in different people and couples.
This interrelates with your definitions of love, partnership, and ‘me time’.
Sit and discuss the definition of ‘me time’ with him. If he’s asking for space, you’re likely to have different versions of space and ‘me time’.
You could have different boundaries and different standards regarding the time you spend on your own, or the attention you’re capable of giving to a partner.
Talking about this can help you both have a better understanding of your needs regarding affection, alone time, and time you’re willing to spend with each other.
- Your love languages can be different from one another. Discussing this could clear up a lot of things in your relationship.
- Understanding his version of ‘taking time for myself’ can put you at peace whenever he pulls away to take time for himself.
- Discussing your boundaries regarding alone time can help you both manage and know how to take your time without hurting one another.
4. Avoid going out of your way to impress him or get his attention back.
Self-blaming isn’t healthy, though it’s a practice commonly seen in such situations.
Being persistent and begging him to stay when he pulls away is very likely to draw him away from you even further.
Although that can occur as a natural response to his withdrawal, try to not go overboard when you sense he’s pulling away.
Whether he pulls away during early dating or after you’ve committed to a relationship, altering yourself is never a good idea.
You might have this urge to please him more or to turn into someone else with the hope of him changing his mind.
You should resist those urges and rely on self-respect.
- Stick to yourself. Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not in hopes of getting him or his attention back.
- Working on making him feel guilty for pulling away from you can distract you both from the real issues in the relationship.
- When you don’t stay true to yourself for the sake of convincing or proving to him that pulling away isn’t a decision he wants to make, you tend to lose yourself in the process.
5. Make a distinction between lack of interest and need for space.
Take some time to evaluate the discussions you’ve had as a couple while taking into consideration your love languages and your concepts of alone time.
Try maintaining a realistic approach to the situation and make a distinction whether the fact that he pulled away is because of disinterest or need for space.
Watching your partner pull away with or without a clue behind the reasoning behind his actions can make you feel overwhelmed.
That can sometimes affect your perception of the situation.
It can lead you to be driven and affected by those very intense feelings and emotions you’re experiencing at the moment.
That’s why the presence of a pragmatic view of the situation is crucial.
- Think whether this is normal behavior that he does when he needs space.
- Is he normally loving and kind to you? Did he abruptly pull away?
- Did he communicate to you the need for space, or did he slowly pull away in a passive-aggressive manner?
These questions will help you shape the way to a better understanding and a choice you can make regarding this relationship.
6. Ask yourself: Does his behavior match my standards?
Not all men pull away for benign reasons. For some, this can be just a part of their manipulation tactics.
This is why, when he pulls away, it’s important to ask yourself, “Does his behavior match my standards and expectations?”
Everyone is deserving of a partner who genuinely loves them, wants to stay, and doesn’t make them feel like they have to earn their love.
Reflecting on how your partner’s behavior is making you feel will tremendously help you in knowing how you are affected by it.
Look at it from both points of view: is this something triggering your insecurities, or is it a disrespectful behavior of his?
Think it through with ease, without being harsh on yourself.
It’s important to be aware of your actions, behavior, and thoughts regarding the situation without being judgmental of yourself.
- If you find his behavior to be toxic, way different from your loving approach, and far from how you expect to be treated in a relationship then it’s time to reconsider this relationship.
- If this is just another round of his passive-aggressive behavior then his behavior might not be matching your standard of expectations.
- You have the right to contemplate whether being in a relationship is a good decision, especially if he continuously neglects you and your needs.
7. Shift your focus to your well-being and self-care.
Understand that his behavior does not define you as a person.
The way he treats or sees you does not define your value or you as an individual.
When he pulls away, doing nothing about it can seem ideal. Can seem the best option out there.
Yet, you can’t shake the feeling of loneliness you get from this relationship. If you find yourself in a tricky position, turn to yourself.
Indeed, it’s easier said than done. However, after solving this the healthy way, it’ll be time for you to shift your focus to personal growth.
You’ll be shifting your focus to something that brings you joy and calm instead of something that reminds you of trouble and starts a chain of negative thoughts.
- Do activities that make you feel in touch with yourself.
This will help you with your self-esteem which is prone to lowering after he pulls away. Start investing time and energy in yourself. It’ll do wonders for your soul!
- Start doing physical activity: exercise, yoga, sports, or walks.
Physical activity will release those feel-good hormones and will do wonders with your self-esteem, mental and physical health, and mood overall.
- Spend time with people you love.
After exhausting thoughts, you’re likely to forget what love feels like, and what caring behavior feels like.
That’s why spending time and surrounding yourself with people you love is yet another one of the most effective ways to start healing.
By shifting your focus back to yourself you’ll get to remind yourself of the love you deserve, the care, and the feeling of being thought of.
You’ll notice your confidence growing back, and you’ll notice how you’re not revolving your life nor joy around him.
He pulled away: What’s going to be your next move regarding the relationship?
Most relationship advice on the internet includes concrete and plastic conclusions to a topic that could very much vary for each couple.
You must understand that a relationship must be built on healthy foundations such as trust, love, open communication, and affection.
If he approaches you with arrogant and insincere behavior then that’s something you’re not deserving of.
Weigh his actions, words, and approaches to you before and after he pulled away.
Take your time to think this through, is it worth being patient and working this out?
Vent to a trusted friend or talk to your therapist.
Letting it out verbally (spoken or written) can be very eye-opening in this situation. It helps you ‘hear’ yourself.
A therapist can be a tremendous help to guide you with your thoughts and decision-making process.
Either way, venting it all out, or taking advice from a professional is healthy for you and will help you out with this situation.
You can take a break.
Taking a break is different from entirely ending the relationship.
Agreeing to take a break for a particular period can help you figure out your thoughts and stances regarding the relationship.
Taking a break doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re both going to want to get back together after the break.
That’s why you’re doing this in the first place, to see where you’re standing, and what are the next steps you’re both taking in the relationship.
You can decide along with your partner.
Having an open conversation about what’s been bothering both of you, how you can fix it, and answering and making questions genuinely, will eventually lead to a decision that you both agree on making.
It’s okay to end the relationship if you don’t see this relationship going further on.
Sometimes one of the safest bets is to end the relationship instead of having illusionary hopes that he’ll eventually become affectionate to you.
You can decide to move on with your life and let this relationship be a lesson and a place of good memories you shared with your partner.
Breakups can be difficult to go through, but sometimes, they’re the only way for us to heal.
Making this decision is okay, and you have every right to do so.
Conclusion: What to do when he pulls away?
Putting the pieces back in their places, we get a full picture. This means when he pulls away:
- Check-in with him, see if everything is okay, and if you can help him in any way.
- Give him space and respect the decision he made.
- Re-shape and re-discuss your boundaries and definitions of ‘me time’ together.
- Don’t forget yourself in the process.
- Try understanding whether this is a sign of disinterest or his needing space.
- Figure out whether this is a behavior you’re okay with.
- Shift your focus to your well-being and self-care.
You’re capable of handling this situation and what you’re feeling is valid.