This is a great question from a wonderful member named Katie G.
Congratulations to you and David on your wedding!
So. I finished both programs, Commitment Control and Understanding Men, a couple of months ago.
I loved them: what I learned from you took my relationship from “eh, we’re not really there yet” to the next level so, so quickly!
In fact, my boyfriend and I are getting set to move in together, and this weekend he was telling me how hard it was going to be, when the time came, to shop for an engagement ring for me (I have picky tastes).
A total 180 from how things were before your program.
So I owe you a huge thanks!
Anyway, I do have a question, and I’d love a little extra guidance from you. It’s about this thing that plagues me: why men pull away.
Because of what I’ve learned in your programs, I no longer flip out when this happens.
I don’t like it, but I understand it and don’t take it as a sign that my relationship is about to implode on me.
But… my boyfriend doesn’t fit the mold when it comes to withdrawal.
He’s fairly new in my city, doesn’t know very many people. So am I.
So we tend to spend a lot of time together, most days of the week… not to mention he’s getting all set to move in!
So when he’s pulling away, he doesn’t actually go off on his own.
He still wants to hang out with me, do things with me. He just does all this in a very disconnected, unengaged way.
He’s pulling away, but he’s with me.
And it drives me crazy.
I would much rather he take a few days to himself, do his own thing, and come back to the relationship renewed.
But he just doesn’t do it, and I don’t know how to handle that.
Spending time with him when he’s all disconnected is hurtful to me… and it changes my feelings for him when he acts that way.
I know that’s probably unfair but I can’t help it.
I had a difficult childhood with neglectful parents who saw me more as an inconvenience than anything else, and when somebody even just seems not to care much about me, my head and heart automatically pull away.
It’s not a conscious decision I make.
He always seems to come back to the relationship his bright self again, but I feel like these periods erode away at the foundation of what we have together.
It means the time we spend together isn’t always as full of attraction and connection as it needs to be, and it taints my feelings for him.
But I don’t know what to do about it!
For instance, he’s been pretty withdrawn most of the week and wants to spend time with me tonight.
I sort of non-commitally agreed. I think I’m going to tell him I’d like a night to myself tonight. Give him some of the space he wont seem to take for himself.
That means I’ll be pulling away, but in a way to get him to take space. Can you describe to me what happens to a man when a woman pulls away?
Also, can you give me some tips for handling this in the future?
How do I create that bit of necessary space when I sense he needs it?
I don’t imagine it’s a good idea to tell him “you’re acting withdrawn, call me again when you’re your normal self”.
Or to reject him and tell him I don’t want to hang out with him without explaining why.
I guess I can become suddenly “oh, so busy” when he’s in a withdrawn period, but I think that will be difficult to pull off when we live together.
Your programs and the blog have all been so massively helpful, I know you’ll have some good advice for me.
Thanks, and congratulations again!
– Katie G.
Table of Contents
He Is Showing Signs That He Feels LOVE
Congratulations on seeking answers and looking to understand men more.
Nothing lights me up like a generous woman who really wants to, and seeks to understand men.
Because I know that any woman who does this is going to experience a lot less heartache in her relationships with men.
When you understand men, you stop feeling as anxious and stop acting all needy.
Yes, I can say that I know how FRUSTRATING your situation is.
It seems as though you are implying that he prefers to ‘hang about’ with you, yet not give you his full presence.
It’s irritating when a man does this. In fact, I find that I also get stressed if ever my man does this, and it completely baffled me in the past!
I used to stand there, arms facing towards the sky in desperation, wondering “what is going on??
Leave me alone or BE with me!” Otherwise, I start to just feel suffocated.
A Man Won’t Spend That Much Time With You If He Doesn’t Love You
Yet here’s the funny thing:
This man loves you.
It’s just means that his particular way of showing love may sometimes hurt you more than it nurtures you.
In fact, it may be so because he’s doing what he thinks you want (or even what he thinks he wants).
But that means a lot more pain than love to you, and I understand.
But just know that he actually loves you, otherwise he wouldn’t bother spending time with you.
No matter how abused or hen-pecked any man is, he will not just hang about with a woman for lengthy periods if he doesn’t enjoy your company.
Because men are built to run away and go empty themselves of the feelings of ‘connection’, as you learned about in depth in Commitment Control.
(To check out our program Commitment Control 2.0, go here.)
(The promise of this premium course is for you to experience the freedom and joy of going from “not knowing where your relationship is going”, to a deeply committed life long relationship without any resistance, withdrawal or heartache…)
Men physically can’t hang about with you unless it’s fulfilling their needs somehow.
So keep in mind that if you’re fulfilling his needs and he also perceives that you’re fulfilling his needs, this means he loves you.
To what extent is another conversation altogether, however.
Now for your questions.
You’re actually not asking the right questions my dear! Throwing space his way isn’t the answer – although I totally understand how you got that idea.
What you need to do is first lead with your understanding.
Yes, it’s the long way to do things, but it’s the right way to do things.
And, there’s much more fun and love for you at the other end of the ‘long way’.
So I’ll start dissecting this for you, so that you can also get a picture of what happens to a man when a woman pulls away.
Here’s a Video I made on Why Men Pull Away:
1: Don’t Assume you know what he Needs without Considering His Position First
Don’t give him unwanted gifts.
Ie: don’t forcibly give him space from this emotional place you are in right now!
You only want to give it because you’re fearful, which is not really giving.
Would you like it if all you wanted from your man was some attention or praise, but he instead decided to give you a challenge because he thought that you needed that?
And by challenge, I mean challenging you to eat 6 burgers or eat raw eggs. It could be something like climbing Mt Everest as well.
But if you just wanted attention and to feel his presence, but instead he offered you the challenges which he perceived value in, how would you feel?
I mean, he did it without even understanding where you’re at and what you even enjoy?
You’d probably feel disappointed, and even hurt.
What I’m suggesting to you is that you forcing space on him in this way is not what he wants. If he wanted it, he would take it for himself.
You’re thinking he’s like you.
You’re unconsciously assuming he’s a woman and applying your communication principles to him.
See, women often have difficulty asking for things directly, or taking action directly; it’s just not how we communicate.
You you think you’re ‘picking up’ on his need, when the need is not there.
It’s called projected empathy.
Meaning, you would like a him (your man) to anticipate your needs, so you do it to him, thinking he wants it too.
But he doesn’t.
2: Assume He Doesn’t KNOW he’s Hurting You
From what you’re saying here, he currently has NO IDEA that he’s hurting you, and that’s not fair.
You’re just acting frustrated and he probably half feels that, but at the same time, he likely wonders what is actually going on and what he did wrong.
I can almost guarantee you that he doesn’t get what’s going on.
Simply because you haven’t expressed your hurt to him in a clear way.
It’s obvious from the way you write that you’re feminine at your core. But the fact that he’s masculine at his core means he’s more insensitive to people’s feelings by default.
Even the most sensitive men are insensitive compared to a feminine woman. Men don’t get it.
So you have to teach them that something hurts you through your actual feelings.
If you just pull away, that will not be a very direct communication of your hurt.
So if you want to know how a man feels when a woman pulls away?
Usually he notices the change, but if there’s no clear indication of how you’re feeling when you pull away, then he can’t feel much other than confusion.
That is, confusion over what exactly the problem is that he has to solve.
As a feminine woman, it’s your job to communicate that you are hurt when you are hurt. Not to just pull away – that doesn’t communicate clearly enough.
So, I don’t know how long you two have been dating, but you seem serious together already, so I’d say it’s ok for you to communicate that you’re hurt or angry.
It doesn’t have to be with words (though it can be), it can be with your body, with verbal sounds and with your eyes.
I give you strategies on how to communicate fears and needs to a man in the course Commitment Control.
However in general the rule is to be as authentic as you possibly can.
Which means to feel what you actually feel. Don’t assume pulling away will do the job.
If you wanted to use words, you could. He just won’t be as responsive to words.
I will now give you a starting formula on how to communicate that it hurts.
And the point of this communication is that you want to let him know how much you need him PRESENT, and totally there with you.
A: Start by reinforcing him when he IS present with you.
Be the happiness and joy that you truly are inside, in your heart, when he is fully with you.
(I know you probably routinely hold back a little, like most women, because you want to test and you always want more).
B: Then show your sadness when he just hangs around, not present
Of course you can’t just reinforce him positively when he is with you, because he won’t understand how much it hurts you when he’s only half present with you.
If you don’t show the contrast between your happiness when he IS there and the pain when he isn’t, he won’t get it.
So go ahead and take step A and B, and you’ll start to see a change.
(By the way, I want to teach you 5 secrets to having your man fall deeply in love with you and beg you to be his one and only. These 5 secrets are inside of my brand new DVD, and right now it’s FREE. Click HERE to get yourself a copy before they run out!)
3: Eliminate The Unconscious Assumption he Wants to Hurt You
I suggest to you that your feelings for him don’t actually change when he hangs around you in a non-committal way.
I suggest that you are angry because you assume (unconsciously, and with reference to your painful childhood) that he is doing this to hurt you, when he’s not.
As I said, he has no idea that what he’s doing is hurting you. You’re the only one who can communicate that to him.
4: Understand That What He’s Doing Is Totally Normal
You mentioned that your man doesn’t fit the mold because he’s with you but he’s absent at the same time.
But actually, he does fit the mold.
This is normal for a masculine man, although it feels painful to you, and to all women.
The time that a man can spend totally present while he’s WITH you, is extremely low.
I think that more than anything, what is causing you the most pain here is that you are expecting something where you shouldn’t be.
Ie: you expect him to be emotionally and mentally present with you all (or most) of the time that he’s physically with you.
Which means you expect him to be giving you almost constant attention.
However, that takes so much energy for a man. Energy that is almost impossible to sustain for that long, and that frequently.
So here’s what I suggest to you:
I suggest that what you need is more and more GOOD female friends to spend your hours with, and share time with.
There are 7 common signs a woman is perceived as low value to all men, because men simply perceive value differently to women. Do you know what these signs are and how to avoid them like the plague? CLICK HERE to download this special report.
I know how difficult this is. And sometimes, it’s going to suck.
But that’s part of what you sign up for when you enter a relationship with the opposite sex: stuff that’s a bit sucky, and stuff that’s insanely joyful and passionate.
And yet – this is something you need to laugh about and start to love in him.
Because if he was connecting with you whilst he’s with you all the time, you’d start to lose attraction for him.
Really, you’d start to find him rather like a pile of vomit.
It’s not going to feel attractive to you when a man is always connected to you 24/7.
Where would his ability to be empty and to focus be?
Where would his manhood be?
Where would he find that time to study about and understand important events in the world?
Masculine men need to solve problems, understand truths, as well as learn new things and take risks to discover their own masculine direction.
I mean, if he was a ball of oxytocin like you and I are, you would have turned your nose up at him, rather than caring so much about him that you’re emailing me for answers.
Try to enjoy who he is as a man, and take the above steps to “educate him” on how his actions hurt you.
He may not always be present, but he’s being a man, and he certainly doesn’t intend to hurt you.
If you’re reading this and would also like to see your relationship go one step further with a man like Katie G’s did, CLICK here to take the Commitment Control course.
If you liked this post, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. What do you think?
Do you agree with this? And have you also experienced what Katie is experiencing here? I look forward to hearing from you!
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Renee is the founder of The Feminine Woman & co-founder of Shen Wade Media where we teach women how to show up as a high value high status woman whom easily inspires a deep sense of emotional commitment from her chosen man. Together with her husband D. Shen at Commitment Triggers blog, they have positively influenced the lives of over 15 million women through their free articles and videos as well as 10’s of thousands through paid programs through the Shen Wade Media platform.
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