Why He Pulls Away When You’re With Him & How to Deal With It

This is a great question from a wonderful member named Katie G.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> QUESTION

Hi Renee,

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.

But 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.

 

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> MY ANSWER

 

Hey Katie,

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. But most of all, understanding really gives us more than our fair share of power as a woman. (Click here to take the quiz on “How Feminine Am I Actually?”)

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, personally, I find that I get stressed if ever my man does this, and it completely BAFFLED me, 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 star to just feel suffocated.

Yet here’s the funny thing. This man loves you. It’s just that this particular way of showing it that he practices, 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 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. (Check out out Commitment Masterclass here)

They physically can’t hang about with you unless it’s fulfilling their needs somehow.

Now for your questions.

You’re not asking the right questions my dear! This isn’t about throwing space his way – although I totally understand how you got that idea.

What you need to do is understand. 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.

It’s quite simple.

Don’t Assume you know what he Needs without Considering His Position First

1) 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 for your birthday, all you wanted was a new bracelet, and what you didn’t want and never wanted was meat pies, and YET your best friend bakes you three meat pies just for your birthday because she couldn’t STAND the thought that you couldn’t have meat pies and felt that you NEEDED that? I mean, she did it without even ‘getting’ where you’re at and what you even like?

No way! You’d be like, what are you doing? It’s incredibly selfish, right? She’s in effect, just taking from you.

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 thinking he’s a woman; and women often have difficulty asking for things DIRECTLY, or taking action directly; it’s just not how we communicate. Definitely not primarily. We communicate indirectly.

Click here to know how to stay high value when when he pulls away

You you think you’re ‘picking up’ on a need, when the need is not there. It’s called projected empathy. You would like a man to anticipate your needs, so you do it to him, thinking he wants it too. But he doesn’t.

It’s not Fair: He Doesn’t KNOW he’s Hurting You

2) He 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, wonders what the hell is going on and what he did wrong.

I can almost guarantee you that he doesn’t get what’s going on. He’s a man, and if he’s masculine at his core (which he is, because he wouldn’t have attracted you otherwise. It’s obvious from the way you write that you’re feminine at your core) – the fact that he’s masculine at his core means he’s insensitive by default.

Even the most sensitive men are insensitive. Men don’t get it. You have to teach them that something hurts you.

As a feminine woman, it’s your job to communicate that you are hurt by something. Now, when you’re dating in the early stages, you have to EARN that right (to do that), you can’t just come out with ‘the crazies’ right off the bat. So, I don’t know how long you two have been dating, but you seem serious 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, your eyes. Now I give you strategies on how to communicate fears and needs to a man in Commitment Control, but for the most part, when I work with women, I don’t want to give you every single darn step – that would mean you being inauthentic and you would have learned nothing. (Click here to get your “Goddess Report”)

I want you to know that this is a process of learning and relationships are an art, there is science to it – especially dating, but when you’re past the early dating stages, you have to fall in to your own way of communicating, and being willing to stuff up and make mistakes and to hurt and be hurt, and be real. So feel free to express how this is hurting you, but not in a malicious way!

In fact, if you wanted to use words, you could. He just won’t be as responsive to words.

I can give you a starting formula on how to communicate that it hurts, and that you want him PRESENT, and totally THERE with you.

You MUST 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 does that (I know you probably routinely hold back a little, like most women, because you want to test and you always want more). But if you don’t show the contrast between your happiness when he IS there, present with you, and the unhappiness you feel when he’s aloof and being Absent Adam, he won’t get it.

The Assumption that he Actually Intends to Hurt You

3) 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.

He’s there with you but he’s not THERE with you? Totally Normal

4) You mentioned that your man doesn’t fit the mold because he’s with you but he’s absent at the same time. He does fit the mold. This is normal for a masculine man, although it feels painful to you, and to all women.

Literally, the time that a man can spend totally PRESENT while he’s WITH you, is extremely low. He’s not designed that way!

I think that more than anything, the most hurtful issue here is that you are expecting something where you shouldn’t be.

See, what I figured out in my very slow (but eager and seeking answers) brain over the years is that we get hurt and disappointed when what we GET or what we experience does not match what we originally expected.

Which means, you think that if this man isn’t giving you constant attention when he’s WITH you, then….there’s something to be scared about…and, there actually isn’t, my lovely!

What you need is more and more GOOD female friends to spend hours with, and share time with. (read my article about picking your friends carefully)

My last words to you: 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 – that you are also about to vomit in to.

It’s NOT attractive to you when a man is always connected. Where would his ability to be empty and to focus be? Where would his manhood be?

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. Enjoy the fact that he’s being who he really is at his core. He may not always be present, but he’s being a man, and he’s committing more and more to you! What a relief!!

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, Commitment Control will get you there. Click here to watch the Commitment Masterclass.

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!

renee-wade

 

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Super Janice
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Super Janice

Wow! Katie’s letter is very long, which is different from me! If I were Katie, this is how I would write.

Ms. Renee,
My boyfriend is pulling away from me. He is with me but he hangs out with me in an unengaged way. Why?

Janice

Riva
Guest
Riva

I am seeing this guy for 4 months now. Everything is doing and going great between us until he suddenly stopped communicating with me. It’s been 3 weeks that I haven’t heard from him. We have upcoming trip to Hawaii and everything are all set, flights and hotel. I am so worried that I won’t hear anything from him again. But 2 days ago, he texted me if I am free to talk. I was waiting for him to call or text me but I got nothing. I am so confused now and in deep agony. What’s going on?

Thanks,
Riva

Gigi
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Gigi

I recently dated a man for two months, we use to talk a year ago for about 3 months and never met. When we finally met this time around there was a lot chemistry, we communicated daily and spoke on the phone at least 5 days a week. He was someone who took pride in being happy and just like me he has been divorced. 2 weeks ago we decided to spend a day together and we slept together. I haven’t been in a relationship for 4 years and was only had sex twice over a year and half ago.… Read more »

Erica
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Erica

I am really struggling with all this pulling away and how to deal with it!My guy got really mad last night at me through text because when he asked what I was doing, I told him I was visiting some friends in for the holiday. He completly dissed me and said “never mind”. He has never been like this before to me- usually it’s him having other things going on than me. Later I finally received a response back from him on what the heck was going on and he told me he had a rough night and thought he… Read more »

Viki Samoja
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Viki Samoja

LDR you say? Well that’s tricky, i don’t want to cause you panic but i have to admit that guys are visual creatures, if we can’t see the object of our affection, well we don’t exactly fall out of love but we become far more vulnerable to the intrusion from a third party. LDRs are in and of themself a tricky proposal, it may be nothing but i would be extra careful if i were you.

Viki Samoja
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Viki Samoja

You’re welcome, it has actually been quite eye opening for me too when i read Renee’s blog, for example i was never aware women put so much emphasis on marriage, i always thought that today it was done more or less for legal reasons, especially with things being how they are and so many marriages falling apart. And i have to also say that Renee is quite spot on with her assumptions, it is hard to believe she is not a man with how well she knows men.

Viki Samoja
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Viki Samoja

Hello people, yeah we men pull away sometimes, what you need to understand is, unlike women intense emotions are incredibly draining for us, it’s not that we don’t love you anymore, it’s that we need to recover for awhile, when we love we love hard, and it tires us out fast.

Warrior Princes
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Warrior Princes

Newsflash – intense emotions are incredibly draining for us women, too.

Amy
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Amy

Very well put, Justine! I’m with you. Aren’t we women just TIRED enough already of constantly being the ones who must keep the relationship going as well as being expected to meet our own emotional needs by ourselves or with other women? We’ve made these same lame excuses and justifications for men for centuries now…..if more women actually spoke up and refused to be in emotionally unsatisfying relationships, I can GUARANTEE you…men would begin to work on themselves and the emotional connection more. They would have no other choice. Thank you, Justine, for having the courage to express a more… Read more »

Justine
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Justine

I just read several of your articles and I have to say……you are a dangerous person! Men are men, and we should understand, accept and empathize with them. Ya I agree. However, you constantly imply that women should be men and stop having womanly thoughts, needs and feelings because men don’t like it. You also reinforce the social belief that a healthy relationship is about men taking and women giving. Even more disgusting is your implication that women should meet all of a man’s needs, plus go meet your own needs too, because men don’t like to deal with a… Read more »

Manuel
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Manuel

I am male and just came across this sight. I guess you must be young to understand what Renee has to say it would be best to read her other blogs. All that Renee has written about men is so spot on I am surprised that a woman has has wrote it instead of a man. I just hope I can find a blog like this for men.

Susie
Guest
Susie

I am deeply in love with a man, and I feel I have driven him away time and again. I am in the position that I want to save our relationship, and we are now taking a break. We have hurt each other deeply. I absolutely adore this man, and I my fear of losing him and my fear in general have been ruling my life. I have to change, and this program is giving me hope. As we take our break, I am dedicating a lot of time to moving through the 14 day program I purchased from you.… Read more »

RU
Guest
RU

Hi,

I am in similar situation like the reader “Nara”… how do we show feelings on phone??.. I am in long distant relationship hence I need the guidance here

Awaiting your response

Silvia (Costa Rica)
Guest
Silvia (Costa Rica)

Hello Rene, I am exactly in a situation like that now, I met this man online, we´ve been dating for 3 months, all this time he has been so kind and great and loving, I started to think he is a very masculine man, but the nightmare began 3 days ago, we were talking and suddenly he changed. He told me I wasnt in the mood and he was going to sleep, he withdrew just like that, didn´t answer my messages anymore, yesterday he sent me a message saying that “I should learn from him that sometimes he just needed… Read more »

Adele
Guest
Adele

This is something I have to read constantly. My man is very masculine and he pulls away intensely.
But I had a guy before him who was emotional, attentive, affectionate, needy and it turned me off. He says he loves me and I really love him. I’m getting used to it. I want to be able to laugh at it.

AC
Guest
AC

Sorry this message was not for jasmin but for nana

AC
Guest
AC

Hey Jasmin. Just wanted to let you know that you are NOT alone. Your post describes me almost exactly.. But I know my man loves me. So this leads me to believe that their actions here are normal. I’ve done Renee’s commitment control and understanding men programs and they help with understanding this. My guess is when a man feels cold like this he’s probably needing you to love him in spite of it but not in a way you would want to be loved. For example, when I ask what is wrong, he yells too. Instead when he yells… Read more »

Katie G
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Katie G

I’m the one who wrote in with this question, and I’ve been sick and not keeping up with emails. But I just want to say THANK YOU to Renee for this. Every time I feel myself veering off-track, it seems like you write a new post (or in this case a post just for me!) that shows me clearly the path I should be on. This is a slow process, and I can’t expect myself to adjust to this new way of looking at men and relationships right away. But bit by bit, I think I’m becoming a wonderful partner… Read more »

Nara
Guest
Nara

Renee, all you say is right and true! but what about long distance relationships?? please when you have time later , think and write a post about it. i have been with my bf for 3 years long distance R, we meet a few times a year , but we spent a year apart for some so hard circumstances despite of our will,. it is hard to show him on phone how i am feeling, and camera chat is annoying mostly because we are so emotional and it makes us miss eachother more… but he does not talk as i… Read more »

Jasmin
Guest
Jasmin

Just because a man wants to spend all of his spare timewith us doesn’t mean he should or that we have to allow him that much time and attention, especially if it’s because he doesn’t have a fulfilling social life outside of us. Thus man needs to go out and make some FRIENDS. So does the woman in question. Men pull away. That’s what they DO! So what? They usually come back. As women, we need to let them and we need to pull away TOO. IMO, it’s simple. These two people need to get a life outside of each… Read more »

Nana
Guest
Nana

I think I need to read this article again and again. I often have the same problem with my bf, especially when after a week of work, we finally have 2 full days to spend together ! Usually, there is one day where he is ok, and one another where he is just, well…so annoying ! And I feel like our time is wasted and it could be so much more “joyful”. If he was all alone, busy doing his things but with a happy face, it would be ok, but this is the “tension” I feel in the atmosphere,… Read more »

Miranda
Guest
Miranda

Hi Renee!! I absolutely LOVE your advice and articles you post, and share them with anyone I can. I find it so relevant about relationships between men and women, even though I’m not in a relationship yet. 😉 It really helps give me confidence! I have a question about this subject (no experience, just curious if it were to happen)—what if a man pulls away, but during this time, shows interest in other women? Do you just ignore it and still leave him in his zone, and let him eventually come back to you, or would this be something to… Read more »

jay
Guest
jay

Its funny i was just about to type a comment thinking im going to type: LOVE your article and as usual i completely agree with you. to find that the 1st person 2 comment; Allie, said it all already 🙂

congrats on your wedding. i read somewhere that: the marriage doesnt make the relationship, the relationship makes the marriage. seems like u have a good relationship which God Willing will lead to a good marriage. wish both of u all th best!

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