It is not uncommon to have a relationship seemingly come to a halt after things have been going so great, leaving you feeling helpless that your man has started to pull away.
The good news is that it doesn’t mean the relationship is over. In fact, this behavior is more common than one would think and it is due to a number of potential reasons. Mainly, men get scared.
Traditionally as a society, we train our men so that they steer away from deeper emotions when in reality, he feels his emotions to the same degree that women feel theirs; men are just less expressive about them. Therefore, when a relationship becomes serious there is the potential for him to become afraid of the emotions he is now facing and it becomes natural for him to try to gain back some control – by pulling away.
- 1 The Do’s and Don’ts of How to Handle A Man When He Pulls Away
The Do’s and Don’ts of How to Handle A Man When He Pulls Away
DON’T take the situation personally
You first have to understand that you should not take this situation personally especially if your relationship has been positive, healthy, and happy. It is normal for men to experience fear and hesitation leading to their self-created distance.
The best thing you can do for yourself and for your relationship is to remind yourself that this is a reflection of him and processing his emotions and that it is not a reflection of you, despite the fact that it feels that way.
Related article: The real reasons guys pull away
DO be supportive
But not too much. The best thing you can do is to play it cool while also expressing your perspective AND your expectations. Let him know you care about him and that you want to be with him, and that you support and respect his time and space. If space is what he is asking for, give it to him. But, also express your expectations and boundaries.
If you choose to wait around for him, know that you may end up wasting a lot of time. It is better to tell him you will give him space for a period of time (determine what you’re comfortable with – a week? A month? A year?), but also communicate your own needs and expectations and make it clear that you will not wait around or allow him to come back only when it is convenient for him.
Unfortunately, you cannot control the outcome of this situation, but you can control your response to it and your response (cool and supportive, but clear and decisive) will help in leading you toward the outcome you desire.
DO maximize your time
Once you’ve established how to manage the situation, it is time to focus on yourself and maximizing the time you have. Although the assumption is that you are experiencing feelings of sadness, worry, doubt, and maybe even anger, this is an opportunity for you to focus on yourself, manage your time in a way that’s convenient for you only, and to reflect to see if this is actually what you want.
DON’T sit around and wait for him
Spend your time with people and things that make you happy. Haven’t seen a friend in a while? Call her up and make plans! Been wanting to try a cooking class or photography lessons? Now is the time. Thinking about a new fitness routine? Try it out.
The more you spend your time on people and things who add value to your life, the better off you will be, and in turn, the more appealing you become.
When you are surrounded by positive people, you naturally view life and events more positively, which helps to manage the emotions of your situation, while also helping you feel better. When you spend time doing things that make you feel good, you will exude that energy in all that you do.
DON’T suppress your emotions
Be sure to allow yourself to feel your emotions. While it is healthy and productive to spend time with positive people and to spend time engaging in enriching experiences, it is also equally important to allow yourself to process the various emotions you are experiencing.
There is strong evidence that yoga and meditation are powerful tools to utilize. Try something that works for you so that you don’t end up making yourself so busy that you disregard the self-care that is necessary. Set aside some time each day to process your emotions.
See also: 7 Ways to keep him interested in you
DON’T reach out to him often
Make him miss you. A comfortable guideline is to only respond to him when he says something of importance to you. This is crucial because if you continue to treat him the same way you were before he decided he wants space then there will be no reason for him to work toward establishing the same level of a relationship with you again.
If he can have you and his space, why would he change that? You must distance yourself and make him miss having you there. Do not accept invitations to do things with him that you would have done previously. Do not send him goodnight or “miss you” texts. Make him feel the absence from your life.
If the two of you are no longer together then see our article here on getting your ex to miss you.
DO let him know you’re reacting positively
Indirectly, of course. You want him to know you’re not sitting on your couch crying over him. Post pictures to social media (but be cautious not to overdo this). Hopefully, he is connected with your friends too so they can post (and tag) you in photos as well. If he does not have access to you like he once did combine with seeing that you’re out and about, it will drive him crazy and make him miss you in his life.
When he comes back
First and foremost you must ask yourself if this is what you want and if you’re okay with resuming this relationship. If the answer to that is yes, it is important to communicate that while you support his decision for space, this is a one-time deal. He must be sure this time around that this is what he wants and you must be sure that this is what you want. If the answer for both of you is yes then it is important for you to accept him back openly.
Remember that you agreed to this situation, therefore it would not be fair for you to hold it over his head moving forward. Be clear, communicate maturely and effectively, and move forward positively.
Suzanne is a certified counselor with 6 years of experience working with individuals of diverse backgrounds and age groups. In addition to working full time as a School Counselor servicing students ages K-12, Suzanne began a side business in 2014 geared toward providing relationship and individual counseling services for adult clientele. She has worked with an extensive range of individuals helping them gain insight, foster changes, and continue to grow. She has acquired a wealth of information about relationships through her professional and personal endeavors and finds great value in sharing what she has learned.