Why Is He Becoming Distant?

Almost every woman has experienced the panic and uncertainty that occur when her man starts pulling away or withdrawing. Maybe it happens out of the blue, or maybe something sparks it, either way, it’s a miserable feeling, one that leaves you feeling powerless and painfully insecure.

You question what happened, why he’s doing this, and what you may have done to cause this sudden shift. The most common questions I get on TikTok involve some variation of a guy suddenly backing off and the girl panicking over it, desperate to fix things and get it back on track.

I totally get it, I’ve been there and I’m going to reveal exactly what you need to do when this happens to get things back on track.

3 Likely Reasons He’s Becoming Distant

1. He’s Stressed

It’s pretty widely known that when a man is stressed, he retreats to his “man cave.” There is a big difference between knowing something and really understanding it. Most women have a hard time accepting that this is how men deal with issues because when women are having a difficult time, their first instinct is to talk about it and seek comfort from friends or loved ones.

Most men don’t operate this way. When a man is having a hard time, he needs to pull back and work through his issues on his own. The biggest mistake you can make is not giving him the space to do this.

Now working through his issues doesn’t necessarily mean he’s sitting there, plotting and strategizing and brainstorming solutions. Sometimes it means fully unplugging from the situation and playing video games for hours. Sometimes it means having mindless fun with his guy friends.

If you harp on him and pester him to talk to you and open up he will see you as another source of stress in his life and will pull away even more. This creates a vicious cycle of you pushing him, him pulling back, you pushing more, and on and on until he either distances himself from you entirely or the relationship continues with an underlying tension.

If your guy is having a hard time, be it from external sources like his job or he’s having some internal emotional issue, you have to give him the space to work through it on his own. If he wants to talk to you about it, he’ll seek you out. And if he does, make sure you listen to him, don’t use this as an opportunity to voice your opinions on the matter and try to solve it for him. If he wants your advice, he’ll ask for it. The best thing you can do is just offer support, let him know you’re there if he needs you, and then just back off at least for now.

2. You’re Being Needy And He Feels Suffocated

A man doesn’t have to be dealing with personal issues to feel the need to retreat. Sometimes too much neediness from you is enough to cause him to back away.

Neediness isn’t so much a set of behaviors as it is a state of mind. If a man feels like you need him in order to feel OK in your life, or that you need him to fill some sort of emotional void for you, he will instinctively pull back. That’s just a human response whenever someone wants something from us.

Men want to feel wanted and desired, not needed. This is a very important distinction that most women overlook.

This is how it looks. We’re going to take a situation and see how a needy and non-needy woman responds to it. Let’s say a guy is really swamped at work and hasn’t had time to text his partner. A non-needy woman might send him a text just because she’s thinking about him and wants to let him know. Maybe she misses him, maybe she knows he’s under a lot of pressure and wants to show her support. She texts him and he doesn’t reply but she’s unbothered and assumes he’s really busy and he’ll get back to her later.

Now let’s take the same situation but the woman is in a more needy place. She takes his lack of texting as a sign he’s losing interest. She starts to panic and immediately texts him. Now it doesn’t matter what she says in this text, she may say the same thing the non-needy woman said, what matters is the intention behind it. She isn’t texting to show she cares or to offer her support… she’s texting because she wants to know how he feels. She wants the assurance that everything is OK, that the relationship is still on track. If she hears back from him, she feels relieved… for now. If she doesn’t, she spends the entire day spiraling and imagining the worst-case scenarios.

Men do enjoy being in relationships (when it’s with the right woman, that is), but at the same time, most men have a huge fear of getting trapped in a situation with a woman who sucks them dry and leaves them feeling drained and uninspired. Life is hard enough… who wants a to be in a relationship that makes everything harder? Who willingly wants to add stress to their lives?

When you have a lot going on in your life and are already happy and fulfilled, he will see the relationship as a source of joy and inspiration and this will draw him in.

3. He’s Having Doubts About The Relationship

Doubts are normal, especially as a relationship deepens. It doesn’t necessarily mean anything about you or how great of a girlfriend you’ve been. Maybe he’s not ready for something so serious, or maybe he’s a little unsure if you’re really the woman he sees himself spending the rest of his life with. And that’s OK.

Two people can love each other very much and still not be right for each other in the long run. Maybe something happened to spark these doubts (a fight, jealousy, lack of trust, etc.) or maybe it happened out of the blue. Don’t waste your time analyzing the situation to pinpoint exactly what you did wrong, this will only make you crazy.

Instead, give him space and just focus on yourself for now because that’s really all you can do. You can’t force him to feel a certain way about you, you can’t force him to want the kind of relationship you want, so spending time and energy on how to change his behavior or how he feels is a waste. That time is much better spent investing in yourself and being your best self. When you do this, you always win. Both at life and in relationshis. If you’re at your best and he decides to throw in the towel, then there’s no reason to have regrets.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do guys act distant when they like you? Either it has nothing to do with you and he’s just dealing with things internally… or you’re doing something to cause him to pull away and act distant, like acting too needy or desperate. Look within yourself and at your actions and be honest about the place you’re coming from and how you’re showing up in the relationship.

Why is he acting distant after hooking up all of the sudden? Did I sleep with him too soon? It’s possible that this is rooted in your own insecurity. Maybe you have a belief that men will lose interest after sex and so now you’re hyper-vigilant and on alert for that to come true.

It’s also possible he’s acting distant because he wants to slow the pace a little. Sex doesn’t usually mean much to most men. For a man, sex is sex and love is love and one doesn’t lead to the other. Some women see sex as a deepening of the relationship. If a man has had experiences with women like this in the past, he may reflexively pull away just to assert that the act of intimacy hasn’t significantly changed the status of your relationship.

Is he pulling away from me or just in a mood? A mood will typically be pretty fleeting. We’ve all been there. If he’s pulling away… there will be more consistency in the behavior.

Sabrina Bendory is a writer and entrepreneur. She is the author of You’re Overthinking It, a definitive book on dating and self-love.

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