He's not gone but he isn't pursuing me the way he did in the beginning. Just a few weeks ago it seemed that he couldn't get enough of my attention he really was treating me as though I was his dream woman! Suddenly, he hit the breaks and for the past few days it seems we barely speak unless I reach out first. I have tried to talk to him about this but he clammed up. Later he explained that he has a lot going on and just needs some space but we will touch base soon. I really like him and I don't want to lose him, I just want things to go back to how they were, did he get scared by the intensity of his feelings? what should I do?
Do men become distant when they are falling in love?
The answer to this question is not straight forward, it's multifaceted so I'm going to break it down in the best way I can.
In simple terms, 95% of the time when a man becomes distant it is not because he is falling in love or because he is "scared of his feelings". But there are rare and quite specific circumstances where this may be the case...
I have outlined the most common reasons that men pull away or become distant here: READ: When a man pulls away here's how to respond to build attraction (Opens in new tab)
Check that article first and then come back here.
It's worth remembering that men are human too, just like women they have their own fears, triggers and conditioning, their own way of perceiving things.
While we are certainly not making excuses for men being flaky, or putting distance between you, there are some conditions when a man may feel overwhelmed and want to retreat to his comfort zone. Let's explore some of these reasons now.
Fear of vulnerability
If you have been getting to know each other in a carefree way, simply enjoying each others company and going with the flow, you may have come to feel extremely comfortable with each other in a very short space of time. Sometimes when this happens the conversation suddenly turns deep and meaningful with both of you expressing fears, traumas, childhood experiences etc. While this is a good sign of feeling safe and trusting of each other, sometimes when the floodgates fly open unexpectedly or abruptly, it leaves a man feeling vulnerable and exposed.
He may now fear that things have quickly gone from casual and light-hearted to "heavy" even if he was a willing participant in the conversation at the time. On reflection, he could worry that it was too much too soon, this may especially be the case if he was raised to believe that expressing his emotions was a sign of weakness, which many men are. Sadly, a lot of men are not taught growing up, how to express themselves on an emotional level, nor are they given acceptance and space to open up.
The wounded bear- past failures or fear of failure
This is quite common with recently divorced men, men who are currently going through the process of divorce, or those who were in a long term toxic relationship where they felt trapped, were abused or where they suffered great losses (large volumes of their money, their home or full custody of their children.) Many women don't realise how much a man takes his perceived failures onto his own shoulders and how deeply he suffers and berates himself for them, sometimes even to the point of requiring long term therapy before he can approach relationships in a healthy way, which is understandable. This is not meant to paint anyone as a victim, but men are sensitive too, and require healing and support at particular junctures of their lives. when he is still carrying the weight of the past and hasn't processed or worked through it properly yet, it can lead to him being much more guarded or easily triggered.
He doesn't know how to ask for space or to slow things down
Not to sound harsh but men often cause this themselves, we all know how strong guys can come on in the beginning, and how much they command our time and attention. Usually at this stage there is a large degree of uncertainty and he is excited to figure out how much you like him back. So he dominates your attention seeking assurances of your interest, only to withdraw when you give him more certainty.
Why?... Because he was so focused on winning you over that he didn't stop to explore his own feelings. In some cases, this is where he withdraws to process everything and make a decision, generally he will then either take the connection forward or abandon it completely, which can be scary for a woman who may even feel like she was lured into a "false sense of security".
Alternatively, if things have moved fast between you he may just need to slow things down with you, this is likely the case if you've become a bit inseparable, spending every spare moment together or hours on the phone, he may fear that his life is changing too quickly so now he's frantically trying to hold onto his own sense of autonomy.
This doesn't necessarily mean that he wants to end things, he just may not know how to communicate that he needs to slow down or come up for air, he may fear an emotional show down so instead he just withdraws. Maddening I know.
He's worried he can't provide or give you what you need
Perhaps he has come to realise that you are ready for a very serious situation when he is just dipping his toe back into the dating world, or he has come to believe you have expectations of him that he simply cannot fulfill. Whether he's right or wrong, this perception can be damaging to a budding relationship.
Sometimes men back off when their life isn't in order yet, whether his career and finances aren't in place yet or he's suffered a few personal setbacks recently. Some guys will avoid getting serious until they have created a sense of stability in their lives. If this is weighing heavily then falling in love could be detrimental and he may slam on the breaks before his feelings deepen.
He feels pressured
This is probably one of the most common reasons why a man will slow things right down or become distant suddenly, when newly dating. if he senses that you have become highly invested very quickly, it may give him cause for a pause. Often, when we first meet a guy we are happy and fulfilled but if the connection is good and we find our feelings growing strong rapidly, our energy might shift from that of confident secure goddess energy ...to a little more uncertain, perhaps we start overthinking each interaction or we need more reassurance and attention that we did before. Or maybe you were feeling great but something he said or did triggered some underlying insecurity.
Men are quite sensitive to this, especially if it's early on, again it ties into a fear of heavy expectations or fear of failure for him. Before, he was happy to enjoy getting to know you, now he worries that your happiness is becoming too wrapped up in him sooner than what feels comfortable. If your fears begin to rule your actions he will feel the pressure and he might withdraw.
This can be repaired though so if you're dealing with this contact me now for a highly effective, confidential coaching session
Sometimes we develop crushes on or even fall for people in impossible circumstances. If you work together and dating among coworkers is strictly forbidden, or he is aware that you're dating someone else or even married, he may withdraw to protect himself and to prevent further feelings from developing, knowing that it could be a road to nowhere, except a lot of heart ache. Sure, some guys will throw caution to the wind and shoot their shot regardless of circumstances, but not all men.
Finally, He may have an Avoidant attachment style
Although it is not fair to label people, a small percentage of men fall into this category, the sudden pull back can be a first indicator that the guy you're dating has an avoidant or anxious/avoidant attachment style, having a non-secure attachment style is not a life sentence and even someone with a highly avoidant style can become secure with the right support in therapy or through deep inner work.
In the early weeks or months of dating we only see the best side of someone, later as things deepen we may begin to notice unexpected habits or behaviors that are less than desirable.
Which is why it's so important to carry ourselves with a strong attitude of discernment in those early months of dating someone new.
The power of a woman's intuition
Sometimes women tell me they feel a man is scared of his feelings when it's quite clear that the man has been treating her poorly for quite sometime and because she is a good woman who treats others well, she doesn't catch on to this and tries to rationalize his behavior, to make excuses for him, when in reality she should be heavily evaluating whether the guy even deserves her time and attention.
However, in some cases our intuition screams at us, we can feel energetically that a man does have strong feelings and that there is some kind of emotional barrier causing moments of distance or some ups and downs.
If you feel that you are in this situation then trust yourself, you may wonder if the relationship can ever be secure and solid, and it absolutely can! I have been lucky enough to help countless women turn an uncertain situation in to a happy and committed relationship, Contact me now and I will teach you step by step how to create deeper stability and harmony with a more cautious guy.
Now, I want to make something very clear:
It is not your job to try and fix a grown man.
Of course it is okay to be understanding of someones trials and challenges, you may even have to approach this connection a little more mindfully, but you should not be trying to rescue him or be giving him a free pass for prolonged distance, mind games or to string you along.
His issues may not be his fault but they are his responsibility.
If this situation is dragging on beyond days with no improvement in sight, then you need to take action immediately.
However, it's also worth keeping in mind that some people just need their down time, especially when they have been through a lot and are still healing. Have the confidence to let him take that space and distance sometimes, chances are he will return to you refreshed and even more loving than he was before. Alternatively if he finds he is unable to take the space he is needing, he is more likely to withdraw for the long term.
Do it authentically too angel, don't anxiously wait around for him to be done with his time out, go and enjoy yourself.
Remember, even the most challenging guy has the potential to be your dream partner if you know the right psychological buttons to push to tap into his masculine psychology.
If you believe that he's a good man, then don't let him slip away.
Jade Isabelle is a certified life coach and relationship consultant based in the UK. She has over a decade of experience in the field. If you would like guidance with your situation you can reach out now for confidential support.