Author: Sarah Meyer
What do you do when your man stops being romantic, starts giving you one-word answers, and seems withdrawn and distracted?
He isn’t being mean to you, exactly, and you know he isn’t doing this to mess with you, but he’s just…different.
He seems serious, quiet, and somehow, not present in the way that you’re used to.
He might have stopped responding to most of your texts, or just kind of grunt at you instead of making conversation.
He might not want to go places with you or do much with you - but just the other day he was all over you, asking you questions about everything, cuddling with you, wanting to spend all his free time with you.
You might start wondering what’s going on with your guy. And is this an early sign of fading love or him pulling away?
And if he is indeed pulling away, then what are the signs he will come back after pulling away?
First, let’s assume he is pulling away.
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When a man pulls away from connection for a time, this can be a very painful experience.
Whether you’re dating, in the early stages of falling in love, or have been together for several years, a man pulling away can still catch you by surprise.
Especially when it follows a period where you felt like you were getting closer to him.
As a woman, it’s normal to find this frightening and uncertain.
We tend to be more comfortable in relationships where there is a consistent level of attachment and connection.
This suits our needs as nurturers and caregivers who are naturally focused on relationships with others, and rely on these relationships in our daily lives.
I know - a lot has changed in society since women were seen primarily as wives and mothers.
But in terms of human evolution, 50-60 years isn’t all that long; we’ve been around for hundreds of thousands of years and have spent a long time adapting for the process of child-bearing and child-rearing.
And even now, we as women carry a unique sensitivity, a capacity for connection and emotional intimacy, and a need for certainty in relationships that reflects this evolutionary past.
So when your man pulls away, it’s normal to feel:
If you feel any of the above emotions, it doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you.
Your body and your brain are simply reacting to what they intuitively understand as a dangerous situation.
See, if you were in a primal environment when humans were hunter-gatherers, and your man abandoned you or pulled away from you, this could be disastrous for you.
Then imagine you were pregnant or had a baby - the consequences could be even more dire.
And while I’m sure women in hunter-gatherer times were relatively strong and tough, and quite able to defend themselves to a certain extent, it’s very likely that they simply fared better with a loyal man at their side.
So if you find yourself panicking when he pulls away, understand that this feels on some level like a threat to your safety and survival, even when you’re obviously not going to die without him.
This is doubly true, of course, if you’re deeply invested in him.
Often, when a man pulls away, all you can think about is looking for the signs he will come back after pulling away.
And this can be quite the agonising question, because sometimes it feels like he’s gone away forever, and all the good times you had with him have been wiped out and washed away.
Rest assured, a man pulling away can be quite normal, and it’s often temporary.
By the way, would you like to learn the secret to staying high value when he pulls away? CLICK here to learn the secret to staying as a high value woman when your man pulls away, so that he can come back to you with more interest, more desire & more appreciation for you.
Let’s look at 8 definite signs he will come back after pulling away.
From a young age, boys seem to approach relationships very differently from girls:
Studies show that they are less likely to engage in collaborative play, are more competitive and hierarchical, and show a strong preference for objects and systems over dolls.
Despite increases in the number of stay-at-home fathers in modern times, it’s clear that on average, men are not innately focused on relating and bonding with others in the way that women are.
Instead, they are primed for:
This may seem obvious - but it was actually huge when I got it for the first time.
I knew that men and women were different, and that they had different interests and goals in both primal and modern environments.
And I also knew that my man, along with other men, was capable of deep connection and emotion with me. In the early stages of our relationship, he was actually more romantic than I was.
But I was confused by what I perceived as hot and cold behaviour: his tendency to come very close to me and build up a lot of intimacy and trust with me, and then just suddenly “switch off” and go and immerse himself in his work for a few days.
This pattern - which is definitely not uncommon- felt to me like he was pulling away.
But if I asked my boyfriend about it, or tried to talk to him about what he was doing, he had no idea he was pulling away, or in fact, doing anything unusual at all.
He was simply switching from relationship mode to work mode in order to excel at both.
I, in contrast, am more likely to stay in relationship mode and get my work done while still wanting to be close to him.
It was at that point that I realised that this tendency to compartmentalise was typical of many men that I knew, and that it didn’t mean my boyfriend didn’t love me.
As Renée Wade explains in detail, what my man’s behavior did mean was that he couldn’t stay in relationship mode and be all attached and close with me all the time.
So if your man has a masculine disposition, this is one of the signs he will come back after pulling away.
He may just need to go away for a little while and bury himself in a task, so that he can feel like he’s on top of his work and his responsibilities.
It’s this, after all, that makes him feel worthy of respect and love.
And if you find it hard to deal with his hot and cold behavior, read my article on “WHY Is He Hot And Cold? 6 No BS Reasons & How To Deal With It.”
To figure out whether your guy is masculine, consider whether he has a strong sense of his own direction, his own beliefs, and a desire to prove himself in this world.
Even if it’s just through video games.
If he does, his pulling away may have nothing to do with you - it may just exist in your mind in contrast to what feels natural and comfortable to you as a woman.
When you’re usually very close and connected with your man, this makes it all the more noticeable when he pulls away.
Like I said, my guy would sometimes pull away from me literally the day after spending a whole day cuddling and talking, telling me he would love me forever.
And I would be so confused the next morning, when he would suddenly seem distant and unreachable, like all the warmth and security that we had built up had just dissipated overnight.
He was just shifting focus so he could get more work done.
But I think because of the fact that we had such a strong emotional connection the rest of the time, I could handle these shifts in focus a lot better.
At least on some level, I always knew he would “come back,” because I knew he loved me and valued me.
Of course, it’s much easier to be confident in this when you are in a committed, long-term relationship with a man.
But the bottom line is, when a man is in love with you, he will not leave you.
He may pull away if he’s hurt or he needs to get a lot done, but he will simply not be willing to risk your relationship with him by pulling away for any length of time.
If you’re normally close and connected to him, and he feels the same way, he will miss your presence sooner rather than later. This is another really strong example of the signs that he will come back after pulling away.
I do need to caveat this, though, by pointing out that sometimes we as women tend to project our own emotional connection to a man onto him.
That is - we think he’s invested in us and loves us because we love him, or because he’s been in our life for a long time.
This is one of the reasons it’s so important to test a man - because unlike women, men can spend a lot of time around a woman without becoming emotionally attached to her.
So if you’d like to find out for sure whether he’s truly committed to you, then we have a quick and easy quiz that will give you a definitive answer:
To work out more of the signs he will come back after pulling away, let’s go to the next point.
It is not necessarily in a man’s nature to invest in a woman just because he’s having sex with her or spending time with her.
David Buss, among other evolutionary psychologists, suggests that men default to strategies that actually minimise their investment in women most of the time - so they can do what their genes need to do and impregnate a lot of different women.
Notice, though, that I said most of the time.
Men definitely do still have the capacity to fall in love and form a pair bond with a woman - and stay faithful to that one woman for a lifetime.
It’s just not so likely that men will seek this out on their own.
Rather, a man forms a pair bond and falls in love when the woman in front of him inspires this from him emotionally - when she shows up as his one and only.
When you’re a man’s one and only, you will be treated completely differently to every other woman in his life.
You will not be competing with them for his attention, resources, or presence.
You will be so special to him that he will naturally invest in you emotionally - and be willing to make sacrifices for you that no-one ever has before.
Obviously, this is one of the definite signs that he will come back after pulling away.
But how do you know if you’re his one and only?
As Renée Wade explains in depth in this video on Becoming his One and Only, when men get to know a new woman, they subconsciously put her in one of two baskets.
Either she’s one of many, which means she’s valuable as a sexual opportunity and a companion, but there’s nothing deeply irreplaceable about her in the eyes of that man.
She’s not fundamentally different from the other women in his life - but she can still be great to have around.
Men don’t necessarily treat you badly if you’re the one of many, you just haven’t inspired that deep, one-of-a-kind connection with him.
If you’re the one and only woman, though, a man will experience powerful attraction and connection that compels him to invest in you.
You will intuitively feel that he is drawn to you and present with you in a way that you haven’t felt before.
You will also find that he seeks out that same level of presence and devotion from you.
When you experience this with a man, you can be confident that he will come back after pulling away.
With regards to being the one and only, there’s good news and there’s bad news.
The bad news is that once you’ve been placed in the one of many basket, it’s harder to get into the one and only basket. As the saying goes, you don’t really get a second chance to make a first impression.
However, it is definitely not impossible to change and be placed in the ‘one and only’ basket when you’re currently in the one of many basket.
The good news is that you can learn how to show up as the one and only for just about any man you wish.
If you wish to do that in your own life, then I recommend you take our online course, ‘Becoming his One and Only: 5 Secrets to Have Him Fall In Love and BEG You To Be His One And Only”.
(The promise of this course is for you to have your chosen man fall in love with you & beg you to be his one & only by embodying these 5 feminine secrets, even if he’s been distant, avoidant, or losing interest…)
When we as women face stress in our lives, we may be more likely to want to reach out to others, to talk, to share what we’re going through, and to ask for advice and support.
This pattern of behaviour has been referred to as the “tend and befriend” model of stress management.
Men, on the other hand. do not usually cope with problems in this way.
This may be partly due to differences in the way women and men are socialised, but it’s also probably a biological difference.
For example, men release less bonding hormone oxytocin in response to stress than women do.
This may push them towards a flight or fight reaction. Because fighting can be costly, though, many men choose the flight option instead - where they shut off from everything and everyone and try to suppress their emotions and their problems.
This can often look like pulling away from a relationship.
Don’t worry, though - if there is a clear stressor in your man’s life and he’s pulling away to deal with it, that makes things much simpler for you.
You can relax in the knowledge that his behaviour is not about you - and feel assured that he will come back once he solves his problem or decides to put it aside.
Of course, this is way easier said than done.
I know how hard it is to experience your man pulling away and to desperately try to comfort him to bring him back.
Just try to remember that he will come back if he loves you - you don’t need to be so scared.
By the way, did you know that there’s actually ONE specific emotional trigger in every masculine man on this earth that makes a him worship you and commit to you?
When a man loves you, or is in the process of falling in love with you, he won’t just completely disappear when he pulls away.
He won’t want to hurt you by cutting contact with you out of nowhere, and he won’t want to risk losing you - unless of course he is pulling away because you’ve hurt him. That scenario can look a little different.
But most of the time, when it comes to a man who loves you or is genuinely interested in you, his pulling away will be more subtle.
He may be a little more serious for a time, act distant, or stop showing you warmth and affection, but he won’t suddenly go three weeks without talking to you at all or explaining what’s going on.
You’ll still know where he is, and he will still respond to messages if you’re concerned about him.
Keeping you in the loop and understanding that you will be waiting to hear from him are positive signs that he will come back after pulling away.
On a related note, one of the signs that he will come back after pulling away is that he is responsive to your pain.
That could be pain that you’re experiencing right now as a result of him pulling away, or it could be pain that you’ve expressed in the past.
Even if he can’t change his mindset or be present with you in the way that you’d like him to be right now, if a man loves you, he will care about how you feel, and respond to it.
All you have to do is express your emotions to him in a vulnerable and open way, without blaming him.
This can be really hard to do, as it’s very easy to feel entitled to a man’s presence, consistency, and reassurance, and to expect him to naturally understand how much you need those things when he’s going through problems in his life.
And this entitlement can lead to some difficult feelings that block connection and vulnerability - like anger, blame, mis-trust, and jealousy.
But if you can simply and openly feel in front of him without blaming or hating him, he will make some effort to be there for you.
If, that is, he’s committed to your relationship or wants to pursue a future with you.
As an example, when my boyfriend experienced a period of setbacks at work and didn’t know how to solve the problem he was working on, he became quiet and withdrawn, and talked with me way less than normal.
He wasn’t as affectionate, he stopped joking around with me, and he reverted to one word responses at times.
He didn’t seem to have a clue how I felt about this…until after about 2 days of it I broke down crying and told him I was scared.
When I did that, he immediately apologised to me and said he understood how I felt.
And while he didn’t come back out of his preoccupied state right away, he did make the effort from then on to talk to me about what was going on and to make sure I was okay.
Sure enough, when he had solved the issue, he went back to the way he was before, and I felt close to him again.
The last of the signs he will come back after pulling away is when he pulls away because you hurt him.
There are a lot of ways we can hurt our men - some more obvious than others.
In my relationship, for example, I know I’ve hurt my partner at times by not trusting him as much as I should (long distance relationships can make this really hard), or by saying insensitive things that accidentally imply he’s less of a man in some way.
I knew I wasn’t actually “doing something wrong” in an objective moral sense, so it wasn’t immediately obvious to me - but acting this way still understandably caused him pain.
While this feels perhaps worse than any other reason that a man could pull away, because of all the guilt, it is actually less worrying than the other scenarios we’ve talked about.
This is because his investment and attachment are clear, and you know that he cares.
By the way, if you’ve ever wondered to yourself: how do men get emotionally attached? Here are 6 triggers for Emotional Attachment In Men.
Now, let’s say your man is actually pulling away because you hurt him.
In this situation, if you make an effort to understand him, acknowledge and stay present with the hurt you’ve caused him and rebuild trust with him, he will most likely respond and come back to the relationship.
Of course, this may not apply if you’ve done something really damaging, like cheating on him or tearing him down repeatedly.
But if it’s a relatively isolated incident, the chances of your man coming back after pulling away are pretty good.
Despite the extremely difficult emotions that you face, a man pulling away from the relationship can ultimately be a gift to you and to him.
For example, he may need to pull away to come up with new projects or business strategies that benefit you both financially.
The time apart can give you a clearer indication of his intentions towards you, and how strongly he feels about you; it can be a valuable test.
And even in the worst case scenario, if he does pull away and doesn’t come back, at least you know that he’s not invested in you and you don’t have to spend years with him, allowing him to use you over and over again.
Sometimes, just surrendering to the moment and observing what happens can give you a lot of really useful information about your relationship - provided you know how to interpret it.
Case study: From icebreaker to engagement in just 8 months… Discover the exact steps Yana took and the specific banter lines she used in order to attract the man of her life online and inspired him to propose after a short 8 months. (And then married within another 2 months…)
Now, you may be wondering what you can do to maximise the chances of him coming back after pulling away, or whether there’s something that will ease your anxiety and pain.
My favorite thing to do is to focus on staying high value when he pulls away. That way, you don’t get too down in the dumps and act out in ways that will damage your relationship permanently.
There are secrets to staying high value when he pulls away, and you can click here learn the secret to showing up & staying as a high value woman when your man pulls away, so that he can come back to you with more interest, more desire & more appreciation for you.
Sarah has a Masters in psychology and works as a special education advisor in early childhood. She lives in Auckland, New Zealand, with her partner and two children. She has a passion for evolutionary psychology, attachment theory, and personality psychology.
Author & Editor For National Council for Research on Women. Founder of the popular women's dating & relationship advice website, The Feminine Woman.
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