17 Things That Happen To A Man When A Woman Pulls Away

When a woman pulls away in a relationship, it can have a profound impact on the man involved. It’s not just about what she’s going through; it also affects him emotionally, mentally, and even physically. In this article, we’ll explore 17 things that commonly happen to a man when his partner starts to distance herself, shedding light on the complexities of such situations.

1. Confusion sets in.

When a woman starts to pull away, a guy’s first reaction is often a big, blinking “What the heck just happened?” sign. It’s like he’s been cruising on autopilot, and suddenly there’s turbulence. He’s not always sure what’s caused the change, but he definitely feels that something’s amiss. It’ll take a while for him to get to a place where he can actually see the situation clearly.

2. Insecurity takes root.

Men aren’t always the best at showing vulnerability, but trust me, they feel it. When a woman pulls back, a man might start second-guessing himself. Thoughts like, “Was it something I said? Did I mess up?” can plague his mind. His once rock-solid confidence might start to wobble.

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4. He makes a lot of effort to get your attention back.

Now, he’s on alert. Maybe it’s more texts, surprise date nights, or just trying harder to engage in conversations. He becomes more proactive, because losing that connection is, frankly, freaking him out a bit. It’s such a shame — if only he was putting in that same amount of effort before you pulled away…

5. He actually thinks about what he’s doing with his life.

Yup, it can get that deep. If a woman he cares about starts distancing herself, it can lead a man to some serious introspection. He might start re-evaluating his goals, passions, and how he treats the people in his life. Essentially, it’s a wake-up call to examine where he’s headed.

6. He tries to figure out why you’ve pulled away.

A good guy will genuinely want to know if he’s the cause. He’ll replay conversations and scenarios, trying to pinpoint any potential missteps. He might even ask mutual friends or just come straight out and ask you. He’s looking for answers, aiming to bridge the gap and find a way back to how things were.

7. He feels hurt and vulnerable.

When a woman pulls away, a man can feel like he’s taken a sucker punch right in the gut. Even if he’s the strong, silent type, the distance stings. It’s akin to someone slowly peeling away a layer of his protective armor, leaving a tender side of him exposed. It’s not something he’d openly wear on his sleeve, but inside, he’s grappling with a mix of hurt and vulnerability.

8. He starts reevaluating the relationship.

The distance doesn’t just make him question himself—it makes him question the foundation of the relationship. He starts playing detective, sifting through memories and conversations, hunting for clues. Was it something recent? Or maybe a slow-burn issue that’s now flaring up? He’s trying to gauge if this is a temporary phase or a sign of deeper issues.

9. He tries to become a better man.

Sure, there’s a self-reflective side that asks, “Did I mess up?” But there’s also a proactive side that goes, “How can I be better?” Maybe he starts picking up his socks, or perhaps he dials back on the guy nights to spend more time with you. He might even dive into books or articles about improving himself—anything to show he’s committed to growing.

10. He asks his bros for support and advice.

Men might not dissect relationships in the same way many women do with their friends, but they do ask for advice. Whether it’s a straightforward “What would you do?” or a more veiled chat about relationships, he’s looking for insight. His buddies become his sounding board, helping him navigate his feelings and the murky waters of the situation.

11. He feels a whole range of emotions and doesn’t know where he stands.

One minute he’s hopeful, the next he’s anxious. Then there’s frustration, sadness, and even a tinge of anger. It’s like being on an emotional roller coaster without a clear track. The ambiguity of the situation—of not knowing where he stands or what the future holds—can be mentally exhausting and emotionally draining for him.

12. He starts reminiscing on the good times.

When there’s distance, his mind has a funny way of flicking through the relationship highlight reel. Late-night conversations, special date nights, shared jokes, spontaneous road trips – they all come rushing back. It’s as if his brain is trying to counter the present uncertainty with a hit of nostalgia. He’ll dwell on these memories, wishing things could go back to the way they once were.

13. He tries to detach and do his own thing.

Sometimes, in an effort to cope with the void, he might adopt an “I’ll do me” stance. This could involve him throwing himself into work, reviving old hobbies, or just spending more time with his friends. It’s his way of finding solace in other aspects of his life. While it might seem like he’s moving on, oftentimes, it’s just a coping mechanism to manage the emotional strain.

14. He questions whether or not he’s a good partner.

Was he attentive enough? Did he make you feel special? Was he really present in the relationship? These are the questions that might keep him up at night. He begins to evaluate his role as a partner, comparing himself to perceived ideals and wondering if he fell short.

15. He tries to establish clearer boundaries.

If he senses that pulling away is what you truly need, he might try to set boundaries. He’ll respect your space but will want to know the ‘rules’. Can he call? How often? What about texts? He’s navigating uncharted waters and wants to ensure he’s not overstepping or understepping, trying to strike the right balance.

16. He tries wooing you back.

Depending on the man and the relationship, he might swing into full-blown romantic mode. Think surprise dates, heartfelt messages, or even just showing up to talk things out. He’s wearing his heart on his sleeve, making an earnest attempt to bridge the gap and reignite the spark.

17. He’s desperate to reconnect.

When the dust settles and the reality of the distance sinks in, a gnawing desperation can take hold of him. He’s past the point of casual check-ins or light conversations. Instead, he’s yearning for meaningful connection, for those in-depth, hours-long talks where both of you bare your souls.

He might reach out more frequently to try and bridge the gap. The texts become more personal, the calls more emotional. His actions might even seem out of character as he grapples with the feeling of losing something precious. He’s not just missing the relationship’s comfort; he’s missing the core connection that made everything feel right in the world. This desperation to reconnect is him reaching out, hoping to find that same connection and understanding he once felt.

The big problem with pulling away.

1. Your communication breaks down.

When you pull away, you’re not just creating physical or emotional distance; you’re also muzzling the line of open communication, which is the lifeblood of any relationship. Maybe it starts with you not responding to his texts immediately or avoiding those heart-to-heart talks. But soon, this can snowball into completely shutting down, making it hard for either of you to understand what the other is feeling or thinking.

Without proper communication, misunderstandings sprout like weeds, making small issues seem gigantic and solvable problems insurmountable. Before you know it, the distance isn’t just about space; it’s about the growing chasm of misunderstanding and lack of clarity.

2. It just escalates insecurities.

Remember that time you felt uncertain about something, and instead of clarity, you got silence? It’s nerve-wracking. When you pull away, his mind might start playing tricks on him. Every past mistake, every tiny insecurity, can magnify tenfold. Instead of seeing the situation for what it is, he might start overanalyzing every past interaction, wondering where he went wrong.

This doesn’t just escalate his insecurities but can also make you second-guess your worth in the relationship. Before you know it, both of you are in a spiral of self-doubt, making the road to reconciliation even rockier.

3. It causes both people even more pain and upset.

Avoidance seems like the easy route out, right? Dodge the confrontation, skip the unpleasantness, and maybe the problem will just…vanish? Unfortunately, the world doesn’t work like that. By pulling away, you’re not solving anything; you’re just shelving the pain for later.

It’s like putting a bandaid on a wound that really needs stitches. Eventually, that pain resurfaces, often more intense than before because it’s now compounded by the hurt of avoidance. Addressing issues head-on might be tough in the moment, but it saves you from prolonged agony and the festering wounds of unresolved emotions.

Gail is Bolde's social media and partnership manager, as well as an all-around behind-the-scenes renaissance woman. She worked for more than 25 years in her city's local government before making the switch to women's lifestyle and relationship sites, initially at HelloGiggles before making the switch to Bolde.