Why A Guy Pulls Away Just When You’re Getting Close

Out of all of the annoying things we guys do, I’m sure pulling away just when you start to get close is near the top of the list. While I can’t excuse this behavior on behalf of my entire gender, I may be able to explain it. Here are some of the more common explanations for why a guy pulls away from you just when it looks like your relationship is starting to go somewhere.

  1. He realizes he jumped in too fast. If a guy likes you, he sometimes can’t help but go 100 mph at the start. He’ll take you out on dates and be texting constantly, doing anything and everything to shower you with attention. Then reality starts to set in and his mind realizes what’s happening. At the current pace, he’s speeding toward a full-scale relationship. That realization will cause some guys to slam on the brakes and pull away from someone, even if they’re quite smitten with them. If it’s any consolation, you probably didn’t do anything wrong. He just needs to overcompensate for going too fast too soon, which means backing off for a while.
  2. He’s not over his ex. Sometimes it takes getting close with someone to make you realize that you’re not over someone else. If you get close to a guy, there’s no doubt that he’s enjoyed getting to know you. But in the process, it could have stirred up lingering feelings he has for someone else. He may not be able to take things any further with you if he realizes that he’s not over his ex. Hopefully he has the guts to let you know rather than ghosting you, but obviously there are no guarantees.
  3. He’s seeing other people. Odds are that if he’s dating multiple women, he doesn’t want to get too close to any of them. If that’s the case, he will surely pull away if he starts to feel things getting too serious. It could also mean that he likes one of the other women a little more than you. I know that might hurt to hear, but it’s the cold, hard truth. The key is to know as soon as possible if he’s dating other people or not. At least if you know, you can expect that he’ll take a step back.
  4. He needs time to figure out his feelings. Guys aren’t always great at expressing or even understanding our feelings. It’s one of our many flaws. I don’t want to give you the cliche that a guy is “afraid of how much he likes you.” More accurately, guys are sometimes overwhelmed by their feelings and so their instinct is to take a step back. He’s not afraid, he just needs some time to process and accept how strongly he feels toward you. In this situation, it’s best not to press the issue too much. Sometimes if you give a guy space to figure things out, he’ll come around.
  5. He’s got other things going on in his life. Don’t take this the wrong way, but it’s not always about you. Sometimes people have work or family issues going on in their life that cause them to pull away from someone. If your relationship has been all fun and games, he may not be comfortable sharing with you all of the things causing him stress. If the relationship isn’t yet serious, those aren’t things you share with someone, right? This could be why a guy has suddenly disappeared. It’s not your fault, it’s just odd timing.
  6. He’s having second thoughts. We all have second thoughts about stuff in life, right? I think we can all agree that doubt can be a powerful thing. It’s easy to get caught up in the fun and excitement of a new relationship. But at some point, he’ll realize that he needs to figure out if he wants something serious with you. That can require taking a step back to consider the next step. In this situation, it’s fine to give him a little space. In fact, you can take some time to figure out what you want too.
  7. He wants to have control. Warning: this is where things start to get a little cynical. Guys have a tendency to want to control everything. You may have noticed that. If he starts to feel like things are moving too fast, he’ll start to pull away in an effort to seize control of the relationship. He might have some good excuses for doing this, but it’s all about taking control and trying to dictate the next step in the relationship. If you get close to a guy and then he suddenly starts trying to be controlling, he’s probably a jerk and you don’t want to have anything to do with him anyway.
  8. He wants to make you want him. Sadly, there are some guys that are all about playing games. One way to play games is to suddenly pull away and distance yourself from someone. I’m sure some of you have seen this before. He’s got you on the hook and then backs away so that you want him more. For the record, this is a dirty trick that I don’t condone, but guys who are experienced players will use this tactic to trick you into wanting them more than they want you.
Bryan Zarpentine graduated from Syracuse University and lives in upstate New York, where he writes largely about the world of sports. His work has appeared on Franchise Sports and WSN, among others. You can find him on Twitter @BZarp.