Many women have wondered this at the beginning of their relationship with a man. If you’re asking yourself the same thing, that’s because it’s a really good question. You’ve seen your love interest grow suddenly aloof and distant. His behavior has changed, seemingly out of nowhere. That can leave you reeling and confused.
Why is he suddenly so distant? Did I do something? Is he testing me?
These are normal questions to be having. At the beginning of a relationship, or even if it’s been a few months, those doubts are very valid and it’s okay to be having them.
When he pulls away, he isn’t likely to give you a reason, it’s just going to happen, and it can catch you totally off guard. Wondering whether or not he’s testing you is normal.
In all likelihood, though, your man is probably not testing you by pulling away.
The abrupt space he just put between you could have been placed there for any number of reasons; most of them are going to be for reasons that have nothing to do with your relationship.
So Why Is He Suddenly So Distant?
Men are enigmas. The way that they handle and process stress is usually quite different than the way women do.
Men process things by spending time alone thinking about it, maybe they work through their feelings with physical activity. More often than not, they prefer to process in silence, without talking.
That doesn’t mean men should just bottle everything up and never talk about it–that’s going to be unhealthy for him and for any relationship he has.
However, he might need space to deal with whatever’s on his mind. Alone. And that means he’s distant, maybe emotionally and physically. There’s a good chance it’s not related to you or your relationship at all.
He doesn’t want to be seen when he’s not at his best. Give him time and he might just come back around, stronger than ever.
There is the possibility his distance does have to do with your relationship, though. He might be making space to consider the different aspects of his relationship with you, his place in life, the future for the two of you, or how he feels about everything.
None of those reasons are necessarily bad things.
Will He Come Back Around If He Pulls Away?
When your man pulls away from you, it can be very worrying. It’s okay to be concerned about whether or not the two of you will be close again like you were at the beginning of your relationship.
It’s okay to wonder if he’ll ever come back around.
Whether or not he will is really dependent on his reasons for being distant. Giving him the patience, respect, and space to work through those reasons is crucial.
He may be testing you by looking for reassurance. Maybe he has doubts about your investment in the relationship, and he wants to see you reach out to him and take initiative.
He may be taking a step back to make sure he’s still really into you and sort out his feelings for sure, or making sure that you’re a good fit for him.
Unfortunately, there is the possibility that his distance might be because he’s just not that interested in you. Men need space to deal with stress and work through their emotions, but that’s no excuse for a man to play games with you or lead you on. (relevant article link from one of your sites?)
It’s important to never act out of fear or insecurity when he suddenly pulls away from you. Negative thoughts, words, and accusatory actions will push him further away, regardless of his reasons for being distant.
You are your own person, confident, independent, and your worth doesn’t depend on him or his actions.
Of course, that’s not to say it shouldn’t upset you or you shouldn’t be worried when your man pulls away.
Let’s identify some signs that will help you understand the possible reasons why your man is pulling away.
5 Signs He Might Be Testing You
1) He plays hard to get
It might have caught him off guard just how much he’s fallen for you. He doesn’t want to come off as too clingy, needy, or easy.
He thinks that playing hard to get will make him seem more desirable, and it gives you the chance to make a move, or prove that you like him just as much, too.
Playing hard to get and pulling away might just be a test to see how much you’re into him. If you play along, he might just reward you with the closeness you desire.
2) He waits for you to call him
Making the first move is usually the guy’s responsibility, right? Most of the time that’s true, and most guys like making the moves and taking the lead.
However, he might be having some pretty strong feelings for you and wants to know if you feel the same. So he waits on you, to see if you think he’s worth it.
He could pull away and it might be alarming, but if you show a little confidence and take the initiative, he might just reciprocate and you’ll be closer than ever.
Don’t try too hard, though: you might seem clingy or desperate. If he’s making you bend over backward just to keep the relationship alive, he’s not being kind or loving and isn’t worth your energy.
3) He doesn’t give you straight answers
He might be worried about feeling too vulnerable in front of you because he’s wary of getting hurt. Whatever it is that’s making him pull away, it’s possible he’s not ready to open up about it.
If he’s not giving you straight answers and is acting kind of mysterious, have patience. It could be that he’s deciding to take the next big step with you, or he’s going through some personal battles and isn’t ready to share.
Your patience and respect will bring him back around when he’s ready. If it doesn’t, he’s not worth your time.
4) He changes or cancels his plans suddenly
So you’ve been together a while, and he starts flaking on you, or abruptly changing plans. It might feel like he’s pulling away, trying to avoid you.
He could be trying to see how easy-going and flexible you are. He needs to find out if you are willing to adapt to change and accommodate him and all of his needs. In this way, it’s possible he’s testing you.
Complete unavailability and disrespect of your time, however, is not cool.
5) He waits for you to take the initiative
Women are used to being the ones who are pursued. It’s generally speaking the status quo, and most people will fit into this pattern of courtship.
But, if he’s doubting his worth to you, or wants to test to see if you are into him as much as he’s into you, he might sit back and wait for you to take a step or two.
At first, it may seem like he’s pulling away, but it might just be a test to see if you’re crazy about him, like he is for you.
If you are, it’s worth trying to take the initiative. Ask him out, make plans for the both of you, or text him first.
But make sure to keep your independence and don’t come off as needy. If he’s genuine, he’ll reciprocate and you’ll be closer because of it. Not further apart.
When taking a balanced initiative gets no response, he might be pulling away because he’s not interested in you.
5 Signs He’s Pulling Away Because He’s Not Interested
1) Total radio silence
If he’s waiting for you to text first, he’ll respond when you do. But when he never responds to you, no matter if it’s a sweet good morning text, asking him how his day was, or an invitation to do something with him, it’s not a good sign.
When a man cares about you, he’s not going to treat you poorly. Even if he needs space and seems aloof, he’s not going to ignore your existence and give you total radio silence.
He’s not pulling away to test you, he’s just not interested anymore.
2) He drops off the map after sex
Men differ from women in that it’s often easier for them to have sex and avoid feelings of attachment. In this way, it can be a pretty clear sign to tell if he’s not interested in you anymore.
When you’ve had sex and he doesn’t seem like he wants to spend time with you after, text or call you, or if he flakes on any date plans, it’s a strong sign that he’s just not interested anymore. So don’t waste your time.
Because of this, some women choose to wait a few dates before having sex. It helps them to establish a relationship beyond the physical, and to gauge if a man is interested in her, or just her body. Of course, that choice is entirely yours.
3) He’s emotionally unavailable
While your man may be less open and emotionally available than he was before he pulled away, that doesn’t mean it’s okay for him to be completely absent.
You have your own needs, wants, and interests. If he cares about you, he’ll make the time to make sure you feel like you’re being heard. He will listen to you and care about your emotions. As best as he can, at least.
If he’s going through a lot of hardship or stress, he might even vocalize that he’s not as emotionally available for you as he wishes he could be. He’ll seem apologetic, whether in words or in actions.
However, complete unavailability demonstrates pretty clearly that he doesn’t care enough about you. You have your needs and boundaries as an individual, and when he shows no respect for what you need, he’s not testing you, he’s just not interested anymore.
4) He’s rude or sarcastic
If the two of you shared a lot of sweet and tender moments when you first got together but don’t anymore, it could just be the initial euphoria of infatuation beginning to fade.
But if the reason you feel like he’s pulling away from you is because those moments are being replaced with sarcastic humor or rude comments, something has changed about how he views you.
Snide comments, negative words, caustic remarks, endless criticism: these are all bad signs.
No one who cares about you will treat you like this. He could be trying to get rid of you, or give you a hint. He’s not testing you, he’s not interested in you anymore.
5) He’s already in a relationship
This applies most in the very beginning of a relationship with a guy. He might be a bit of a player, keeping up with multiple love interests at once.
While it’s healthy to see multiple people while you’re single, it’s not something that should carry over once a relationship really starts to take root.
His unavailability to you and distance might be because he’s not interested in a serious relationship. Maybe he’s moved on to another girl, but hasn’t ended things with you. Or he’s just trying to juggle too many women at once.
In both cases, it’s not a good sign. If he’s really interested in you, he won’t be distant because of other women, he’ll want to make sure you feel the most important.
The fact is, you are important, and you deserve to be treated as such. When the guy you’re with shows that he doesn’t agree, he’s not worth your time.
What To Do When He Pulls Away
There’s hardly going to be an announcement when your man pulls away and is suddenly more distant than before.
It’s easy to react quickly–maybe even overreact–governed by feelings of doubt, insecurity, or your fear of losing out on a good thing. You care about him, and all these feelings are valid.
But resist the temptation to overreact and respond quickly. Reaction is rarely beneficial. It’s much better to take positive action instead of always reacting to every event.
Have patience, give him the space that he’s asking for. While he’s working through what’s on his mind, it gives you a great opportunity to focus on yourself, your independence, and on the state of your relationship.
It’s important to determine whether or not he’s playing games with you when he pulls away.
Depending on the signs we went through above, it’s possible he wants to see you demonstrate the value of the relationship you have with him. If he is, he’ll be doing it in a respectful way. In a way that doesn’t push you to the wayside or have you bending over backward just to keep things alive.
If he is, in fact, just playing games with you, it will be clear by the way he treats you, the respect he fails to give you, and the amount of time he spends with you. If he’s completely unavailable and never wants to give you his time, he’s playing games.
If you don’t think he’s playing games, have patience. And if, after giving him space, you still find yourself worried and concerned, it might be worth bringing it up with him directly.
Tell him you want to talk about it. If it’s not a good time for him, establish when it will be good, so he has time to think over what he wants to say. And then have that conversation with him using kind words and open communication.
It’s the best way to understand his feelings about you. Don’t pry or grill him on his every motive and reason for being distant. You just need to know if he’s pulling away because he’s not interested in you anymore, or if it’s because of something else.
If he’s reactive to the very idea of that conversation, or if he’s entirely unable to have it, it’s a pretty good sign he’s pulling away because he’s not into you anymore, or just not ready for a real relationship.
While it may be a hard conversation to have with him, it can also be a hard conversation to have with yourself.
The fact of the matter is this: if a guy is really interested in you, he’s not going to be playing games or pulling away for no reason. His kindness will be evident because he cares about you and he wants to make sure you feel like it.
No matter his reasons for pulling away, just remember: your independence and autonomy is most important. Taking the time and space for self-care and reflection is the healthiest thing you can do, regardless of the circumstances around it.
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