10 psychological signs he is being distant (+ how to respond): Complete list

We sometimes include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate disclosure.

One of the worst feelings in the world is wanting to connect with your partner, but you get the feeling that they are somewhere completely different.

This can be worrisome, you might wonder if he is slowly pulling away or if you are simply imagining it all.

This emotional distance is often not a trick of your imagination, and I will show you the psychological signs that you can look out for along with what you can do about it to bring your relationship back to a good place!

1) He is not initiating dates anymore

If he used to always be the one that said “let’s go out on a date” and now you’re the one waiting for him to suggest it, you might have a problem.

If your relationship progresses to the point where the majority of your dates are a result of your initiative, it’s a sign that he isn’t as into you as he used to be.

However, if your relationship was new, and he was the one that was always suggesting dates, then it’s normal for you to eventually take the reins.

But if you’ve been in a relationship for a while and he no longer initiates, then something is wrong.

You see, there is a tiny bit of natural, let’s say decline in effort, usually that shouldn’t be anything major, but it’s normal for him to initiate a little less than he did when he first started dating you.

Now: In that situation, you might have to step up a little bit and see where you can also put some effort into the relationship.

If his lack of initiative isn’t bothering you, then by all means continue enjoying each other’s company; but in that case, the only worrisome part is if you’re the one getting worried and waiting for dates.

However, if you notice that he isn’t initiating anything anymore and seems to not care whether you go out or not or do stuff together, that can be a red flag that he is pulling back.

In that case, it might help you to reconnect with him on a more personal level.

Bring the spark and the romance back, try to drop back into your feminine, playful energy and simply have a good time with him.

Sometimes, we get so rigid about the everyday routines that we forget to have fun together.

This can make guys want to be more distant and pull back, which can also be shown in their texting behavior:

2) It takes him forever to get back to your texts

If you try to initiate contact, and you can’t get a response from him for hours even when you know he’s online, then he might be trying to shut you out.

You can be online and do everything in the world, but the fact that you’re online and just ignoring your partner says that you don’t want to talk to them right now.

Your partner should be excited and enthusiastic about talking to you when there’s nothing in particular that they need to talk to you about.

There should be a desire to talk to you because they just want to talk to you because they love you.

However, when you are in this situation, the biggest no-no you could do is be passive-aggressive and petty, saying “wow, okay, just ignore me, then” or “whatever, nevermind.”

Trust me, any guy who was on the verge of being distant will be pushed far away with something like that.

Instead, you could take a step back and ask yourself why he might not be replying.

Is he busy? Did you pressure him with your text? Is something else going on?

When you get a more rational and calm perspective on the situation, you can respond with a more positive and loving tone.

Talk about how much you’ve been looking forward to hearing from him, for example.

This will make him feel guilty if he wasn’t replying and it will be an incentive for him to reply quicker the next time!

Think about it: you want him to look at his phone and smile thinking about you, not look at it with dread, right?

But sometimes, things might be a little trickier, which I will talk about in the next point:

3) He doesn’t want to talk about his emotions

If your partner is distant, and you try to talk about his emotions, he is probably going to shut you down.

If you try to talk to him, and he gets really defensive and/or shuts you down, he might be trying to shut you out.

Men are often shamed for getting in touch with their emotions, and many people in relationships lash out when they try to express their feelings.

If you try and talk to him about his emotions, and he shuts you down, don’t assume the worst.

Yes, for some men this can be a psychological sign that he is being distant, but for others, they simply don’t know how to healthily deal with their emotions!

If you’ve never learned how to do something, it can be really hard!

Now: In cases like that, it can be useful to talk to someone who knows what they are doing.

Relationship Hero is an amazing example of a site where you can talk to certified relationship coaches and get some support.

The thing is, you can either talk to them yourself, to learn how to navigate this difficult situation with your partner, or he could talk to them.

Given your situation, I’d say the former option is the more realistic one, right?

In that case, you will learn a lot about why he might be shutting down, how you can be loving to him, and also when you will know if things are truly over or if you still have a chance.

Click here to get started!

But not talking about his emotions is not the only sign that he’s being distant:

4) He forgets the things you tell him

When you tell your partner things that you want him to remember, and he starts to forget them, it’s another sign that he is getting distant.

If you try to tell him something important that happened or that you want to do something, and he forgets it, he isn’t interested in it at that time.

The thing is, he might have forgotten because he didn’t listen to you in the first place.

But that’s not a good sign, and it can be a sign that he is getting distant.

Now: before you get mad, there are other reasons why this might have happened, too.

Sometimes, we get so cluttered in our minds with all the different things we have to do that we forget things that we were told.

The thing is, that can happen a few times, but if it becomes a regular occurrence, there is nothing wrong with talking to him about it.

Some people simply can’t remember as much as others, so maybe try to be understanding of where he’s coming from and what he says.

When you talk to him about it, don’t blame him and say “you never listen to me!”

Instead, say something like, “Hey, it really makes me feel a bit sad when you forget a lot of the stuff I tell you, it feels as though you’re not listening to me”

This doesn’t make him immediately get defensive and shut you down, but it still lets him know what you think.

It also keeps the conversation open and maintains a healthy dynamic in your relationship. Who knows, maybe he truly was just thinking about a ton of stuff.

Speaking of things getting cluttered in our minds:

5) He seems like he’s somewhere else when you’re together

If he seems like he’s somewhere else whenever you’re together, he’s probably thinking about something else. That is a psychological sign that he’s being distant.

He’s not focused on you and your relationship like he should be.

He’s not giving you his undivided attention like he would if he were present in the moment with you.

Now: this can happen for a number of reasons.

If he has trouble at work or with his family, then that will obviously occupy his mind to the point where he doesn’t have the capacity to be present in your relationship.

To some extent, this can be okay because it is necessary for your partner to make sure things are okay in his life.

However, if he’s getting distant, and it’s not just because there’s something going on that’s necessary for his mental health, then it might be time to address the problem.

You can ask him what he is thinking about or you could try to bring him into the moment with you, by engaging him in a game or giving him a massage.

See if that helps him to be more present.

If it helps, then your relationship might not be the issue at all!

One sign where there definitely is an issue is the next one:

6) He doesn’t feel the urge to protect you

This might sound a bit strange at first, but guys are wired to protect the women in their lives.

This might sound silly, but if you are in a new relationship, and there’s no real strong protective vibe from your partner, then you should consider getting out of the relationship.

Men naturally want to protect their women from harm, and that desire to protect comes from a place of deep connection and feeling safe.

If he doesn’t seem to care about you at all, then he’s probably not going to be able to protect you when there is danger.

This also applies to if you’ve been in a relationship for longer.

You see, guys have this inner instinct, some even call it the “hero instinct“.

If you truly want to see if there is still a spark of that protective energy in him, then you can try to trigger his inner hero.

This excellent free video explains exactly how you can go about doing that.

Trust me, if you try this and it has no effect, he truly is distant, but if you trigger his inner hero, you know a part of him still loves you deeply!

Speaking of loving you deeply:

7) He’s not sure what he wants

If your partner isn’t sure what he wants in life, and he isn’t sure what he wants in terms of your relationship and where it’s going, he is probably being distant.

You can get a lot of reassurance about your relationship by having a serious discussion about where you’re going and how you feel about each other.

The thing is a guy who keeps saying “I don’t know what I want” is a prime example of someone slowly pulling back.

Psychologically, he probably knows what he wants and it just isn’t you. This is a hard pill to swallow, but if a guy really doesn’t know, then that says a lot.

Now: it’s a pretty common thing to feel unclear about what you want when you’re in a new relationship, but if your partner isn’t clear about what he wants, this is something that needs immediate attention.

If you’re asking him over and over again, how he feels about your relationship and what he wants out of things, and every time he says “I don’t know”, it’s one more sign that he is being distant.

This probably shows in other ways as well:

8) He says “I love you” a lot less

If he used to say “I love you” all the time, but now he doesn’t say it or says it much less, he’s distancing himself from you.

Simply put, if he used to be very affectionate, but now he isn’t, he’s distancing himself from you.

The thing is, guys usually like to express their affection in different ways.

Sometimes, it’s just through touch, or being there for you when you need them to be, or being thoughtful and loving.

But that doesn’t mean they don’t still love you.

Instead, they are taking these other ways to express their feelings that they enjoy way more than saying “I love you”.

That means he is likely getting distant because he likes the other ways of expressing his love for you more personally.

But if you notice that he is not doing the ways he has always expressed his love before anymore, then that could be a psychological sign that he is pulling back.

You can also see that in the way he talks about the future:

9) He never wants to talk about the future

If your partner is distant and you try to talk to him about the future, he is probably going to shut you down.

If you try to talk to him about your future together, and he shuts you down, that can be a bad sign.

You see, a guy who never wants to discuss the future is most probably distant.

Now: there isn’t all too much you can do about it except figuring it out for yourself.

You see, if he really doesn’t want to plan a future, is that because the thought of the future in general overwhelms him, or because he doesn’t want a future with you?

In order to figure this out, you need to communicate, which is my last point:

10) He doesn’t communicate very well

If your partner doesn’t seem very good at communicating, or he doesn’t seem to want to communicate with you, he’s probably distancing himself from you.

You’ll notice that if you try to talk to him about something serious like your relationship, he begins to shut you down.

In that case, you might need to tell him “hey, I need more communication from you”.

Communication is the key to a good relationship, so it’s important to work on that.

Final thoughts

If your partner is distant, it doesn’t necessarily mean he’s going to leave or that your relationship is doomed.

What it does mean, though, is that the two of you need to have a serious talk. If you don’t address the issue, it will only get worse.

Distance comes and goes as things happen in our lives, but you need to address it before it becomes an actual issue!

Can a relationship coach help you too?

If you want specific advice on your situation, it can be very helpful to speak to a relationship coach.

I know this from personal experience…

A few months ago, I reached out to Relationship Hero when I was going through a tough patch in my relationship. After being lost in my thoughts for so long, they gave me a unique insight into the dynamics of my relationship and how to get it back on track.

If you haven’t heard of Relationship Hero before, it’s a site where highly trained relationship coaches help people through complicated and difficult love situations.

In just a few minutes you can connect with a certified relationship coach and get tailor-made advice for your situation.

I was blown away by how kind, empathetic, and genuinely helpful my coach was.

Click here to get started.

The above link will give you $50 off your first session - an exclusive offer for Love Connection readers.

Did you like our article? Like me on Facebook to see more articles like this in your feed.