You’ve probably been there — you’ve met a new guy who seems to be sending strong signals that he’s developing feelings for you. He’s responsive and attentive.
Like most women, you’re probably a little reticent to reciprocate until you’re sure there’s something there, but when you finally take the plunge and let him know you’re interested, he starts to pull away.
Some men ghost entirely at this stage, and the woman is left confused and wondering why.
If it helps, it’s an almost universal experience that many women have had at least once, but it’s still hurtful and frustrating when it happens to you.
Although it’s no secret that men sometimes do this, the reasons for doing so seem shrouded in mystery.
Like everything else involving human relations, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer.
There could be as many different reasons for pulling away as there are individual men, but common threads do exist.
Read on for more insight about why guys who seem interested suddenly lose interest when the woman lets him know the feeling is mutual.
Why does he pull away when I show interest?
If interactions haven’t progressed beyond the flirting stage — as in, no real dates have taken place — it could be that the guy is simply just a flirt.
To some guys, flirting is all there is, and this type of guy isn’t looking for a romantic relationship.
In fact, he may already be involved and is just flirting for flirting’s sake.
It could be that he’s got a narcissistic streak and has to flirt with every woman he meets, or perhaps he’s just come off a bad relationship and has cold feet about starting something new with someone else.
He could be embarrassed about his life situation and doesn’t want you to lower your opinion of him if you discover certain personal details about him.
For instance, he might be between jobs and bunking in with his parents for the time being, or maybe he’s on parole.
In either case, you’ve probably dodged a bullet.
If a guy pulls away after a date or two, though, especially if they’ve gone well and especially if sparks flew, something deeper is very likely going on.
Why do guys pull away in the beginning?
Guys sometimes pull away at the beginning of a promising relationship because they’re at a place in their lives where they don’t think they can fit in a relationship.
If he’s just beginning his residency at a hospital, for instance, he’ll be working incredibly long hours.
Or perhaps he’s going to be relocating for a job or school in the near future, so he may understandably be trying to avoid making anything but casual connections.
It could also be that he was interested in you at first but changed his mind.
This happens for a number of reasons, but remember that attraction is fragile and often fleeting.
It’s possible he doesn’t even know why his interest waned, just that it did.
This early in a relationship, many feel that it’s easier to simply ghost than tell the person that the feelings just aren’t there.
He may dislike confrontation, and he may want to spare your feelings.
And if you’ve reached the point of intimacy with him, it could be that he’s one of those immature types who think of women as conquests and who moves on to the next immediately after he gets what he wants from them.
Why do guys back off when they like you?
It’s more complicated when a guy who genuinely likes you backs out of your life.
The prevailing wisdom in this situation is that he’s afraid of how strong his feelings for you actually are and is backing off as a result.
Some men are afraid of being hurt, while others just aren’t ready for a commitment.
It could also mean that he’s got psychological issues that make it difficult for him to get close to others, so he bails instead of trying to work through his feelings.
Temporarily backing off could also mean that he’s decided he wants to take your relationship to the next level but needs to give himself time to process his thoughts and emotions concerning your relationship.
In this scenario, though, the guy typically doesn’t ghost 100%. He’ll send texts, call, and even make plans, but things will be dialed back a bit.
Do guys pull away when they are falling in love?
Both men and women are guilty of bailing on relationships when they find themselves falling in love, and it’s commonly believed that fear of commitment is the culprit in these cases.
This is particularly true of those who’ve come to believe that their feelings aren’t to be trusted — perhaps they loved a parent or other adult as a child and were severely let down by that person.
Maybe their first love as an adult ended badly.
There are more mundane reasons as well — it could be that things are just moving too quickly for him.
Everyone has their own internal timeline of the speed at which a relationship should progress, and it can throw them off base if things seem to be heating up too fast.
Pulling away could also mean that he’s never been in love before and that he’s struggling with the unfamiliar feelings he’s experiencing.
Some men who are just beginning to explore their sexuality may be conflicted as well — perhaps he’s not sure if he really has feelings for women at all.
As you can see, there are so many reasons why a guy might back off when the woman expresses interest that pinpointing the exact reason resembles the old adage about needles in haystacks.
Knowing what your next move, if anything, is difficult if you don’t know what prompted the ghosting in the first place.
It can be tempting to text him immediately to try to find out what happened, but this may not always be the best course of action.
Should You Try to Find Out Why He Disappeared?
It’s only natural for the woman to want to find out why the guy decided to bail, but the first thing anyone in this situation should do is to avoid acting on impulse.
Waiting until you know for sure that he’s actually ghosted and not caught up in a tight work schedule or navigating a family problem will help you avoid seeming overly needy or clingy.
If he’s just having a fleeting moment of insecurity and has no real intention of not seeing you again, putting premature pressure on him will very likely serve to drive him away.
Letting a few days pass before doing anything at all is the best way to handle this situation and will spare you the potentially embarrassing consequences of acting on impulse, especially if you’re annoyed with or even angry at the guy.
Experts seem to agree that the best response to ghosting is to simply forget about it and move on.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t exceptions, though — especially if you had real reasons to believe that an actual bond existed between the two of you.
This is where your gut feelings enter into the picture.
Be honest about your own feelings
Because it’s normal to feel rejected and hurt when someone ghosts, many people confuse those feelings with an emotional investment in the relationship.
But if the relationship is so new that it can’t honestly be called a relationship, it’s very unlikely that authentic emotions exist.
Be honest with yourself about your true feelings for the guy.
This is why it’s so important to put some time between you and the situation.
After cooling off for a few days, you’ll probably realize that you actually don’t want to contact him at all.
Keep it short and sweet
If you do decide to get in contact with the guy who pulled away, keep your communication short and sweet.
Shoot him a simple text and see where it goes from there.
Under no circumstances should you continue to text him if he doesn’t respond, and you’ll save face if you don’t act confrontational.
However, if the ghosting involved standing you up for a date, it’s okay to let him know that you aren’t amused.
It’s not necessary to go in with guns blazing, but you may be doing the next girl a favor if he gets the picture that this isn’t how functioning adults behave.
Keep this kind of communication short and to the point as well, but it’s okay to skimp on the sweet.
Getting Past the Ghost
The good news is that you’re not alone — studies show that approximately 25% of us get ghosted at some point — and the bad news is that at these numbers, you have a pretty good chance of being among those who’ve been left wondering if they did something wrong when a new love interest disappears for no apparent reason.
The first step in getting past the ghost is to realize that perspective matters greatly on this subject.
Thanks to electronic devices with the potential to create instant communication with millions of others from all parts of the planet, our society is hyper-connected.
We’re meeting far more people than our counterparts of a century ago were, which increases the chances that some of them are going to flake on budding romances.
So what’s the best way to get past the ghost?
Automatically blaming yourself when someone suddenly removes themselves from the picture is a sure road to eroding self-esteem and losing confidence, so avoid blaming yourself when someone ghosts.
Self-care is an essential part of getting over being ghosted, so don’t hesitate to make a lunch or drinks date with the kind of friends who make you feel fabulous about yourself.
Getting a massage or other favorite type of spa treatment provides a healthy and relaxing way to give flagging self-esteem a boost.
Get back in the game
Spending time with men who find you attractive and want to get to know you better is a surefire way to make that ghost recede into the mist where he belongs.
What if he contacts you again?
Go with your gut if he gets in touch again. If he seems apologetic and sincere, it might be worth giving him another chance if you’re still interested— but you’re not obligated to no matter what his reasons were for bailing on you.
This is your call only, and if you suspect he’s just making a booty call out of boredom, it’s probably best to let him keep his ghost status in your life.
What if it Keeps Happening With Different Guys?
It’s unlikely that anyone will ever solve the mystery of why guys pull away when you show interest, but common threads begin to appear when guys keep bailing on the same woman.
If you’re being ghosted more than what seems like your fair share, it could be that you’re subconsciously choosing the type of men who are likely to engage in this behavior.
Women are constantly being told that they should want to be in a relationship, but it’s possible that deep down, you want to stay single for a while.
However, if the situation is causing you to experience true emotional pain, it might be time to talk things over with a professional therapist.
You could be reliving unresolved issues from your past.
You’re reading signals wrong
Young women without much experience in the romance arena sometimes don’t read signals in the way their male peers intended, especially if those peers haven’t developed much self-awareness themselves.
Those relatively new to romance should be especially cautious and avoid jumping to conclusions.
You’re coming on too strong
Coming on too strong is probably the most common way to ensure that a guy stops returning your texts or fails to make plans with you.
How to Tell a Guy You Like Him
Women throughout history have struggled with finding the right way to tell a guy they like him.
Waiting too long could result in him deciding that he’s failed to spark your interest, but expressing interest prematurely may cause him to head for the hills.
Is there a way to tell a guy you like him without risking him bolting?
As with anything else involved in dating, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to letting a guy know that you like him.
To further muddy the waters, guys often aren’t adept at picking up on subtle hints and clues, which can be frustrating for those trying to get closer to them.
The short answer is that when in doubt, wait it out.
There’s nothing wrong with directly telling a guy that you like him, but timing is everything in these situations — and telling him that you like him too soon is another one of the reasons why guys pull away when you show interest.
Letting things progress naturally may sound like the kind of boring, old-school advice your grandmother would give you, but it’s still relevant today — maybe even more so with the need to balance out instant communication with some old-fashioned reticence and common sense.
The real reason why men pull away
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