It’s finally happening: you met a man you’re compatible with, you really like him, and the feeling is mutual. He’s showering you with attention, making plans to see you, making time to call you, and generally letting you know that he’s so happy to have found you.
Then something happens. Out of the blue, he pulls back from you. Maybe he doesn’t mention seeing you this weekend, or he gets off the phone a little earlier than usual. Or maybe he’s not being as affectionate. You sense a shift in the way he is with you, and it doesn’t feel good. In fact, it’s downright scary.
As a woman, our first instinct is to try to fix the situation by getting closer to him. We’ll ask him what’s wrong, call him, and start worrying. But this can actually push a man further away because he’ll feel coerced.
The real secret to making sure his distance is only temporary is to let go of your efforts to bring him close. This seems counter-intuitive and frightening, since it feels like you might lose him. But that’s entirely not the case.
Here’s how to give him the space he needs while handling your own vulnerable feelings so that he’ll naturally want to come close all by himself.
STEP 1: STAY CENTERED BY REALIZING IT’S NATURAL FOR A MAN TO PULL BACK
Drifting away is completely natural for a man, even if he’s in love with you. Falling in love can make him feel vulnerable, so he’ll try to pull back in order to not lose himself. He’ll come in and go out – like a rubber band – while he works out his feelings and digs deeper to find his ability to go the distance in a real relationship. Meanwhile, he’s also making sure he “holds on” to his sense of self, his life, and his independence.
So, the first thing to do when this happens with the man you’re with is to remind yourself that it’s completely normal. If he’s the right man for you, these periods will significantly shorten over time, even though he’ll still need his “space” every once in a while.
After 20 years of marriage, there are still moments when my husband gets a little distant from me. The difference now is that I know that when he does it’s a natural process, so I don’t get worried like I used to. I’ve also learned what not to do when it happens. Which brings me to the next step…
STEP 2: CREATE TENSION SO HE SNAPS BACK
Whenever the man we’re with pulls back from us, our first instinct is usually to lean in and close the space. This requires effort. And it also usually causes the man to resist our attempts to get closer. Why? Because by stepping in we’re removing the incentive for a man to get close. He no longer feels it’s his choice – he feels forced.
If he starts pulling away, and you move toward him, then you’re just letting the rubber band go slack. You’re making it impossible for him to bounce back to you. You’re eliminating the tension he needs in order to come back.
The answer is to drop any effort on your part to close that space. Resist the temptation to ask him what’s wrong or to step up your efforts in order to get a response from him. Don’t call him or email him or drop by his place. Let him make the choice to come to you. When he does, it also makes you feel better. It makes you feel desired by him.
STEP 3: CONNECT WITH HIS HEART USING FEELING MESSAGES
When a man does withdraw, it creates all sorts of feelings inside us. We feel neglected, uncertain, and angry. And when he comes back, it’s easy to feel resentful. We want him to know that we felt hurt. We don’t want him to think it’s just okay for him to pull away.
But there is power in your words, and the words you choose can deepen the connection you share so that he is more mindful of your feelings when he does need his space. The trick is to talk to him in a way that expresses your feelings without blaming him.
So, instead of saying, “Why haven’t you called?!” try, “I feel so happy to hear from you!” Show him that being with you is a fun, positive experience. When he sees that you didn’t let your emotions overrun you and senses that you didn’t place such a high importance on his actions, he’ll be motivated to stay close and connected with you. He’ll recognize that he’s with a woman who respects his needs while taking care of her own feelings. And he’ll appreciate that you didn’t blame or criticize him.
When you create a positive experience with him, he’ll also gradually realize that being close and connected with you is a valuable part of his life he won’t want to live without. He’ll see that being with you does not mean he needs to give up his sense of self or his independence, and the bond you two share will become even stronger.
Rori teaches women how to effortlessly attract the right man and have the secure, close relationship they want. To learn specific words that will help you connect with a man’s heart at every stage of your relationship, subscribe to Rori’s free e-newsletter. You’ll also learn how to handle your feelings when a man becomes distant from you and how to respond to him so that he can’t help but want to be connected with you again.