You’ve probably been that guy who pulls away at some point in your relationship, often after intimacy.
Maybe you still are that guy.
It’s okay. I relate. I used to be that guy too and so have many men who are a part of my relationship coaching program.
Pulling away is something that many men do in romantic relationships. They fall, they feel, they get close, and then they run. They give up on love out of fear, despite their appearance of courage and bravery.
Many men have been conditioned to believe that they are stronger if they do not feel love and emotion than if they do.
Many men have been lied to about the reality of how romantic relationships work.
In this article, we’re going to look at what pulling away means, why men withdraw or distance themselves after intimacy, and what we as men can do about our painful urge to run whenever we fall in love.
Men Pull Away Because They Can’t Regulate Your Emotions
What do you do with uncomfortable feelings? Can you have difficult conversations?
Most men freeze whenever an uncomfortable subject is brought up.
For most men, uncomfortable subjects are money, the future, or the dreaded “what I want” question.
Most men thrive on the day-to-day existence of early manhood, but when life and relationship test them, they fade fast.
Pulling away seems to some men as a perfectly reasonable response to the discomfort of struggling to regulate your emotions when you are in a stressful situation in a relationship.
This is just one reason why men pull away.
It Could Also Be Because You Don’t Have a Vision For Your Life
When you don’t have a vision for your life, it’s really difficult to decide which people you want to associate yourself with.
It’s like walking into the grocery store with absolutely no idea of what you need. You’re going to end up buying things you don’t want, things that aren’t good for you, and you’re going to forget to buy the things that you need.
No one goes shopping without a list and then ends up buying only fruits and vegetables and lean protein.
Just like your grocery shopping list, your life needs to have organization.
What do you want? Who do you want? Why do you want them?
This isn’t a build-a-bear workshop, but you can choose who you want in your life and who has to go. Your life is yours, and you can choose who gets space in your day and in your head.
Becoming a man who can commit to a woman starts with becoming a man who can commit to living a life that has consequences.
Unfortunately, the real world is a little different from what Elsa sings in Frozen.
Love is not an open door. It closes. It closes when you don’t know what you want. No one waits forever.
Men Pull Away When They Are Unprepared
Look, I’m not here to tell you what a “real man” is. It’s not 1975 and I’m not here to tell you to be tough.
However, the hard truth is that some men are stronger than others. Some men are in phases of their lives where they are more willing and able to commit to things.
Typically, this maturity (and the desire to mature) comes with age, but it’s hard to mature as a man and feel prepared to commit to a woman.
Men pull away because they fear commitment, and the root of this fear can have many different causes. For example, trauma or bad experiences with relationships is a very common reason why someone might develop what could be called a phobia of committing to a relationship.
Healthy long-term relationships are good, but bad ones can do severe damage to the psyche of a man or woman.
Men Pull Away When the Timing Isn’t Right
Sometimes, men pull away because the timing is just not right.
Maybe they’re not afraid, maybe they like a certain woman a lot, but maybe the time is just not right. For example, it’s going to be really hard to convince an average 22-year-old to commit to a serious relationship.
It’s just a timing issue. 22-year-olds usually don’t want to be married, even if it’s to the love of their life.
Some relationships can have everything, but the right relationship at the wrong time is just the wrong relationship.
This is not one of the leading causes of why men pull away, but it does happen.
The solution to bad timing is simply to wait for better timing. You can change a lot of things about yourself, but you cannot change the timing of life events that you experience.
This is okay, but you must accept it.
With that, let’s look at the more common things that people can do to improve their ability to develop healthy long-term relationships.
How to Not Pull Away From What You Secretly Want
If you’re like me, you have experienced epiphanies in your life that remind you of what’s really important to you.
It could be something extreme, like a near-death experience, the sensation of losing everything you once loved, or just a moment of clarity.
But you don’t need to have this magical, storybook-like moment to understand what you really want. All you really need to do is think about it.
Establishing a core vision for your life and developing self-awareness is the key to becoming someone who has the emotional capacity to not pull away from love.
Trust me, I’ve been there.
My friends used to joke that I had the emotional capacity for commitment in relationships that was the size of a potato chip.
I couldn’t commit until I decided exactly what I wanted out of my life. I had no ability to love others until I was able to establish a vision for how I wanted my life to go.
Doing this was a challenge, but that’s not all I had to do.
There’s more to committing to your woman than just creating a vision.
You also have to act and show your love, and you have to act like a man who has the ability to follow his vision.
Act Like a Man Who Can Commit
Remember how I said you need to “establish a vision”? I’ve only said it like 600 times
Well, there’s one problem with having a vision.
Visions don’t exist in real life, they only exist in your head.
You can have a beautiful vision of how to start a business, make the Olympic team, or meet the love of your life, but if you don’t get up and start doing stuff, your entire life will become wasted potential.
Your vision creates potential, but potential alone is not enough to have a strong relationship.
Many men and women date because of potential, but potential doesn’t build families and it doesn’t create loving homes.
You have to believe in a vision, but you also have to act in a way that allows you to pursue your vision. Then, you have to accept responsibility for your choices.
Psychologist Jordan Peterson, in his bestselling book 12 Rules for Life talks extensively about this idea, and he does it quite eloquently:
“So, attend carefully to your posture. Quit drooping and hunching around. Speak your mind. Put your desires forward, as if you had a right to them—at least the same right as others. Walk tall and gaze forthrightly ahead. Dare to be dangerous. Encourage the serotonin to flow plentifully through the neural pathways desperate for its calming influence.” ― Jordan B. Peterson
Having a vision for your life improves your brain chemistry. It literally makes you happier.
Happy people have the ability to commit to long-term visions and pursuits (such as relationships).
The duality of happiness and pursuit is what creates the beauty and complexity of our lives. You must be happy to pursue, but pursuing is what will make you happy.
That’s why sometimes, you have to let yourself feel like crap and just keep moving forward anyway.
What Should You Do If You Feel Yourself Pulling Away?
The sensation that you need to pull away from someone is a scary one, especially if you find yourself falling for someone and still trying to pull away anyway.
Sometimes, it can be an unconscious trauma response.
Depending on your past relationship experiences, committing can be extra difficult. Sometimes, your own brain is working against your conscious desires.
This is when you need to work on yourself.
If you’re in a healthy relationship, asking for space is not going to be a “deal-breaker”, but you need to understand that you cannot hide from commitment forever.
Actually, you can, but you know what will happen then.
I’m assuming that if you’ve read this far, you want a committed relationship, but you are struggling to get it because you keep feeling yourself pulling away no matter what you try.
You might have a vision in your life, you might be pursuing your dreams, but you’re still struggling to commit to a woman you love.
I get it. I was there too.
Commitment Is Like Vegetables
When you’re a young boy, vegetables are the worst.
I mean, you’ll never see a bunch of 13-year-olds sitting around after school eating broccoli and talking about how much they love broccoli for its health benefits and great taste.
You just don’t get the same dopamine rush from broccoli as you do from gummy worms, cookies, or chocolate bars.
Sugar is a drug. In the long run, eating cookies is less beneficial for your peace and mental health than eating vegetables, but people still do it.
Relationships are similar.
In the short term, it actually can feel good to run away from someone as you’re falling in love with them.
Traumatic experiences rewire your brain, and traumatic experiences can be as mild as a bad breakup or even getting ghosted.
That’s right, something as “mild” as getting ghosted can rewire your brain for the worse.
If this happens a lot, or if you have a severe reaction, your actions will change in a negative way to focus on protecting yourself, as opposed to living a happy life.
Furthermore, you can become addicted to toxic relationships the same way that you become addicted to sugar or caffeine.
You can become addicted to pulling away, chasing people, or cheating. You must learn to “eat your vegetables” and practice healthy relationship habits.
You do this through therapy, journaling, taking time and space to think, and even small daily habits like mindfulness or going for walks. Practicing healthy habits will give you the foundations for becoming a healthier person. Becoming a healthier person will help you form healthy relationships.
This is the trickle-down effect, and it can change your life.
As men in the digital age, we are more connected than ever before, yet we are also more alone than ever before. We can see all of the women in the world on our smartphones, but the second you close that phone, you’ll notice how alone you really are.
You have to decide how you feel about that loneliness.
Is it painful? Do you not mind it? Do you feel the need to do something about it?
By using the techniques that I’ve listed above, you can begin to hack your own brain in order to make yourself into the kind of man who is not only able to hold long down long term relationships, but also the kind of man who is able to balance his long term relationships with his long term vision.
Becoming a stronger, more emotionally developed man is an internal battle with external rewards that can change your life.
If you’re in that dark place right now, I promise you, you’re not alone, and the struggles that are coming your way are going to be worth it in the end.
Are you ready to stop pulling away from the love that could change your life? Are you ready to finally commit to becoming the man that you’ve always wanted to be?
Lucky for you, that’s exactly what I help you do with my exclusive coaching program.
See, this program isn’t only going to help you break free from nice guy behaviors, build quality romantic relationships, and become a stronger Grounded Man. It’s also going to provide you with support from both myself and my elite community of men.
You’ll be tapped into your own “band of brothers” and you’ll also have access to the best training course for men that exist today, as well as weekly calls with my team of inspiring and determined coaches. There are no boys, no complainers or dabblers, this program is for serious men only.