15 things that happen to a man when a woman pulls away

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A woman may decide to take some space from a guy for various reasons. But you’re dying to know what he makes of the situation.

What happens to a man when a woman pulls away?

This article will reveal what is most likely going through his mind when you take a step back.

15 things that happen to a man when a woman pulls away

1) It knocks his confidence

Let’s face it, when someone pulls back from you, regardless of their motives, it’s bound to feel like a kick in the teeth.

Someone taking space or pulling back in a romantic situation is most likely going to feel like a rejection.

He might start questioning himself and the connection that you two have.

Maybe if you feel like he hasn’t been giving enough to you, that is what you want?

There’s a real chance that it will hurt a guy when you pull back from him.

If he was feeling secure before, you pulling back is likely to make him feel like he’s standing on much more unsteady ground.

And that’s likely to impact his confidence.

2) He wants you more

There are some situations when a woman pulls back and it makes a guy want them even more.

Sometimes people simply want what they think they can’t have. And some guys do enjoy the chase.

If a girl shows too much interest in them, they seem less attentive and motivated. But as soon as she pulls back, they seem to step things up a gear.

The problem with this kind of guy is that the more receptive you are the less interested he seems. But when you show less interest, then he suddenly wants you.

And this can be a red flag. It all points to an emotionally unavailable man.

The reality is that you shouldn’t have to play games in order to keep someone interested in you.

3) He loses interest

Pulling back might make a man want you more, or it could completely go the other way.

If he senses you withdrawing, he might decide to give up rather than put in more effort.

When you pull back, he might feel like he has no chance of getting your attention. Or he could feel like the whole situation is not worth it.

The details of the situation between you — aka your history together and the level of feelings involved — will probably define whether he decides it’s worth the pursuit or not.

But ultimately, if he feels like he is not getting what he wants from you (your time, energy, and interest) he may well lose interest.

4) He pulls back too

A stubborn guy’s response to a woman who pulls back could be to meet fire with fire. That could create a standoff situation where he too decides to pull back.

He may decide to match the energy and efforts you are putting in, rather than bridge the gap.

If he senses you aren’t really in, then his instinctive response could also be to withdraw and protect himself.

There could also be a bit of pride wrapped up in this defense mechanism.

Rather than keep trying, he might think the better strategy is to also take some space and see what happens.

This can create a stalemate scenario with two people refusing to budge or back down.

5) He wonders if you’re playing games

A huge factor in how a guy will handle a woman pulling back, is what he thinks her motives are.

That will most likely dictate how he feels and thinks about it all.

He could question whether you are playing games with him.

It may run through his mind that you are looking for attention. That you are trying to get a certain reaction from him.

In short, he could wonder if you are playing games with him.

Men realize that some women will pretend not to be interested to test them or try to get the upper hand.

They know that there are plenty of girls out there who will play hard to get just to see what they’re made of.

So if a guy suspects you are doing this, he may question what your intentions are and why you are giving him the cold shoulder.

6) He steps up his efforts

Here’s a scenario:

You really like this guy, but you’ve been feeling like he’s been putting in minimal effort.

Maybe he drifts in and out of your life. He doesn’t show as much interest as you’d like him to. And you’re getting a few player vibes from him.

So you decide that for your own protection, you’re going to take a step back.

Putting a little space between you can be a good test of someone’s intentions.

Because he’ll either lose interest or it could go the other way.

Rather than let you slip through his fingers, he might realize he is going to have to put in more work.

He sees that you aren’t going to wait around for him, and so he steps up his efforts.

7) He barely notices

Perhaps one of the most painful things that could happen when you pull back from a guy is that he hardly notices.

Rather than see the error of his ways or put in twice as much effort, he might not pay much attention at all.

And if you were specifically looking for his attention, that is going to sting.

But the reality is that there are far better ways to positively get a man’s attention.

One of which is triggering his hero instinct.

This psychological theory says men are biologically driven to want certain things (and hint, it’s not what you think!)

When you can provide those things, and learn what to say and do to trigger his hero instinct, it appeals directly to his primal instincts.

The result is that he becomes more committed, loves harder and is focused entirely on the woman who can make him feel a certain way.

The best thing to do is watch this free video from relationship expert James Bauer.

In it, he’ll reveal simple phrases and texts you can use to grab his attention instantly, but in a positive way.

Here’s the link again to that free video.

8) He puts up his defenses

For men and women relationships, dating and romance, in general, is incredibly vulnerable.

In order to protect ourselves, we all are capable of putting up walls.

Often things like stepping back and pulling away are an example of those defenses.

If he feels like you are stepping back from him, it can unconsciously trigger some of his defenses too.

These defenses might play out in many unpredictable ways.

9) He looks elsewhere

I’ll be completely honest…

When I’ve felt rejected by someone in the past, one of the first things I’ll do is jump online to try to remind myself there are plenty of fish in the sea.

I guess it’s a way of boosting your confidence when you feel like you’ve had a knockback.

If he thinks you are taking space, his instinct could be to fill that space with another woman.

The reality is that in the age of social media and dating apps, it can be easier to move on and find a quick replacement.

Particularly if he is not yet emotionally invested in your connection, he can think someone else will provide the perfect distraction for him.

When you pull back from some men, it won’t be long before they are chasing other women.

10) He feels annoyed

I don’t care who you are, every one of us has an ego.

And nobody’s ego likes the feeling of not getting what they want or being rejected.

Whenever we get annoyed or feel mad, usually it’s our ego’s way of protecting us from deeper feelings.

Anger is often a mask for sadness.

If he gets angry that you pull away it can be a way that he is expressing his hurt.

But he might also feel annoyed if he thinks you are playing with his emotions.

11) He can’t figure you out

Depending on what preceded you taking space and pulling back, he might be having a hard time figuring you out.

If in his mind things were going well, then he’s likely sat at home scratching his head over what the hell is going on.

It’s possible that he doesn’t know whether he should take this as a full-blown rejection or whether you just want a bit more space.

If you haven’t communicated with him about how you’re feeling, or what you want from him, then he could be completely in the dark still.

He might wonder what he did wrong. He might be trying to understand what has made you pull back.

Put simply, he can’t work you out.

12) He learns your boundaries

Sometimes a woman will pull away for completely legitimate reasons.

She isn’t getting what she expects and needs from a guy. He simply isn’t getting it, and so she needs to take a step back for the sake of her own heart.

This can be the case if a guy hasn’t shown you the respect you deserve. For example, he’s been flaky, uncommitted, and unreliable.

If you’ve tried to set the tone and tell him how your feel, but his poor efforts persist, pulling back can be a way of drawing a line in the sand.

This signals a boundary to him.

If a guy has messed up, then when a woman pulls away he may learn that she has boundaries he cannot cross.

13) He thinks you aren’t into him

There are some guys out there who will be spurred on by the challenge if they feel like a woman is pulling back.

But there are also plenty of others who will simply assume that you probably aren’t into him.

After all, he isn’t a mind reader.

I guess it will come down to how much you pull away, and the ways in which you do.

If you are ignoring his messages and making up excuses not to meet up, he is most likely going to assume that he’s being shown the door.

14) He feels frustrated

If you’re wondering about the sort of emotions a man might feel when you pull back, then frustration is a likely one.

Whether that’s frustration that he has messed up in some way. Or perhaps the frustration that you are acting like this.

He might be feeling a bit let down and disappointed.

If there hasn’t been any proper communication before you pull back, it can leave him feeling in limbo. And that’s bound to feel frustrating.

15) He doesn’t know what to do next

None of us get a handbook for dealing with dating and relationships.

So one of the things that can happen to a guy when a woman pulls back is that he doesn’t have a clue what his next steps should be.

He might be pondering how should he proceed.

What should he do?

What do you want from him?

Should he cut his losses? Or step up his efforts?

It’s an uncertain time when someone pulls back and that uncertainty can leave him feeling pretty confused about where to go from here.

To conclude: The big problem with pulling away

From reading this extensive list of what happens to a guy when you pull away you’ll already have seen that it can create a wide range of reactions.

You cannot predict how he is going to feel or what he will do next.

That means if you pull away hoping to get something out of him (provoke a fear of losing you or get him to change his ways, etc.) it can easily backfire.

Pulling back should only ever be a last resort when you are totally prepared to give up on a situation or relationship.

And the reality is that it’s not a substitute for creating healthy and clear boundaries or honest and open communication.

Before you decide to pull away, it’s a good idea to take a moment to think through your reasons for doing so.

Are you trying to protect yourself? Are you trying to draw a line in the sand? Or are you just fed up with the situation?

Whatever your reason, make sure it’s genuine and that you are ready to accept the unpredictability of the consequences.

Because if you don’t, you could find yourself regretting it later.

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.

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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