9 reasons guys act distant when they like you (and what to do)

Your man is acting distant. He is pulling away. Withdrawing himself.

You have no idea why. After all, you thought he was interested.

In fact, you’re sure that he actually genuinely likes you. So, what in the hell is going on?

Why is he acting distant?

That’s what I hope I can answer for you in this article.

You see, I’m a man, and I’m not afraid to admit that I have acted distant in the past to women that I genuinely liked.

There were various (albeit complicated) reasons I did this, but some of them aren’t so obvious.

Before we start, it’s also important to remember that it doesn’t always happen at the beginning of a relationship or the “wooing” stage.

Some guys even act distant when they’re in a committed relationship (yep, I’ve seen that many times before).

So let’s dive deep into why your man might be acting distant.

1. He is scared of his feelings

This is probably the biggest reason men act distant to a woman they like. They are scared of their feelings.

The feeling of love is a powerful emotion. We can all attest to that. And when a man suddenly feels something so powerful, he feels uncertain and doesn’t know how to properly process it.

I’ve been there. It’s not easy to experience.

You’d think love is nothing but a positive emotion, and in most cases, it certainly is.

But what if you already had your life figured out?

You had plans in place for what your goals are in life and how you’re going to achieve them.

And then all of a sudden, you’re less certain about everything because you’re feeling a powerful emotion that threatens to change the trajectory of your life.

Those nights out with the boys? The business you wanted to start? The trip you wanted to go on?.

It all becomes secondary when you’re falling in love. After all, love becomes your priority.

So that’s exactly why he might be feeling scared. He may want to ignore the feelings of love hoping that it goes away.

And look, he might find the idea of a relationship with you as highly appealing, but the emotions that come with it are difficult for him to get his head around.

It may take him longer to process these emotions than you might expect. Women are generally a lot more in touch with their feelings than men.

So he might take time, and he probably won’t communicate this to you, either. He’ll just act distant for a period of time until he’s able to get his head around them.

2. He is scared of commitment

Some men struggle with the idea of losing their freedom.

Maybe they are young and they want to test out the waters before they decide to settle down.

Perhaps they find the “courting” stage thrilling but see the “stable relationship phase” as boring.

So when it moves beyond the initial attraction stage, they start to act distant.

Some men don’t have serious long-term relationships until they’re well into their 30s. It’s actually more common than you might think.

So, what does this mean for you?

Well, if you’re longing for a man who is scared of commitment, it’d be a good thing to ask the right questions about why that is. 

The root of the issue could be patterns within you that need to be healed. 

Once you’ve healed those parts of you, you might not even be interested in someone who’s not ready for commitment anyway.

I learned this from the Love and Intimacy Masterclass by Rudá Iandê, a highly acclaimed shaman who has worked with thousands of people in your situation. 

He created this free resource to help you heal and discover true self-love, which will stop you from getting into unhealthy dynamics where you’re not getting what you’re giving. 

To be honest with you, completing the masterclass has saved me from many potential heartbreaks. 

It gave me back the power I had lost from chasing men who weren’t ready to commit. 

So if you’re dealing with someone who isn’t ready to commit to you, I highly participating in the free masterclass to learn more about where you’ve lost yourself. 

So that you can reclaim those parts of you.

And at the end of the day, if you still want to chase this guy, at least you’ll be doing it from an empowered place…

Check out the amazing masterclass here. 

3. He’s been hurt in the past

If your man has been hurt in the past from previous relationships, then he might be scared about falling for you.

Perhaps an ex abused him or cheated on him, and he can’t get that terrible experience out of his mind. Fair enough.

This is why his guard might be up, and he is naturally afraid of getting close to anyone again.

So when you triggered deep feelings within him, it may have caused him to start acting distant to you.

Acting distant is a form of defense mechanism designed to protect himself.

Don’t panic though. If this is the case with your man, then you just need to work on building trust and making him comfortable.

When he gets to know you better, he’ll realize that he really likes you for who you are and that you’re not going to hurt him.

Just keep this mind:

When you’re dating a guy who has been hurt in the past by a crazy bitch, it’s all about making him feel safe and secure in the relationship.

When he realizes that he can trust you, it will alleviate his worries about falling for someone that could potentially hurt him.

4. He doesn’t think you like him back

Can you come across as a bit of an ice queen? You know, the type of girl who despite her best intentions can’t get rid of that good, old resting bitch face?

If you think that might be the case, then I can guarantee you that he might be scared about falling for you.

Guys are actually easily intimidated by an attractive woman.

And the last thing they want is to be rejected (it’s terrible for their ego).

You might not think that you’re acting a little cold to him, but you’d be surprised.

Sometimes we can appear colder than we expect.

And you might think that it’s up to him to “woo” you anyway, so it shouldn’t matter how you behave.

But you need to give him some sort of signal. Smile at him, give him eye contact. And if you’ve been dating for a while, then ask him out every once in a while.

Even in committed relationships, nobody wants to be the partner that is falling in love much harder.

When you have stronger feelings in a relationship, it can lead to neediness, desperation and getting hurt.

Nobody wants to be in that position.

If you think that he might be scared about falling for you because you’re acting a little cold, then this actually great news.

Why? Because all you have to do is show him that you are interested, and he’ll realize that his feelings are reciprocated.

There are many different ways to show him that you like him, from smiling and winking at him to asking him out on a date.

Once he knows that you’re into him, he’ll stop acting distant and show his feelings to you.

5. It might be moving too fast for him

Some relationships can move pretty damn quickly.

Before you know it, you’re planning your future together and counting how many kids you’ll have.

That might not be you, but if he feels that it’s moving too fast then he might be feeling intimated by that pace.

Relationships are big commitments, and while he might be sure that he really likes you, he might feel better about it if it moves a bit slower.

If the relationship is moving too fast for him, he’ll start acting distant as a technique to put the brakes on things.

There’s nothing wrong with this. In fact, the strongest relationships tend to take time to grow into a rock-solid bond.

So if you think he might be acting distant because things are going so fast, take a moment to let him know that you’re okay with going slower.

6. He needs some time to spend with the boys

If he’s like other guys, then before he met you he was probably spending countless hours hanging out with the boys.

Perhaps they’d drink beer and watch football together. Or they’d go out on a Saturday night and try to pick up girls.

But now that he is spending the majority of his time with you, he’s losing that sense of masculinity that he is so used to.

Maybe he has become more vulnerable around you and all of these feelings are bubbling up that he isn’t comfortable with.

So now he is making an effort to recharge his masculinity. And part of that involves retreating towards his man cave and acting more distant around you.

Don’t get down about it. After he has recharged his man batteries, he’ll likely come around again and stop acting so damn distant.

7. He has other stuff to focus on in life

What stage of life is your fella in?

When a guy is in the late 20s, he’s (likely) trying hard to establish himself in his career.

He’s starting to make money and he knows he needs to focus if he is going to be successful.

Maybe he’s ambitious and his boss is asking him to work late and put in extra hours. Or perhaps he has other issues going in his life.

Life is complex, after all. We have all battles and struggles that we have to overcome.

He might be acting distant and leading you on because these stresses and priorities are taking up his focus.

If you’re only in the early stages of your relationship, then he might find it difficult to be fully open you.

Maybe he’s scared about how you’ll react so that’s why you’re left in the dark.

8. He suddenly realized that he’s not that into you

If you’ve only recently started dating (meaning it’s early in the relationship) then it might just be that he’s not interested in you.

This is probably brutal to hear, but many aren’t great at communicating their feelings so sometimes they don’t tell the girl that this is the case.

He might not want to offend you, either. So he’s acting distant hoping that you’ll eventually come to the conclusion that he’s not into you.

If you’ve fallen hard for this guy, then it definitely sucks, but do you really want to be with a guy who isn’t upfront and honest, anyway?

You’d never understand what he’s feeling and thinking. A better view to take is that you may have dodged a bullet.

9. It could be your lack of self-love

The reason he’s acting distant could be something to do with you, which is why it can be helpful to seek another opinion about your situation.

With expert advice, you can get suggestions specific to your life and your experiences.

What really helped my situation was this Self-Love Quiz created by the experienced shaman I mentioned earlier, Rudá Iandê.

His extensive knowledge in the realm of love really helped me to understand the core issues that were sabotaging my relationship. 

And guess what?

Most of these issues boiled down to thoughts and feelings I was holding onto yet repressing.

At the end of the day, and as cliche as it sounds, learning to love myself better was the key in forming healthy attachments.

You see when you don’t really love yourself, your partner can actually sense that. And some people aren’t so pleasant, and will even take advantage of that.

Personally, it was through understanding these core issues that I was able to communicate clearly with my partner about what needed to be changed.

Instead of viewing one another as the enemy, we learned to work together – not apart – and started developing our self-love as well as our shared attachment.

And all of that wouldn’t have been possible was it not for resources such as the quiz as they do more to prompt you to think and reflect than skim reading a book or halfheartedly listening to a podcast.  

Take the quiz and start your own journey here.

What to do when a man is acting distant

You might be feeling terrible that he’s acting distant.

Maybe you thought you had something special going on, or perhaps you’ve fallen for him hard.

But here’s what you need to know:

Just because he is acting distant doesn’t mean he doesn’t want a relationship with you.

As we mentioned above, there are many reasons for why he could be acting distant, and only one of them signifies that he doesn’t like you. All of the other reasons are easily worked through.

After all, he’s just working through his own thoughts and feelings.

So how should you approach this challenge?

1. Communicate with him (in this way)

Space? Absolutely. Silence? Not so much.

In fact, giving him space doesn’t mean not seeing him, either.

It means understanding his need to spend time apart from each other, but it doesn’t mean that if he wants to meet up with you you should say no.

Should you message him online? Definitely. Just don’t act needy and don’t pressure him to move fast with your relationship.

Be relaxed and chat to him like he is your buddy.

If he’s acting distant then he may not be as forthcoming with his replies as you like, but that’s okay. Don’t panic. Remember you’re giving him space to allow him to work through his feelings.

2. Give him space

This may be tough to hear…but you need to give the guy some space.

None of the reasons for why he is acting distant is going to be solved by desperately trying to pull him in and spend more time with him.

He is acting distant because that’s what feels right to him.

If you give space and time to figure out things out, then eventually he’ll more than likely come around.

As we mentioned above, guys take longer to process their emotions. So give him that time.

3. Don’t get angry with him

If you’re frustrated because he is acting distant, try to not let that frustration show.

It’s easy to pin the blame on others when things don’t go your way, but it won’t do anything to help you move your relationship forward.

Getting emotional will actually have the opposite effect of pushing him away further.

Instead. try to show compassion. Imagine if you were experiencing strong emotions that were totally foreign to you and you didn’t know how to process them.

Let him know that’s okay for him to take his time with processing his emotions.

He’s most likely confused by his feelings, or is fearful of rejection, or is finding it difficult to transition from one lifestyle to another, so try to act positive with him. Be kind.

If you take it easy with him and give him space, he’ll come around quick enough.

Don’t withdraw and follow his lead (that will just make things worse).

Keep in contact (keep it casual) and let him know that you’re always there for him. If he can trust you and feels comfortable around you, then he might open to you in ways you can’t imagine.

4. Don’t introduce him to your family or friends yet

If he’s acting distant, then it might be because things are moving really fast.

If you’ve only been seeing him for a short amount of time, then don’t put even more pressure on him by introducing him to your family.

The whole “meet the parents” scenario is a big deal. It solidifies the relationship.

You might be ready for that but he might not be.


Guys generally process their feelings slower than females. So take your time. He’ll eventually want to meet your family. Just give him space first.

5. Show him support for his other passions

We spoke about the fact that men fear losing their independence.

Well, show him that won’t happen when he’s dating you. Support his other passions in life.

If he is career-minded, ask him how he’s work is going and cheer him on from the sidelines.

Perhaps he is a marathon runner. Ask questions about it and be enthusiastic whenever he achieves something small.

Does he like traveling? Embrace his adventurous instincts.

Make the time to ask him about his passions and what he is up to you.

Try to understand him and respect what he’s interested in. The more he sees that you’re supporting all areas of his life, the less he’ll fear losing his independence.

6. Keep yourself busy

Likewise, make sure you focus on your own individual passions in life.

You don’t want to come across as a girl who only cares about her man in life and nothing else. That will freak him out.

Instead, make sure you have a life outside of your man. It will make your life more interesting as well. When he asks what you’ve been up to, you’ll have something interesting to share.

How to get your relationship on track…

It can be frustrating not knowing where you stand in a relationship… or if you’re even in a relationship to start with.

If you’re not the type to sit back and just wait for your man to work out his feelings for you, take the time to really empower yourself. 

Work on yourself and your intimacy issues first, and you’ll know exactly what you need to do in your relationships.

Maybe you need to let go and move on, or maybe you want to keep trying harder with this man.

Whatever the answer is for you, I can tell you now that taking the Love and Intimacy Masterclass will do wonders in helping you gain the clarity you need on what your next steps should be. 

The bottom line is: learn to love yourself and learn to trust your intuition, and the rest will fall into place! 

Here’s the link to the free masterclass again.


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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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