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Why men pull away: 11 reasons they start to fade away

Is there anything more frustrating than putting your heart into a relationship only to find that it’s not going to work out?

It’s easily one of the top five most annoying things.

To make things even worse, you’re not sure what went wrong. Either they’re slowly fading away or ghosting you—leaving you with questions unanswered.

Not only is it hurtful, but it’s confusing too. You want to make things better, but you’re not given the opportunity to.

So, why do men pull away? What is it about them or you that causes them to pull away?

The answers may be different than you think.

Keep reading to learn why the person you like might be pulling away from you and what you can do about it.

What does it mean when someone pulls away?

Pulling away from someone comes in a few different forms. 

For some, it may feel like a bit of distancing. Maybe you’ve been in a relationship with the person for a while and they seem “distant.” They’re short with you, every time you’re together it seems strange, and so on.

For others, the man may pull away during the initial stages of a relationship. This is usually when you get ghosted. That means they stop interacting with you completely.

No texts, snaps, DMs, or anything else. All of a sudden, they disappear. You may reach out to them a few times, and each time, there’s no response.

The person pulling away is putting in effort to distance themselves from you.

12 reasons men pull away

When a guy pulls away, he may stop responding as quickly, fail to follow through on plans, or just not talk to you at all.

Whatever the reason is, you’re probably left wondering what’s going on. Are they busy? 

Pulling away can happen for a number of reasons. One day you think everything is great, and the next, you’re lost.

Maybe you’re overreacting to it, or maybe they really are just trying to get away from you.

But the real question is…Why do they do it? Here are 12 common reasons why a man may be pulling away from you.

1. He doesn’t feel a deep emotional connection

Have you ever been with a guy who seemed to really like you, only to begin distancing himself and saying he really wasn’t ready for a commitment?

I know I have. Too many times.

What I’ve recently learned though is that for a guy to actually want to be in a committed relationship, something very significant must occur first.

He must experience a deep emotional attraction that causes him to feel less alive when he is not in your presence.

In other words, he has to feel better about himself with you in his life than when he is single—or chasing another woman.

The truth is, the number 1 mistake women make is that they assume men only fall for women with certain attributes.

It could be women with a killer body, a beautiful smile, or maybe ones who are firecrackers in bed. Whatever it is, you may feel that these women simply have something you don’t (and perhaps never will).

However, I can tell you straight up that this way of thinking is dead wrong.

None of those things actually matter when it comes to men falling for a woman. In fact, it’s not the attributes of the woman that matter at all.

What matters most is NOT what he sees when he looks at her… But how he feels about himself when he’s around her.

If your man is pulling away, then something is not right about how he feels about himself when he is with you.

What’s the solution?

Read on because below I’ll reveal a foolproof way (backed by science) for making your guy feel deep satisfaction and pride whenever he’s with you.

2. The relationship is too easy

I hate to say it, but sometimes a relationship is just too easy for a guy. Seems weird, right? You should want a relationship to be fun, laidback, and easy. But deep down, there is something that makes things “too easy” seem sketchy.

It’s like if someone were to just hand you a $100 bill. You’re going to question it.

Same thing with your relationship. If everything is just given to him, it’s too good to be true. While relationships shouldn’t be impossible, they are often challenging.

3. He doesn’t feel essential to you

For a man, feeling essential to a woman is often what separates “like” from “love”. And feeling unessential is a common trigger for pulling away.

Don’t get me wrong, no doubt your guy loves your strength and abilities to be independent. But he still wants to feel wanted and useful — not dispensable!

This is because men have a built in desire for something “greater” that goes beyond love or sex. It’s why men who seemingly have the “perfect girlfriend” are still unhappy and find themselves constantly searching for something else —  or worst of all, someone else.

Simply put, men have a biological drive to feel needed, to feel important, and to provide for the woman he cares about.

Relationship psychologist James Bauer calls it the hero instinct.

As James argues, male desires are not complicated, just misunderstood. Instincts are powerful drivers of human behavior and this is especially true for how men approach their relationships.

So, when the hero instinct isn’t triggered, men are unlikely to commit to a relationship with any woman. He holds back because being in a relationship is a serious investment for him. And he won’t fully “invest” in you unless you give him a sense of meaning and purpose and make him feel essential.

How do you trigger this instinct in him? How do you give him a sense of meaning and purpose?

You don’t need to pretend to be anyone you’re not or play the “damsel in distress”. You don’t have to dilute your strength or independence in any way, shape or form.

In an authentic way, you simply have to show your man what you need and allow him to step up to fulfill it.

In his new video, James Bauer outlines several things you can do. He reveals phrases, texts and little requests that you can use right now to make him feel more essential to you.

Watch his unique video here.

By triggering this very natural male instinct, you’ll not only give him greater satisfaction but it will also help to rocket your relationship to the next level.

4. He can feel himself changing

On the flip side, men might feel like they’re getting in too deep and can feel themselves changing for you. No one wants to feel like they’re not good enough, and if they feel like they’re changing, it’s not a good sign.

To stop this feeling, they may just retreat and pull away. Though this hurts, there isn’t much you can do because it’s their own decision.

5. There’s stress you don’t know about

Many times, it has nothing to do with you. People get stressed out. There’s more in his life than you, and because of this, he may need to tend to those things.

It doesn’t mean that you’re wrong or you should’ve done something different. Often, they just have to get through the stress. Adding a new relationship on top of things will only make it worse, which is why they distance themselves.

6. He wants his independence

Do you remember what it was like to be by yourself?

Don’t you love your independence? A lot of people think that to be in a relationship means you must sacrifice your independence.

That’s obviously not true. But sometimes, it does feel like that. When there is a new relationship, it can be stifling.

He might feel like he’s losing his grip on his independence. This is threatening to his masculinity, and to handle things, he heads out of the relationship completely.

It doesn’t mean that how he’s doing it is right, but he’s doing it in hopes things will get better for him.

7. He’s scared of commitment

Ah, the old adage.

Men are scared of commitment until they’re not. They may go through a hundred girls before they settle down and find they’re not too scared.

It’s not necessarily that they are scared of commitment, but rather, they’re scared of commitment with you.

When you meet someone you’re supposed to be with, they’re not going to be scared of commitment.

So, when he gets scared of commitment, he wants to leave without hurting you. Unfortunately, a lot of people think that ghosting or fading away is the best way to breakup with someone.

RELATED: 3 ways to make a man addicted to you

8. He’s overwhelmed with his feelings

Look, all reasons that men pull away aren’t totally rational. Maybe he does like you—a lot! 

Because of this, he could be completely overwhelmed with his feelings. Feelings are stressful, and mixed with everything else life demands, it can be a little crazy.

His feelings may scare him, and they might be too much too fast. Sometimes, fading away isn’t actually fading away, but just slowing down. There’s nothing wrong with taking a step back from a relationship and pressing pause.

Sometimes, that’s exactly what needs to happen for someone to feel better about the situation. If you pressure them when they step back, they’re going to take it as a sign to truly fade away.

9. He leaves before he gets hurt

Sometimes, you’re putting out signals that things aren’t going so well. And when that happens, men often jump ship before they get hurt. 

No one wants another person breaking their heart, so if they think it’s going to happen, it’s better just to leave.

10. There’s too much going on

Remember that month in your life where everything was complete and total crap? Where your work was busy, there was family drama, maybe someone got sick, or your finances weren’t where they needed to be.

The last thing on your mind was the people you have gone on a few dates with. Things are hectic. Life gets crazy!

So maybe, it’s not about you at all. Maybe, they’re deep in some crap that they wish they weren’t in. And it’s altogether possible that they’re pulling away because they aren’t thinking about dating at all.

They’re just trying to survive.

11. He’s just not that into you

Now, it’s time to get to the more hurtful reasons. It’s possible that the guy isn’t that into you. 

That doesn’t mean you’re not great. But, maybe you’re not great for him.

People are different and constantly changing and evolving. What may have seemed like it could work before may not work now for a number of reasons.

It’s nothing wrong with you. Simply put, it’s just something wrong in terms of compatibility. You’ll find that person you mesh with, and maybe, this guy isn’t it.

12. He’s got other options

It could be that he’s into you, but he thinks his other options are better. Nowadays, with all the dating apps, a lot of people are dating around. People date multiple people at once.

Maybe you’re just not on the top of his list. As much as that sucks, you deserve someone who’s going to put you first. If this guy isn’t doing it, then finding someone else can be a dream come true.

What to do about it? Here are 5 steps to take

So, a man is pulling away from you. You’re not sure what to do.

Should you save the relationship? Try to chase after him?

It all depends on why he’s pulling away in the first place. You can chase after a man for as long as you live, but again, if he’s not that into you you’re not going to see results.

On the flip side, if he does like you but he’s afraid to commit because of a certain reason and you ignore him? The relationship will definitely end.

Before you react either way, try these 5 steps:

1. Trigger this instinct in him

If a man is pulling away from you, then you need to make him feel that being with you is better than the alternative.

And the most effective way to do this is to trigger something deep inside him. Something he desperately needs, biologically speaking.

What is it?

For a guy to really want to be in a committed relationship, he needs to feel like your provider and protector. Someone that you genuinely admire for what he does for you.

In other words, he needs to feel like your hero.

There’s actually a psychological term for what I’m talking about here. It’s called the hero instinct. I mentioned this concept earlier in the article.

I know it sounds kind of silly. In this day and age, women don’t need someone to rescue them. They don’t need a ‘hero’ in their lives.

And I couldn’t agree more.

But here’s the ironic truth. Men do still need to be a hero. Because it’s built into their DNA to seek out relationships that allow them to feel like a protector.

Men have a thirst for your admiration. They want to step up to the plate for the woman in their lives and provide for and protect her.

This is deeply rooted in male biology.

If you can make your guy feel like a hero, it unleashes his protective instincts and the most noble aspect of his masculinity. Most importantly, it will unleash his deepest feelings of attraction towards you.

And the kicker?

A man will always pull away from a woman when this thirst isn’t satisfied.

If your guy is pulling away from you, then you’re not making him feel like this. Perhaps you treat him more as an accessory, ‘best friend’, or ‘partner in crime’.

For a long time Hack Spirit writer Pearl Nash made this mistake too.

Now, you can’t trigger his hero instinct just giving him admiration next time you see him. Men don’t like receiving participation awards for showing up. Trust me.

A man wants to feel like he has earned your admiration and respect.


There are phrases you can say, texts you can send, and little requests you can use to trigger his hero instinct.

And because no man can resist a woman who makes him feel like a hero, it’s worth learning a few of these emotional trigger points.

If you want to learn more about this powerful technique (from the man who invented it), including the phrases, texts and requests you can use right now, check out James Bauer’s short video here.

2. Retrace your steps

In new relationships, we tend to overanalyze and overreact a lot. It’s totally normal and due to us not knowing the person as well as we do later on in a relationship.

The first question you should ask yourself is whether or not the guy is really pulling away. Retrace your steps and think about the last time you saw them or had a conversation with them.

Was it completely normal?

If so, he’s probably just busy.

But if the conversation just felt different, why did it feel weird?

You should try to figure out why you think he’s pulling away. Were his messages short and to the point? Did he not respond?

Did it only happen once? Or is this something that has happened multiple times?

Finding out how big of an issue this really is will help you decide how to react.

3. Just ask him

Many of us hate confrontation. That’s probably why you’re reading this right now. But here’s the thing…

You need to ask him. Pretending like everything is fine isn’t going to end well. Blowing up at him and accusing him of not talking to you is also not going to end well.

Most people “ghost” or fade away because they don’t want to hurt you. They don’t realize that doing this is actually more hurtful.

There’s nothing stopping you from asking him what’s going on. Approach him in a civil and calm manner. Keep it simple without pressure.

You don’t want them to get frustrated or defensive. A lot of times, if you ask the person what’s going on, they’ll tell you.

Plus, keeping it casual helps to open the conversation as to why he’s pulling away. Is it because he likes you too much or not at all?

But, be prepared for a hard conversation. More often than not, someone is pulling away because they’re no longer interested in the relationship. So, you need to go into the convo knowing that things may end completely between you and them.

RELATED: Is your man pulling away? Don’t make this one BIG mistake

4. Reassure him

If the truth is he’s scared of commitment or feel things are going too fast, reassure him. It’s okay to take a step back from the relationship.

Let him know that you like him and understand why he feels the way he does. If he’s scared of commitment, talk to him about it. You never know where it can lead!

5. Accept it

This is, arguably, the hardest part of watching someone pull away. It means that they aren’t interested, the relationship isn’t going to work out, and you’ve been hurt.

There’s only one thing you can do: Accept it.

Sometimes, you’ll talk to them about why they’re pulling away and you’ll get the answer that they’re not interested.

Other times, you’ll talk to them and get no answer. You’re once again ghosted.

Either way, you have to accept it. There’s nothing you can do to change the outcome, and it’s something that you’ll have to deal with.

Before you go out and rebound with someone else, take a few moments to reflect on the relationship. Then, try one of these:

  • Eat your favorite snacks
  • Watch some good movies
  • Meditate and reflect
  • Take the time you need
  • Go through all of your emotions
  • Talk about it with someone else.

In conclusion

It’s never fun to have a relationship end. Sometimes, it can hurt even more when you don’t know what happened.

Remember that just because someone is distant doesn’t mean the relationship is completely over. Don’t assume that the relationship is ruined.

Try to get inside his head and understand what he’s thinking. How does he feel when he’s around you? Are you triggering the types of feelings men need to be in a committed, long term relationship?

Here’s a link again to the video I mentioned earlier. It’s hands down the best way I know to really get inside a man’s head and understand what really drives men in romantic relationships.

But even if the relationship is over, it doesn’t mean you’re bad or not valuable. It simply means that you and this man are incompatible. Don’t let it get you down.

The reason men pull away is due to their own issues—not yours.

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Jess Carpenter

Jess Carpenter

I studied at The University of Utah where I earned both my B.S. and M.S. and am a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES certified). My favorite spot to write is wherever I can see my toddlers to ensure they aren’t jumping from the second story or coloring on the walls.
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