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21 Reasons Why Men Pull Away

Men pull away for so many reasons. It’s not you—most likely. There’s a good chance that if you’re feeling like someone is being avoidant with you, that it’s something that they need to deal with. I had a friend of mine ask me, “Ryan, why do men pull away? What’s with that?” Well, it’s a complicated subject. But I do have some answers for you.

Let’s dig into the advice that I gave my friend…

First, my experience with this…

The key takeaway here is that men pull away for so many reasons. The primary reason is that it has nothing to really do with you. I was a guy who was pulling away from many women in my life. And I will say, I missed out on a lot of good relationship opportunities.

In a way, I kind of ruined it for myself. This was because I was dealing with a lot of emotional baggage that was left over from prior relationships. And it bled into my new relationships.

I actually went back and even apologized to some women that I was with. Telling them the truth. It was hard for me to do—but it felt like the right thing.

My key takeaway: it’s not you—it’s them!

See also: Men that play games

Reasons why men pull away

Reasons why men pull away from a relationship (and sometimes come back):

Immaturity reasons

  1. They’re just not ready for a relationship so they pull away from you.
  2. There are signs that you are wanting something committed and mature in a relationship and they’re not there yet.
  3. You have expressed your intentions in the relationship and it caused them to get scared or insecure.
  4. You have a clear sense of what you want your future to look like and they don’t have any idea.
  5. There is a lot of distractions (like time with friends) and other priorities that are taking place of you.
  6. You’re capable of spending time together, building trust, and doing other relational activities and they are not.
  7. When the two of you are going out, you can make their love languages work for them—quality time, physical touch, and all of the other components of a healthy relationship.

Relationship baggage reasons

  1. They have baggage from another relationship that they can’t let go of and don’t know about.
  2. There’s baggage from a prior relationship that they know about but aren’t willing to let go of.
  3. You’re wanting a committed and serious relationship and they didn’t want that from the beginning.
  4. The relationship started as a type of “friend with benefits” relationship and now it’s turning into something serious—they don’t want that.
  5. You are showing them things in the relationship that are causing them to feel insecure (like the ability to balance your life alongside other relationship commitments).
  6. You are making them feel TOO loved and that’s causing them to feel anxiety and other feelings that are scary to them.
  7. They have deep-rooted commitment issues and most likely don’t see themselves being with a partner long-term.

Related: What men want in a relationship

Distraction reasons

  1. Everything else is more important to them than you—this is their problem and not theirs! Go ahead and let them walk away.
  2. They think that other things in life are more important—like work and friendships. In reality, those are not that important and won’t bring them as much joy as love.
  3. They may be completely incapable of feeling real love. That means treating someone as their #1 while the other person they’re with treats them as their #1.
  4. They don’t have the ability to settle down and be content with you or any other person.
  5. You always need to coach them on what to do and how to do it—when it comes to the relationship and keeping it romantic and healthy.
  6. You feel like you’re their parent rather than their equal—this means they’re pulling away because they are not on your level!
  7. Everything seems difficult. And they don’t really want to solve conflicts, accomodate you, or live with you.

Conclusion—why men pull away

Men pull away for a lot of different reasons. Primarily, they would pull away if they aren’t ready to settle down and have a serious relationship. Or if their maturity level just doesn’t match yours. Those are the two primary reasons why a guy might pull away.

They often come back into the relationship because they are growing up—and sometimes reflect on the past. And as they do it, realize that they left a pretty good situation with you.

That’s when the texting mind games might come back into the question… He’ll text you out of the blue and say something like, “How are you?” It’s a type of gameplay that’ll happen when he’s trying to see where you are in your life.

Remember, always have your guard up, protect yourself, and try to make the best possible decision about love that you can—without being too cold or reserved (because vulnerability is a key part of experiencing love).

Fact checked:
Board reviewed by Marianne Tomlinson, LCSW (Couples and Family Therapy). Content is rigorously reviewed by a team of qualified and experienced fact checkers. Learn more.

About the author

Ryan Sanderson (LCSW) Ryan is a game and relationship enthusiast who enjoys all things quizzes, games, fun, love, relationships, and family. He's a licensed social worker and helps families, couples, and children in need. He's spoken about love and relationships on Salon.com, Forbes, and Mirror, to name a few.

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