What happens to a man when a woman pulls away from the relationship? Are all those stories of guys mending their broken hearts one barbell curl at a time true? Or do most go the other way and find their answers at the bottom of a bottle? Or, are they really as unbothered as they make themselves out to be? Well, it depends.
It depends on what the man’s personality is like, on the sort of relationship that he had with the woman, on whether she is pulling away emotionally or physically, and on a myriad of other factors.
Nonetheless, trying to understand what goes through his head when she’s nowhere to be seen still makes for an interesting study. Whether you’re trying to find the answer to that question for research purposes or just to satiate your curiosity, we’re here to help. Let’s take a look at the possible things that a man can go through when all his texts are left on seen and the late-night video calls run their course.
What Causes A Woman To Pull Away?
Before we get into the whole ‘how does a man feel when a woman pulls away?’ investigation, let’s try to get an insight into the woman’s mind. So what causes a woman to pull away from a guy? Well, it depends on a number of factors, ranging from her priorities to the kind of relationship they shared with each other. Some of the reasons behind why she’s pulling away all of a sudden include:
- She’s not getting what she wants: Perhaps she wanted monogamy, but you’re all for polyamorous relationships. Or vice versa. Perhaps she just wanted to be friends, but you came on too strong. Or maybe she just wanted someone to spend the cuffing season with, and you hate cuddling
- She’s afraid of commitment: There could be a bunch of triggers behind this one, but there’s no point trying to decipher why these issues exist for her. If things were going “too well” and she disappears, it may be because she can’t stomach the idea of trusting someone
- She’s trying to get you more interested in her: When she pulls away and ignores you, one of the possible reasons could be that she’s using the power of silence to intrigue you further
- She thinks you’re not into her: If the guy was trying to play it uber-cool and never gave her the time of day, it’s possible that the woman may just assume that she needs to move on to greener pastures
- She’s not in a place to pursue something new: Maybe that new promotion came with a lot more responsibility, maybe she’s not ready, maybe her family takes up all her attention. The point is, it’s just not the right time for the woman
- She’s not that into you: We’re sorry for all the men reading this, but it’s possible that if you’re seeing the signs she is pulling away, it’s because she’s just not that into you
- She feels disrespected/mistreated: If the woman feels that she’s not getting the sort of treatment she wants and deserves, she’s not going to stick around for too long
- She’s confused about her feelings: Perhaps she’s not over her ex yet, or maybe she’s just not sure what kind of relationship she wants with you
Now that you know the possible reasons behind a woman pulling away emotionally, let’s take a look at what sort of reaction — or lack thereof — it may elicit from a man.
27 Things That Happen To A Man When A Woman Pulls Away
Here’s our insight into the male mind. Depending on the kind of person he is, this list of things that happens to a man when a woman pulls away can help you pinpoint what’s going through his head when he uploads that disingenuous Instagram story with “the boys”.
1. It may knock his confidence
When a man sees the signs she is pulling away, perhaps the first thing that’s going to happen is that he’ll suffer a dent in his self-confidence. Especially if it was a romantic pursuit he was after.
Regardless of how many times his friends may tell him “She pulls away to test you!” or “She’s just looking for something else, it’s not your fault”, it’s still bound to feel bad when a rejection that results in no-contact stares at him in the face.
2. He wants the woman a lot more
Contrary to the first point we made, he might just go into denial about being rejected and decide to double down. Despite how many times his friends may tell him to “never chase a girl when she pulls away, it makes you look desperate”, he can’t help but want the woman more. (Notice the trend of men not listening to their friends? No wonder women live longer than men.)
Related Reading: How To Pull Away To Make Him Want You – The 15-Step Guide
3. He may put his guard up around her
Assuming that the woman hasn’t shunned him completely and that the man has just started to see the signs she is pulling away, he may get uncomfortable around her and play it extremely cautiously. No longer will he be cracking jokes all the time hoping to make her laugh, now he’s just going to focus on being respectful and playing it safe so he doesn’t risk losing the woman completely.
4. He’ll start over-analyzing his behavior
Continuing on a similar theme as the previous point, he may start carefully examining everything he has said and done, not just around you, but around everyone else. “Why is she pulling away all of a sudden? Should I not have made a joke about her septum piercing? Do I talk too much? Is my perfume too loud?” are just a few of the thoughts he may have inside his mind.
5. He may subtly back off
What happens to a man when a woman pulls away? Picture this: the first few dates have passed, the texting is gradually slowing down, the Instagram reels stop being shared, you’re not really making any new plans together, and you don’t see any scope of an emotional connection developing.
In such situations, if the guy gets the hint (which men usually don’t), he’ll subtly decide to back off too. How he ‘feels’ about that is up to him, but as long as he’s sure about backing off, he’ll eventually bounce back.
6. He may curse himself
“Why did she leave?!” “Why does she pull away when we get close?” “Why does everyone leave me!” might be a few thoughts plaguing his mind if his self-esteem reaches a critical low point. Such self-pity and self-blame usually take place when the man doesn’t hold himself in high regard, and the same may be apparent through the sad social media stories he resorts to.
7. He may start to dislike the woman
Hate is perhaps the first emotion men will jump to when they believe they’ve been treated unfairly. In cases where the man in question is a particularly bitter one, there’s a very good chance he may come out of the whole thing while thinking some not-so-quotable thoughts.
This often burns any bridges that may have existed and doesn’t really result in a lasting friendship. Depending on the temperament of the guy, it’s also possible that he won’t forgive the woman if she tries to reconcile, and may give her the no-contact treatment instead.
8. He might assume she’s angry
To rationalize the events happening around him, it’s possible that the guy might jump to the conclusion that the woman is extremely upset at something he did or said. He might spend a lot of time trying to contemplate exactly where he ‘thinks’ he messed up, and will probably shoot her a “Why are you angry at me?” text.
9. He may be apologetic for no reason
Continuing along the lines of the last point, if he believes he really has messed up somewhere, that “Why are you angry at me?” text will be closely followed by a “Please forgive me for whatever I did”. If a guy decides to do this when she backs away, it’s usually an attempt at salvaging the relationship, since he refuses to let go. Rest assured, he’s pretty sad about the woman limiting their mutual contact.
10. He understands her boundaries when a woman pulls away
When the woman has distanced herself from the man due to him being disrespectful or unreliable and he knows that that’s the reason behind the whole abandonment, at least he’ll understand the boundaries that he cannot cross. How he reacts to that, of course, depends on him. He may profusely apologize, or he may be unbothered and move on. Nonetheless, the point here is that he’ll get to know what lines he can’t cross with that woman.
11. He’ll cut off contact
A mix of anger, confusion, and frustration will probably ensue. In that frustration, he may decide that the best thing to do is to hit the block button next to her name. It’s entirely possible that he might decide to turn the tables around and try to get the upper hand. Whether the idea behind this is to gain the upper hand or to just move on will unearth itself eventually.
12. He might accuse her of playing mind games
When a woman starts pulling away emotionally, there’s a chance that the man thinks she’s trying to lure him in further. So he accuses her of playing mind games. Of course, it’s not the nicest thing to accuse someone of, and it may just cause permanent damage in your relationship – depending on the kind of dynamic you had.
Related Reading: Mind Games In Relationships – What They Look Like And Why People Do It
13. He might not care much
Just friends? One-sided relationship? Never had much of an emotional connection? In such cases, it’s possible that he might be completely unbothered when she pulls away and ignores him. Hence, if you’re trying to ignore him to get him more interested in you, just know that it’s entirely possible that he may move on with his life like none of it mattered.
Some might just completely be unbothered and not spare much thought to a person who has effectively abandoned them. The lack of texts, the lack of questions, and the lack of any strange behavior will make his blissfully oblivious state quite obvious to see.
14. He may move on to other people
If what you two had was some sort of a romantic equation brewing and he’s now tired of being left on read all the time, he may just move on and look at other potential romantic interests. He’s not the kind who will spend days pondering on “When a girl pulls away, what to do to get her back?” He’s the one downloading Tinder the day after being ghosted.
15. He might look around to find some answers
For the kind of guys who are in denial about the woman pulling away, they might try and do everything they can to find some answers. Asking her friends about why she’s pulled away is a common tactic too.
This might be one of the mistakes guys make when a girl pulls away (especially if he wants to try and get her back), since it may seem like he’s coming on way too strong. Not to mention how weirded out the friends will be after receiving a random DM from someone their friend used to talk to.
16. He’s not sure about what to do next
What happens to a man when a woman pulls away? Well, turns out, sometimes they’re not sure of themselves. In some cases, a man may be so confused about what’s going on that he may not necessarily know what the best course of action is. In such cases, he’s probably going to wait it out and experience a delayed response.
17. His future romantic endeavors may suffer if his girlfriend ghosts him
When a man’s confidence is severely bruised, thoughts like “I’m not good enough, everyone ignores me” might do some lasting damage to his romantic life. This is especially true for those who don’t have the highest self-esteem and often struggle with being confident. It’ll be a while before he starts dating again.
18. He might confess all his feelings to her
In a desperate last-ditch attempt to try and fix the dying “relationship”, some men may confess their feelings to the woman, hoping that it makes her reconsider. This may not happen the day after he sees the woman pulling away emotionally and may take a while to kick in. However, one thing’s for certain, if he confesses all his feelings to the woman in this manner, he’s very clearly interested in her.
19. He might accept it but still want closure
Though their friends may tell them “When she pulls away, do nothing and move on”, there will be some men with whom that advice just won’t sit right. Though they might accept the fact that she doesn’t necessarily want the most cordial relationship with him, he’ll still look for a final meeting. He’s hoping to get some closure, which in many cases is natural for him to ask for.
If you’re imagining a sad Hollywood scene with the broken-hearted protagonist saying things like “I really wish we worked out, you know”, then you’re practically inside the mind of the guy. That’s exactly what he’s imagining too.
Related Reading: Why Do Men Come Back After No Contact — 9 Probable Reasons
20. He may keep himself distracted and change his social circle
If you see him posting social media stories every single day with a bunch of people you’ve never seen or heard of before, it may be because he’s trying to keep himself busy. It might be because he never wants to chase a girl when she pulls away, or because he’s just too hurt to try and accept what’s going on around him and is unable to heal from the “breakup”.
21. He may just assume it’s a bump in the road
How does a man feel when a woman pulls away? Well, in some situations, he might just convince himself that it’s a temporary bump in the road and that “She’s just busy. Without access to a phone. Because she’s in North Korea, trying to interview the dictator. Yes, that’s what’s happening.”
This happens when denial sets in, and he’s not sure about how to process any of it. It’s when all those “Why does she pull away when we get close?” thoughts are too much to handle, so he avoids them.
22. He might resort to overcommunication
“Hey, super busy, huh? Haha” “Got time to chat?” “Hey, saw your story! Nice pics!” “Waiting for you to reply…haha!” sounds bad, right? That’s because it is. Some men do this when she backs away, and we’re yet to hear someone telling us that this worked out for them.
23. Some might establish a business-like tone
“She pulls away to test you, bro. Be cold to her and she’ll come back,” said a gym bro to another, giving him relationship advice that he assumes to be completely sane. As a result, some men may establish a business-like tone to try and give the woman the cold shoulder. On other occasions, some may do this to just try and distance themselves and move on.
24. He might even stalk her to know about her whereabouts
Some men might get so eager to figure out what to do when a girl pulls away from them that they might grow desperate for answers. This could even include stalking on their part.
A man like this may stalk her social media incessantly (or when she leaves from work/college), start the over-communication we were talking about, and he might even pester her friends to tell him where she is just so he can get a chance to have a conversation with her again.
25. He may want revenge
The kind of guys who think you “owed” them something just because you gave them the time of day for a while might want to take their revenge. To do that, they’ll do anything from spreading rumors about you, trying to tarnish your reputation, or they may just verbally abuse you. It’s one of the worst mistakes guys make when a girl pulls away, and you need to stay far, far away from such folks.
26. He may be passive-aggressive with her
If they are work friends or go to the same college, the woman might start to notice him being extremely passive-aggressive toward her. He might make some snide remarks like “Oh you still work here, thought you quit after you ignored me” when you two pass by each other at work. If he’s this bitter and rude about a woman pulling away, she pretty much knows she made the right choice.
27. He may want a showdown with her
“When she pulls away, do nothing. It’s best to move on” isn’t necessarily advice that sticks with everyone. Some might want to aggressively give the woman a piece of their mind and demand an explanation. They don’t care about reconciliation, they’re just looking to stroke their ego.
- What a man goes through, when rejected, largely depends on his personality, the relationship, and the situation
- Anger and denial may induce reactions that include “revenge cutting off” or arguing with the woman
- Grief and sadness may induce reactions like overcommunication, confessing his feelings, begging for the woman to come back
- Acceptance may lead to healthy reactions like moving on and finding other people to socialize with
- Or the man may curse himself or experience extremely negative emotions
Now that you know what happens to a man when a woman pulls away, hopefully, you’re not relying on guesswork to decode what’s going on in his mind and how this whole thing has affected him. If you’ve been pulling away from a guy just to distance yourself, his reaction will make little difference to you. Just establish and continue the no-contact rule after communicating it clearly to him. However, if you’ve pulled away to achieve a certain result, the above-listed points will surely help out.
The 7 Components Of Male Psychology During No-Contact Rule – Backed By An Expert