Why Do Men Pull Away From Relationships?

I’m still sifting through the hundreds of responses that you gave me on yesterday’s survey:

In case you didn’t know, all I asked was this: What is the most important question you have about relationships that you’d like me to address in my new eBook? Next thing I knew, I was flooded with questions like this:

Why can dating be so difficult for educated, career oriented women in their 40’s?

What makes a man want to commit and stay committed to a relationship?

Why do men act like they like you and then when you express how you feel about them, they disappear?

What makes men run away from a relationship when you start asking where things are going??

Why do YOU think men pull away from women and committed relationships?

I don’t understand the guys that come on super strong over the course of a couple weeks, and then, all of a sudden, say that they are “not ready for a relationship.” If my behavior hasn’t changed (e.g. they are the one pursuing me), what has changed in their heads?

Why is it that men have follow-through issues? The first date goes well and then there is nothing.

Why do they pull away when things get serious?

I would like to know what to do to get a man really interested and how to continue to hold his interest so he doesn’t pull a disappearing act.

Why don’t men seem as interested in long term relationships as women are?

I’m not kidding when I tell you that I’ve got SCORES of these questions – slight variations on the same exact theme. So, my brilliant readers, since you have strong opinions on all things pertaining to dating and relationships, I’d love to hear from you:

Why do YOU think men pull away from women and committed relationships?

I know it’s a broad question, but I really want to hear what you have to say! Both women AND men, please…

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Monique

    I think men pull away from women and relationships because its just not ‘right’. Maybe its the timing. They’re not ready for it. Maybe you’re not the girl he sees himself with. Maybe he still needs to play the field. Whatever the reason is…theres something off.

    And its just not right.

  2. 2
    Charlotte

    Good God Evan if we knew the answer we wouldn’t need to ask you. Go on any woman’s site discussing men and the #1 question is why to men start a relationship gung ho and then back off.

    It is hurtful and painful to have a man do this indicate interest, give attention and act like he is happy to be with you. I had a man tell me it would break his heart if I dated other men after 3 months of dating. He asked me to be exclusive and told he me he was falling in love. Then about two weeks after I agreed to stop dating others he just disappeared. Poof. I made the mistake of calling him just to get some closure and he acted like I was crazy for asking and said “no nothing is wrong, I’ve just got a lot on my mind.” Then I never heard from him again. It wasn’t me who said I was falling in love or who insisted on exclusivity.

    Why would a man say those things if he does not genuinely feel that way? How can one change their mind in a few days over something as serious as love? Does men not realize how hurtful it is to lead a woman on? I’d rather have a man be honest from the get-go and say he is not sure and let’s give it time. Much better than going all out and then poofing. It is incredibly difficult to understand why men do this. That’s is why we look to you to make sense of it.

    1. 2.1
      Mandy

      Stop calling them “men”. Men are adults and behave in responsible ways. These males are “fools” “frauds” and “failures”. The run away is because they KNOW that they “do not have what it takes” and they want to scram before the woman finds out. They don’t want to be “outed” to her or to themselves. They don’t want to see the test results. They are happy in denial because not seeing that you don’t have what it takes is nicer than having that answer. So as soon as they get close enough that you might “see” them poof they split. That is way too dangerous for them.

      1. 2.1.1
        Freckles

        I soooo agree with everything you say Mandy. I reconnected with a guy friend from high school 30 yrs later. Yeah do the math…we were both 48. Turns out we both had 23 yr old sons with addiction problems and were both single parents. He came on to me so strong with “I’m already in love with you” and “You’re the girl for me and I just have to convince you now” and “I won’t let anyone come in between how I feel about you.” Then after almost 4 months of talking on the phone I start insisting that we meet face to face. Then the “poof” and he’s gone. He stops calling and emailing me. He talked to me a few times but it was basically about his problems and then he’d get off the phone saying “I don’t know why my feelings just changed.” I ended up driving 4 states away to see him with the agreement he would at least meet me for a drink. He met me and was very nervous. I realized he had opened up about a lot of past abuse so I thought he was scared. Then all of a sudden he comes on very passionately then stops right before the act and says “I can’t do this because I’m not in love with you.” That was over a month ago and he has not responded to any emails or calls to even explain why his feelings for me changed. I think the running away thing with no communication is a coward thing to do. Not something a real man would do.

    2. 2.2
      Kari

      Hi,
      I had a very similar experience. I met someone online. We communicated for about one month before we first dated. He was so funny and nice. He was so interested in so attentive. He texted me every day wishing me a good day ,good night etc. this is the purse first person I dated since my divorce. He made me feel so comfortable and When we became physical it was truly amazing. He decided to shut down his profile page from the online dating site. He altered his weekends so we were both available on the weekends we didn’t have our children. I cannot tell you how happy he made me. Then he wanted to spend an entire weekend together, halfway through the weekend he started to act funny. I asked him if there was anything wrong and he said no. After the weekend I asked him if I done or said anything to offend him and he said no he was just feeling a little bit overwhelmed!!! I was so devastated because I followed his lead. He has yet to give me any type of explanation and he’s completely pulled away. I gave him a few days and then I wished him a good day via textand he didn’t respond. I was so hurt that I pretty much told him how I was feeling. After several days he texted me back and said he didn’t want to end things but he was just overwhelmed. And I haven’t heard from him since. I am so confused and I finally allowed myself to let my guard down and feel so sad that this happened. I don’t know what I did wrong. I don’t understand how one minute he can love me and the next minute he’s overwhelmed and won’t even talk to me.

      1. 2.2.1
        Shawna

        Omg. Word for word the exact same thing just happened to me. The first guy I let into mine and my son’s life. I’m devastated.

  3. 3
    Katherine

    I think that men are driven first by the desire to have sex. It’s as strong, probably stronger than a woman’s desire to have a relationship, boyfriend, husband, family. What qualifies a woman for a sexual interlude is much simpler than what qualifies her for a real long-term relationship, if the man is even at that place where they do want to couple on a permanent basis. It is likely that the “coming on strong” is driven by a sexual attraction. Don’t mistake this for wishfully believing that he is feeling the same draw you are, and then be surprised when he disappears. His draw is entirely different most of the time.
    Women go cold in relationships too, all the time and often after the twins are born and the big house financed, and the sports car is traded in for a minivan. Much more complex and I am sure disappointing.
    So rather than wonder why men disappear, be careful how much you risk until you are pretty certain that he is relationship material – and that doesn’t mean listening to his words – he’s in a daze pre-sex. Don’t have sex and ask brave questions. Or don’t, if that is uncomfortable for you. But don’t be surprised that he “changed” course. He likely didn’t – maybe he just achieved his nature driven goal a lot sooner than you did.
    Harsh but it’s essentially how I’ve come to see it.

  4. 4
    Isabelle Archer

    This isn’t exactly answering the question, but I think that focusing on the question of “why do men pull away” might be falling for one of Evan’s “5 Massive Mistakes.” Specifically, “Taking Dating Personally.” Men pull away just because they don’t want to be in a relationship with you. Trying to derive generalizations from it is wasted energy and an example of taking dating too personally.

  5. 5
    Steve

    @Charlotte
    Your comment made my empathy circuits kick in. Don’t get fooled into the one sided view of the battle of sexes. Plenty of women AND men ask that question:
    “Why did s/he say/do that when s/he didn’t have the same depth of feeling that I do?”
    Some of it is capriciousness. Some of it is knowing themselves.
    Some of it just enjoying some warmth, despite not being fully committed and being selfish in regards what it will do to the other person’s feelings.
    The advice to not take it personally, move on and go by what your men do, not what they say is great advice……..but it is never going to work 100%. Especially after a few months.
    Like the rest of us, you are going to hurt, the advice just reduces the pain and the recovery time.
    Sorry that had to happen to you

  6. 6
    Jackie

    There is the possibility that women in these situations are simply ignoring the signals that a man is not interested and instead believing in what they want to be true. It’s hard to see clearly when you are in that situation yourself, but how often, when listening to girlfriends moan about men who won’t reciprocate, do you think that it’s so obvious the guy is not interested despite his words? And that the woman just can’t see it? It makes for a great sob story when you tell everyone that the guy was such a misleading jerk- people become sympathetic to your pain. But I think women have to be honest with themselves and ask if deep down, you really did know the truth and the truth was that there were doubts in his mind. I am telling this from experience. And always, if I was honest with myself, there was a little voice that told me, maybe in a brief moment, that the guy had doubts. Men are simply keeping their options open by telling her what she wants to hear. I took me 10 years of dating to finally learn that I alway knew deep down when the guy wasn’t interested.

    1. 6.1
      Freckles

      Jackie, the question here is not about a man not giving signals and us women living in denial. It’s about men who pursue with great intention and lots of promises of their enduring love and desire to marry you for months on end and then pushing you away when you start to reciprocate those feelings back to you. It’s not only hurtful and confusing but it’s a waste of someone’s precious time on earth. If it hasn’t happened to you then you may not understand.

      1. 6.1.1
        Hid

        Well said! Big difference!

      2. 6.1.2
        Jini

        This just happened to me. He pursued me, wanted me to meet his family, said he loved me, then 3 hours before a date, he blocks me from his phone! after saying his phone was hacked, but I learned that was a lie, he says he is concerned it is moving too fast, no one has ever “loved” him before. I agree, these “men” look like they are, but are children in terms of maturity.

  7. 7
    Selena

    Going out on the generalizations limb: I think generally men are more comfortable with casual relationships than most women. I think some men can be content dating a woman for any length of time, knowing she’s not “The One” and not caring at all about it. I don’t think men generally experience a whole lot angst over “The One” ideal the way so many women do.

    A man may not come across as JNTIY because he’s okay with the r’ship as is…until…he gets the vibe she is alot more serious than he is. Then he might poof, fade out, or become an ass so that she will break it off with him, thereby sparing himself the awkward “I don’t feel the same way you do” conversation. Which could involve her crying, getting mad, begging him to stay and “work it out”, promises to change, and on and on and on. He knows he doesn’t feel the way she wants him to – why prolong the agony?

    And the guys who come on so super strong at first? Yeah, I think that’s all about sex usually. Not unlike a “hard sell” sales tactic.

  8. 8
    daisy

    I think, after watching several close male friends over the course of our mid-20s to mid-30s, that the answer is all in timing. I have one friend who I could have sworn would never get married, who got himself into a particular situation and fell for the first woman who came along because he was ready for her (they’re perfect for each other, but I’ve seen similarly perfect women for him get crushed in the past because he wasn’t ready).
    Another friend comes on super strong with just about every woman because he puts them on pedestals, only to have them take very long, hard falls when he invariably finds out that they’re *gasp* human. I doubt he’ll ever find someone to marry, although he has several ex-girlfriends that he calls on when he’s single that jump through hoops to do anything for him. That one doesn’t NEED to settle down, and because he doesn’t want children probably never really will.
    Another male friend found “the One” later – in his late 30s – after he had played the field and almost everyone else was married. Although his wife is lovely, she is no more lovely or special than others that came before her. She just had the benefit of coming along when he was feeling like he needed to get married.
    So I think the answer is “timing”. In general, it seems that women fall in love with a specific man and will move heaven and earth to make her life fit with his; whereas men will reach a certain point in life and the light goes on, and they will almost literally marry the next decent woman who comes along. That’s not an insult to the men or the women they marry; but for timing, any one of their exes might have fit the bill.

    1. 8.1
      Hid

      Exactally ! Timing is a big part of it so often many do not see this. I’m glad you pointed this out!

  9. 9
    Casey

    I think it is because men often believe they are ready to date/have a relationship before they really are. Then their actions (wanting to have have sex, be exclusive, etc.) get a head of their emotions. When they realize they got into something they weren’t ready for or for the wrong reasons (lonely, dating for the sake of dating, etc.), then they pull away. It’s unfair and it hurts.
    As for the advice to Charlotte to not take it personal…that’s a little unrealistic when you’ve been dating for a while and finally meet someone you really like and he’s doing all the things Evan says to show you that he’s into you…you date for a few months and then he asks you to be exclusive…just to he pull away. Even if you understand everything that happened from an intellectual standpoint, you have feelings and unless you’re a replicant like Rachael in “Blade Runner,” at least part of you is gonna take it personal.

  10. 10
    Tamara Brown

    I think biologically humans are not monogamous. Biologically, men (males) are imprinted to have as many children as possible, combined with different genetic pools if possible. Being a default for bringing up and raising the children, women have another inprint: to make the stable environment for children to grow up to adulthood. Biologically, we have different imprints, but socially, we don’t. In the end, it’s the balance of the two.

    1. 10.1
      antwan

      finally someone making some sort of sense! we forget that at the end of the day we are just animals, and to try and make sense of animalistic behavior is usually can be answered mostly through biology and chemistry. Speaking from my own perspective I’m upfront and honest about what I’m looking for and what I want. That’s in the bedroom, in communication, family wise, and future aspirations. If I knew you didn’t match my needs and wants, then I knew it wouldn’t work in the end and A: I’d end up leaving you or B: I’d end up cheating on you. I’m not going to waste my time or your time in that way so I was always upfront when telling the woman I couldn’t be more to them than what we already were. Point is, sometimes it is just sex we want or are blinded with and that’s chemical, most idiot men don’t respect people enough to be honest about it and to just tell the person that it wouldn’t work between them. In their defense most of them are afraid of the hysterical woman and what she might do or how she might act. I know how to handle that w/o the woman getting all hysterical and such, I just make her see the logic in it. I simply tell her the truth, “you’re not right for me and I’d end up cheating on you, why waste each others time in that way with all the fighting and breaking up and emotions and such”. Honesty in the right way seems to work out best for me, and both parties can move on to different people or possibly continue to be friends, maybe even special friends for a while with the understanding of what it is until that next relationship comes along. Some of us just know your not it for us, sometimes we say things a little to fast before we know that, but once we know and we’ve said those things its like uh-oh what do I do, I’ll pretend she doesn’t exist. Not the best thing to do, but everybody can’t be me or like me. Sometimes you need to just let it go, and you don’t want someone who doesn’t know how to handle themselves anyway, its just conversation and honesty and they couldn’t handle it, is that what you wanted to be committed to you? Some run because we know we’re not right for you or you’re not right for us, or they’re just not ready to be right. Stop looking for rocket scientist answers, those are the answers, they’re as simple as that stop wrecking your brain over this, you’ve been at this for about a century.

      1. 10.1.1
        Evan Marc Katz

        Anyone who calls himself honest in the same paragraph as he says, “I’d end up cheating on you” has a serious problem with cognitive dissonance. If you’re honest, you don’t cheat. If you cheat, you’re not honest.

      2. 10.1.2
        Vette

        Antwan love ur honesty. Sometimes a man is not for us & when we as as women love we love for real. Even though red flags are all over the place. We just seem to can’t let go. Falling in love & losing the one you love is the hardest thing to get past. Always listen to ur first mind. Always the right thought…..

  11. 11
    Cathy Elliss

    I am thinking Daisy you could be right and yet… straight after my laugh, it felt sad!

    For me, I think guys have it so good, can do what they want, when they want and we have been known to let them. So ladies, know what you want and even after your man has committed, don’t turn to mush. That doesn’t do you or him any favours and just turns him off.

    For others – many people really have no idea what a healthy, robust relationship is, what is looks like, what it takes to maintain and what the benefits are. Relationship skills are the most called for skill in many areas for women covering different countries, cultures and socioeconomic backgrounds. I really hope that men can catch onto that one, even before they need it (that is after the breakdown of the relationship with the love of their life).

  12. 12
    Steve

    @Jackie #6
    Didn’t you get the memo that you get the battle of the sexes memo that it is never in any way the woman’s responsibility? :).

    Seriously, as a man, even after knowing better, I’ve done that to myself too. When you are feeling the emotions it is very tempting to ignore the other things you (don’t) see.

    Many people think they are the exception to JNTIY

  13. 13
    anette

    Because we want intimacy too soon. We want emotional intimacy, before trust , friendship and common interests are established.

    Men want intimacy too soon also, but we are now conditioned to be physical quickly as though it is no big deal.

    The quicker you become physically active with a man, the quicker you will want emotional intimacy.

    Slow down the physical, and slow down the emotional.

    Just my 2c’s. :)

  14. 14
    Emily

    I think Katherine (no. 3) comment is spot-on! Well done. Now, as regards this question of why men pull away, go cold, etc… well does the answer really matter? I guess it might if we are concerned with how our behaviour might have generated such a responce. But if you think you’ve behaved well, I guess we don’t really need to know why a man might behave that way. The real question is, Why are you sitting around asking questions about a man who has already decided he’s not into you? He’s gone. Get going dating men who want to be with you, if they change course and disappear start again with someone new who is interested! Period.

  15. 15
    Dre

    I wish I knew the answer. I spent 2 years in a committed relationship, we’d had “the talk” multiple times where I questioned if we were equally invested in the relationship and he always insisted YES and then we’d take a step closer. I thought maybe he was a commitment-phobe from the beginning but he insisted he just needed time to build trust. Which is true, there was growth over time and I was in no hurry to live together/get married, etc, there was no pressure.

    But at the end of the day, a minor spat and he disappeared. We had one phone call where he said he “really wanted to talk again” and that he would call me very soon. Last time we talked. Some e-mails exchanged, he seems to make excuses as to what was wrong in his mind, each one different. So really I am baffled.

    My guess (and the therapists) is that he really was at the limit of what he had to offer emotionally so any strain or need for more was too much. So I know next time I’m going to have to be a lot more careful in evaluating if someone has the capacity to give or not. I’m not sure how to do that. I do know I’m going to have to ask for more faster.

  16. 16
    Honey

    On the whole, it was very balanced for me as far as relationships I ended/backed away from, and relationships that men ended/backed away from (I use the term “relationship” rather loosely as I don’t really think that it’s a relationship unless you’ve been exclusive for 3 months).
    When I backed away, it was because something didn’t feel right, so I can only assume it was the same when the guy did it. It’s easy to get carried away on the first few dates before you start analyzing for “real” compatibility. I wouldn’t take it so seriously.

  17. 17
    Karl R

    I think there are three common reasons men pull away. Several people have touched on them.

    #1. Timing: As daisy suggested (#8), timing plays the biggest part. For example, if a man is interested in becoming a father, he will want to achieve job/financial success where he believes that he can raise a family with a sufficient level of security.

    If I believe that a relationship/marriage will interfere with my dreams/goals, I’m going to wait until I’ve either achieved the dreams/goals, or changed them.

    Charlotte said: (#2)
    “How can one change their mind in a few days over something as serious as love? Does men not realize how hurtful it is to lead a woman on? I’d rather have a man be honest from the get-go and say he is not sure”
    Casey said: (#9)
    “he’s doing all the things Evan says to show you that he’s into you date for a few months and then he asks you to be exclusive just to he pull away.”

    These quotes bring us to…
    #2. Unrealistic Expectations: as Katherine (#3) and Jackie (#6) indicated, a lot of people have unrealistic expectations for their relationships.

    Why does a man need to indicate that “he is not sure” “from the get go”? No rational person is sure about a relationship from the beginning.

    New relationships are full of promising potential, and they’re also full of reservations. A little over a year ago I was dating a good friend who is an amazing woman. But she has a considerable temper. I didn’t know whether we’d be able to handle our disagreements in a reasonable, mature manner … and I wasn’t going to be able to find out unless we were in an exclusive relationship long enough to experience some conflicts. (She also had reservations about me, and one of those led her to break things off.)

    Do Charlotte and Casey really expect me to commit to pursuing the relationship all the way to the end before we’ve even dated exclusively?

    I’m also stunned when women say: “don’t men realize how much it hurts women when they pull away?”

    It’s a relationship. If it doesn’t work out, there are high odds that at least one person is going to get hurt (often both people). If it does work out, there’s even higher odds that someone will eventually get hurt.

    Before I enter into a relationship, I accept the fact that I might get hurt. I make an adult decision that I’m willing to accept that probability. I assume that my partners are capable of making those adult decisions for themselves.

    #3. The Cold Equation: I’m in a serious relationship. It appears to be heading toward marriage, and I’m quite happy about that.

    Several months into the relationship, however, I had a moment when it felt like a bucket of cold water was thrown in my face. Being in this relationship curtails a lot of my freedom. Was I willing to let go of that freedom (potentially for the rest of my life) in exchange for being in this relationship?

    That question isn’t an easy one to answer. My answer depends a lot on the woman, a lot on the quality of our relationship, and a bit on where I was in life.

    Even if the man thinks your amazing and is happy in the relationship, there’s a shift in thinking when it changes from “for now” to “forever”.

  18. 18
    Ruby

    I think that any relationship is pretty much up in the air for the first 3-4 months. Generally, it takes 3-6 months for both parties to decide that things are going to become more serious.At this point in my life, I don’t believe much of what a new man tells me unless it is followed up with CONSISTENT action. I think men are very much “in the moment” when they desire sex with a woman (and sometimes when they’re just out on dates), and much of what they say should be considered with that in mind in those early stages of dating.

    Women do much more planning and thinking about “the future” early on than do men.Men don’t necessarily voice their reservations about a woman or a relationship early on because they don’t want to scare her off too soon. Plus, they’re not even thinking long-term yet.

    And I do agree with Daisy about the Timing issue. Not much can be done if a person isn’t genuinely ready. Men have been known to say they’re ready even when they’re not. Thy want to believe they are because they like you and they want to have sex.

  19. 19
    starthrower68

    There are all kinds of reasons why men pull away, as you can see.But it boils down to one thing: they want to.As Evan has said numerous times in his reponses, men do what they want to do.It’s as simple as that.What women have to learn to do is not to internalize that and always believe they did something wrong.There may be cases in which we did something to turn him off.But, in just as many cases, we did not.Let it go and move forward.Unless you genuinely believe you are at fault and you want to work to change that, the stress of trying to figure it out is just not worth it.

  20. 20
    Suzanne

    Amen, Starthrower68 #19. We could speculate and theorize until hell freezes over about why men do what they do in their relationships with us. But the reality is that you can only control yourself, so I prefer to accept what is — even if I don’t like it. I prefer to not view myself as a victim. So, my job is to understand myself better, so I know how rejection affects me and know how to take care of myself when it does. Preventive medicine. It’s still going to hurt, but it doesn’t have to totally blow me away. I take the time I need, recover, get back on the horse, as they say. Evolution isn’t a speedy thing, and I truly believe eventually men and women will evolve to the point where their emotions and maybe even their biologies are more in synch when it comes to intimate relationships. But I’m pretty sure that won’t be happening in my lifetime. It’s good to stay informed and gain from the wisdom of others regarding relationships, I’m not a robot, and I know that sometimes I’ll have my eyes wide open to all the warning signals a man is giving off and still forge right on into the belly of the beast anyway. Call me human. I just figure that’s why we have women friends and comfort food.

  21. 21
    Charlotte

    These are such well thought out responses and very helpful.

    One thing that has drawn me to Evan’s site is that when he explains dating behavior he does not put the “blame” on either sex for why it doesn’t work out.

    Most of the relationship sites go one way or other usually blaming the woman for why a man pulled away. She was too needy, she showed her cards too soon, she had too many expectations, she wasn’t a challenge, she was too emotional, she took his words at face value, she took things too personal, she emotionally bonded when she shouldn’t have, etc. etc.. In other words had she not done those things she is led to believe that he would not have pulled away or she should feel no loss/pain if he does bail. And there are also sites that just blame the men. I am not interested in any of those sites.

    But I understand now there are a lot of factors for the loss of interest and they cannot all be neatly explained. I believe the reason women ask this question of why men pull away is to make better choices when deciding to emotionally invest in a man. It can be difficult to understand if he is saying and doing all the things that a boyfriend would do and then lose interest. You wonder what you were blind to and why you couldn’t see it coming. Now I know it just happens.

    In my particular case I did what Evan said to do which was to stand still. I let him come to me and he did all the pursuing and I was receptive to that pursuit. I waited 2-1/2 months before I had sex and at the time I felt safe. The best thing I have learned from coming here is not devaluing myself and moving on in a gracious optimistic way.

  22. 22
    JuJu

    I remember reading one of the earlier entries on this blog where Evan said that men say the things they say on first dates (e.g., proclaiming he wants to eventually start a family while holding your hand) because “they are being in the moment”. Well, women (usually) are anything but being in the moment when they are first meeting someone. A woman would immediately match the man up against her mental checklist of suitable companion characteristics and attempt to imagine what their children would look like.

    Which is one of the points where I disagree with Karl (# 17). I most certainly can tell whether there is any real potential with a given man from our first few meetings. Of course, some problem might arise at some later point that will turn out to be a deal-breaker, but the basic necessary criteria I am able to discern right away. Perhaps (perhaps) men really don’t have the foggiest in the beginning (maybe partly for the above-referenced reason: they are enjoying the moment rather than actually processing / analyzing anything for future’s sake), but if I can, I would think other women do this also, and that is why they ask this question.

    As for getting hurt being an inevitable outcome of many relationships: I think, Karl, you sorta missed the point here. None of these women asked why the man broke up with them. They asked why he pulled the disappearing act. Which I personally find to be the height of disrespect. Sure, I did it myself here and there, but not to men I was in actual relationships with, only guys I went out with once or twice.

    Which leads me to the following question (and I assure you all that, since this behavior on the part of men seems a bit prevalent, this question is of inquisitive, rather than judgmental, nature): does the ability to disappear like that have anything to do with one’s ethics? To me it seems, putting it mildly, inconsiderate. I would think after an actual relationship where sex and exclusivity were involved, one partner owes another a bit more than that. And the women I personally encountered who did that to men were not good people.

    1. 22.1
      Hid

      Well said! 

  23. 23
    Selena

    Re: Honey #16

    A few years ago when the HJNTIY book was being discussed all over television and the internet I thought (bemusedly), “Oh someone actually wrote a book about that? I could have written that book as could most of my friends lol.” And from there it got me thinking about all the “relationships” broadly defined, that I had ended/backed off from – and why. For whatever reason, at some point after the initial attraction I decided the guy just wasn’t for me. Maybe it was some aspects of his personality. Maybe it was mannerisms, habits. Mostly it was feeling that “there just isn’t enough there”, something was missing, or as you put it, a general sense of it just didn’t feel right.

    It was after this review/reflection of myself I was better able to understand the guys who had backed out of a relationship with me. They realized I wasn’t the woman for them. Simple as that. End of story. Took some of the mystery (and sting) out of past dating experiences.

    I believe intense attraction, infatuation, not only blinds us to the red flags that someone really isn’t right for us, but may also persuade us to see more there than there really is. We may misinterpret someone’s level of interest as higher than it really is because that’s how we feel. And you are right Honey, analyzing the *real* compatiblity tends to come later.

  24. 24
    Karl R

    JuJu said: (#22)
    “I most certainly can tell whether there is any real potential with a given man from our first few meetings.”
    Selena said: (#23)
    “at some point after the initial attraction I decided the guy just wasn’t for me. […] after this review/reflection of myself I was better able to understand the guys who had backed out of a relationship with me. They realized I wasn’t the woman for them. Simple as that. End of story.”

    Juju,
    Selena’s reply covered your statement far better than I ever could. It applies equally to men and women.

    JuJu said: (#22)
    “None of these women asked why the man broke up with them. They asked why he pulled the disappearing act. Which I personally find to be the height of disrespect.”

    Let me get this straight. You’re saying that the women aren’t hurt by the rejection? They’re hurt because the men are rude about it?

    I agree that it’s rude. I’ve had women vanish on me also.

    But my original statement covers this as well. If you’re that hurt by discourteous behavior (which is inevitable when dating), then you aren’t mature enough to handle a relationship.

    JuJu asked: (#22)
    “does the ability to disappear like that have anything to do with one’s ethics?”

    I’d call it a matter of courtesy, not ethics.

    Some of it relates to a person’s past experience. After several breakups, I have an opinion of how I’d like to be treated. That’s the way I treat women when I break up with them.

    However, if you’ve never been on the receiving end of a breakup, or all your breakups involve your partner vanishing, you probably won’t have those experiences to base your own behavior on.

    1. 24.1
      Hid

      I think maybe you’re missing the point. One can expect this lack of consideration from men/woman in their 20’s, 30’s maybe but when in our 40’s and still dealing with the nonsense of their inability to be authentic and openly discuss then there is a problem. There is no reason for an emotionally mature person man/woman to not have enough self-respect to communicate what is on their heart it really is that simple. This is a reasonable expectation that we woman have.  Men fail to realize sure you can have your fun… sex…. but in truth when one is not able to just be simply honest….. Show her/him the respect all men/woman deserve then here is the problem. There is no reason in our quest for love in this life we need to go around wounding people.  We can choose to be a positive experience for others or not.  As far as men not wanting to have that “uncomfortable conversation” well that is a sad excuse.   Men are stronger than that, trust a woman will respect you for it, and furthermore the way you handle will affect the memory of her interaction with you. It’s up to men; do want to leave someone feeling bad after spending time with you or would you rather leave with a positive impression.  This is not to suggest she/he won’t be hurt, but this hurt is part of life. The other is just plain selfishness and completely unnecessary. 

  25. 25
    JuJu

    But my original statement covers this as well. If you’re that hurt by discourteous behavior (which is inevitable when dating), then you aren’t mature enough to handle a relationship.

    Hmm, not sure I agree with this (I am not sure I am seeing the connection), but let me think about it some more before I respond.

    I actually never had anyone vanish on me, but one guy did break up with me via e-mail (not as bad as Carrie Bradshaw’s breakup on a post-it, but still), which I thought was extremely cowardly and disrespectful. Our relationship was at approximately the same stage Charlotte described in post #2.

    Just to clarify, when I said I more or less know from the start, I didn’t mean that I know how our relationship will progress or whether a relationship will even begin (after all, there is another person involved, and I don’t know what he is thinking), but what I can determine, with considerable accuracy, is whether he is the kind of man I could possibly fall in love with.

  26. 26
    JuJu

    Btw, I definitely disagree that you have to have experience on which to base your choices (in this particular regard, at least). What about basic human decency and consideration?

  27. 27
    JuJu

    Oh, and if we agree that this behavior is discourteous, then isn’t that the real issue? We are inclined to be emotionally wounded by it, instead of congratulating ourselves on not spending too much of our time on a person who obviously didn’t deserve it. I mean, if you look at this kind of situation objectively, we should be thankful those people showed their true colors relatively early in the relationship.

    As Jackie (#6) already said, intuitively one does know if the other party isn’t truly interested. I remember that after my above-mentioned e-mail breakup I was much more angry at myself than I ever was at the man, since the red flags (one of them being the ample evidence that he was in love with the idea of being in love) were all there from the beginning, I just chose to ignore them.

  28. 28
    Honey

    Re: Selena #23 – yes, I read HJNTIY and thought it was a) great, but b) nothing anyone else on the planet who’s dated more than 2 people couldn’t have written :-) That said, I did enjoy the tone and humor of it – and, well, we can all use some reminders of the obvious sometimes (at least I hope we all can, and it’s not just me).

    But I was a very active dater for many years, and only 2 men have ever broken my heart – both guys that I dated for over a year. I’ve been disappointed, irritated, deceived, let down, etc. (pick your adjective) by guys that I’ve dated for shorter periods of time, but at a totally manageable intensity (say at the most a 4 on a scale of 1-10, whereas those guys I dated for over a year easily got me to a 10).

    Even if you’ve dated for 3 months, at one date a week we are talking about someone you’ve seen 12 times in perhaps 4-hour increments. That’s 48 hours, 2 days in real life. Yes, there were probably some phone conversations, too, but how low does your self-esteem have to be to be devastated over the actions of someone you’ve only spent 2 days’ worth of time with in person?

    I guess what it boils down to for me is that while you can’t control other people’s actions, your reaction is totally your responsibility and is totally changeable. Yes, there are people out there who will disappoint you for a variety of reasons and with a variety of motives (or no motives). But emotions are a choice and you can train yourself to have different responses. A psychologist who taught me how to use positive self-talk worked great for me when I was younger; biofeedback is another great way of recognizing your stress responses and redirecting yourself at an early stage, before you have an emotional breakdown. Or you could just read Evan’s blog :-)

  29. 29
    Selena

    Re:#28

    Yeah, the men who *bruised* my heart were the ones I had loved and lived with for years. The one’s who backed out of a potential r’ship after a couple weeks or months? I have a hard time remembering their last names now.

    I don’t consider any ‘thing’ that lasted under 3 months to be very serious. You’re still just getting to know each other – and yeah, better to poof early rather than later when it will really hurt. One can look at it as dodging a bullet – to put a positive spin on it.

  30. 30
    Singlet

    From the POV of my last relationship, the guy I was with was just quicker to realise that things weren’t right than I was. I have a slight masochistic side where I am willing to put up with bad stuff for the good stuff (I’m sure a lot of women are like this), whereas he saw it more as it was and made the break. Still very hard to deal with, even though I know that it was the right move.

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