Why Do Men Pull Away From Relationships?

a tensed young man

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…

Join our conversation (319 Comments).
Click Here To Leave Your Comment Below.


  1. 1

    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.

    1. 1.1
      Karmic Equation

      In your words, you “ask[[ed] how this is going and all that”… So you didn’t TELL him what you wanted. You weren’t “honest”. What you showed was that you wanted to know what HE wanted. He didn’t answer you. So now you know what he wanted, which is that he doesn’t want to discuss what he wants with you.


      Next time if you really want to be honest, be honest. “Hey Jim, after three months of dating I feel that we should be further along than we are. I’m looking for a committed boyfriend. What are you looking for?” Then listen to his answer. That’s honesty.


      If you want honesty, you need to lead with it, not circle around it.

      1. 1.1.1

        Excellent response Karmic.

        I would also urge Michelle to rethink this LD relationship.   I suggest reading some of the earlier posts from EMK re LD relationships.

    2. 1.2

      Then maybe that should be made clear by the men so women aren’t left to guess how they really feel. Don’t you agree?

  2. 2

    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

      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

        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.

        1. Tracy

          In this case he didnt disappear. He told you. You wanted more detail, but he told you exactly how he felt and then he left.

      2. 2.1.2

        I’m going to tell you that your dead wrong alright. Just because you’ve had a bad time doesn’t mean that men in general are fools, frauds, and failures alright? So how about you shut up and think for just one second and try to understand why us men back off relationships sometimes okay? For example, we could begin to think that things don’t feel right, that the connection felt amazing until you both entered a relationship and then it changed. Or maybe they’re like me and get scared in relationships not wanting to get hurt again. So before you go around spitting shit about us men just remember this alright, not every man is what you think okay?

        1. Lili

          I agree that not all men are like that. But the ones that do act that way, I agree with Mandy. Be a man, be respectful and just say so. If you’re too scared to talk, just text, write an email to say it’s over. Don’t just disappear. I tell those guys to grow up!

        2. Brooke

          But it’s not ok for either make or female to do that. Don’t lead someone on. Figure your crap out, and if you   can’t don’t date and say things you don’t mean. People’s hearts are not play things or things to work your issues out on.

        3. Jennifer

          That is a very rude comment, Gabriel. Mandy specifically directed her comment to be about guys who “poof” or play various other games.   She NEVER said all men are like that… But rather that “men” don’t act like that.

      3. 2.1.3

        I completely agree with you Mandy. It’s so true.

        1. Karem

          Exactly!! If something has changed, GOOD!! but say something!! Don’t vanish like a ghost, that is the only thing I ask. Be a mature person and tell -something-.

      4. 2.1.4
        Karmic Equation

        Aww, c’mon, ladies.

        We all have heard the stories/jokes  that “Woman tells man that she won’t get mad at him if he answers her question truthfully. He takes her at her word and answers truthfully. And she gets mad.”

        I’m a woman. And I don’t believe ANY of you would handle a man breaking up with you that YOU still liked and have already slept with. In all likelihood, you would accuse him of just “using you for sex” when in fact he might have decided you were too clingy, too needy, too controlling, too emotional, whatever.

        And would you have happily accepted that or become more emotional.

        I wouldn’t want to be that man. And neither would any of you.

        If you can’t handle a man’s disappearance impersonally, you’re not going to be able to handle it when he tells you you were “too <something>” that he didn’t like.

        Or let’s suppose he has some tact. “I just don’t feel we’re working out.” And then you’ll probe with “Why?” and more whys until he has to either lie or tell you more unpleasant truths.

        I don’t blame a man for wanting to avoid all that.

        If you really want closure when a man disappears on you, close it yourself.

        Text him, “Hi Jim. Since I haven’t heard from you in 2 weeks, I’m guessing you’re no longer interested. Best of luck to you. Delete my number.”

        There’s your closure.

        1. Brooke

          no. Not true at all.

        2. Kh77

          No. It takes two seconds to send a text saying you aren’t interested in seeing someone again, if you want to avoid confrontation (reality) and if they’re so terrified of getting yelled at it is super easy to block a number and never hear from this person again. No excuses for this crap.


          I had two dates with a guy who had the balls to tell me “hey I’m not feeling it” and I wasn’t entirely either although I was a little disappointed at the time. You know what? We’re friends and saw some shows together and talked about sports (before I moved out of state although we still keep in touch). Not every girl goes crazy and regardless, it’s the right thing to do. Worried she’ll blow up your phone or pester you then block the number.

        3. Jennifer

          I did nothing of the sort with my ex. I have learned a lot from past relationships. So when he broke up with me I was just like “oh ok. I thought you were the type of man who will work at a problem until you realize it can’t be fixed. I guess not.” and I started packing my stuff and taking it to my car. He cried a lot more than I did. I just let him go. Saw him once more to get the rest of my stuff. No arguments, no nasty comments. I did not call or text him nor respond to his texts until 2 months later when he called me. I kept it classy when we broke up and now we are back to spending time together. Not sure what will happen but I know I handled myself in the best possible way. And yes, it hurt when he broke up with me because he’s the best guy I have ever dated. I do agree with you about how to get closure when the man doesn’t give it to you. But the rest is reserved for the young, immature or desperate.

      5. 2.1.5

        AMEN, Mandy! You hit the nail on the head!

      6. 2.1.6

        Interesting perspective, Mandy, thank you. Indeed, anyone can fake it for a few dates, but then they have to show  you who they really are, and if they don’t think they’re so great, they don’t want you knowing it. I read somewhere that “time is the truest test of character.”

    2. 2.2

      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

        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.

        1. JM

          I hadn’t dated in years and decided I would try again this past year.   I opened myself up and the same exact thing happened to me with 2 guys in a row!   I dated both for about 2 months, then *poof* they disappeared.   Things were going well with both then they just stopped texting.   I never heard from one of them ever again and the other responded to a text I sent a week after his radio silence.   He said he wasn’t ready for something serious after he repeatedly told me that we had something really special.   A male friend defends them saying they  probably got scared.   I’m the least clingy/needy person on the face of the earth.   In fact, I’m usually the one who runs when things get serious.   I’m trying so hard not to take it personally, but am definitely taking a break from dating for a while.

      2. 2.2.2

        A very similar thing happened to me. I met a guy online. He pursued me. He called me every day for 2 weeks. I was enjoying him and accepted his date invitations. No sex. Just fun fun fun. Then last night he greeted me with the look of fear and death on his face. He was frozen. No hug. I thought he might cry. I asked what it could be. He is seeing another girl but he likes me more and needs to be fair to her and break it off with her. Ok. So I told him I would just go. Before I could reach my car he was zooming away in his. She isn’t getting dumped. I just got ditched. All I did was have fun letting him chase me. Now I’m confused and hurt.

    3. 2.3

      I just went through the exact same thing Charlotte. There is nothing to understand. I think these men are not stable or not mature emotionally to handle a face to face conversation or even be able to say it doesn’t work out anymore when we call them and ask the question ”What’s wrong, why are you so distant and cold?”. Not worth trying to understand. They obviously lack of maturity and respect. And I if you think through the events of your relationship, I’m sure there were some signs. In my case they were there, I just didn’t see them or did not want to see them. I told myself, he’s a different man, I will give him the benefit of the doubt and get to know him. We learn. Take care.

    4. 2.4

      Oh my .. Charlotte.

      I don’t get that either!!, Why they came so strong , and puff! vanished in seconds.

      I don’t really get it. I can understand if you are dating or communicating with a man who didn’t show a high level of interest if disappears soon from your radar. That is understandable. But, the -good- prospect who responded and even showed with actions and increasing interest over days, weeks, and showed that he is really excited about knowing you more, and making plans, and talking about the future, fade out in the next breath. That is happening to me at this precise moment. I am not confused!! I am thunderstruck, astonished, dumbfounded, speechless… Why men? why you don’t have the courtesy to close the circle. If   something has changed out of the sudden, why it is so difficult to have the courtesy, the education to say something!!? Why you leave us hanging, wondering with an expression on our faces like..   uh??



    5. 2.5

      I’m glad you wrote this, it’s exactly what happened to me. I also called him on it as i wanted some closure or idea of what I did ‘wrong’ or what had changed… I’m still baffled.

    6. 2.6

      I am so sorry Charlotte that happened to you. I know the feeling… 🙁


    7. 2.7

      Charlotte, you are absolutely right.   That happened to me recently.   He said he loved me and I loved him back.   We were dating nearly 3 months when he had to be away for a few weeks.   i could sense the distance in his communications and when he returned, he wanted to see me right away.   We had a nice weekend and spoke on the phone when I returned home.   (long distance relationship)   a couple of days later, he stopped speaking to me at all.   Nothing… Crickets.    I pestered him until he finally texted me that he needed time to figure out who he was.   He’s 60!      Does he really not know who he is yet?    Seems like a pretty lame excuse.   No wonder he didn’t want to face me in person or talk on the phone.   I handed him my heart on a platter…he played with it a while and then threw it away.   Who does that?   I assume I’m better off now.

      1. 2.7.1

        My “Ghoster” is 60 years old as well and acts 16!

        I’ve been going through this off and on for 2 1/2 years!

        He cuts message off for totally stupid reasons.

        I’m done but damn it hurts…


        He’s such a sweetheart then boom! I’m deleted from his Facebook and his life!

        Maybe it’s the same guy. Lol


        But seriously,   I think it’s mental issues. Running goes hand and hand wit commitmentphobiacs, narcissists, sociopaths and more

        1. carolee

          And I should add that we met at church and we practiced abstinence so it wasn’t a lust issue

  3. 3

    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.

    1. 3.1
      Subliminal O

      Katherine, thanks for this insight. I would have to vote your response as the one that seems to make the most sense and seems to be most practical and objective. Kudos! I cannot believe that the ladies are missing this one. This appears to me to be a profound insight and very consistent with the teachings of all the male coaches – the reason why they ask women to not rush into the sex part of things. Bitter pill to swallow again and again but there you have it. These men are not necessarily evil and they sometimes ar are being driven by that sexual urge. They may not even know it. To be forewarned is to be forearmed and a word is enough for the wise. And yes, I understand that some will still bail after being in a committed relationship for a while – but at least the numbers may reduce and you will know that you did the best to protect yourself against needless heartbreaks. Good luck to all! Namaste sisters and brothers.

    2. 3.2

      I think this is brilliant, and I pretty much agree. I do think some men are just mentally ill and/or chronically emotionally inadequate, and that those issues play into things even whether they’ve had sex with you yet or not, but still, the basic scenario is what you’ve described in most cases. I should add that 1. a lot of men are not particularly self-aware, much less anywhere near as self-critical as many women, so the process you described may not be something they’re even consciously aware of and 2. men are less resilient than women emotionally speaking (no really) and so if a man has had even one bad experience with a woman in his past, he will hold onto it for-ev-errrr and use it (consciously or not, again) to slip out of a growing relationship whenever he feels the least bit uncomfortable, threatened with vulnerability, or out of his depth. It’s important to also remember that men are often less emotionally mature than women; they mature later, and they resist it more stringently lol. So that will tend to be an issue in developing a relationship with a man.

      1. 3.2.1

        This is awesome Julia. Love it!

    3. 3.3

      I was going to post something similar, but Katherine, I think you said it even better.
      Do any men on here agree with this?

    4. 3.4

      Excellent advice.

    5. 3.5

      Nailed 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.

    1. 4.1

      “If they don’t want to be in a relationship with you” it is not necessary then that they say so many things like “they want” to be in a relationship with you. Why they make plans? why they show increase interest? If I don’t want a relationship with a man I don’t invest my words telling unnecessary things. What is the point?

  5. 5

    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

    1. 5.1


      There is not about “battle of sexes”, we can speak from our women’s perspective only. We are interested in men. That’s why we talk about our experiences with you guys. We cannot not talk about if women do or don’t do the same, we are not comparing (I have no doubt) but we are not dating women either!

      I just want to ask for the courtesy to close the circle, and don’t let the woman hanging, asking herself what just happened. It is a simple courtesy, an educated way to move on. And it is not even because man own something to this woman is merely because is part of being a -educated person- a mature one.

      Please !


  6. 6

    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

      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

        Well said! Big difference!

      2. 6.1.2

        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.

      3. 6.1.3
        Tammy Charles

        Spot on.

  7. 7

    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.

    1. 7.1

      Very well said Selena! Women can be stubborn in thinking men think like we do. Hear hear…

  8. 8

    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

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

    2. 8.2

      I could not agree more, timing is everything. But the other thing is that when a guy starts pulling away it often means that he needs space to work through his emotions when he’s not clouded by the rosey glasses that are the honeymoon period. My current partner had just come out of a rebound relationship that began almost immediately after his 6 year relationship crumbled. Obviously he needed time to “fool around” and that’s how our story began.

      Often times, it’s actually not something that the other person has done or said, usually it boils down to being a personal thing. I spent 6-8months with a guy hanging out and working on our friendship (sort of like we were dating) and I was upfront about my feelings telling him I liked him (but never said I love you first). He liked another girl at the same time and I practically gave him an ultimatum telling him that his behaviour was unfair to the both of us. After a while I said I wanted for us not to see or sleep with anyone else and he didn’t but he eventually asked me out on a date. We’ve now been together for a year and a half, we’re planning a future together and he says that I “saved him”. Now, I hate being seen as the hero because I don’t think I really did anything but listened to his needs and tried to help him work through his feelings by either a) talking them through with him and trying to understand where he was coming from, or b) backed off when it seemed that he needed some space. Granted the first meaningful conversation we actually had was in the shower after a fun night, so it’s probably an exceptional circumstance. But the bottom line is always the same, sometimes you have to let them call the shots and other times you need to tell a person to “cut the crap”. A relationship is a two way street and if either party feels that the other isn’t doing something for them then that needs to be communicated. Males/Females although not cut from the same stuff, often have similar anxieties and needs. Have you as a woman ever just wanted space to sort through your feelings? The same goes for men. No one can push that decision and sometimes you do just need a long period to sort through them and having someone constantly messaging/calling/emailing you about where you’ve gone or what you’re doing can actually make the situation worse, making the preferrable option to bail on the whole thing regardless of the amount of time, effort and money that you’ve invested.

  9. 9

    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.

    1. 9.1
      Tammy Charles

      Well said. I’m living this right now, and it’s incredibly painful.

  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

      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.

        1. Melanie

          Love it…

        2. James

          You only get to call him dishonest if he actually does  cheat.   He knows the limits of his ability to withstand temptation and isn’t putting himself in a position to break his integrity.   He’s not only honest, but self-aware.

      2. 10.1.2

        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

    @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

    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. 🙂

    1. 13.1

      I agree that women want emotional intimacy and connection. It is in women’s physiology to connect, adjust, have empathy, feel, etc It is in men’s physiology to think and go with their “values”.
      I do think women rush faster into relationships based on their feelings. Men, on the other hand, have feelings too but may feel overwhelmed if a woman comes on with an intensity to connect.

  14. 14

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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.

    1. 20.1

      Suzanne,   I think everyone on here has taken a well thought out, intelligent, insightful answer to the question of ”

      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??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?

      Through most of these posting we begin to see we all have had a few experiences that were difficult but Suzanne pointed out something that I have discovered recently…that we are human and despite seeing some warning signals we might still forge right into the belly of the beast! If you can handle the unknown I believe it is better to continue to feel, believe and “let go” than to contain your feelings too much. I think containing your feelings too much, or over and over again,  may turn you into a pessimistic, unemotional human being. Don’t let that ever happen because you are “scared”. Scared is for people who are half dead. Life is too short to be scared, it is a waste of a life. If things don’t work out put it behind you, in time, and start again, believing just as much as you did the time before.


      1. 20.1.1

        Gene, you said it perfectly.

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