You met the best guy – funny, attentive, and curious about you. You weren’t looking for him, and yet, there he was – he appears in your life. He pursues you. You tell him that you’re not really looking for anything serious right now. Inside you think though, “Why not, I’ll give him a chance.”
The moments ahead fly by – dates, shared dinners, laughter – you’re having the time of your life.
Some months later, just as things begin to feel comfortable, right in the world, he starts to call you less. Your texts go unanswered for hours, for no apparent reason. Here was this man who was so eager to get your attention, and now you suddenly feel like you’re having to chase him.
What the heck happened?
Some may tell you that as a man, he has to pull away – that it’s in his nature. That as women, we have to sit and wait for him to come around again.
Personally, I don’t buy it.
Sure, if you two have been attached at the hip through the honeymoon phase, it’s natural and healthy for both of you to remember to develop your lives outside of your coupledom. It’s important to cultivate your individual interests, as well as your interests together. So if he’s meeting up with his golf buddies, or you’re hitting that Zumba class, more power to you both!
However, if it feels like he is pulling away without explanation, it is likely from something else entirely.
First, regardless of gender, the dynamics of relationships are push-pull. If one pushes, the other will pull back. It’s good to recognize when we may be pushing without realizing, which will create a pull away in our partner.
After many years of working with couples all over the world, I have found that specifically, men do not pull away from women who are fun, relaxed, and unpredictable. Like you were when he was getting to know you – you were a mystery, you were exciting, and you were confident without him.
Generally, men can become overwhelmed by all the seriousness of emotion. We women take our feelings very seriously, rightly so. It has given us insight and understanding into others, helping us manage many different things (or people) at once.
Men, on the other hand, aren’t entirely sure what they want for dinner in four hours, much less to be able to accurately predict the seriousness of their emotion in the future. It has to do with their singular focus on right now.
As women, we tend to like a game plan – a forward-moving program with action steps. Like climbing Mt. Everest, we like to know that there are foreseeable base camps. We like to know that this is going to lead to that.
Men however count their feelings by being in the moment; their feelings allow the relationship to naturally evolve. If you watch men spend time with their fathers, sons, or friends, they enjoy where they are, and they talk about everyday things. This is how they connect. For many men, the time and positive experience they have together are what build their relationships.
So, you can understand the dilemma! There is absolutely no rushing a man to commit through timelines or threats.
What does work however, is when it appears that we’re in no rush at all.
When we seem to enjoy the present moment with them, and we reinforce those positive experiences with more positive experiences, the guys start to see and expect a positive emotional future. They see what a committed relationship or marriage would look like with us.
“Hey, she’s going to be a fun travel partner.”
“She doesn’t take herself too seriously, so I don’t have to be so tightly wound, either.”
Men crave connection and intimacy with that one special woman with whom they can share a grand adventure together.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to keep your relationship casual. You can have all of those meaningful conversations later, once you’ve taken the pressure off through all those great experiences.
If he’s ‘gone cold’ for the moment, make any further communication with him fun, light, and present. Not be so darn serious all the time. Pick on him a little, tease him, be relaxed, be unpredictable. He’ll respond faster, and because you’re not talking about the future all the time, you’ll give him the chance to plan one.