We’ve all been there.
You talked to him for hours on your first date. There were definite sparks. It didn’t take long for him to lean in for your first kiss.
That’s when you were hooked.
You saw all the potential in him. All the potential for your future life together.
You told yourself not to get too excited in case it didn’t work out. In case you jinx it. But everything seemed to be going so well. He was texting you, setting up dates, clearly into you.
Until suddenly, there was a shift.
It was subtle.
You may even be imagining it, you tell yourself. Perhaps he really is just extra busy with work.
That’s possible, right?
But something in your gut is telling you things aren’t quite right.
He’s not calling or texting as much. He’s out with his buddies more. He seems to be busier than he was when you first started dating.
You notice it seems to be taking a turn, and you do what so many of us do.
You get scared and you hold on tighter.
You think that maybe if you just try to look prettier, or act more fun, or even put out before you’re ready, then he’ll surely see all the potential in you and come around.
Then you’ll get him back.
Every abandonment issue you’ve ever had comes out. Every fear of rejection that you’re just not good enough comes to the surface.
The problem is that when we notice he’s pulling away and we cling more tightly to him, it has the opposite desired effect.
He runs the other direction, and we’re left mopping up the pieces of our broken self-esteem with our well worn bucket.
Why do we do this to ourselves?
Why do we hang on so tightly to someone who isn’t giving us what we say we want in a relationship? Who is bringing out the worst in us rather than the best?
Why do we desperately try to keep the relationship alive, hoping that maybe all the excuses we made for him are true, when our intuition is telling us the opposite?
Part of why we get so afraid is because we think that it has everything to do with us and nothing to do with him.
We take it extremely personally, assuming that if he’s pulling away then it must because we did something wrong. Or we said something wrong. Or he found a girl who’s more attractive than we believe ourselves to be.
The second reason we spiral into fear-city is because we think that we’re losing this whole future with him that we may not find again with someone else.
We’ve already put him on a pedestal and created these ideals in our mind – how happy you’ll be together bringing him home for the holidays, what your wedding might be like. But the truth is that they’re just that, ideals, fiction really – that are all coming from you and not from him.
It’s important that we look at the situation for what it truly is: a representation of where he is right now.
It’s not always about us. He’s just showing you what he’s capable of in the present moment of offering you, even if he was amazing in the beginning.
He’s not ready for a serious commitment, or he’s emotionally unavailable, something is going on in his life, or the two of you aren’t the right fit. It can be a gift.
Rejection is protection. Rejection is redirection.
When this happens, rather than holding on tighter, there are a few other things you can do.
If you’re the only one texting him, calling him, or chasing after him, then there is an easy fix. Stop texting, stop calling, and stop chasing. He will either come back to you or the silence on his end will be telling.
While you’re waiting to see what happens if you stop chasing, start to re-focus your energy back on yourself, your friends, your work, and your life.
If you’ve been ignoring any of these things, this is a great opportunity to shift the attention to what makes you happy again.
Try some positive distractions like going out with friends, immersing yourself in a work project, exercising, or anything that is fun to you.
If you don’t hear from him for a couple of weeks and it becomes clear that he isn’t willing to put in the effort, then it is time to move on beautiful.
As hard as it may be, you deserve better than settling for something and someone who can’t give you the full love you desire. While you may not be able to see it right now, there is a man out there who is just as ready to meet you as you are to meet him.
The other thing you can do is to gather up all of your courage, and I mean ALL of your courage, and talk to him about it.
A client of mine was dating a man she really liked when she noticed that he was pulling away within a few months. I asked her if she had talked to him about what she was noticing, in which she replied “I’m scared to find out. Shouldn’t I just wait to see what he says first?”
It’s normal to feel afraid, I told her, because you don’t know what he is going to say until you ask and I realize that you fear you may lose him if you hear his answer.
She was going into a natural protective mode where waiting and rationalizing felt easier than expressing herself.
But there is a reason why that feels easier, typically rooted in deeper wounds from our past.
She finally talked to the man she was dating and told him how she felt. That she really enjoyed their time together and noticed he seemed to be pulling away. She told him that if something was going on, it was perfectly okay, but she would rather know.
He replied that he also had been really enjoying spending time together but he could sense she wanted more and he wasn’t ready to be in an exclusive relationship yet.
Of course this wasn’t the answer that she wanted, but she felt really proud of herself for facing it and was able to move on more easily with mutual respect for one another.
Trust your gut.
Trust your strength.
You deserve so much better than settling for the crumbs he’s throwing you.
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below! Have you ever felt a man you were dating pulling away? What was your initial reaction, and what ended up happening?
Hundreds of souls come here each week for inspiration and your comment may be just the thing they need to move forward.
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