The Real Reason Men Pull Away

If you're dating a man, you know that sometimes they can have issues with verbalizing what they want, need, or feel to their loved ones. And if you don't know what's going on in their head, their inability to talk with you about their feelings can feel like they're actively hiding something from you, or that they're pulling away from the relationship. Even if this isn't the case, this feeling can cause a strain on your relationship. 

Ultimately, the real reason men pull away comes down to societal expectations and their communication styles. If you look deeper, you might find that it's not that he's pulling away from you because he wants to, but because it feels like it's his only option.

Opening up about why he's distant might be harder than you think

Just like women, men are under pressure to be what society wants them to be — strong, tough, stoic. But because of this pressure, men don't usually feel like they can show any kind of weakness or vulnerability, according to research conducted by The Conversation. For men, focusing on something that doesn't serve to promote these manly ideals, like communicating your feelings, is seen as weak or feminine. So, when their partners try to talk to them about being distant, the knee-jerk reaction for men is to retreat. 

Dr. Brene Brown, a researcher and author, says that men often feel ashamed of exposing themselves to vulnerability because they don't want to look weak. But, she says, there is a way women can help if they feel their partner pulling away. "It's important to encourage your partner to be vulnerable, and then to respond with respect and gratitude when he does," she told Redbook. "What every single one of us wants to hear in a relationship is, 'I see you, I see all of you, and I love you.'" 

Remember that men and women have different communication styles

A huge issue in heterosexual relationships is that the relationship itself tends to revolve around communication, wrote Stephen Rogers, LCSW, on his blog Roger's Counseling. Men see women as complicated creatures who speak in tongues and women can't remember the last time they had a deep conversation with their partners. He writes that partly, this idea that men aren't good at communicating comes from a perceived gender difference perpetuated by psychological findings that have since been considered not truly accurate. 

However, Rogers says that psychological studies have confirmed that women in relationships usually talk as a way to bond in relationships, and men usually don't. "A woman then wants to talk things through, but speaking about emotions puts a man into a challenging position," wrote Rogers. "Not only does the culture demand him to be strong and composed, but there is a neurological obstacle to these conversations as well."

If you're finding that your partner is pulling away and you can't seem to handle the issue on your own, remember that there's no shame in seeking out help from a professional therapist.