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Why Do Men Pull Back Over the Holidays?
Holidays should be a time of joy, excitement, and, yes, a little stress. What holidays should not include is a guy who is emotionally pulling away or physically disappearing out of your life. Unfortunately, this tends to happen to a lot of women. 'Tis the season for emotionally panicked men...
Although there shouldn't be any added pressure—other than the norm of creating lists for food shopping and gifts—many men do not always see things so simply. But, can you blame them? Think about it: Depending on how long you have been dating or together, there tends to be relationship pressure weighing on men during the holidays.
Holiday Pressure for Guys in New Relationships
Here are some examples of new relationship pressures a guy might feel over the holidays, causing him to pull away:
- Should he give you a gift?
- What gift says "I'm thinking of you (but I'm not sure where this relationship is heading)"?
- Does he try and plan to see you on the actual holiday or the day before?
- If he doesn't see you on the holiday, will you be offended, upset, or want to end things?
- If he asks to see you on a holiday, will you assume he's now your boyfriend?
- If he does see you on the holiday, is he expected to meet your family or friends?
- Are you expecting to meet his family—is he ready for that encounter?
- If you meet each others families, will there be the assumption that your relationship is more serious than it actually is?
- If he doesn't see long-term possibilities, does he end things before or after the holidays?
New Relationships Are Extra Stressful Near the Holidays
Getting into a new relationship near the holidays, whether you have just started dating or are newly exclusive, can be extremely stressful, especially for men.
As woman we can be excited to finally have a date over the holidays, yay! For men, they tend to bring the stressful hammer down—creating extra pressure on themselves—by questioning if you are actually someone that they see a long-term relationship with. For women, this can be very frustrating since many times, especially in a new relationship, we are more focused and excited to not be single over the holidays (again, Yippee!) versus assuming that we are now in an exclusive relationship.
Yes, not all women think like this; there are some women who will equate a guy wanting to date them around the holidays as a sign that they are looking to be in a relationship. Not necessarily true. Just like women don't want to be single around the holidays, many men don't want to go to a holiday event stag. Unfortunately, holidays don't always make taking a woman to events that simple for men.
You Can't Escape the Holidays!
All you have to do is look up when driving, turn on the TV, step into a store, or open a magazine to feel the holiday pressure...
In his defense, the stress he feels isn't made up or out of the blue. Holidays—based on hallmark—equate to the next level in a relationship, falling in love or possibly solidifying long-term; aka: engagement, which can stress anyone out. Especially, a guy who might be unsure, has cold feet, or is on the fence about how he is feeling regarding you and the relationship.
Everywhere you look there are commercials and advertisements encouraging men to propose or buy that perfect piece of jewelry stating "forever." Holidays are emphasized as being the perfect time to find that perfect ring and plan that perfect proposal. Yikes! And let's keep it real, if a woman has been in a relationship for a long time, she is secretly hoping, possibly expecting or has even been pressuring for a proposal—just in time for the holidays. That alone can make a man want to emotionally pull away.
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Here's the thing ladies, while you are imagining sharing the holidays with your man, waking up to him, having your morning coffee together, cooking with him and smiling at him across the dinner table—clearly seeing your future with him—he might be contemplating if spending the holidays together is even an option. When men feel added pressure they tend to clam up and pull away.
Holiday Pressure for Guys in Long-Term Relationships
Now here are some examples of long-term relationships pressure a guy might feel over the holidays, causing him to pull away:
- Are you spending the holidays with his family, your family or potentially apart?
- Is there a perfect gift to give you—other than a ring?
- Does he want to continue being in a relationship with you?
- Does he still see long-term with you?—if he has even seen long-term up to this point
- Is he ready to propose?
- If proposing is an option, can he find the "perfect" ring?
- Is he ready to go ring shopping?
- Is his family or yours expecting him to propose?
- If he doesn't see a future with you does he end the relationship before or after the holidays?
Don't Blame Yourself if He Pulls Away
Having a guy emotionally and/or physically pull away completely sucks. Things can be going great and then bam! He's running for the hills, jumping over cliffs to get away from you due to him assuming there are expectations that might not even be there. Regardless, if you have been together for a long time or short, there is still a feeling of abandonment when a guy does this and holidays will intensify this emotion.
When a guy pulls away, blaming ourselves can be easy. Stop. There are many men who don't even realize they are pulling away until it happens, and usually it's due to their own insecurities and fears. As a man starts to emotionally analyze how he feels, he tends to separate his heart from his head. As this happens, he becomes distant. Communication fades, planning time together fades and seeing him fades. Yikes! Anything having to do with you and sharing the holidays together becomes his worst nightmare.
My Experience: The Man Who Disappeared From Thanksgiving
I started dating a guy about six weeks before Thanksgiving. As with all holidays, they sneak up rather quickly, especially when you are happy. After a month into dating this guy insisted on spending Thanksgiving together. That year I was planning on having a quiet Thanksgiving alone at home since I had to work the day before Thanksgiving, the day of, and the day after. But, since I was immaturely smitten by this guy I accepted his offer.
This guy was so excited to spend the holiday together that he insisted on planning the "perfect" evening celebration. Since he wasn't the "greatest cook," he made reservations at a restaurant—but wouldn't tell me where—except to be ready by 5pm, dressed for a night on the town.
The day before Thanksgiving, I heard nothing from this guy, which was odd since he and I had daily communication. I just thought that maybe he was busy with work and solidifying our plans. The day of Thanksgiving, still no word. I realized that he had done a disappearing act from my life.
Weeks later he left a message apologizing, telling me that he wasn't sure if he was ready for a relationship so decided that spending the holiday together was not the best idea. Really?! First, I never asked him to be in a relationship. Second, he couldn't have given me the respect of sending a text letting me know that our plans were being cancelled? My response, was nothing. He was not worth my energy or time.
Ladies, if you are sensing that your significant other might be pulling away this holiday season, take matters into your own hands. Sit down and talk with him. It's important that any possible assumptions he might be experiencing are cleared up. I get that cold feet can happen, however if he thinks that pulling away or disappearing is the only solution, then he's not the right guy for you. Bottom line, holidays should be a time of joy and cheer, not a time for a guy to bail on you and bring you tears!
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2016 Stephanie Bailey