I've been an online writer for over eight years. I'm an early childhood specialist who often writes about relationships.
I go into more detail about each of these points below, but here is the quick rundown:
- Understand how men and women process emotions differently
- Be supportive
- Be positive
- Trust him
- Talk with a girlfriend
- Live your life
1. Understand How Men and Women Process Emotions Differently
Men and women are hard-wired differently. What works for the goose does not work for the gander. This is where most communication hiccups occur. We naturally assume that the way we do things is the way they do things.
The simple understanding that we, in fact, don't process our emotions or thoughts the same way can be a huge relief to a women who feels like her boyfriend (or husband) is pulling away from her.
When we, as women, get upset, have a bad day, have a problem, or are under stress; the first thing we want to do is talk about it. We need to share it in order to get it out of ourselves where we can process, analyze, and figure it out. We need to vent. We need to release. So, naturally, when we see our sweetheart suffering we try to pull it out of them in order to help them feel better. Clearly there is something on his mind bothering him. We can see it and sense it. But our natural instincts are getting us into trouble because men don't work that way.
When a man is upset, has a bad day, has a problem, or is under stress, the first thing he wants to do is be by himself. He doesn't want or need to talk about it. He doesn't need or want to "get it out there". What he needs is quiet, uninterrupted time to work it out in his own mind at his own pace.
He isn't trying to hide anything or be rude. He knows what he needs and he is desperately trying to get it filled so that he can return to you in a better state of mind and emotions.
2. Be Supportive
When you see that your man is upset about something the best thing you can do is give him space without him needing to ask for it. When he has to tell you to leave him alone it hurts him even more because he can see that now there is a problem being created between the two of you that doesn't have to be there in the first place.
You would hate to have to hurt someone you love every time you had to meet a need for yourself, wouldn't you? That is exactly what you are putting your man through when you refuse to leave him to his own devises during a difficult time. As unnatural as that feels to a woman, it is simply the way men are.
- Recognize that he is under stress
- Ask him if he would like to be left alone for a while
- Give him that space if he says "yes"
- Wait for him to come to you. He will return as soon as he has sorted things out.
If you absolutely need to be doing something during this time to show him how much you love him and want to be there for him, here are some things you can do while you are waiting for his "alone time" to get over:
- Make his favorite food for dinner
- Pick out a movie you can watch together
- Complete any unfinished chores or tasks so you will have time to spend when he's ready
- Take a nice bubble bath or shower and get dolled up so you look even better when he emerges from his "alone time"
3. Be Positive
If your hubby has retreated into his favorite "private" location so that he can pull himself out of his funk, the last thing he wants to do is come out when he knows there is going to be an anger-storm waiting for him when he gets out.
Let him know that it is acceptable for him to take this time for himself. Let him know that you completely understand that this is something that he needs. If you must approach him on the issue because it is driving you crazy not knowing, try a statement like this:
"Honey, I can tell that you're having a hard day. When you feel ready, I would really appreciate it if you would share with me what it is that's bothering you."
This is a fantastic statement to use because it shows him that you respect his needs and privacy. It shows him that you trust him to come to you in his own time. He feels understood, appreciated, and loved.
Whatever you do, don't bombard him with questions, demands, or accusations. The more positive you can be during these times, the better.
4. Trust Him
While he is taking time for himself to sort things out, it is a great time for you to do some self-reflection. Why is this bothering you so much?
Are you insecure in the relationship? Why?
Are you insecure about yourself? Why?
If you knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that he loved you with all of his heart, would this still bother you?
The time he takes for himself meets a vital need for him. It allows him to be the man he wants and needs to be for you. Denying him this time is denying yourself of the full potential of his love, compassion, and devotion to you. He can't give 100% if he is never allowed to run at 100%.
Trust that when he is taking his "alone time" that he is not just doing it for himself. He loves you. He wants to be the best he can be for you. By taking a few minutes for himself he is recharging his battery for you, for your relationship, and for the family.
5. Talk to a Girlfriend
You need and deserve to have your needs met too. It isn't just all about him. When things start sliding downhill it sometimes feels like they are reeling out of control.
One of the best things you can do when you feel like your man is pulling away from you is to talk to a girlfriend about it. Discuss everything with her that you need to get out, but haven't been able to talk through with him. Get it out there! Figure it out with the help of a friend so that it isn't bottled up and festering inside of you.
When you take care of your own needs in this way it allows you to be more open, understanding, and forgiving of the time he needs to take for himself. This is a fantastic way to stop the down-slide and start working your way back up to where you want your relationship to be.
Don't worry, it won't be like that forever. You will be able to share things with your sweetheart like you want to. As you allow him time to meet his needs while getting your needs met as well, you will both get to a place where it is easier to address one another.
He will be more willing to fill your need to talk because you have been gracious enough to fill his need for not talking.
6. Live Your Life
Don't sit around pining away over when he will be available for you again. You are a strong, smart, independent woman. You have your own likes, dislikes, hobbies, and friends.
When he sees that you are waiting around for him, he knows he can take all the time he needs. If you get on with your life, by acting as if his absence is no big deal, he will feel compelled to hurry up and get done with his alone time.
He wants your affection, he craves your attention. he needs your approval. By carrying on with your day (because you have better things to do than just wait around), he will notice and he will act.
As irritated as he gets when you try to pry things out of him, he has your complete, undivided attention. He knows he has you. STOP IT.
Go hang out with a girlfriend. Go get your hair done. Go grocery shopping! Anything but sitting around, waiting for him to notice you and open up. If he has to hunt you down to regain your attention odds are he will apologize for being distant as well as tell you what it was that was keeping him from you.
A few years back my hubby and I were really struggling. I didn't know half of what I know now when it comes to the way men and women are different. There was even a point where we split up.
Anyway, after we had been back together for a while he asked me if it would bother me if he had female friends that he talked to and hung out with (because I had male friends and it bothered him).
I said "No, honey, it wouldn't bother me at all because I know that you know what a great woman I am. You're a smart man. Only an idiot would jeopardize losing a woman as awesome as me, and you sir, are no idiot. I trust you because I know you love me and I know you're too smart to do something that stupid."
He liked my answer.