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What to Do When Your Man Pulls Away From You



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.

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 & get dolled up so you look even better when he emerges from his "alone time"

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.

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.

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.

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.

Quick Points:

  • Be Understanding
  • Be Supportive
  • Be Positive
  • Trust Him
  • Talk With a Girlfriend
  • Live Your Life

Personal Anecdote:

A few years back my hubby and I were really struggling. I didn't know 1/2 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 & 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 that answer :)

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


Eva on July 13, 2018:

Thank you for this explanation. It is very hard 4 me not to talk to my man after an argument but it really is like that: if I push it's even worse. Women have to let go. I am still learning...

PMARTIN on September 10, 2014:

I disagree with 2 points: "tell your girlfriend about it". You're married to him , not your girlf. Too many times Ive heard wives sit around telling and laughing at the issues their husbands were dealing with. His problems are not the girlf business. Second-if you "love" someone then you suffer when they suffer. You can't but help it! You developed a mindset to go on and live your life as if their issue isn't a big deal. There is not a woman on this board that would tolerate that if they were going through issues. You were an "independent" woman when you were single..not as a wife.

Mom Kat (author) from USA on January 12, 2014:

spacegiver; I am sorry for that. There are other articles which help identify signs of cheating, and sometimes when a relationship has been pushed too far for too long, things like this can happen. I know, they happened to me as well. That was before I dedicated my time to learning about human psychology, the basic needs, the law of attraction, and the differences between how men and women are wired. Best of luck to you. I hope you find the outcome you are looking for with that.

spacegiver on January 12, 2014:

I gave my husband the space he said he needed and wanted. But it turned out that the space he made me feel guilty, for was in a co-workers bed.

Rose on April 25, 2013:

For the people out there that are in the same position which I was before and now I'm in the next level with the powerful spell of Prophet Abdul. Last week, I was able to contact the prophet via www.prophetofgoddess.com using email spells@prophetofgoddess.com and i told him the problem i am having with my boyfriend and he told me he will be able to give me a solution,but i never believed him until yesterday when my boyfriend came to my house and was begging me to forgive him for his past life and he was promising me that he will never hurt me no matter what i do to him. Am very happy because he has never gave me his attention that was why i was angry with him initially and now he loves me and i love him.

Mom Kat (author) from USA on November 03, 2012:

Thank you Funom Makama

Funom Theophilus Makama from Europe on November 03, 2012:

Nice work.... Definitely voted up and thanks a lot for the share....

Mom Kat (author) from USA on September 28, 2012:

It's super hard bridalletter (in the beginning) because it does go against our nature as women. That's why it's so important to get female support during these times. After a while, you may come to prefer going about it this way because you'll see just how big of a difference it makes.

Thanks for your comment!

Brenda Kyle from Blue Springs, Missouri, USA on September 28, 2012:

Many of the things i learned the hard way. Thank you for the additional explanations, resources and information provided in comments. it is hard for women to expect not to talk about it till he is ready. I have talked to my mom in the meantime, doing that helps me through it too.

Mom Kat (author) from USA on September 27, 2012:

When a man is "in the moment" of being upset, typically he isn't in "the mood" to talk. There isn't anything wrong with asking him if he would like to talk or if he feels like talking, however, if he says "no" or "not right now", the best course of action to take would be to allow him to process the information and them come to you. Wouldn't you agree?

R. Fritz from Houston, TX. on September 27, 2012:

I think it might be a good idea to talk to him and find out what's on his mind. Ask him questions and try to find out how he feels about things and try to find out what's the reason for his behavior.

Mom Kat (author) from USA on September 27, 2012:

Stop ~ you're going to make me cry. I appreciate your words of encouragement & support. What I went through made it possible for me to be able to help others. It gave me empathy, understanding, and strength to lift others up. I'm sure many people have gone through much worse than what I faced. As long as I can make a positive difference in people's lives and the world around me ~ it was all worth it. Thank you so much Globetrekkermel.

Globetrekkermel from CALIFORNIA on September 27, 2012:

Mom Kat, i love reading your profile.very inspiring and it touched me because after all what you have gone through, the scars of life has not left you bitter .Thank you for publishing your profile, it sure lifted my spirits up. Your courage is unsurpassed. If it would have been onother person going through the same predicament,they probably would have given up and continue to become destructive in their lives and dug themselves deeper into the hole.But you didn't. Way to go , Mom Kat. Keep it up ,girl. I'll be cheering for you... !

Mom Kat (author) from USA on September 27, 2012:

Thank you so much! And again, you are so right :) Empathy and compassion go a long way in these situations. I appreciate your supportive comments & added helpful advice.

Globetrekkermel from CALIFORNIA on September 27, 2012:

Voted thumbs up to you. One of the more sensible advice i have read.

Addendum: they will come out of their shell even faster if you foster love and understanding of what they are going through. It works and it never fails.

Mom Kat (author) from USA on September 27, 2012:

You are so right Globetrekkermel. Thanks for your comment :)

Globetrekkermel from CALIFORNIA on September 27, 2012:

Good advice Mom Kat. I think it always works best when you leave your husband ,boyfriend or partner alone when they are not in their best elements. I think that this is one of the better roles we ,as women ,wife,girlfriend or partners have.Hahaha! it is our silent weapon.Allow them to sort out their mind and just be as supportive to them as best as you can. By not interfering in their privacy, you are allowing them to sort out their issues in a sensible way.I don't think ,their quietness or annoyance is directed to you ,and you should not take it personally when they do so. I believe they will appreciate you more when you keep your distance and allow them to settle their own dust without you disturbing their own mental or emotional chaos.

Mom Kat (author) from USA on September 26, 2012:

So true, so true. Women don't want to make love when they are stressed. It has to do with a few things; chemicals being released into the bloodstream & how we're wired. The most effective and calming thing we can do as women when we're stressed is talk about it and "get it out" of our systems.

For men, on the other hand, an entirely different set of chemicals is released during times of stress, as well as how their brains process things. His desire to make love during these times is a result of higher testosterone levels, as well as "making love" for men really does make them feel loved... he is trying to connect and bond with you so that he can get back his feeling of safety and security, rather than the insecurity and uncertainty the stress is causing.

Thanks for your comment :)

Becky Katz from Hereford, AZ on September 26, 2012:

I have been married to the same man for 26 years. He is hard headed and stubborn. Opinionated was defined by him. He likes to talk, just not when it is bothering him. He wants to make love then. Like you said, they are wired differently. I cannot stand trying to make love when I am stressed out by a situation. I need to get it worked out in a different way.

Mom Kat (author) from USA on September 26, 2012:

Thank you TToombso8. I'm afraid all too many of us go about learning things "the hard way".

I appreciate your supportive & kind words!

Terrye Toombs from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map. on September 26, 2012:

Well done, Mom Kat. I have learned a lot of these lessons the hard way, and it's only taken 7 years of marriage to a very hardheaded man. :) Voted up and sharing.

Mom Kat (author) from USA on September 18, 2012:

Everyone is their own unique individual, yes. However, some of the differences in the brain function of men verses women is finite. If you would care for further information on this, there is a fantastic book called "Why Gender Matters" by Dr. Sax, PhD. Within the book he gives scientific studies as well as a multitude of other documented, factual evidence.

Other sources you may like to look into include: the entire collection of "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" wherein Dr. John Grey explains even more specifically the hard-wiring differences between the genders. His later works have even more information which include the difference in hormones and chemicals released into the system during different events such as passion, depression, stress and so on.

While I didn't list any of the scientific documentation in this hub, I have studied this subject in great length. This was just a small portion of the information out there as to how we function and relate differently.

I'm sorry if I have offended you in any way. I just want you to know that this hub isn't just "my opinion". It's based on a multitude of reliable data, professionals, and scientific fact.

I just don't think it's as enjoyable of a read if you are constantly siting all of the sources of information.

Joyette Helen Fabien from Dominica on September 18, 2012:

Useful information, however, I would still suggest that you thread cautiously because every individual is hard wired differently.

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