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What Happens to a Man When a Woman Pulls Away? 27 Possibilities

April 8, 2024

You might be wondering what happens to a man when a woman pulls away. Well, there are a myriad of possibilities and it generally boils down to his personality and the type of relationship he was in. 

If he was head over heels for a woman and she suddenly ghosts him, the emotional impact is likely to have far-reaching consequences, as opposed to a casual hookup where his feelings weren’t entangled, for example.

Stereotypically speaking, women have a rep for being overly sensitive and emotional, while men are accused of not being emotional enough. However, this isn’t necessarily true. 

For decades men have been told to ‘be strong’ and hide their feelings. As a result, there are many men who come across as insensitive to the external world, while internally they may be feeling quite the opposite. 

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What’s the Status Quo on Dealing with Breakups?

Given enough time and the right support system, women are slowly able to heal and move on from past relationships. Men unfortunately don’t always have the same support system because of the factors mentioned earlier. Occasionally, this results in them holding onto the pain of a breakup long after the woman has moved on. 

Some men mend their broken hearts and bruised egos by hitting the gym or seeking out therapy, while others become serial daters or all-night-partiers. Some, on the other hand, may really be as unbothered as they make out to be.

Below we will look at some of the reasons women pull away, as well as 27 things that can happen to a man emotionally when a woman pulls away. 

What Causes a Woman to Pull Away? 

There are numerous reasons why a woman might pull away from a relationship. Understanding why she’s pulling away is key to fixing the issue and moving forward. Even if she’s moved on, understanding the below-mentioned factors might give you closure and help you in your future relationships.

1. Heightened relationship awareness 

heightened relationship awareness

Women are known to have an uncanny sixth sense. Perhaps, she’s aware of something you’re not aware of, or, perhaps, her gut feeling is telling her something’s not quite right. 

This heightened sensitivity can be both a blessing and a curse. While her gut feeling is likely to be accurate, she’s also likely to be more sensitive to issues like a lack of communication, a lack of affection, or a lack of support. These issues are also likely to impact her more emotionally and could cause her to pull away. 

2. They may feel like they’re being held back by the relationship 

If a woman feels like she’s being held back in any aspect of her life because of her relationship, this is likely to cause her to pull away. With women making strides in the corporate world in today’s society, she might feel a romantic relationship takes up too much of her time and energy that she’d rather invest in her professional life. 

Relationships that hold women back emotionally or spiritually are likely to cause them to pull away too. 

If you’re serious about someone, make sure you understand their personal, spiritual, and financial goals and support and encourage their growth in these areas.

3. Unacceptable behavior from her partner

If you’ve done something she deems unacceptable, don’t be surprised if she pulls away. Communication in this instance is essential. You need to understand what you did that she didn’t appreciate, how to rectify it, and how to avoid it in the future. If you repeat the same mistake time and time again, things are likely to get even worse. 

Women of today are more independent than ever and therefore expect more from their partners. If you behave poorly, she’s likely to move on and find someone who treats her better. 

4. She has feelings for someone else

There is a chance that she’s distancing herself because she’s developed feelings for someone else. As difficult as this might be to accept, there’s unfortunately not much you can do about it. 

If you have an inkling that this is the case, I suggest you do one of two things: you can either confront her about it, or you can distance yourself too and see what she does. If she does indeed have feelings for someone else, she’s likely to move on when you give her the space to do so. 

5. She feels unappreciated

Make sure you make your partner feel loved and appreciated. Compliment her on the things she does well, or the way she looks, and thank her for the small things she does for you on a daily basis. 

Everyone needs to feel appreciated, needed, and desired for any sort of relationship to function happily and harmoniously. 

A great way to show your love and appreciation is to learn about her love language and use that as a tool to guide you. 

6. Previous relationship issues

Problematic relationships or relationship traumas from her past could have a massive impact on your current relationship if she hasn’t worked through things. She might develop feelings for you but keep herself at a distance as a form of her own emotional protection

Issues in past relationships, like infidelity, are likely to cause trust issues. Trust issues might surface time and time again if they’re not dealt with and are one of the reasons women may become withdrawn. 

If trust is an issue, be sensitive about the number of women you interact with and the way you interact with them. Flirting with other girls, or giving them too much attention on social media or in real life is sure to cause further withdrawal.

7. She has other priorities

Work, school, and motherhood are some of the top priorities in the modern woman’s world. If she’s inundated with other responsibilities, your relationship might not be her top priority right now. However, it doesn’t mean things will be like this forever. If the load of her responsibilities shifts, your relationship might take the spotlight.

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8. Boredom

If she’s losing interest, boredom could be to blame. Combat boredom and spice up your relationship by planning unexpected date nights, booking a weekend away for the two of you, picking her some flowers, or initiating sex

9. The man is emotionally closed up

the man is emotionally closed up

If you’ve been in a serious relationship for some time and you remain emotionally closed off/withdrawn, she may begin pulling away. 

Being emotionally closed off may cause her to feel distant or disconnected from you, frustrated with the situation, or like her needs aren’t being met. Giving your all to someone who gives nothing back is exhausting and you’re likely to feel her pulling away as a result. 

10. She may not see a future with her partner

For one reason or another, she may not see a future with you. The older she is, the more quickly she’s likely to back away from a situation like this. If you’ve just started dating, she might slowly let things fade. Unfortunately, ghosting is common early on in these sorts of scenarios. 

11. She developed feelings too quickly 

She might realize that she’s developed feelings too quickly or has come on too strong, leaving her feeling vulnerable. 

More often than not, if she’s feeling vulnerable it will cause her to pull away. Or, perhaps she’s developed feelings in a situation where she just wanted something casual. This, too, might cause her to retrace her tracks and pull back. 

12. She might feel like you’re too clingy

An emotionally mature woman wants someone who can match her maturity. She might not want a man who needs constant reassurance. If you feel her pulling away, do not smother her or become needier

This is a sure way to chase her further away. Instead, give her the space she seeks and you’re more likely to find a happy medium. 

13. She’s feeling objectified 

If, after a while, she still feels you’re only interested in her when you want sex, she’s likely to pull away and withdraw herself. Make sure you appreciate everything she has to offer, not just her body and the sex the two of you have. 

14. Mismatched values

If your core values (things like views on religion, marriage, children, and lifestyle) don’t align, she might foresee future problems and begin pulling away sooner rather than later. If a relationship ends due to mismatched values, it might be a blessing in disguise for both of you and your future. 

15. She may sense his hesitance toward commitment

If you’re in a serious relationship but she senses you’re hesitant towards a formal commitment of sorts, she may put her guard up and begin pulling away to protect herself from emotional hurt. 

Most women seek commitment from their loved ones. So, if you’re serious about her, make a commitment before it’s too late.

16. She’s unsure of her own feelings

The thought of marriage or things becoming more serious might cause her to second-guess her feelings. This isn’t uncommon. Give her the space she needs to wrap her head around everything. You’ll know she’s serious about you if she comes back. 

17. FOMO

Half her heart wants a serious relationship, the other half wants to still explore the other options available to her out there. She likes you, but not enough. If this is the case, you might feel like she’s committed one minute but pulling away the next.

18. She’s scared

Perhaps she’s scared of falling in love and being hurt or rejected. Or, she’s afraid of commitment or committing to the wrong person. Love is scary and complex. If this is the case, try and understand her fears. Talking to a professional relationship coach might help her navigate and overcome her fears. 

27 Things That Happen to a Man When a Woman Pulls Away

27 things that happen to a man when a woman pulls away

1. His confidence may take a dive

When a woman pulls away from a man he’s likely to see it as a form of rejection and rejection is never easy, no matter what form it comes in. Because he’s feeling rejected, his confidence and self-esteem may take a knock. This is especially true if he has deep feelings for her. He may begin questioning himself/his self-worth and where things went wrong. 

Issues from past relationships, childhood traumas, and poor mental health can all contribute to the above. 

Regardless of whether or not men feel rejected when women pull away, their well-being is not women’s responsibility. 

2. He might want you more

It might sound cliche, but it’s true, people generally want what they can’t have. And a lot of men enjoy the thrill of the chase. So, don’t be surprised if he’s suddenly trying harder than ever to win you over just as you began pulling away. 

3. He might lose interest 

If a girl pulls away and the guy wasn’t emotionally invested enough, he might lose interest. Some of the other reasons he might lose interest when a woman pulls away are: 

  • He feels she’s playing games
  • He’s a player in general 
  • He’s met someone else
  • He has other priorities to see to

4. He might withdraw

If a woman begins pulling away from a relationship, a man might match this head-on and become withdrawn himself. He may do this in an effort to protect himself emotionally, or he might be hoping she comes running back when she senses he’s pulling away. 

5. He is likely to try even harder

In a desperate effort to win her back, if a man feels his partner pulling away, he might pull out all the stops. Unfortunately, many women might find his desperate efforts pretty annoying and cause them to completely withdraw. 

6. He’ll be honest about what he thinks of your behavior 

If he thinks you’re playing games or giving him the cold shoulder as an emotionally manipulative tactic, he might tell you exactly what he thinks. He might even begin to see you/your behavior (pulling away) as emotionally immature

Don’t be surprised if you pull away and he says exactly how he feels in response.

7. He might not even notice

This one might hurt. If you begin pulling away as a way to get his attention and he barely notices, it might cause you to wonder how much he cares about you and wants you in his life. 

On the other hand, he might barely notice because he’s caught up in other things at the moment. Regardless, there are other, healthier ways to get his attention. And, at the end of the day, if he isn’t giving you the attention you deserve, perhaps it’s time to walk away. 

8. He might look elsewhere

In the age of social media and dating apps, it’s easy to hop from person to person. If a woman pulls away from a man and he feels rejected, he might use social media or dating apps as platforms to boost his confidence again. 

Social media is also a great reminder that there are “plenty of fish in the sea.” This realization may cause him to fill a void by looking elsewhere if his woman pulls away.

9. He might pressure the woman to make a clear decision 

he might pressure the woman to make a clear decision

A woman who pulls away might cause a man to feel unsure and uneasy about where he stands with her, their relationship status, and their future together. If he really likes the woman, he might pressure her into making a clear decision about what she wants, so that he knows where he stands. 

While expecting a clear answer from someone is fair, sometimes these answers only come with time. Pressuring a woman into making a decision may result in her running a mile, or even result in her making the wrong decision. Instead, give her the time and personal space she needs to make a clear and insightful choice. 

10. His defenses could go up

If you’re wondering what happens to a man when a woman pulls away, one of the most likely things to occur is that his defenses will go up. 

When we feel vulnerable, we put up defenses to protect ourselves, which could result in withdrawal/pulling away. However, when some people raise their defenses they might be very difficult to bring down again. 

11. It might annoy him 

Pulling away causes a man to feel rejected and his ego may be bruised. As a result, he might express his emotions in the form of anger or annoyance. These two emotions are often a mask for sadness. He might also become annoyed if he feels you are stringing him along or simply playing games. 

12. He’ll know where your boundaries lie 

Sometimes, a woman pulls away for very valid reasons. She may feel her needs aren’t being met, she isn’t treated with respect, or the man’s flaky and unreliable. 

Whatever the reason, her pulling away might be her way of setting boundaries and letting him know they’ve been overstepped. This sends a clear message of what she will and won’t accept. Hopefully, it teaches him where her boundaries are so that he doesn’t repeat the same behavior in the future. 

13. He might feel unsure about his next steps

A man might be confused about what to do next when a woman pulls away. Should he continue pursuing her? Should he back off? Should he move on with his life? These are just some of the questions that might be running through his mind. 

14. He might assume you’re uninterested in him

A woman pulling away is usually seen as a form of rejection and it’s no wonder he’s likely to assume she’s uninterested. If a woman leaves his messages on read, stops asking about his day, and becomes flaky with plans, most men will see it as a sign that she’s not interested in taking things further. 

15. He may over-analyze his own behavior

If the woman he likes starts pulling away, he’s likely to begin retracing his steps and analyze what he did, and said, and where things might have gone wrong. 

If he’s emotionally mature, and you want him to think about what he did, then pulling away slightly might work in your favor. He may just realize what went wrong and try harder next time. 

16. He might be overly apologetic for no real reason

When the woman he likes begins pulling away he may feel panicky. This could cause him to start apologizing for everything, even things that don’t require an apology. 

17. He might spend time looking for answers

If he really likes the woman pulling away, he might pull out all stops to find answers. He might go as far as messaging her friends for answers and specific advice.

18. His future romances may suffer

his future romances may suffer

Men whose egos are easily bruised or who don’t have much confidence to begin with may need to deal with a host of negative emotions. Thoughts like, “I’m not good enough” may plague his mind. As a result, his future romantic endeavors may suffer. 

Seeking help from highly trained relationship coaches may help him work things through. Relationship Hero is an excellent starting point for tailor-made advice.

19. In an effort to win her over, he might pour out his feelings for her

Beware, this might cause the woman to run away. In an effort to try and win her over before it’s too late, a man might pour out his heart to her. Some women may reconsider staying with him once they hear just how serious he is, while others might be frightened. 

20. He could just view it as a bump in the road

He may view her pulling away as a bump in the road or a tough patch in the relationship. And, perhaps it’s exactly that. On the other hand, his hoping it’s just a bump in the road could be a form of denial of what’s really happening.

21. He might become business-like in his interactions with her

He might establish a formal, business-like tone with her as a way of giving her the cold shoulder. His business-like way of interacting with her might also be due to his defenses having gone up and him distancing himself.

22. He might seek revenge

Some people believe revenge is sweet. If he is one of these, stay far away! When a woman pulls away from a revengeful man, he may become bitter. If this happens he may begin spreading rumors about her, abusing her verbally or emotionally, or become unnecessarily nasty. 

23. He could become passive-aggressive 

If he becomes passive-aggressive you may find him passing snide remarks. If he behaves like this, you probably made the right choice pulling away. 

Some other examples of passive-aggressive behavior are:

  • The silent treatment
  • Backhanded comments
  • Sarcasm 
  • Sulking

24. It might awaken his Hero Instinct

The Hero Instinct, coined by James Bauer, a psychologist, professional relationship coach, and author, is a man’s inborn desire to feel needed by his loved ones, to protect and provide for them. If a girl pulls away from a man, his Hero Instinct may suddenly kick in and he may become more committed than ever before. 

25. He might start to dislike her 

Hate/strong dislike might be what some men resort to when they feel they’ve been mistreated. Unfortunately, this is a sure way to burn all bridges and leave a poor impression on others. It’s also likely that a man this bitter won’t give a woman who pulls away any second chances.

26. He could learn to slow things down with her

he could learn to slow things down with her

If things are moving at lightning speed, a woman may feel the need to break free by pulling away. When a woman pulls away, the man might realize he’s come on too strong and too quickly

If he really likes the woman, this realization might cause him to step on the brakes and slow things down. This will give you the upper hand and allow you to set the speed at which you’d like to take things moving forward. 

27. He’ll communicate his observations 

If he’s emotionally mature, he will communicate what he’s observed is happening, try to understand your point of view, and then set boundaries. These boundaries will give you an understanding of how he expects to be treated in a relationship and how the relationship should function moving forward. 


Do girls pull away from guys they like?

In short, yes. There are many reasons why girls might pull away from guys and it’s not necessarily because they don’t like them. Some of the reasons girls might pull away include having other priorities, fear of commitment, and unmet needs.

What should you do if she’s pulling away?

In my personal experience, communication is critical. Talk to her about what you’ve observed and get an understanding of her reasons. Once you’ve gotten to the bottom of why she’s been pulling away you can move on, together or apart.

What are some of the signs that she’s pulling away?

She stops initiating contact, she seems uninterested in you and in sex, she may seem emotionally unavailable, she may display passive-aggressive behavior, she frequently cancels plans, you may feel disconnected from her.


If you were curious about what happens to a man when a woman pulls away, we hope this article gave you a better understanding. When someone pulls away from a romantic relationship, it can be a tough pill to swallow and you may be faced with a host of painful, negative emotions.

A professional relationship coach will be able to help you navigate these difficult love situations. 

If you enjoyed the article or think someone may benefit from reading it, please give it a share!

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