Have you ever experienced a sudden change in a guy you thought really liked you? You used to flirt every day over coffee but now he’s not making eye contact and never has time to say hi? What’s going on and why has he suddenly changed? Let’s look at why guys go quiet when they like you.
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One of the first signs that a guy is into you is that he pays attention to you. We all pay more attention to the things that are important to us.1 If you matter to him, he’s going to be paying attention to where you are, what you say, and what you do.
Try to notice where he’s looking when you’re in the room. If you feel his eyes on you, he’s paying attention. The same goes for if he listens more closely when you talk or if he notices when someone else makes you feel uncomfortable.
As well as paying attention, we remember things that we think matter. If he cares about you, he’s going to remember things about you. Most people can remember the big things, but if he remembers the little details, he’s probably completely smitten.
For example, he might remember the drink you ordered a few weeks ago. This is because he wants to be able to get you your favorite drink without you needing to ask. He might remember a pair of earrings that really flattered you because he’s been thinking about how great you looked.
When we’re really into someone, we find excuses to spend more time with them, even if we’re trying to pretend that we’re not attracted to them. The more we care about them, the flimsier the excuse we’ll make.
This might mean that he volunteers to help you with boring tasks or decides that he’s going to come to events as soon as you say that you’re attending. He might offer to drive you home even though he lives in the opposite direction. He doesn’t feel like he’s wasting time if it means he gets to be around you.
Another sign that we’re interested in someone sexually or romantically is that we touch them more than we do people we aren’t attracted to.2 This usually isn’t a conscious decision. We just naturally stand closer to them, brush up against them, and feel more comfortable making all kinds of casual touch.
Remember that some people are just more touchy-feely than others, so try to pay attention to how much he touches other people. The bigger the difference between how much he touches you and how he treats other people, the more attracted he is to you.
Another sign that he’s really attracted to you is that he tries really hard to make sure that you feel comfortable and included. He wants to hear what you have to say and he notices if you are being left out.
A guy who cares about you will often work hard to keep you included in group conversations. If he keeps asking for your opinion and making sure that others don’t talk over you, he’s showing that he cares about you deeply. That’s a strong sign that his attraction isn’t just physical.
Another sign that he has deep feelings for you is that you find out that he talks about you positively and compliments you to others. This is a sign that he’s thinking about you when you’re not there and he wants the best for you.
Lots of guys will be complimentary and affectionate when you’re around. The ones who are just as nice (or even nicer) when you’re not around to hear them aren’t just trying to get you into bed. He probably really cares.
One of the first reasons that a guy might act distant when he likes you is that he doesn’t think that you feel the same. Especially if he has strong feelings, it can be easier for him to pull away from you entirely.
He pulls away because he wants to avoid getting his feelings hurt, but he might also be worried that he’s going to make you feel uncomfortable. He cares about you and wants you to be happy, so he avoids you instead.
Another possible reason that a guy might act distant even though he is falling in love with you is that he’s intimidated by you. You might think that there’s no way he would find you intimidating, but you’d be surprised how often men find attractive women scary.3
This is especially likely if he has low self-esteem or confidence. When he thinks that you’re attractive and exciting, he struggles to understand what you might see in him.
It’s also far more common if you have a reputation for being sarcastic, witty, or cutting toward people who are disrespectful or impolite.
That doesn’t mean that having that kind of reputation is a bad thing. It’s not. Being someone who doesn’t suffer fools gladly and has strong boundaries is a good thing, but it does make it slightly more likely for guys to struggle to approach you if they’re not sure that their approach will be welcome.
Another reason that he might go quiet when he really likes you is that he still values your friendship and he doesn’t want his feelings to ruin your close friendship. This is most likely if he doesn’t think that you’re also attracted to him, but he might do it even if he does know that the feeling is mutual.
In either case, he worries that revealing his feelings is going to ruin the friendship between you.
If you’re not into him, he thinks that things will become awkward if you realize that he likes you. If you’re interested as well, he thinks that a romantic relationship between you might break down and you wouldn’t be able to be friends anymore.
This isn’t a good reason to pull away, but it can seem like it to him.
You’ve probably already heard about attachment styles. An avoidant attachment style means that a guy feels uncomfortable with close relationships and will often pull away when he develops strong feelings.4 This is because his early experiences led him to assume that other people won’t be there for him or care about his needs.
If the guy who is into you starts acting cold toward you, it might be because his avoidant attachment style is kicking in and he feels nervous. He’s worried that his feelings toward you are becoming too strong and he feels the need to pull away and shut down his emotions.
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Sometimes he will be able to overcome this if he’s given space and time. Other guys will stay emotionally distant once they feel the need to pull away.
There’s a chance that the guy who’s hugely attracted to you might be going quiet as a deliberate tactic to play hard to get. He really wants you to care about him as much as he cares about you and he’s using this strategy to try to achieve it.
Even though this is a relatively common strategy, I think it’s a pretty awful way to treat someone. A guy who chooses to play hard to get rather than being open and honest about his feelings is unlikely to have the emotional maturity to have a healthy relationship in the long term.
It’s not just strong and intimidating women who might find that a guy goes quiet despite being really into them. There’s every chance that the guy who has suddenly pulled away or gone cold to you has decided that you’re out of his league.
If a guy thinks that you’re too good for him, he might choose to pull away from you rather than risk the rejection that he assumes is inevitable if he is honest about his feelings.
Another reason that a guy who’s completely smitten by you might decide to distance himself from you is that he realizes that he’s not actually ready for a relationship at the moment and he doesn’t want to mess you around or get into anything casual with you.
This is a great sign of his emotional intelligence and character. It takes some pretty impressive willpower to decide to stay away from someone you’d love to date because you know that you’re not in a mental or emotional place to offer them the kind of relationship that you would like to and that you believe they deserve.
It’s also a sign of respect. If he’s that attracted to you (and you’re into him too), he could easily pretend that he does want a relationship. He’d be able to spend time with you and maybe even sleep with you if he was willing to string you along. He’s choosing not to do that. It’s not a high bar, but it is a sign of at least some level of care and respect.
Guys who are shy will often try to avoid showing their true feelings because it makes them feel too vulnerable. They worry about saying or doing the wrong thing. They can be so afraid of making a mistake that they try not to interact with you at all. This is often connected with social anxiety.
One of the reasons that they might show their feelings at first and pull away later is something called rumination. Rumination is where we go over the same thoughts over and over again.5
Rumination is especially common in people with social anxiety and it makes it harder and harder for them to feel relaxed and natural in social settings.
Sometimes a guy will realize that he’s falling for you despite already being in a relationship. This is a really difficult situation for him to find himself in, especially if he’s a good person and wants to do the right thing for both you and his partner.
In this example, him going quiet despite his feelings is his way of trying to avoid temptation and make it easier for him to focus on his relationship.
I’m almost always a strong advocate for being open and honest and talking about your feelings. I usually think that we all do better when everything’s out in the open. One of the few exceptions to that is if a guy clearly likes you but pulls away out of respect for his relationship.
He’s trying to deal with a difficult situation ethically and with integrity. Give him the space he needs. If his main relationship is solid, he’ll be grateful that you didn’t make things harder. If it isn’t, he’ll come to you once he’s single and appreciate the respect you showed him.
Just because we like someone doesn’t mean that we can devote our whole lives to them, especially if we’re not formally dating. Sometimes him going quiet will have absolutely nothing to do with you.
He might be going through a rough time at work, dealing with problems in his family, or focusing on some other goal.
The easy way to find out if this is what’s going on is to ask him about it. You could say “You’re so busy at the moment that I hardly see you. Is there something exciting going on or is it all stressful?”
If he tells you what’s going on, that’s great. Now you understand. If he avoids the question, it’s more likely that he’s not actually busy and that there’s another reason for him acting cold toward you.
Finally, he might just want to make 100% sure of how he feels about you before he makes the first move. He might be thinking about you all of the time and be really excited about the idea of dating you, but he also doesn’t want to mess you about or realize that he’s made a poor decision.
This is a sign that he actually cares about your feelings, rather than just focusing on himself and what he wants. Even though it sounds like he’s not certain, it’s more likely because he’s emotionally mature and considerate.
It’s all very well understanding why men distance themselves when they are falling in love, but what can you actually do about it?
These are the best ways to make it easier for him to open up to you emotionally.
The first, and possibly most obvious, piece of advice is also possibly the most difficult to follow. Try to give him the space and time that he needs to process his feelings and work out what’s going on for himself.
I know that this is incredibly frustrating, especially if you feel like you’re left hanging around, waiting for him to sort himself out. It’s even worse when you’re pretty sure that you know what’s going on and you just want to step in and fix it.
Remember that these are his feelings and he needs to be the one to work through them. Avoid pushing him to open up otherwise you’ll just end up pushing him away.
Giving him space doesn’t mean expecting him to deal with all of this by himself. Make sure that you tell him that you’re there to talk about difficult things if he wants to.
Being there to listen to him doesn’t just mean telling him that you’ll listen, however. Make sure that you show him as well. This means asking him how he’s doing, checking in now and again (not too often. I’ve already mentioned that it’s important not to be pushy) and, most importantly, listening well.
Working on your active listening skills can be one of the most valuable things you can do to help build your relationship with him or with any guy you date in the future. Active listening means really paying attention to what he’s saying, rather than focusing on what you’re going to say next.6
Other active listening skills include paraphrasing what he’s just said back to him to check that you’ve understood properly and asking questions to clarify things that you’re not sure you understand.
He might be blowing hot and cold with his emotions and behavior but that doesn’t mean that you have to. Focusing on being yourself and acting authentically means that you’re starting from a stable base. This makes it easier for you to feel confident that you’re doing the right thing and also allows him to trust you.
Being consistent means that he can predict how you’re going to respond to what he says. If you’re consistently kind, considerate, and thoughtful, he’s going to feel safe talking to you about difficult topics. If your reactions are more erratic, he might be wary of opening up in case he catches you on a bad day.
We become emotionally closer to other people when we start sharing increasingly personal things about ourselves.7 These don’t need to be our deepest secrets from childhood or something traumatic. Just the idea that we’re opening up over time lets other people feel closer to us.
Sharing also prompts other people to open up to use. If you want him to share his feelings rather than distancing himself, talk about your own feelings as well.
As well as talking about yourself and giving him little bits of personal information about yourself, it can be helpful to be really brave and honest with him. This is especially true if he’s acting like he doesn’t care because he thinks that you don’t share his feelings.
Try dropping the fact that you don’t have a boyfriend into the conversation. This takes away his worry that you might already be in a relationship. He might also start to wonder why you made sure to tell him this, which is another sign that you might be interested.
Alternatively, be really brave and be the one to ask him out. There’s a myth that guys should always be the ones to make the first move, but actually, most men are really keen on the idea that a woman might ask them out instead.8
If you’re feeling hurt or upset that he’s gone distant even though you’re sure he likes you, remind yourself that this isn’t really about you at all. This is about his feelings, and mostly about his insecurities.
Try not to let his actions affect your self-confidence or self-esteem.
A guy who likes you will pay more attention to you than he does to anyone else. He might find opportunities to touch you and he’ll remember little things that you say. He might also make excuses to spend more time with you.
A guy who is playing hard to get isn’t behaving authentically. The chances are that he lacks emotional maturity and he’s likely to end up playing other mind games. The positive is that he’s probably really into you. The downside is that he’s probably not a great boyfriend.
There are many reasons that a guy suddenly acts cold toward you. He might be dealing with difficult emotions, struggling with a big task in other aspects of his life, or he’s realized that a relationship between you might not work. Ask him to know for sure.
Having a guy go quiet when he likes you is frustrating, but it’s not always a bad sign. Sometimes he just needs to work through his feelings and build up his confidence before he’s ready to make the next move.
Did you enjoy reading about the reasons that a guy might act cold toward you? Did it help? Let me know in the comments and remember to share this article.
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