Understanding Men in a Long-Distance Relationship

Need help understanding how to tell if a guy likes you long distance? What can you do about a man who is pulling away? Discover how to handle the lag in his attention.

understanding menIs He Pulling Away?

“Dear Ronnie The Love & Dating Coach for Women,

I met this great guy online and we’ve been ‘dating’ long-distance for 7 months. I live in California and he lives in the U.K. 

The moment we started chatting, we hit it off and talk or message every day. We’re very attracted to each other and have already exchanged I love you’s.

I finally met him, and we had a blissful two weeks of bonding together. Of course, we were intimate (6 months of physically longing for each other is a long time!) and the sex was fantastic.

It was difficult to leave him after spending every waking moment together and he even introduced me to his parents, and I spent time with his 3-year-old son.

When He Pulls Away Should I Ignore Him?

Now, being back almost a week, I feel some anxiety. Maybe it’s separation anxiety? We’ve Skyped only a few times this week and he’s had visitors, so I haven’t ‘seen’ him. He messaged me and told me he loves me, but other than that hasn’t initiated contact in a day or so.

Maybe I’m overthinking this, but could it be that he’s pulling away from me? It feels like I have more of a need to see and talk to him than he does for me. It’s not that he’s cold, it’s that he’s become unavailable. When he pulls away, should I ignore him?

I knew going in that a long-distance relationship would be hard. It’s difficult to know what to do or how to act when he isn’t physically here. And maybe I have trouble understanding men?

What Can I Expect in a Long Distance Relationship?

Should I call or message him when he’s not initiating contact? What’s the protocol in a long-distance relationship and what should I expect?

I read with great interest your stand on women ‘pursuing’ men (don’t do it), but I hate to think that he and I haven’t already established an open line of communication by now.

He hasn’t indicated any level of annoyance when I’ve gone overboard trying to reach him, but I don’t want to push him away by appearing desperate or needy. (Even though I feel like I am!)

Understanding Men If He Needs Space

So, I wonder: Is it necessary to give someone ‘space’ when there is already an abundance of geographical space?

Is Skyping every day and chatting while we play an online game together too much?

I am really into this man and am hopeful about a future together.

Please help me with some of your amazing insight,

California Dreamer

An Anxious Attachment Style

Hi Dreamer,

You could be overthinking this and are showing signs of having an Anxious Attachment style according to Dr. Amir Levine’s book Attached.

It’s not a bad thing, but it is important to recognize what triggers your anxiousness. Distance could certainly do it, as well as, declining availability.

Because you’re anxious, you’re looking for a bit more security and assurance that your relationship is still on track.

However, you also admitted it’s only been a day or so since you’ve heard from him. That might be a change, but not necessarily a new pattern, right?

You are feeling insecure and that’s putting you on alert, which might be premature.

You probably need more time to know for sure if he’s pulling away. I will say that keeping up that kind of daily contact is not easy.

Sometimes after actually meeting, the excitement can slow down or even wear off. That certainly has been known to happen and something to know about understanding men.

When He Pulls Away, Give Him Space

understanding menWhile I agree, you’ve been ‘seeing’ each other for seven months, that’s not a true relationship. Skyping and gaming are not the same as a relationship with face-to-face dates.

Yet, even if he lived nearby, I would give the same dating advice which is this: Give him space. You have already seen that pushing is not working, so it’s time to back off.

When he pulls away and you give him space, one of two things will happen:

  1. He’ll come to you as you leave space for him to miss you
  2. You won’t hear from him which is your biggest fear

However, both of these options are BETTER than pursuing him further.

If he is just busy with visitors, you’ll look unappealing and desperate for his attention and that could muck things up for sure.

Give Him Space to Miss You

When it comes to understanding men, know that a relationship is often like a dance, even as years go by.

Sometimes you simply have to give him space to miss you. Otherwise, he can feel cornered and withdraw further which is not the reaction you want.

I could be completely off base, but I have heard this kind of story before. You think you are “dating” for months. It feels real even though there’s a bit of romantic fantasy for both of you. Then you meet and have an amazing time.

It’s fun and incredibly romantic. Sadly, this has nothing to do with building a future together. Nor does it indicate whether or not he is serious about you.

How To Tell If A Guy Likes You Long Distance? Let Go To Know

I encourage you to let go and see what happens. It’s not easy, especially when you are feeling anxious. But you’ll see how he responds.

If he comes back to you, then you know he really cares. If he doesn’t, better to know that he’s no longer interested.

One way or another, you might as well find out rather than waste several more months on a long-distance relationship with a man who doesn’t want what you want – true love.

Understanding men in terms of their interest is a whole lot easier when you simply watch how they treat you and what they do to keep you.

Watch What He Does

understanding menIf a man only has time to text, takes hours to respond, or lets days go by, he’s letting you know that you aren’t that important to him.

The most important thing to use as a measure of a man’s genuine interest is what he does to spend quality time with you. Far more telling than words which are easy and might mean very little.

If he starts talking about your next visit, then he’s planning to be with you again and that is a more positive sign for a future.

But if you don’t want to move there and you aren’t sure if he’d move to you, this long-distance relationship might not be going anywhere.

Dating Advice for the Future

In the future, should this long-distance relationship not work out, look for a man who is local. You will feel less anxious when a man lives nearby and it’s easy to spend time with him.

Figuring out how to tell if a guy likes you long distance can be very difficult, but if you managed to do the right thing, then it will be all worth it.

Long-distance relationships can be so romantic, fun and exciting, but if you want to actually spend time with someone special, the distance makes it nearly impossible.


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237 thoughts on “Understanding Men in a Long-Distance Relationship”

  1. I hope I can get some solid advice. 🙂 My best friend lives 2 hours away. He and I have known each other for many years and have feelings for one another. Never slept with each other, but done other things. I fully admit he’s had a girlfriend this entire time and for most of these years they lived apart. He now lives with her and constantly text me saying how unhappy he is. I have moved on and started seeing someone else but have not told him. I will do it in person if he ever gets a chance to visit me. I love him dearly and know I always will because we have shared some very private things. The trust is huge between us. I notice that I almost have to treat him like a fragile piece of glass as compared to the new man I am seeing. He sends texts complaining and I ask why and he vanishes. I’m just used to that. But, my heart still loves him and wants to help but I also need space in my heart for the new guy. What to do?

    • Hi Corrado, I’m so glad you moved on from hoping your male “best friend” will become something more. You may love him dearly but his continued relationship with you while he lives with another woman is actually considered “emotional cheating”. Getting his emotional needs met or supplemented by you (or others) is NOT OK for him. When you think about it, you probably wouldn’t like it if your boyfriend did that to you. This guy complains to get attention and feed his ego. I don’t believe for one minute he’s that unhappy. He says this to get women to feel bad and comfort him. My evidence? He disappears when you ask questions!

      I’m sorry to be hard on him, but he’s not a fragile piece of glass. Instead he’s quite manipulative. I’m also glad to know you don’t treat your current man this way – excellent! Yes, focus on your new guy and my hope is you’ll let go of this “best friend” who really has nothing to offer you because he’s not available. I’ve seen so much of this male best friend manipulation that I wrote this post on YourTango to help women wake up to this difficult trend.

  2. I met a great guy using Bumble, and found out he works a lot and lives miles away. Manageable mind you, because he gladly drove to me to meet me for dates. I would always have to initiate us getting together, but once we were together he was great! Laughing, sharing things, and him telling me about his son. He works and sees his son basically. I liked that he was comfortable sharing things with me so soon, and I was never nervous around him. He wasn’t “all over me”. Such a gentlemen and I appreciated that. I could tell his schedule stressed him out and he wanted to see me more, but he literally couldn’t. He finally texted me and was very upset worried I was upset with him ending things. I was thankful he didn’t ghost me. The distance was too much but shockingly he still texts randomly. He flirts and says he thinks of me often. He even mentioned how he still plans on showing me how to buff a car and change a tire. No set time and I don’t badger him because he is busy. I think he still likes me and maybe he will pop up again and honestly I wouldn’t mind seeing him every now and again. He’s wonderful. But do I text him more or let him always start the chat? I don’t want to crush this.

    • Hi Birgitta, If you are looking for love, this man is NOT the one. Thankfully he was HONEST he can’t be in a relationship. He may have many good qualities, but he’s not emotionally or geographically available, never mind having no time for love. This is the kind of stuff that should disqualify a man for you. It doesn’t matter what a gent he was or how honest he is – he’s not available and that is your signal to move on. In addition, he never initiated – that’s big red flag. You want to date a man who initiates, has time and wants to spend it getting to know you. Look for a new man – he’s not the one!

      One word of caution – many men will share intimate details because they know this draws a woman closer. It helps you trust them and that’s the reason it’s a seduction technique. What a man says doesn’t indicate his true feelings for you – its all about what he DOES to see you and spend time together, get to know you and win you over. Don’t fall for this kind of thing thinking, like many women do, that if he told you such things he MUST like you. He might like you, but that doesn’t mean he wants lasting love or a relationship. Just keep that in mind. I’ve been doing this for 18 years so I’ve seen it all and this is a prevalent story told by loads of women.

  3. I am hoping you can help me. I met an incredible guy and had a few dates. He lives an hour away but works nights and 70 hours a week. He has a daughter he sees on the weekends when not working. I told him I understood time was limited and with distance we may not see each other as much. Texting was working well until one day he said very nicely he couldn’t do a relationship because of the factors I mentioned. Me being calm, I didn’t freak out. We agreed to keep in touch and that he’d like to see me for dinner once in awhile. After, his texts started to dry up and he ghosted. I texted him Thanksgiving wishing him and his daughter well. No response. The day before New Years, he texted to be careful driving. I waited 2 hours before replying and then it was like no time had passed. He was flirting like crazy and said he has missed me. I admitted I missed him too. I asked if he had plans for New Years hoping he would ask me or hint and he said he had nothing set. I said the same. Then he had to get to sleep. I told him not to be a stranger and to keep in touch. Not a word from him. Did I mess this up? Should I text him? Was he just seeing if I was still available and into him??? I so badly want to text him but my friend says it will be needy and I should wait for him again….

    • Hi Sandy, First you did NOTHING wrong or mess anything up. Second, your friend is partially right – texting him looks needy. Third, I’m sorry to say there’s no reason to WAIT for him. He was honest and told you he can’t do a relationship. When a man says anything to push you away ALWAYS BELIEVE HIM. That’s when men are most honest. It doesn’t mean he didn’t like you or doesn’t think of you. But he is in no position given his life to date you. So, waiting for him keeps you single and your life on hold. This is just how it is and it will not change and recognizing the truth of this will keep you from wasting any more precious time on him. If you want love, please go meet some new men. Look locally and forget the men who work 70 hours a week – that’s not enough time for love and your patience will run out. You want a man who is relationship ready and living a more balanced life for the relationship to work.

  4. My long distance guy has been chatting with me through messages and video calls every day for nearly 2 years. It was so amazing. We’re 6 hours time difference. Before our plans to meet, we were both so excited to see each other, including the day before. During the meeting, the first day was still fine. However from the second till the last day of this trip, I felt a difference, he became not so passionate on kissing or other intimacy. When I asked why, he explains because he’s homesick. Overall he’s a very nice person, that he usually ask what I wanna eat or where I want to go, sometimes I will just choose for what he likes, as I already know his preference. he started to not smile show so much. May I became his 2nd option with so many other women here. Hope I’m wrong. As the excitement from him wasn’t there from second day. My feelings for him didn’t change. And now, since the meeting. Messages became fewer and he didn’t initiate as compared to before the meeting. So I’m confused whether I should always be the one to “break the silence” all the time to message him. Or it’s just simply that his interest faded?

    • Hi Fireflies, Yes sadly, his interested faded. Who knows why? Maybe he didn’t like you ordering for him. Or the visit was too long. Or things didn’t go like he planned. The fact that he became less affectionate is not good and now you are always initiating the conversation. These are strong signs he’s no longer into you. The best thing you can do is let him go and stop communicating. Long distance seems exciting, but when it comes to being together face-to-face, most often it doesn’t work out. You just gave him two years of y our life! Even if he was wild about you – when could he visit again? If you are serious about finding a life partner, look for love locally.

  5. Hi, I’m in a LDR with a guy in Germany and I’m in the Philippines. We have good communication, talk about the future and marriage (initiated by him) and had plans to meet next year. Our last video chat(Thursday) was ok. Hours later he didn’t reply to my whataspp. I didn’t worry because he can only reply during breaks at work. Friday woke up to no morning messages. I thought he must have rushed to work but the whole day I sent messages but no response. Now it’s Tuesday! He comes online to reads my messages. I asked what’s going on, if I had done something and apologised in advance. I asked if he’s going through something coz I’m concerned and miss him. No response. He has not blocked me but I don’t know what else to do. I’m an over thinker and I usually expect the worst and now I need advice.

    • Hi Jayvee, When a man does this, he’s pulling away and no longer interested. or he WOULD RESPOND. Maybe he feels bad stiffing you like his so he reads your messages. But no response for so long – there’s NO excuse. Maybe he found a local woman? 99.9% of the time, these long distance things are just pen pals and nothing more. They end like this and the woman who has invested her heart and soul with hopes of lasting love is heart broken. I’m sure you read all the comments from other women who’ve been through this – LDR doesn’t work. I hope you won’t do this to yourself again and look for love where you live.

  6. Oh this is so cut and dry. Men get all excited about the conquest. They get a hard on thinking what will be. Sometimes they are worse than women with fantasies. The mistake you made was sleeping with him. 6 months of screen time is a waste. It’s not a real relationship. He’s invested nothing in you. He hasn’t earned the cookie. Some phone calls and lip service don’t equate to earning the cookie. He got what he wanted. He nailed his long distance infatuation. He’s over it. Game over. Your not going to hear from him again. Next time don’t sleep with him. This does 2 things- 1) Makes him work for it which if men don’t have to work for something they won’t value it and 2) It will show you what his real intentions are. If he likes you he’ll keep working for it until you say yes. Trust me, I’m on the dating scene for 15 years I’ve been through thousands of these men. He isn’t calling back. I think you made a mistake and hope you won’t make it again. This is why I don’t think anyone should engage in a fantasy relationship.

    • Hi Amy – I appreciate your perspective and agree! My advice is also not to get involved in these virtual, Facetime/video chat or texting relationships because they really are pure fantasy relationships. Nothing but heartbreak and time wasting there.

  7. Dear Ronnie, Grateful feedback on your advice and thank you so much. I took onboard what you wrote me, March 19th. I didn’t get there immediately. Have ‘the talk’ you advised. This was to talk to my boyfriend on distance and the potential of closing or reducing that to go forward. First I acknowledged my own needs and wants. From there the talk happened. I learn that his needs/wants were served well by the distance. Perfect to keep the relationship in a small compartment. Realisation came we did not share the same goals. It wasn’t easy but we parted ways. As time has moved along, I have since met a much more relationship ready man and more local. Everything I wanted for a better relationship is there and shared. Lesson learned – don’t do long distance without an end in sight and common goals. Don’t settle!

    • Good for you daydreamer. Getting clear about your relationship and asking did get you where you wanted to go. Enjoy!

  8. I’ve been in a ldr for over a year, but we’re both attached, albeit in awful relationships. It’s tough because I’m sure he wants to be with me as much as I do him but there’s so much at stake so. Things were quite full on at the start but recently I feel I’m putting in all the effort and taking the risks, gradually things have become a lot quieter. It’s hard to know if pulling away or just dealing with issue, I’ve stopped initiating contact for now but am meant to be seeing him soon so if I don’t hear I may have to do so. I just wonder if I’m wasting my time or if I should put cards on the table and ask him to be honest?

    • Hi Jane, I would think you are looking outside your relationship for some kind of greater fulfillment. So if he’s pulling away – how is that showing you love? Why is that worth any risk? Good for you for deciding to stop initiating – that’s the smartest move. Granted I don’t know your circumstances, but I do know everything in life is energetically connected. So, if you want another loving relationship, it would really help to make a decision about your primary relationship first.

  9. Hello, I am in a LDR which was great for the first 4 months. He lives in Scotland and I am in South Africa. We where serious about each other, he said he wanted to marry me and we were making plans. Then he changed and said we should not flirt as it is sinful. We have not had sex, so to avoid affection and flirting left me feeling confused. The constant communication between us continues but he does not speak of the future in a positive manner. He accuses me of being a typical woman and shuts me down when I try to explain my point of view. I can not handle his accusations, when I point it out, he say’s I am so sensitive. I think it is best to end this relationship, feeling like I am walking on egg shell’s. If this is what it is like 10000km away, how will life be with this man. I am so done with the long distant relationship thing, I won’t be doing this anytime soon again.

    • Hi Meadow – This man offers you nothing but constant and unloving communication, blaming you for things you aren’t doing. Why stay? Flirting is not sinful! I completely agree with you – you can’t walk on eggshells constantly in a relationship and it would be 1000 times worse in person. You’ve never even met him so he’s not really your boy friend. Stop all communication and look locally for love if you want to find a compatible partner.

  10. Hi Ronnie:

    So I met this Spanish guy in March,2019 in my country Jamaica, he was here for work and we dated for five wonderful months. He was scheduled to go back to Panama in July,and come back to Jamaica. He still has not come back and has been working remotely as he has been waiting on work visa At first we spoke often but now My problem is I always have to contact him and sometimes he would not call me back I kow he has been stressed about work. I sent him a voice note about it and the communication and then he suddenly he deleted his whatsapp, now his foreign number is disconnected. I askled his foreign friend to check on him, friend says he is fine he will be back in Ja soon, why can friend reach him but not me? What has caused the 180? What was wrong about me saying he should call me back. Should I even entertain him if he reaches out when back in JAmaica, he has gone MIA.

    • Hi Deanna – It’s time to wake up girlfriend! He’s no longer interested! He deleted Whatsapp and disconnected his number but his friend can reach him – he probably had another woman who found out he was cheating with you. If he wanted to be with you – he knows how to find you. You didn’t nothing wrong except fall for the wrong guy. Let it go and look for a local man.

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