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. Hi, l started to chat a guy and met him a couple of times. We liked each other and connect everyday. But we didn’t bring up any future plans. Once he told me that he was worried about us and he feels lonely sometimes. It’s been one year maybe more.. l don’t know if it’s a good time to open these topics during the pandemic but l am worried too. l need a secure commitment which we didn’t talk about. He sometimes disappears half of the day then comes back to me but l am also busy sometimes and turn back late – not as much as him. l would like to go on but l need feedback if he is happy with me. l don’t know what to do!!

    • Hi Cherry, Long distance is hard and after a year if you don’t know where you stand, you are not in a strong relationship. The pandemic as nothing to do with your situation except for preventing travel. Connecting every day is nice and disappearing for half a day is not a problem. Chatting all day is not necessary for a healthy relationship.

      I know you want to feel secure and want feedback from him – but how will that change anything? He’s still far away! You’ve only seen him a couple of times. Will you move there? Will he move to you? Doesn’t seem likely from what you say – there’s no commitment and you haven’t even discussed it. I’d say he’s not that into you so this will not grow.

      In the future, look for love locally and don’t waste time with these long distance situations. Feel free to ask for exclusivity before you become intimate or by week 8 (if you see the guy at least once a week – hopefully more often by 8 weeks). You can discuss long term plans after 6 months. These are just guidelines and things vary a bit by couple and age. Women always hope men will bring these things up, but if they don’t, you must do it or you could waste years of your life hoping.

  2. I have been in a relationship for 5 months now. We started off long distance. Texing, video calls, and voice calls every day. I even had pre plans to go to his country prior our relationship. We spent a fair amount of time together and both mentioned we had a great time. I was planning to stay longer, but it made sense to go home and visit again once things clear up. We discussed plans afterwards in being long-distance. Since I have been back, he has been distant. He will message me, but it will take him a couple days to get to me. I have called him a couple times and he has not picked up. I have asked if there is a good time to phone him too, but he hasn’t responded. Few days ago he did send me a text explaining why he has been distant. The reason because of long distance. I replied to his message that this is not easy and if he wanted to chat on the phone. I am awaiting his response, but he sent a random message, but nothing related to the issue. I do not know what is going through his head. Do I wait for him at this point? I have been getting anxious since he’s been distant since he has not been clear.

    • Hi S, What is going on in his mind? He actually told you and has certainly been showing you that he doesn’t want a long distance relationship. Men like romance too, so meeting you online was great and having you visit was romantically fun and an ego boost. But that doesn’t mean he wants a relationship and sadly never did. This is surprisingly common and one of the reasons I recommend not even getting started. So, I’m sorry to say it’s time to let go. Stop contacting him – its a waste of your time You had fun too right? Chalk it up to a life lesson and then look for a local guy. There are plenty of men in your own county who live within an hour. Forget the guys who live farther way – it just makes dating hard.

  3. Hi, I am in a long distance relationship with a man for almost 7years now. We Text daily since then. He never vidéo calls me. Hardly phones me. He always makes excuses why he can’t. I’ve been sending him money most of these years I’ve known him. I’ve fallen so hard for this guy and would basically do anything for him yet I don’t get the same back from him. He lives in Texas ?? and I live in South Africa. Please give me some advise on what I should do. Am I wasting my life waiting for someone that might never want to meet with me.

    • Hi Helga, I say this with great compassion … YES you are not only wasting time and love, but also your hard earned money. Please listen to your own inner wisdom because you already know this is true and STOP today. Cut him off. He is a man of no integrity who offers you nothing but texts – a scammer. Is this how a man who truly loves you behaves? NO! A man who loves you doesn’t ask for cash! Block him today. You don’t have his heart even though you’ve freely given him yours. Take time to heal and forgive yourself for wanting love this much that you gave TOO MUCH to a man who is unworthy. I encourage you to read the book Women Who Love Too Much because it will open your eyes to what is happening and help you get clear so this doesn’t happen again.

  4. Hi,
    I’m in a long distanced relationship for 7 months, we meet and enjoy being together. But after meeting up, i just observed him that his always busy taking care of his son and busy at work unlike before that eventhough no matter how busy he is, he still have time for me to talk. And is it okay to give him a space, since the day that i tell him that he need to face his fears to have a happy life, he stop replying to my message. ( he is scared to tell to the mother of his son that he is dating someone)

    • Hi Rica, I am definitely not a mind reader LOL! So I don’t know if he has fear about his child’s mother. But I can tell you when a man’s behavior changes like your guy did, he has likely lost interest. When you challenged him about his fear it’s helpful to know men are not big fans of confrontation, especially about their own personal development. So yes, you can give him space, just know that might not work at this point.

  5. Hi…
    I am in a long distance relationship with this guy for over three months now but we have known each other for 14 years. He is in canada while I am in Kenya. He visited last Xmas and all was well. Even when he went back he made sure we communicate every other day, he started getting busy but in between he would check on me ,we have already discussed about the future and I am planning to relocate there but last weekend I texted him but he seemed occupied so on Sunday When we were texting I asked if we can video call (which we usually do) he just read my text and went quiet and his WhatsApp account got shut or deleted. I am now confused and i don’t know why he would do that. I don’t nag him and I don’t demand for his attention. I do see him online though because we do share some accounts together he is just not talking to me for the last 3 days.

    • Hi Dee, I know this isn’t what you want to hear, but it’s not about you. You did nothing wrong. But he has changed his mind and withdrawn. This is the trouble with long distance relationships. It’s so easy to walk away. While it’s only been 3 days – a man with integrity who loves you would never behave this way. And as a woman of value, I hope you would never put up with it. So if he does reach out, you can see what he says, but I’d think twice because he could easily do this again. I’m sorry this has happened to you. If you want to move to Canada – do it for yourself, not him.

  6. I am so confused! I have been dating my long distance boyfriend for 1 year, we have spend in total several months traveling around together. We plan to make a solid future together in his home country which I’m going to visit in 2 months and we already have tickets for our next several meetings and Christmas too. But I’m getting a lot less attention now. I don’t want to be that girl that needs attention all the time. I just feel like I’m investing more into conversation and we message less in a day and talk on the phone not very much. He owns his own business and works 6 days a week. Now with the health epidemic things are getting hard for all businesses around the world. I guess I came here for reassurance. I love him very much so my last voice message I let him know if he is not doing well or is stressed or upset, he can talk to me and that I can be a good listener. Maybe it’s a pride thing that he doesn’t want me to know about his issues and it could be a culture difference too. Any advice I would really appreciate!

    • Hi T, I know this is hard, but being busy is NOT an excuse for his lack of communication. That is a choice he is making. So maybe he is stressed or worried, but a man who wants to keep a healthy solid relationship communicates with his partner. Sadly, he is not doing that. If you’ve been seeing him for a year I would think he would KNOW you are good listener. You cannot be the one doing all the work in this relationship – that is one sided and not healthy.

      Many women keep after a guy for attention, but you already sense this is not a good thing. And it does make a man pull away more. The smartest thing you can do is stop reaching out or messaging him completely. I know this seems counter-intuitive and it is. However, if he truly loves you and wants a life together he will reach out to find out why you pulled away. And if he’s lost interest, he’ll do nothing and then you’ll know for sure that its over. It might feel scary to do this but you might as well know what the truth is about you and him and this is the fastest way to find out. Be brave – knowing the truth is worth it. Then you can know he either loves you or you can cut our losses.

  7. Hi, I am texting this guy like 2 months now. This is my first long distance relationship and started off so well and now he don’t txt as often as he does. He works night shift and often says he’s busy and he sleeps during the day since he works night. It’s a bit frustrated cause I truly care for him but I don’t think he wants this as much as I do. I believe nobody is too busy if someone is that important or if you want to make it work you’ll find time.

    • Hi Deborah, You haven’t gotten yourself caught up in a virtual relationship with (it seems like) a man you’ve never met. So for all you know he’s married. At the very least he has lost interest so I agree with you – if you were important to him he would make time. Absolutely! So what all of this tells you is he’s the wrong man for you. Please avid these long-distance texting relationships. They are not REAL. Look for love locally and if you can’t meet a buy within the fist 7 days move on. That’s how you have a better chances of finding men who really want to go on dates and build a genuine relationship vs. a pen pal thing. Read this post for more about why you want to stop texting him.

  8. Hello, I was talking to this guy for 8 months last year and I thought everything was okay until he ignored me out of the blue. I tried texting and calling but he completely shut me off. Its sad because I genuinely loved him. He started posting pictures of other women on social media and was online all the time though he said his phone had issues which is why he couldn’t respond to me. So I let go and stopped texting. I stepped back. 2 months later he started calling and texting but I was too cautious about letting him into my life. After a few days he went off again. I texted and he didn’t respond. Fast forward to this year, he started posting pictures of another girl on social media but I did not go through the posts so I cannot say who she was. Valentines day he texted he missed me but I didn’t respond. Problem is there’s still love there but I’m scared to even ask questions because I fear being termed as a nagging woman

    • Dee, there is NEVER a valid reason for anyone to ghost. His phone was broken? Seriously? You know better than that. He didn’t want to talk to you so he STOPPED. I’m proud of you for not opening yourself up to this man again. But here’s my question, why are you looking at his social media? Why haven’t you unfriended him? Why aren’t you trying to get over him? You say it was a year ago and you didn’t say you even MET HIM.

      I know you had/have feelings for him but if you truly want to find a loving relationship, look for a man to date locally and go OUT on dates. It will NEVER happen via long-distance texting and talking. That was not a REAL relationship – just an emotional virtual one. Right now you are holding a torch for a man who ghosted you coldly, posted other women on social media and has come back to you only when it suits him. Find a way to let go for real this time and move on. There’s a better man out there for you – stop pining over this thoughtless, rude man and go find him.

  9. Thank you for your response. I am still a bit confused and these posts are having me second guess a mew guy’s intentions. He says I’m beautiful, smart, and funny. He has shared moments from his life (kids and family) that you would not share openly with anyone. But is it all a show? I hate to think a lot of amazing men are being kicked to the curb because they have been labeled as fake and untrustworthy because of society. I am sitting back and now re-reading every text he sent. Right now he is not available to see me for a week because he has a new work schedule and is going to visit with his kids on the weekend. I trust him and consider him a good father and a guy who works really hard. I do think as a woman we have strong gut feelings and intuition. Thanks for your comment appreciate the help you dispense to people you are truly very kind.

    • Hi Hettie, All men are not bad but their dating agenda might not be lasting love or a close relationship. So no, I don’t think great guys are getting kicked to the curb at all. Just because a man tells you private stuff doesn’t mean he wants a relationship. This can be a method to help you trust him faster. Sounds to me like he’s making excuses to string you along and keep you interested. Why not look for a man who has a bit more time to date and fewer excuses keeping him from seeing you? He might be a nice guy, but he’s not really available to date.

  10. I have been reading all of these posts and the replies and I am shocked. I’m trying to get back out into the world of dating, but it appears no man can be trusted. If they say “this”, it’s a lie. If they say “that” it’s just to make you think they care. I’m so confused and honestly don’t know what to believe anymore. I also have a male best friend who has flirted with me off and on over the years. Does this mean he was using me for his own emotional sake and didn’t care about any of the fun we had? He has bad intentions ? If he says he will help me out and his schedule is busy and he can’t get to it for a month does that mean he was just leading me on? How do we as single woman know when to trust a man and not over analyze everything…. or do we all stay single hopping from guy to guy? That’s my question. Thank you.

    • Hi Hettie, First off remember people who write to me need help. That doesn’t mean all men are bad! No way that is not true at all! Second you just need a little updating about how dating works. For example, flirting is FUN, but not meaningful. So no, it doesn’t mean your friend had bad intentions – but it doesn’t mean he had ANY intentions beyond the fun of flirting with you. If he can’t get to help you for months – he most likely doesn’t want to do it so find help from someone else. Trust comes from observing men over time and consistency of action to spend time with you. So your male friend is just that a friend, not a possible love interest. Read this post. If a man is genuinely interested – he’ll move heaven and earth to spend time with you and help you if needed. Read this post. Last but not least, if you are over-analyzing, you probably are dating a man who leaves you hanging and that right there is a sign he’s NOT the right man. A man genuinely interested does not leave you wondering. Or you need to learn more about understanding men and then BELIEVE what the experts tell you even if it isn’t what you want to hear. Hope that clears things up – I squeezed a lot into a small response!

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