His Hormones Make Him Withdraw?

Has this happened to you?

You meet a guy and the attraction is undeniable. He seems very into you. He calls you and wants to see you. You’re having a really good time with him.

But, then, he withdraws and becomes scarce. This can take several forms. Maybe he:

  • Takes several days to contact you after you sleep with him
  • Disappears after a deep conversation or particularly fun evening
  • Comes closer, then pulls away repeatedly
  • Disappears and never returns

John Gray, author of Mars and Venus on a Date, has an explanation for this manly behavior that is based on hormones. This is what I learned from John and it makes a lot of sense. Finally, we have something to blame for this hard to understand conduct!

Men feel love when a woman is happy resulting from something he did. This causes him to bond with her. Once he bonds, oxcytocin, another hormone, gets pumped into his system. While oxcytocin helps women relax and causes them to bond and fall in love after sex, this hormone  makes men feel stressed. This is partly because their testosterone levels drop below normal.

As a result, men often withdraw to recoop. They need to remember their independence and do “guy stuff” in order to rebuild their testosterone to normal levels. That’s when they are ready to come back to you. Turns out this is all very normal for the regular guy. Too much closeness can cause him to retreat and this is a direct results of his hormones.

As a dating coach for women dating over 40 or dating after divorce, I hope gaining insight into a man’s brain chemistry and hormone reactions bring you some comfort. Particularly in this case, it’s not you it’s him and his hormones. For once, men’s hormones are the root of a problem and not yours!

There are a number of things that can  happen to interfere with a man’s desire to return:

  • Some men can’t handle closeness even if they want it, so they move on.
  • Sometimes women feel a man pull away and in response they want to talk about what has changed. This unfortunately often  makes a man want to run.
  • A woman who understands this natural process, is willing to observe his reaction to see how he resolves the situation.

As a single woman, the very best thing you can do is give him his space. It might be just a day or two. If it starts to stretch into a week or more, then you’ll need to make your own decision on whether or not you should move on yourself. Don’t pressure your date or ask a lot of questions no matter how much you are dying to know what happened.

Thanks to John for providing this explanation of what happens to men and why some disappear just when things seem to be getting good. I hope it provides some relief knowing that you did nothing wrong and in fact, it might have little to do with you specifically. It’s just his hormones. Go figure.

Single for too long, Ronnie wanted to find love. So, she made a few tweaks and then dated 30 men in 15 months to meet her adorable husband Paul. Discovering the keys to midlife dating, she founded It’s Never Too Late for Love to help other smart, successful women find love too! Her mission is to share her proven dating advice  and keen insights about men with women everywhere who are serious about finding love with the right man. Ronnie Ann Ryan, MBA, CCC is a Certified Coach who has helped 1,000’s of midlife women with her Love & Dating Coach services. She’s been featured on BBC’s 5 Live Radio, NBC, ABC, and Fox News, NPR, eHarmony, MSN.com, MORE.com, Connecticut Magazine among others around the world. An established author, you can find her 6 books on Amazon.

30 thoughts on “His Hormones Make Him Withdraw?”

  1. Hi, my child’s father and I have developed a great co-parenting relationship after two years – we weren’t a couple when I got pregnant. We dated previously but bad timimg, yet kept came into each other’s lives by coincidence. We got pregnant. I wanted to work on a relationship, but he said he wasn’t ready to commit to anything more than the child. He didn’t want to be intimate because he said we weren’t going to be together. Two years later, we have trust, respect and care for each other. Our families are super close, spend holidays together, support each other and spend time as a family. 4 months ago we became some what intimate, but I am holding back. He recently said he his happy we are in a good place thinks he is falling for me but is afraid of intimacy. He said his mind is stressed from work and things should get easier in a few weeks. He owns a business and works seven days. So I gave him space, but its been over a month since we spent time together. He hasn’t dated since we had our child, he is so helpful, caring, a great dad and I’m in love with him. I want to know what his actions mean but, am afraid to bring it up because I don’t want to get hurt. Not sure if I should wait for him or what to say. Thanks

    • Hi Giovanna, I encourage you to take a step back and look at this objectively. He is NOT ready for the full, loving relationship you dream of. He told you this. You don’t want to ask because you fear being hurt. So, as long as you don’t ask him anything, you live in the fantasy of some day becoming “his woman”. If you were ready to be honest with yourself, you would know the best thing to do is be grateful he is a good dad and you have a good co-parenting situation. But take the pressure off love and romance with him and look for someone else to date. He knows where to find you if he wants to date you and move towards a genuine romantic relationship. But if you keep holding on, you’ll waste time, feel hurt and resentful, make him feel pressured and all of that jeopardizes your children’s happiness. Let it go. Look for love elsewhere. Maybe some day he’ll come around but don’t hold your life in limbo waiting around. That will never make you happy.

  2. I, (47)was dating a guy (48) who has pulled away twice. Both times we spent a lot of time together. At least 2 to 3 times a week. We shared a lot. Told me he really liked spending time with me, that I gave him a peace when he held me in his arms. I really felt he was sincere and genuine. He was very affection holding my hand, rubbing my back…etc. We had sex once and it was great but soon after I noticed he was different . He starting to pull away. I wished him a happy birthday and it’s been 2 weeks since I last texted him and he has not texted me. It definitely hurts and for the second time . I feel stupid for giving him a second chance but I figured maybe he was ready for a relationship and by his actions I honestly thought it was going to be different. If he wasn’t ready why did he come around again. I just don’t get it!!!!

    • Hi Denise,

      I know this is hard but he clearly has some intimacy issue. Being affectionate is not a sign of wanting a relationship right? It’s just how he was in the moment with you and that was honest. But the meaning women apply to these actions is where the problem lies which is why I recommend not interpreting or taking meaning from anything. What you do want to watch for is consistency and sadly that’s where he has failed.

      Don’t be too hard on yourself about giving him that second chance – that’s how we learn. Now you know when a man pulls away, the best thing to do is NOTHING. If a man returns within a few days or up to a week, then shows consistency then things might be a go again. But if there is closeness followed by weeks of silence, RUN don’t walk in the other direction because chances are he will do this for as long as you put up with it. He’s probably not a bad guy, just not capable of the intimacy that you’d like with him.

  3. I’ve been dating someone for 2 months whom I’ve known 20+ years. He’s so passionate and attentive. Our chemistry and intimacy are incredible! His last relationship was abusive (her). Yet, he was vulnerable with me, planned future events, and said he felt he is falling for me and scared of getting hurt. We spent a lot of time together, nearly 2 weeks straight before his withdrawal… Last week his contact got scarce. Tues. he called saying he missed me, then he cancelled our Wed. date. Friday I got an apologetic text saying he was sorry. He’s been busy and sick, but asked about hanging out on the weekend. I tried calling, then texted saying no worries, I knew he was busy and needed space and yes I still want to see him. He never responded (this was last night) This is so frustrating because I don’t know where his head is and all I can do is sit back and wait. Btw I’m 45 and he’s 46 so it’s been more difficult to find love because at this age we all have baggage.

    • Hi Nicole, I’m so sorry to tell you this but his excuses are so typical. In ManSpeak, he’s letting you know he’s no longer interested. You have a kind, patient nature so you are giving him the benefit of the doubt. It’s time for that to stop. No wonder why you feel so confused – I understand. Being sick and busy are the top two excuses men provide when avoiding a date. Top it off with his non-responsiveness and I say he’s a goner.

      Did he enjoy those two weeks with you? Sure! But then he felt threatened or over it. Who can say? You’d think you know a man after 20 years, but not if you hadn’t dated him – that’s an entirely different thing. My bet is he’s not ready or doesn’t want another relationship. But a close fling was great for his emotional health and recovery. The best strategy for your dignity and self-respect is stop engaging. Don’t believe another excuse or get caught up when he returns. Instead, move on to find a better man who is relationship ready. I also recommend going slowly and not spending that kind of time together before three months to safe guard your heart and keep this situation from repeating.

  4. Thanks for the clarity….A hard lesson learnt! He was just so sweet at the beginning and could have never foreseen this. I’ll be sure to make a better choice next time..

  5. Hi,
    I have been dating a separated guy over 5 months with 3 kids. He is 47yrs and I’m 39yrs. He was always very sweet when we met up approx. once or twice a week within the first 5 months and text each other at least every 2 days and became intimate after 3mths. However his separated wife of 6yrs came from overseas and now lives with him for financial reason and to take care of the kids all over 18. He had mentioned he would not get back together however we bumped in to a mutual friend of his and apparently he still introduce her as his wife.

    He started to withdraw when I asked where we stand and he avoided the topic. Texting has changed from every 2nd day to only once a week. Should I move on and assume he had gone back with his wife? I don’t understand why he still texts if he’s ending our relationship. This hurts more than telling me directly. I’m not sure what to do and I don’t want to question him again.

    • Hi Terry,
      I hate to tell you but he’s not separated – he’s still married to her. His wife was away so he went out to play. Now she’s back. He’s still texting because he likes the attention. It’s time to move on. Don’t text him – don’t start or answer. Forget this scoundrel and don’t date separated men. Even if they really are separated, in 99.9% of the situations, these men are not emotionally available and not looking for lasting love. They want sex, variety and freedom and really who can blame them? So look for men who say they want a relationship.

  6. I am so glad I found this post!! I have been dating a guy for about a month and he was doing everything right. Asking for the date early, opening doors, paying, calling, texting, hand holding/affection. He was really making every effort to spend time with me.
    Then this past weekend he spent the weekend, and as soon as we had sex the whole feeling and mood was different. He did spend the night and the next day we had an ok time, but in hindsight, I probably should have let him go home to recover some of his spent mojo!
    He has texted, and did ask to see me again later this week. Now that I know he just needs to get his testosterone levels back up for the next time I can relax and not over analyze…. like we ladies love to do. Phew.

  7. I’m so glad I found this I hope you have some advice for me! I have just reconnected with a high school sweetheart after leaving a toxic long term (12years) relationship. we always kept in touch even throughout my past relationship he is always a bit flirty with me there’s deffo a mutual attraction and I’m close to his family and friends.. we started texting almost daily for the last 10 weeks. Then he started to come over for drinks with friends on a weekend and he would ring me to chat through the week. On Friday he came over and we were intimate. He slept over that night and we cuddled. He slept really well and left happy the next day. He text me within the hour and we chatted but he went out with friends that night and the next morning he was on Facebook so I inboxed him saying “I thought I might have heard from you last night” and he replied saying his battery had died on his mobile…. he hasn’t replied to any of my messages since then!! He read my response and ignored it! He has been on and off Facebook since and he has text our mutual friend so I know his phone works. Sadly the day after our last communication he got told some very bad news but I’m just wondering have I been used?? Is he confused over his feelings?? What is it all about!?

    • Hi Confused,
      It does look like he just wanted to sleep with you. What other excuse could there possibly be for his disappearance after saying overnight? It’s so hard when this happens, especially when you know someone over the years. Such poor judgement on his part. Don’t make excuses like he’s confused or bad news etc. There is no excuse for his actions. I’m so sorry to tell you this but, there are more men out there. Hold off on sleeping with men until they take you on dates consistently for several weeks. You want to see consistency in dates and calls, not just texting over several weeks to see if a man is more serious. Still no guarantee,s but improves your chances for not being hurt.

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