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.


Ready to find a quality man? Listen to my Free Audio Program 5 Surefire Ways to Attract a Quality Guy

Single for too long, Ronnie wanted to find love. She put her skills from personal development and her spiritual path to work, dating 30 men in 15 months to meet her adorable husband Paul. Discovering the keys to manifesting and midlife dating, she founded It’s Never Too Late to help smart, successful women find love or live an empowered and magical life. Ronnie Ann Ryan, MBA, CCC, is a Certified Coach who has helped 1,000’s of midlife women with her Love & Magical Life Coach services. She’s the host of the Breathe Love & Magic podcast and has been featured on NBC, ABC, & Fox News, NPR, BBC, eHarmony, MSN.com, and Connecticut Magazine among others. Also, Ronnie is the author of 6 books which are available on Amazon.

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

  1. Hi Ronnie,

    Met a guy 2 months back at work over the phone and the professional conversation suddenly changed to flirting and ended up sexting. He is insistent on meeting up and has planned to meet next month and wants to spend 5 days in my city to spend time together. he always talks more of sex but does enquire about other nitty gritties as well and does a bit of care talk of late. Pls share me your thoughts if this would lead anywhere or is it better to stay away. Thank you much for your time and thoughts

    • Hi Priyanka, I have found that when men quickly talk of sex, that is the main priority. That’s why I advise no sexting before you meet or have sex. I’m also in favor of waiting past the third date if you want lasting love. It takes time to get to know a man and build trust. Who knows where those pictures will end up? Whether this man has promise for a lasting love relationship seems doubtful. But you could ask him what he’s looking for out of this? Careful though – that’s the kind of question easily answered the way he thinks you want him to so he can get the sex he wants.

  2. Hi Ronnie, It’s BB here….thank you for the response. Sometimes I tried to supposedly understand him as he’s coming from a divorce and perhaps scared of opening up. He left me a voicenote to give him sometime. I’m just confused.

  3. Hi Ronnie, I have been in a long distance relationship for 9 months. We have had issues which we sorted out. Mostly, he would rather not talk for sometime and later we can talk. But, I’d rather we talk and I can tell how I feel and what I liked or not. I have explained this to him. Recently, we had a fight and he hasn’t spoken to me for three days now. I tried reaching out to him to let him open up but he is ignoring. I wanted to ask his friend close by to contact him if he’s okay. Is this the point I just break up with him? I’m tired of trying to reach out to him.

    • Hi BB, I don’t mean to sound harsh but being direct gets the point across more clear quickly. It’s not that something is wrong, sadly he’s just not interested. Please ask yourself why you want to stay with a man who doesn’t want to talk? Could a man love you and not want to talk with you or see you or be with you? No way. His actions prove without doubt that he’s not into you or maybe not into a relationship. You really have no choice but to let go. In truth if you hang on, you are having this relationship alone in your head. Most long-distance relationships are in part pure romantic fantasy. Sometimes it’s safer to love from a distance because then you can keep your own life just as it is. If you are serious about wanting true love, please look locally.

  4. Hi, I know this guy from a game and we used to chat everyday. Everything was good until we started competing in games. He said we are real life friends and game has nothing to do with anything. But slowly he started pulling away. He always said he will disappear and not to fret. The word disappear made me fret and every time he ignores me for days or week, I often msged him without trying to know if I am really important to him or not. He finally decided to stop talking to me. Few months later I realized I was chasing him but it was too late already. After few months he messaged me on a courtesy note. I was happy, but it was for a limited time. He ignored and disappeared again. He sees my social media updates and msgs me and then again disappear after few days. This went on for a year where we might have spoken for 20 days in the whole year. He said to learn to let him go . He said he will disappear again and one day forever. If he has to disappear, why does he reappears? What should I do?

    • Hi Kirika, I have deep compassion for you, but here’s the reality of your situation. You never met him or dated, and at best this is a romantic fantasy. My dating advice is to follow HIS advice – let him go! Block him and stop all communication forever. Life is too short to waste on a man who doesn’t care about you. How do I know this? Because you two only messaged, nothing more and only 20 times in a year! Why did he do this? It was fun at first, maybe he was curious. But he was honest – he told you he would disappear and this means “Don’t take me seriously.”

      It’s time to build your self-esteem and self-worth so you never again engage in a one-sided relationship like this. You deserve a man who spends time with you. A man who cares and shows that with consistent attention. A man who doesn’t hide behind a game, make excuses or disappears. There is no reason to ever disappear that involves any level of respect for you. If you want to find love, love yourself enough first to never put up with such horrible treatment again. Then look for love locally because that is your best chance at finding a lasting relationship.

  5. Hello, I started chatting with his guy in May, we were workmates a few years back. He told me how much he loved me. We used to communicated daily so I fell in love. We’ve been doing well, had some arguments but always solved them. Late October I gotta strange feeling and decided to quit social media to see if the guy still cares. Day one he didn’t tell, but texted the next night asking me if everything was fine. He asked why have been off. I told him I just took a break. Since then, I feel like we aren’t fine. He muted my statuses said they annoy (politics) and he doesn’t want to argue with me. He has so much stress I was like am sorry about that and won’t do it again. Now if I don’t text. I don’t want to confront him or argue because I love him, but he’s ignoring me. What should I do?

    • Hi Winnie, Sorry this is happening to you. It sounds like you have a virtual relationship which means you are not really dating this man. Texting and social media are not indications of any sort of committed relationship. Doesn’t sound like you even talked by phone. Now that he’s ignoring you, it’s time to face the maybe difficult truth that he is not your boyfriend and he is no longer interested. If a man doesn’t stay in touch or reach out, that proves he’s not into you. I know this is hard, but just let him go so you don’t end up chasing him and losing your dignity. Look for love locally and try to avoid these texting/social media relationships where you end up fooling yourself that it is real.

  6. Hi Ronnie. I’ve been in a long distance thing with a man from the UK. I’m from the Philippines. He was the Philippines when we met last year and spent 5 days together before he went home for 6 months. We spoke everyday and met again in the Philippines December 2019. We also went vacations together. There was no talk about commitment because we’ve been enjoying each other’s company and not talking to other people. But it was full-on. His stay was cut short April 2020 because of the pandemic. When he got back to the UK he communicated with the same enthusiasm, however he changed last month. Suddenly he does not want to have a long distance relationship, wants to minimize communication but not completely cut off. He’s not sure when he’ll be back and I shouldn’t wait for him. (This hurt because he said he’d be back for me). He feels pressured even if though I’m at the other side of the world. He wants space. So I gave it to him. However he has been messaging me almost everyday. But its very short – not the same as before. Replies back after a few hours and then it turned into days. I have been leaning back however I’m really scared, I don’t want to lose him. Please help. What do I do?

    • Dear Stranded, I say this with compassion but even though you worry about losing him, unfortunately you do not have him. He’s on the other side of the world telling you not to wait for him. That’s called a breakup. However, this idea that he can still text you any time is cruel and self-serving. You allow it because you are hopeful. Get real with yourself – how can this ever work out? It can’t. It’s time to CUT HIM OFF. Connecting with you is a privilege he no longer deserves. Don’t let him have his cake (not be your boyfriend or visit) and still get the pleasure of communicating with you. That serves only his ego and does nothing for you as he strings you along. You deserve a man who wants to be with you, not some guy you text across the world.

    • Hey DCO, I’m a love and dating coach but mind reading is out of my reach. I don’t know how long you’ve been talking or if you’ve ever met or spent time in real life. But I would venture to say “friend” is not a romantic commitment and may be a code word in case someone else looks at his phone.

  7. My boyfriend was CEO of the company when I know him, we both were very attracted to each other, but we missed the chance. Then I moved to a different country. We got in touch a few years ago, but it didn’t last long, he just went to silent. Got in touch again at beginning of this year, 20 years later. He put effort in to win me, then went quiet, I was annoyed. he mentioned his bad experience with exes, he had two years marriage. I don’t know if he is afraid of love, but he repeatedly was non responsive. When I ask why, he says he’s been busy. Although I told him busy isn’t excuse he never changed his reasons. Every time I want end the relationship, he replies straight away of how he dreams about me, desires me, etc. We planned I would move in with him, but due to the lockdown, the plan changed. Because he doesn’t respond, I decided not to move. When I told him, he replied he’d visit me when he can fly. Normally our video calls last 15 minutes, but last one was over half an hour. Then he went into silent for a few weeks again. I almost believe he is avoiding me. I am sure that he wants me and I feel frustrated with his actions but I do love other qualities he has. What should I do? I know love makes me blind, what I have been missing in this relationship please?

    • Hi Jade, I know this might be hard for you to grasp, but you can’t love parts of a man. He may have good qualities but how could you live with a man who won’t respond to you? Can you imagine how painful life will be with a man who avoids you for any reason? You averted a massive nightmare not moving in and have Covid to thank. He likely has narcissistic tendencies since he cares most when you try to leave. I’m sorry to say this is not what a healthy loving relationship looks like. You want a man who you can count on, who is consistent and communicates well – that’s not him! Count yourself lucky this hasn’t worked out and move on. I promise you, once you there is a better man out there. Know you are worthy of a healthy love where a man treats you like gold and go find that guy.

  8. My long distance bf and I are 1 month together. We had 3 major misunderstandings. The last time is the most challenging. We resolved it but I know he’s sensitive to what happened, but I didnt intend to argue. After a day he said we will work on the relationship and wont give up on me. The next day, he told me he needed time alone. He has a lot on his mind not just what happened to us. He’ll message me soon and he’s not ignoring me. He told me I can message him but he cant reply. I chat him 2x a day for 4 days and he reads it. Day 5, he stopped. I stopped chatting on the 6th day. On the 7th day, he reads again. Its more than a week,there’s no message from him. On the 9th day I asked him if we can find time to talk why he is still silent but there’s no response. What should i do? Do i need to give him a week again and not chat at all to him? Can i confront him telling him Im hurt and confused why he is like this?

    • Hi Gee, I’m sorry to tell you that he’s not interested and you need to recognize the signs. He has pulled away, doesn’t read or respond. Men Often make excuses (like I need space) rather than be direct and say, “Sorry I’m no longer interested in you”. This is because most men AVOID confrontations. So, NO please do not confront him or give him more time. It’s time to let go and stop all communication.

      Now, take a step back and think about this. Why are you even interested? Three arguments in one month indicates you are a poor match. Why would you chat with a man who told you he won’t respond? That’s chasing a man who doesn’t care. I urge you to work on your self-esteem. You want a man who you don’t argue with right away and who wants to spend time with you. Just in case you were chasing him all along, read this post about what works best at the start of dating. You’ll find a better man – he’s not “The One”. An here’s another on men’s mixed signals so you can spot them.

  9. Hei am t i am in ling distance its been 6months now we text every day and we see each ather 2 in a month and he has a weekend that he disappear he will just text me in the morng and silent the hole day and when i confrot him about it he make up story..for the past 2 months i have meet his son and spend the weekend witb him ..confused if i should stay or leave the reletionshio please help…

    • Hi Constance – When you are confused by a man who disappears, that lets you know you can’t count on him. That’s all you need to know he’s probably not the right man. This doesn’t get better – it will get worse. Might be time to cut your losses – that’s my advice and move on to find a better, more consistent man.

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