Why Men Pull Away After 3 to 4 Dates?

Curious why men pull away after a few great dates? This reader wants help understanding men, wants to know why they do this to her and if her personality is at fault.

Why men pull awayUnderstanding Men and Why Men Pull Away Early in Dating

“Dear Dating Coach Ronnie,

One of the greatest things that has happened to me this year was finding your website. I have been telling all my single girlfriends to read up on your articles. Thank you so much for everything you do for us!

For me, it’s always, ALWAYS the same pattern and I get my heart broken every time. I really want to meet my other half and settle down. I have been on Match.com for about 3 months and there were 3 men I really liked and hit it off (not at the same time; although I listen to your advice and try to date as many men as possible so I won’t over focus on one guy).

Long story short, after 3-4 dates, I can feel men switching gears; from pursuing me consistently to not so much, and eventually they don’t contact me again. My girl friends say it was just not meant to be, but I honestly can say I could’ve dated any of these three men if they were to pursue me. What am I doing wrong?

I have been reading your blogs and learned, so I don’t initiate texts/calls/making appointments or I won’t blow their phone up or being clingy…but still this. My girlfriends pointed out that although these men seem to have a good time with me, they compliment me A LOT about my physical appearance. That makes me wonder if my looks are the only reason they want to date me.  According to my girlfriends, I seem to attract men by my physical appearance and that gets in the way for them to get to know me better as a human being.

I don’t have sex with them, but I did everything but the ‘sex.’ Honestly, I do use my physical charm to my advantage and flirt. When I talk to men about something deeper, I don’t know if they realize I’m actually more than my looks. It hurts so bad to think I may have a terrible personality that turns guys off, or worse, that I might be boring.

People tell me I am polite, kind, and very funny, so I thought my personality was good enough to date decent men. Now I am thinking less of myself since this happens every single time. I know people tell me, “it’s not you, it just wasn’t meant to be,” but why do guys suddenly not want to pursue me if they are looking to settle down so badly? Did they not like my personality? Am I attracting men who have the wrong intentions although they say they want to settle down? Maybe they still want to play around? This is such a struggle for me so I need your advice.

Thanks so much,
Tired of Men’s Disappearing Act”

Dear Tired,

I’m so sorry this is such a struggle.  I have to be honest and say in your situation what’s happening is not completely clear to me. But I will do my best to provide some insight.

Personality Flaws
First, please don’t blame yourself and put this all on a boring personality or some other such flaw. That seems very unlikely to me. Most men are highly attracted to the combination of beauty and brains. So don’t even go there.

Too Pretty
Sometimes being an attractive woman can create dating issues. You may in fact be attracting some men mostly because of your looks. But that can’t be true for all of them. Beauty can be a blessing too so let’s put that aside as well.

The Wrong Men
Some men will say they want to settle down if they think it will get you to spend time with them or sleep with them. The best way around this is to hold off on intimacy. I am curious about what you said about doing “everything but sex.” This makes me wonder if your willingness to fool around a bit satisfies their interest.

I’m sure it doesn’t surprise you that some men just want to sleep with good looking women. So they tell you what they think you want to hear, get their rocks off and move on. This is certainly a possible reason why men pull away and stop pursuing you. But this isn’t about just you – they do this with all the women.

Talking of Settling Down
How you bring up the topic of settling down could be a potential turn off. There’s nothing wrong with telling a man up front that you are seeking a long-term relationship that will hopefully lead to marriage. But I am again curious how you discuss this idea with the men you date. Do you mention it once? Do you just have it in your match.com profile? Or do you talk about this frequently? If you do, that could definitely be a turn off. Men don’t want to feel rushed.

Meant To Be
I know you don’t want to hear that “meant to be” stuff but there is some validity to that. When I was dating, I met guy after guy and would have one to three dates with them. Then I’d never hear from then again. I refer to this now as “Self-Selection.” Those men chose not to continue dating me. Of course it hurt and was disappointing. But in time, I came to see how they just weren’t the right guys.

The right man will not pull away or disappear. He’ll want to be with you, get to know you,  spend time with you and enjoy your company. Those men who disappeared proved they were the wrong men. So don’t cry for them.

Finding the Right Guy Takes Time
You may need to date a lot of guys before you find a good match. Unfortunately, it’s not enough that they meet your criteria, you have to meet theirs too. And many of those guys might not want to settle down even if they claim they do to get your attention.

So, my dating advice to you is to keep your chin up and keep going. Hold off on intimacy longer, at least 6 dates or more. Do what you can to stay positive and remind yourself that the right man for you is out there. You just have to meet men until you cross paths with him.

It will take some patience, but if you are in training to be a doctor, you certainly know how to keep after your dreams for the long haul. I hope this has helped you with understanding why men pull away.

Wishing you love,
why men pull away


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.

14 thoughts on “Why Men Pull Away After 3 to 4 Dates?”

  1. Should be a lot more like 3-4 month’s and plenty of getting to know him on all level’s! Emotionally, spiritually, mentally, financially, and only physically once he is in line with the path your on! It take’s men a lot longer to fall in love! They like the chase and will go through hoop’s to get you to be with them! Don’t allow yourself to give it all away and make them show you through action’s, opening their wallet, and be open and honest emotionally as that is how they fall deeply! Sex is not going to make them love you or respect you as they can get they any day of the week! You have to love yourself enough to value who you are and make them work for the price! If they don’t, they were only looking for a cheap thrill and they’ll move on to the next!

    • Hi Diane, thanks for sharing your insights. You are right when you say men can get sex any where so that won’t make a man love you. Excellent point.

  2. Hello!

    I recently went on 6 dates (once a week) with a guy who seemed very into me. He texted me almost every day. Everything from “how is your day going?” to “I just wanted to text you to tell you you’re beautiful and I hope you have a great day”. For a month and a half it was going really, really well. We slept together on date 3. On date 4 I told him I’d like to wait a while until we did again because I want something long term and wanted to be sure that’s where this was headed. He told me he completely understood. We slept together on date 6 and then after he became very distant. He went from being available any day of the week for me to not being available for the next two weeks and the texting was definitely not the same. Everything seemed normal and happy after he left from date 6. Any ideas on what happened?

    • Hi Brenna, If you want something serious wait longer before intimacy because once you sleep with a man, there’s no going back or slowing things down. Also, a man who sees you just once a week isn’t seriously interested if things haven’t picked up by week 6. The relationship should deepen as you get to know each other. Texting daily means absolutely nothing about a man’s intentions. So, I would say he wanted to sleep with you a couple of times and enjoyed your company enough, but now he’s moved on. I know this stinks, but it’s happened to most women at one time or another. In the future, don’t put much stock into a man’s texting. What he does to see you tells you a lot more about his intentions.

  3. Thank you so much Ronnie for your answer. I have a question, in such case is it possible that he will come back to me? And if so, should I accept him again? (because I know I would want to but I’m not sure if it’s right)

    • Hey Louisa, It was only three dates – I wouldn’t count on it. See what you can do to feel less attached to him. The right man wouldn’t ghost like that so look for a better man – he’s out there! Hope for a good man, but not that man.

  4. Hi Ronnie, I would really appreciate your help – I’m so confused. This guy was my classmate at the university. I liked him but didn’t have any idea he liked me too. Once we talked and he gave me his number to send him something. He texted later and we occasionally chatted a few times. He asked me out and we met; he seemed very interested and wanted to see me again. I saw him 2 other times and he suddenly became distant. I see him spending too much time on a messaging app, he’s almost always online but doesn’t text me. I ran into him at school and he was friendly, but not romantic. He said he would see me a lot next term because he’d spend more time at school. He said he’d text me at night but hasn’t until now (3 days later). While showing me something on his phone I saw a series of msg notification which he swiped up immediately. I can’t understand what happened suddenly! Just 10 days ago he was so warm and romantic and would always send me messages, photos and videos. Also if he doesn’t want to continue why would he ask me about my courses next term saying he would see me a lot? I really like him. What should I do?

    • Hi Louisa, Sadly this is one of those situations where there is nothing you can do. You can’t MAKE a man do anything – he has to want your company. Seems to me like he found someone else he’s messaging or why would he hide that and who else would he be talking to? If you only had 3 dates you were really just getting started. I know you probably got attached quickly but this is why is a good idea to not over think a new guy. Why did he say that stuff abut next semester? The most likely reason is guilt and wanting to be nice to you, even if it’s not true. Some men feel guilty about causing hurt so they compensate this way. If you are at University – you are young with plenty of chances to meet a new guy! Have the intention to meet guys who will ask you out and do this weekly so you’ll find someone new to date very soon. There are NEVER more men available then when you are at school – so no slacking! Make the most of all those cute guys in between your studies!

  5. Unfortunately I’ve experienced this as well. 3 dates and then they turn into a ghost. Personally I agree that they dont want a relationship…they were just looking for sex. And when they didnt get it, they just move on to next female. It’s as if they feel they shouldn’t have to put any effort in.

    • Hi Sarah Ann – yes sorry this has happened to you. The solution is to hold off on jumping into bed longer than three dates – maybe 5-6 dates. This can help with your weeding out process because a man who is genuinely interested and wants to get to know you will be patient. There’s a good man out there for you so keep looking!

  6. Ronnie,
    I am confused. I have been in 4 dates with a man recently, but due to travel, it has been spread out. We went in two dates in a week, then we both were in Europe and he stayed in touch really well. He wanted to see me the day he landed, but felt ill upon arrival so we cooked dinner at my place a few days later. The next day, I was leaving for asia for two weeks. He texted me at the airport, and when I let him know I got here safely, he called and we spoke for 10 minutes. We left it as “let’s talk in a few days”. It is 3 days later and not a peep. Given that he was so chatty before and I can see that he is talking to someone at the end of the day by WhatsApp timestamps, he seems to have met someone else. Should I contact him again while i am here? Or just let him come to me?

    • Hi Michelle – not sure what the pint of contacting him again is. He knows how to get in touch right? The fact that he’s not means he has lost interest. This happens when travel gets in the way. There is a shelf life to that beginning phase and getting someone interested in you. All the travel worked against you – just how it is. Accept this and let go because truly, there rally is nothing else you can do. The best way to look at this is if it were meant to be, you’d be on a date with him right now.

  7. My daughter has this problem, but she so craves intimacy and enjoys sex that she lets a guy have her after only a couple of dates. I know everyone advises against that, and you say six dates before intimacy, but WHY?

    • Hi Cyrus, Great question! The only reason to hold off on sex is to avoid heart break. I don’t suggest this so the man doesn’t get the wrong idea. There are men who don’t care if a woman sleeps with him right away or not. The problem is you can’t tell BEFORE sleeping with a guy if he is interested or just wants to get his rocks off. When a woman waits, she gets to see if the man will continue to pursue without sex. Still the hope of intimacy is there, but players won’t want to hang around. So, if your daughter doesn’t get heartbroken when the men she sleeps with disappear, there’s no problem. However, if she’s looking for lasting love, she might want to slow down the process to better vet the men better before – even four dates would be better than two!

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