Why Men Pull Away – Did You Tell Him How You Feel?

The question of why men pull away comes up often at the start of dating. There are so many reasons why this happens, but this post is about expressing your feelings too soon

Why men pull away“Dear Dating Coach Ronnie,

I’ve been seeing this guy for a little over a month now. We had 4 great dates and stayed at his place a few times. He has 2 kids, runs a business and races cars. We text a lot about how we miss each other and a week is too long till we can see each other again.

I told him I was falling for him and I was scared. His texts slowed down a little and I told him I’d back off seeing as I think I scared him. He’s reply was, “I ain’t, the kids I have working for me are going home for the holidays and I’m short handed as it is. I want to see you soon, I enjoy every minute we have.”

Yesterday I sent him a little poem I wrote about missing him and there has been no response as of me writing this…..

Help! Tammy”

Dear Tammy,

A common dating problem women face at the start of relationships is why men pull away. Lots of things can cause this reaction in men and they often have their own reasons as well.

Dating Is Like Playing Poker

Is there such a thing as too much honesty? Absolutely! Innocently, you expressed yourself by sharing your feelings and let him know two big things: 1) You are falling for him; and 2) You feel scared. Now I understand why you might feel this way. But why, oh why, would you share that with him after just four dates?

The start of dating, is like playing poker. You need to keep your feelings private or “close to the vest” as they say in the card game. You don’t want to let a man “see your hand” or know how you feel too early so you don’t spoil your hand or scare him off.

Don’t Express Your Feelings First

For the most part, women’s feelings grow and we feel more attached long before men do or acknowledge how they feel. As you start to get to know a man and things are going well, you are bursting to share. That’s great – call a girlfriend! She is the safest person to tell and she’ll really get what you are going through.

But when you tell a man, he might freak out. He could feel pressured by feelings. He might feel everything is moving too fast. He might not be ready to be serious or have made any decision about you and was still in his trial phase. Maybe he was just enjoying your company and not thinking beyond that.

Why Men Pull Away – Early Stages?

By expressing yourself about falling for him and feeling scared, suddenly turned seeing you into something more serious. That’s a surefire way to push a man away or scare him off. And that’s what happened and why men pull away.

Sometimes women wonder, “Is he testing me by pulling away?” I doubt it – women are the ones who test in a relationship. This isn’t one of a man’s usual tricks.

What To Do When Your Man Pulls Away

Now your reaction to his pulling away was right on target – to pull back yourself and give him space. That’s perfect! Except one essential detail – unfortunately you shared that with him too. Again too much honesty. Plus you said you thought the reason he pulled away was that you scared him off – now you’ve told him how he is feeling. Even though that’s a good guess, never tell a man you think you’ve scared him. How can he save face now?

Don’t reveal your dating strategy that you hope will bring a man back to you. By telling him that’s what you were doing, you didn’t let him wonder where you went. That’s what could make this move work. When you leave a man wondering if you are disappearing, then he might move forward to reconnect out of concern for losing you.

You didn’t give him a chance to wonder – you shared your strategy.

What a Man’s Excuses Mean

When you start hearing a bunch of excuses from the man you’re dating (or want to date) and he says he’s so busy with work, his children, fixing up his house, or helping a buddy, it all means the same thing. He’s got other priorities more important than you. This is “understanding men” basics.

Most men don’t want to be the bad guy and they don’t want to hurt a woman’s feelings. So they make excuses to let you down easy. “Oh I miss you too baby, but I’ve got this massive project…”

Missing Him Will Not Entice Him

Lastly, you sent him a poem about missing him. Oh no – expressing your feelings again! Missing him reminds him you are overly attached already which could easily push him away for good. Sharing more feelings will not bring a man back to you.

What Does Work When Men Pull Away?

Pull away yourself and then remain in radio silence. No texting, no emailing, no Facebooking, no calling. If he doesn’t come forward in a week or even two, count him as a lost cause and move on. Otherwise YOU WILL BE CHASING HIM and we all know CHASING MEN DOES NOT WORK.

So Tammy, the best thing you can do right now is absolutely NOTHING. Go about your business and leave him alone. If he comes back to you because he gets curious what you are up to – great! If not, move forward to meet new men and find someone new to date.

But this time, do not share your feelings or strategies with him. The best rule of thumb about sharing feelings is to let the man do that first. Then you’ll know you are safe and probably won’t scare him. Just don’t gush or go on – matching his level of sharing is the most effective strategy. Keep that under your hat for the next dating situation.



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.

19 thoughts on “Why Men Pull Away – Did You Tell Him How You Feel?”

  1. I just went through a similar situation. We’ve been dating for two months, getting together twice a week, calling, texting throughout the day to see how each other’s day has been. He was laying it on thick and talking about buying a house together next year. I thought we were on the same page until Saturday night, I said I love you and although he replied I love you too, now he’s grown distant, too busy to respond to my texts when before he would respond right away. When I asked what’s wrong he said I was going too fast. I asked if he had changed his mind about us, and he said no; but nevertheless he’s distant. I told him I understand and that I would back away, that I was mistaken by thinking he may be feeling the same way I did, but he never replied. I”m feel my heart is shattering into pieces. We were so close, so happy and now there’s only cold and silence. What do I do? should i let me be the one to reach back out to me? Should i become cold myself? Please help I truly thought he was the one!!

    • Hey Sunny, Oh what a bummer. it’s hard to imagine that three little words could throw cold water on your love affair. In his mind, everything was under his control until you expressed love. He went into shut down. Some men love the idea of love and enjoy future fantasizing, but sadly that doesn’t always indicate true love. The only thing you can do is pull back and let him come to you. If he does return, then there was something there. And if not, then you know it wasn’t what you thought. For the future, it’s the woman’s job to put on the brakes and not rush into things. So when a man talks big about the future, remember talk is just talk and he still has a way to go to prove himself as a serious contender for life partner. True love is rarely super fast. it takes time to build, even if you are smitten with each other from the start. Enjoy the future talk, but remember it might not actually mean anything. And keep your feelings to yourself. That’s another great place to let a man lead so you keep your dignity if he doens’t feel the same way.

  2. Hi Ronnie,

    I met a cool guy on holiday and we clicked. We kissed and shared numbers. He told me I was really nice. My hair was ruined prior to meeting him so I looked horrible, so he told me he wasn’t attracted. I’ve fixed my hair and I look without trying to sound arrogant, really good. In a way that I feel he will be attracted to me now. I asked him if he’d kiss me again if he had the chance and he said no, cause as I remember I wasn’t attracted to you how you were looking then. Problem is I look entirely different now, so I wan’t to try again. However, since I expressed my feelings he went off the radar. I came of too strong. What do I do know? I want to tell him that I’m not hitting on him, can I do that?

    • Hi Lovebug, Please know I say these things with kind intention…First of all you ARE hitting on him when you reach out to him. What else would call it when you hope to make something happen by staying in touch. Second, your hair is NOT the issue – this guy is a JERK. Why did he kiss you if not attracted and why tell you that? It’s cruel! I don’t recommend telling a man how you feel, especially after knowing each other just on holiday. It’s best to let the man express feelings first so you don’t embarrass yourself. I’m sorry to say he’s not at all interested which is why you haven’t heard from him. My dating advice for you is to build your self-esteem so you are attracted to men who are kind and decent and would never speak to a woman like this.

  3. Hi, Ronnie.
    I met an amazing man, we spoke on the phone for about 2 weeks and went on a date. (I stupidly told him I am usually very picky and don’t usually go on second dates with guys). He asked me out on a second date, I agreed. I told him a liked him and I enjoyed his company; hence would like to see him agian. He didn’t message me back. It’s been two weeks 🙁 what should I do?

    • Hi Kendal, You may not want to hear this but you cannot be so direct with men. You told him you don’t usually go on second dates? That was nothing more than a challenge to him. He asked, you went – challenge over. Its not up to you to say you’d like to see him again – HE has to WANT to see you again. Let the man ask and keep your secrets to yourself. Men like a little mystery and don’t want to know about your other dates or how much you like them before they know how they feel about you. There’s absolutely nothing you can do. Accept that he’s not the right man and learn more about dating so the next time you meet a guy you want to see again, you are more prepared and rely on you feminine charm more than be super open and direct. Sorry to say but now you know that just doens’t work very well.

  4. Hi Ronnie,
    Amazing website. I learnt a lot from you and your books. I I was recently in this situation. After the first date he called me and told me he would like to see me again. He said that he will be very busy for a while and that he will call me following week. I was upset after 5 days and a half of no contact and I blocked him on social media.

    • Hi Nicoleta, It seems crazy because this guy totally contradicted himself. He called to say he wanted to see you but then he told you h was busy for a while. To me that means, I’d like to see you at some pint but right now I’ve got other stuff to do. Maybe work, maybe other women he rather date first. So he strung you along. Since you were knowledgeable about this kind of game, you ended it. Good for you! Who could be next?

  5. Ronnie, I can’t understand how you are able to just turn off your feelings the way you do, and say, he’s not the right man, find someone else, etc. What if it’s someone you really really care for?

    • Hey Oklahoma, I’m not without emotions. But I’m talking about what’s going to help you find love with the RIGHT man. Being stuck on the wrong man won’t help you find the right one. And one thing I know for sure is that your love for him is NOT ENOUGH to make you happy if he’s not a willing or good partner. I’m asking women to face and admit the reality of a bad situation so they can move on to find the love they deserve.

  6. Ronnie,

    First of all thank you for this very informative article. I got some points that I need to keep in mind, also is it possible that he’s genuinely busy that’s why he doesn’t have time?

    • Yes he might be actually busy. But, that means you can’t (nor would you want to) compete with his work. So, if you feel like you don’t get enough time or attention, he’s probably not the right man.

  7. Hi Ronnie,,, i doubt he has another woman,, because his attitude is not that of a man in a relationship and committed to someone,,, but maybe he is not into me enough as you said,,, and in that case also I have to go away as I deserve better for sure,,,, and thank you for your reply Ronnie :))

  8. I had been loving a man for a year,,,was the first time to feel these intense beautiful feelings with someone. I met him at work and he was a partner in the business and a close friend to the CEO. We didn’t date that year but I felt deep feelings sitting next to him talking laughing, etc. He expressed what he felt by singing some songs – indirect way of letting me know he likes me. But I had a major problem with dealing with my CEO. Sometimes he called me to ask me how’s work going and not anything else. At first I answered him but then I got frustrated why when he calls just for work and I know quite well that he feels something. why didn’t he ask how I’m doing? I left work and before I did I told him that I will miss him and asked why he did these things the past year. He apologized and never talked with each other again until a week ago he sent me a reaction on Facebook. The love face. I didn’t know what he meant and why he sent it after telling me that he is in a relationship with another girl?

    • Hi Basma, This man is playing you. He lead you on for a whole year. He has another woman. Sending you the love emoji on FB just means he’s at it again. And if he really had feelings for you he would ask how you are doing and MORE than that – HE WOULD DATE YOU. Since none of that has happened, he was just enjoying your company and the idea that you were into him. Feeding his ego. Walk away because this man has nothing real to offer you.

  9. I did tell him how I feel. He was a friend and I thought there was a chance he might feel the same way about me. He doesn’t. I feel bad that I have lost my friend, but I really didn’t want to just be friends with him anyway. I have given him plenty of space, but he has not reached out to me very much. I sure do miss him.

    • Hi Lulu, Sorry to hear he didn’t feel the same way and you miss him. But kudos for not continuing to hope and wasting your time on a man who doesn’t want a relationship with you. Now you are free to look for another man who wants you and a relationship. It might take a while to feel like looking but you will heal and I’m sure you will find the right guy.

  10. Good advice here, thank you. I was recently in this situation. On date 6 he proposed we get a hotel. I was excited but also wanted to know if he was seeing other women and that I was developing strong feelings for him. I wanted to know more from a safety issue (diseases, etc). He said we would reconvene next so it safe to assume that I didn’t blow my chance with this guy and that he just needs to take a step back? Overly anxious and don’t want to lose him, so I did not respond to his text stating about reconvening. Any advice or thoughts are appreciated.

    • Hi Patsi, not sure what you or he means by reconvene. But you have every right to know if he’s seeing other women before sleeping with you. And if that questions makes him walk away, good riddance! You want a man who wants to be only with you. Six dates is quite a few so the idea of of sleeping together is not surprising. But stick to your guns with men about this. You can simply say, “I only sleep with a man once we are in an exclusive relationship.” That way he knows, but you are not directly asking him to be in one. He gets to choose what he wants to do. This is how you express a need without being demanding. Good luck with him! And if not, there is another man out there for you who would be happy and ready to be exclusive.

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