If you’ve been at all in the dating world, you’ve probably found yourself in a familiar situation: falling for a guy you really like and wondering why he’s not reciprocating. Is it something you said? Something you didn’t say? What is the reason men pull away?
Now, there could be a million reasons (or more!). Men, like women, are all individuals with their own baggage. Is he pulling away because of a vibe you’re giving off? Maybe. Or maybe for another reason —he’s scared, he’s insecure, he’s not the committing type (or he’s already committed and his wife gets made when he dates!).
There are so many things you can’t control, so let’s focus on what you can and let’s answer the question “Why do men pull away?” in the context of your own thoughts and behaviors.
The answer might have to do with your black and white thinking. Yes, if your brain looks like a checkerboard, that could be the issue.
Many people think in black and white — things are good or bad, right or wrong — but the world we live in is full of shades of gray. Thus, black and white thinking can create a problem, particularly in relationships.
How does this manifest? For starters, it can manifest around the idea of trust. You might look at trust through a black and white lens: you either trust the man you’re with 100% or you trust him 0% — there is no compromise.
Yet trust is something that develops over time – it builds the foundation on middle ground.
Another one of these black and white areas may be around your level of interest — you’re either extremely interested in the guy or you’re not interested at all (and thus won’t pursue him). When only those two options are present, there is no room for playfulness or mistakes. There is no room for curiosity. Rather, the date almost feels like a job interview: the man either gets hired as your boyfriend or he doesn’t.
Black and white thinking can also manifest through the idea of commitment. You might ask yourself, “Is he going to commit or not commit?”
It’s easy to understand why this is a concern: women, like people in general, don’t want to waste their time and they want only to invest in a relationship with people who are invested in them. That’s not unhealthy, but fretting over commitment —after one, two, or three dates— is.
The decision to commit to someone takes time (on your part as well). In fact, when people commit to each other too soon, they tend to have issues down the road. This is why “jumping into things” is never a good idea. Committing to anyone before you truly know them is just asking for trouble.
Think of it this way: premature certainty creates more uncertainty. These words aren’t true just in relationships, but in other parts of life. Would you want to buy a house before you were really sure you liked it? Would you want to sign a contract with a company before you were really sure you wanted to work there? Would you want to cut your hair if you weren’t truly sold on the style? Why should dating be any different?
Getting out of either/or thinking can do wonders for your relationship woes (and yourself!). It allows you to see the things that come with relationships – trust, attraction, commitment — as they truly are: not an all-or-nothing thing but on a spectrum that changes as your relationship progresses.
If you slow down and actually allow things to unfold, you are better prepared to make smarter decisions and more attuned to your intuition and your heart.
This requires, on some level, getting comfortable with uncertainty. If you can expand your window of tolerance and learn to better handle the “not knowing” then you will prevent yourself from pushing men away or calling it quits prematurely because you’re afraid you’ll get hurt.
It’s actually pretty simple: your ability to pick a high-quality partner is in direct proportion to your ability to be in a relationship with uncertainty.
While this sounds like a lofty goal, you are already comfortable with uncertainty on several levels. You can’t know for certain that you won’t lose your job tomorrow. You can’t know for certain that you won’t get a flat tire on the way to a very important appointment. You can’t know for certain that a giant asteroid isn’t headed towards earth.
Uncertainty is part of life. If you can learn to accept that it is also part of relationships, you will do yourself – and your heart – a huge favor.
If you’re interested in hearing more, come join us for our webinar: The Three Keys to Being Relationship Ready. Click this link to find a time that works for you.