Why Do Guys Pull Away Before They Commit?

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Initial days of courting and being in love are exciting, but can often also be a slippery slope. While the romance is abundant and you are having a lot of fun, some men start pulling away as soon as there are signs of exclusivity. You might be forced to think, why do guys pull away before they commit? 

Since he has given no overtly verbal declaration of a full-fledged relationship, no matter how beautiful your bond might be, it remains on the fence. The over-thinker in you is going to start to worry at this point. Is he ghosting or pulling away? Does he actually like me or not? You start thinking generally about why men pull away at all, because you can’t help but notice this pattern.

Men are products of patriarchy, like we all are. Forming intimacy and following it through with vulnerability and honesty, while being expressive about their feelings and fears, is hard for them. This is how we have raised them, and this is why men pull away after getting close.

9 Reasons Guys Pull Away Before They Commit 

Stepping into commitment can be a scary thing to do no matter how much you love another person. It changes your life, your mindset, and your expectations. Some men take longer than others to figure out their own commitment needs and may even act like commitment-phobes.

Why do guys pull away before they commit? Do guys pull away when they are falling in love? Why do they pull away when things are going well? 

There could be so many reasons and confusions your man could be grappling with. It may even start to become like a push pull relationship. Your confusion is valid, especially when men pull away after getting close. You will only really find the answers once you talk to him, but for now, these 9 reasons guys pull away before they commit can give you some insights into their behavior pattern:

1. He is still recovering from past heartbreak 

Don’t get us wrong. He might be over his ex but not over the pain that she caused him. While he might have moved on from the person, the heartbreak still lingers. So why do guys take time to commit and why do guys pull away before proposing? This is why.

It is difficult for him to be his best, uninhibited self with you. They are aware that this is unfair on you too, and this is why men pull away a lot of times. In this scenario, you must leave him alone when he pulls away. You are not abandoning or leaving him. But he clearly has thoughts to re-organize and feelings to process alone.

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Tash says, “I completely understand how difficult heartbreaks are. I’ve been through my own share of breakups. But I can’t depend on a new partner to make me feel better or to distract me from my pain. Yes, we heal through our relationships too but it can’t happen at the cost of your partner’s self respect and peace. I decided to leave him because it felt like there was no space for me in the relationship at all. Her cloud hung over us every day.”

2. He is unsure of himself 

People often go through such tormenting pressures in life that they simply cannot take on more. Your man might be going through an identity crisis or even a quarter-life crisis and this is also a reason why men pull away. He might not be completely satisfied with where and what he is in life, and it’s generally hard for men to express their stress and seek help.

Such internal inconsistencies can make it very difficult for someone to commit and be there for another person. He may even think you are too good or too sorted for him. He needs time to be happy with himself. 

Pete says, “I knew I was in love with her but I kept feeling I shouldn’t drag her down with me. I had way too much going on in terms of financial pressures and mental health issues and I just couldn’t bring myself to share.”

Related Reading: 21 Do’s And Don’ts When Starting A New Relationship

3. He is not ready for a relationship 

Why do men pull away when they are falling in love? Sometimes even when the love is there and is real, a relationship still seems too far-fetched. This is not because they don’t like you or care for you. It might just be because they are not ready for a committed relationship.

A relationship requires a great deal of energy if one wants to do it right. Even though the effort is always worth it, some men are just not ready to make that lifestyle change.

Bringing someone new into your life and loving them every day seems beautiful on the outside but can actually be a lot of work if one is not prepared or willing to do it. It’s better to be single than to be in a half-baked relationship.

4. The fear of getting hurt 

fear of getting hurt
Men may still be dealing with past feelings of getting hurt

Past trauma can really change the way men might look at their future relationships. If you’re perplexed why guys pull away when they like you, it could be because they are scared of putting both feet into the water and then drowning. This is clearly a case of dating anxiety.

So, why do guys take time to commit? Because once someone invests and loves completely, there is always a chance of things going awry and causing hurt. Some men are so scared of their past experiences that they are unable to put both feet into the water again.

As we mentioned earlier, patriarchy demands that men build walls around them to hide away their feelings in order to be ‘manly’. So, instead of going through their pain in a plain, honest way, they dump it deep down where it suffocates their feelings of love and intimacy.

5. He does not see your futures match up 

Even though you two might be in the thick of a thrilling rendezvous right now, your future plans could be markedly different. You might be planning to move out of the city or perhaps he is looking for a different kind of lifestyle. When such defining choices have to be made, your man might be worried about what the future holds.

In order to prioritize his future and not lead you on unnecessarily, he might refrain from committing. He is only doing this because the future might separate your paths. He just does not want you both to dwell on false hopes. 

Carla says, “I had this beautiful relationship with someone who I vibed with politically, mentally and emotionally. We both took the decision to separate after we realized we were not compatible geographically, and we were both not ready for a long-distance relationship. It was painful and hard to recover from, but I know it was the best decision for us. When the movie, La La Land, came out, I realized how much I resonated with the theme of two people who are just right for each other but can’t be together.”

Related Reading: We Couldn’t End Our Relationship Nor Do We See A Future Together…

6. Everything was going too fast 

Dates after dates after dates can give a man the idea that you are in it for the long haul. This is also why some men pull away when things are going well. He might want to take things a tad slower and really test the waters before diving deep.

Guys push you away when they are stressed about the pace of the relationship, and they want to take their time to deal with new relationship anxiety. When a man pulls away, how long does it last? It is difficult to specify a time period. It depends on how long it takes for him to gain clarity and come to a conclusion about what he wants. It’s up to you to decide if he’s worth that wait and patience.

7. He is afraid of accountability 

Why do guys pull away before they commit? Sometimes, he wants to run away from responsibilities because he is desperately clinging to his own independence. He does not want to deal with realistic expectations of a relationship.

It can be unfair to some degree. Being in a relationship is all about being answerable and accountable to one another in the matters that involve you both. You cannot just savor the sweet fruits of dating and then turn away when reality strikes. 

If this is the case, you must value yourself when he pulls away. Do not wait for someone who wants to be with you, but is afraid to treat you properly. You should definitely leave him alone when he pulls away.

Related Reading: 10 Telltale Signs You Are Not Ready For A Serious, Committed Relationship

8. He is evaluating his options 

This is a sad reality but is very true. If there is no defined relationship per se, he might have other potential partners in his life. He could be benching dating.

He might be attracted to or even seeing other people and could be unsure of who he wants to be with. This might put you on the backburner until he chooses his partner. It’s unfortunate but this is also why men pull away from their partners. You need to prioritize yourself here and not wait around for him to make up his mind.

“I got to know only in the second month of our dating that he was seeing other people too. I was shocked that he was so casual about this. Of course he was free to date other people, but I should have been told about it right from the start. This affects my sexual health too after all. It was an extremely insensitive and sexist move on his part,” says Dina. 

9. He has other problems that need his energy

Stress at work
Men may be dealing with personal issues that are daunting to them

It could be parental issues, job stress, or even his own depression, alcoholism or anxiety. Men can have a plethora of issues that they might not reveal to you. So you may be completely unaware of the harrowing issues he is battling. They may even manifest themselves as arguments in your relationship.

In this case, he is simply not ready to invest in someone and needs to save all his energy for himself. Moreover, he does not want to become a pestilence for you either. This is why guys push you away when they are stressed.

What To Say To A Man When He Is Pulling Away? 

There are many strange, unfair and legit reasons why men pull away from their partners and leave them hanging. Over the course of dating, your man might display mixed behaviors that can confuse you. It can get repetitive and annoying. You might be forced to ask, why do guys pull away before they commit? 

When a man starts pulling away without a warning, it can be an anxiety-inducing time for you. Chris says, “I had begun to question everything that transpired between us. Was anything we went through even true? I didn’t deserve that emotional wreckage even if I understand his reasons to pull away now.”

You may even start jumping to conclusions about how much you really meant to him. Yet, it is simply best to talk it out rather than fostering feelings of helplessness and confusion around “do guys pull away when they are falling in love?”. More often than not, guys pull away and then come back. You just need to get them to talk it out and express what is really bothering them. To improve communication is the foremost step.  

Wondering, “Why do guys pull away before proposing?” Having a conversation about it is your best bet. You should also reassure the man in your life that you are there for him if there’s anything he’d like to talk to you about. Sometimes, they just need to know that they are loved. Things can become much better once they feel more secure. However, this should not happen at the cost of your own mental health, self-respect, and peace.


1. Why do men withdraw?

Their own self-esteem, past heartbreak, future worries, or confusion about who they truly love can cause them to withdraw. 

2. Why is he pulling away all of a sudden?

He could be worried about your future together and may be afraid of taking things too fast. Either way, be open to hearing him out.

3. Why do guys act distant when they like you? 

Sometimes they are afraid of liking you too much! It is just a little anxiety about a few things. Ask him and figure it out together.

4. Why is he pushing me away if he loves me? 

When he loves you, he is afraid of hurting you and ruining the situation because of other things. It could be his own troubles, his career, or his future.

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