This article was co-authored by Jessica Engle, MFT, RDT. Jessica Engle is a relationship coach and psychotherapist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She founded Bay Area Dating Coach in 2009, after receiving her Master's in Counseling Psychology. Jessica is also a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and Registered Drama Therapist with over 10 years of experience.


This process is often referred to as the “rubber band,” where a man alternates between being close to his partner and pulling away, like a rubber band. The key is not to move towards your man when he is withdrawing, because it creates slack in the rubber band. You want to give him his space and keep the tension in the rubber band so that he eventually snaps back and becomes close to you again.
I met my friend online about 5 months ago. At first he kept in constant contact with me. Then his contact became less frequent. I realized I was the one doing most of the initiating so I stepped back. After 8 days he contacted me saying I dont love him anymore. He explained the problem was not me. He schedule is very busy cause he has a 9-5 job plus an evening contract plus he own several propertyies. I thought he was lieing to me and he was a player. I found out he eas telling the truth. Most times he is extrememly tired. He made a way to spend time with me twice. We had a really good time and he was totally relaxed and he displayed his feelings for me. Both times we met he shut down afterwards and became distant. The first time he came out of it after a week and told me he was in love with me. The second time he shut down. He make sure he text me goodmorning everyday but that is it. After the first week askec if he enjoyed his visit and he said he enjoyed me, but it has been 2 weeks since then and he keeps his contact to a minimum. I reply ro his good morning text and occasionally I will ask how is he doing and he will respond but no additional test after. I have been very quiet trying to give him his space. Yesterday I asked if I offended him in any way and wanted to know why I asked. Confused I just said, “i can’t figure you out but and i want to give you your space. Nut I dont need to be in your head I just want to make sure we are good. Your word is good enough for me. He said we are good and texted an emoji kiss. I said okay.
Renee’s, we’ve had no interaction since he responded to confirm he’s dealing with some things and would explain when he could and apologized for pulling away. That was two months ago. It’s been total silence since then.I reached out to give him encouragement and let him know I’m still here for him and loved him and am very proud of the man he is. I asked if he needed more time, no reply yet. That was a week ago. Up until this stage, he’s been a truly reliable, mature, stand up guy. He’s been broken from previous relationships but with… Read more »
Typically, men love to see their woman as a prize that they need to work for. They see the woman that they choose to be with as an accomplishment and as someone that took work to earn. It might sound a little silly but it’s true. Men love to know a woman has a mind of her own, is confident, and isn’t easy to get. So, men pull away when women get too clingy. Do not start canceling all your plans to be available to him every day all day.
I was in a relationship for ten years ever since high school. Yes in the beginning I cheated several times and this wonderful woman forgave me. In February, I don’t know what was wrong with me but freaked out because she wanted to get married and I felt I didn’t. So we split up and I started seeing this girl from work. Now this girl is pregnant. Her and I did not last long because I realized I was in love with my ex of ten years. But she doesn’t want a baby that isn’t hers. What do I do? I can’t stop missing her and I truly believe she’s the love of my life. She is truly something special. Is there a way love can fix us?
This part of the message serves as the test for your ex girlfriend. She can either accept your invitation to talk on the phone or decline it. If she accepts it then you can run around your house like a crazy man full of excitement. If she declines it don’t take it personally. She may be busy at that particular moment or you may not have built up enough attraction yet. It just means you have a little more work to do.

Give each other space and time to heal. Being together doesn't mean you've got a leash over the other person. When mending a broken relationship, your instinct might be to spend every waking moment together. But this prevents the two of you from stepping back and seeing the big picture or your relationship, it’s good sides and bad. Spending every waking moment together often leads to fighting or feeling trapped.
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I was in a relationship with I guy where I pulled away because I fell in love with him and I needed time to process it. I didnt tell him how I felt. I still texted a little, maybe every second/third day just a bit over two weeks, but by the time I came back, he was moody, and started drifting a little from me. He then wanted time apart because he couldn’t deal with my emotional boundary I put up before. So I told him the issues I had and that I fell in love with him. So while we gave each other space, we missed each other. I was happy to see him when I cane back but he begged me to fall right back into the relationship too fast and it was all a very confusing mix of blaming and missing me and I found myself backing away again. Thats when I decided to stopped seeing him, even though I loved him.
These men who pull away have an avoidant attachment style. Read ‘Attached’ by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller and ‘avoidant, bad boyfriends’ by Jeb Kinnison. After reading these I realised that I’d been unhappily married for over twenty years to an avoidant man. I’ve since met someone with a secure attachment style and the difference is night and day. Unfortunately most secure men pair off youngish so the dating pool is disproportionately full of avoidant men. DO NOT MARRY one you will be miserable.

It was hidden for 6 months. Kevin, I have seen married couples keeps issues hidden for many many years. It is not about the time. As of now you know about the situations and it is not something to distress about. I need you to put in into your mind that your girlfriend has not cheated on you. Do not let issues as such break into your relationship. I have read your part and I have read hers. I have also see the list and I agree to it. Both of you will grow stronger and closer by using it. Love and cherish each other. You stated that it has been cleared out. I am very ecstatic to hear this. I ask you both, do not let anyone into your relationship. Do not assume anything. Always tell each other if something has happened. Make you bonds stronger and your walls higher. Your relationship has a very long way to go.
When she texted me, I quickly apologized for not showing how much I care for her. That being the reason why I chose to write to her, hoping to show that I am still in the game. I also mentioned that the long distance “thing” eats me away sometimes. This being another cause for writing to her. After texting her this, she did not respond (as of two days ago).
My girlfriend and I have been together for 15 months and we are facing a major problem. I just want to start off with saying that she’s the one that recommended me to ask you for advice because right now, I am pretty much confused to do at this point. My girlfriend has told you about what she did when she went over to that guys house and about another guy who is a co-volunteer that volunteers at the nursing home as she does. I have gotten numerous screenshots about she herself committing to what she have done, which is cheating. I also have her best friends claiming those that she did do those things. When i confronted her for the first time she only told me one third of it. Again i find there’s more to the story from her friends. Again i try confronting her and now she told me 2/3. You know where I’m going with this. Anyway now that everything has been cleared out, i asked her why. She told me “i just said all those things because out of anger”. But then i asked her why would she say that. She was angry at me at the time when this occurred so i would understand that she could be saying this out of anger but why not clear this out with her friends? Plus this been hidden for 6 months so why this long? Also one of my friends saw her but they said nothing was happening, just her and this guy in the park talking. I let that go. Then another friend who is currently dating one of her ex-best friends told me that she told him about her cheating. I asked him why would she say that and he said that she was claiming to hurt me by the way is not because she kept it hidden. I asked her about that too and she claims the something, it was out of anger she said all those things to hurt me. This situation happened throughout last summer. I admit that i did not reply to her text for 2 days and keep making her feel bad but i always made sure to make up for that. Now we are trying to work things out but I’m still something sort of confused what to do, so that’s why i writing to you for some advise.
Why are these so bad? Well, first of all, they’re pointless because they don’t inspire emotions at all. In fact, they may even give your ex a negative image of you because you sound bored, uninteresting, and frankly, not like a happy person. By sending a text like this, you are sub-communicating to your ex that you’re unhappy with life and that you need to talk to him or her. Don’t do this.

The way you can make him regret it is by moving on and being happy without him. Positive attitude and change is what draws people back to you. With that said he might reach out again and don't be too easy to let him in. You want to make sure he has changed too. Follow a couple of things I've mentioned in this blog and stick to focusing on you and letting go of him one step at a time.
Forgive each other. This can be the hardest part of mending a relationship, but also the most crucial. Forgiveness releases pent up anger, pain, and emotions so that they don’t come back later in life, sabotaging all the progress you’ve made. Remember that no one is perfect, and without forgiveness, there wouldn't be a single working relationship on the planet.[6]

When she texted me, I quickly apologized for not showing how much I care for her. That being the reason why I chose to write to her, hoping to show that I am still in the game. I also mentioned that the long distance “thing” eats me away sometimes. This being another cause for writing to her. After texting her this, she did not respond (as of two days ago).
I say that because we’ve been together for three years. I just feel like he would’ve figured out sooner than later if I was what he wanted in a girlfriend. Our relationship is/was so great. We talked everyday, some days less than others but at the beginning and end of the day we always made contact. We hung out mostly 4out of 7 days a week. We’ve always made enough time for eachother, and what we want to do ourselves. We hardly ever fought. Of course we’ve had our few disputes, but nothing we couldn’t work through.
This is one of the main differences between men and women when it comes to relationships. Men are more in the moment and are able to comfortably enjoy a situation for what it is as it is. Women are always looking for ways to improve the relationship and push it forward. It’s not that one gender has it right and the other has it wrong. There needs to be a balance between enjoying the present and comfortably laying the foundation for a future. It just can’t be done forcefully.
I’ve been in a long distance relationship for a little over a year. We have been through so much in the time we’ve been together and I can honestly say that I am in love with him. He started to drift away and I kept pushing. Today I asked him did he need a break and he told me he think he did. I immediately felt heartbroken and didn’t know what to do so I panicked. I started to tell him how I didn’t want a break and that I wanted to fix it. I asked him what changed and he told me everything. I then begged him to just try. I realized that I’m forcing the relationship witch will only have a heavier hurt in the end . There’s so much more behind this but here’s the basis. I told him I loved him then I asked him could we please keep trying. He replied I love you too and said okay. Shortly after I regrettably started to nag him to talk to me. He then began to ignore me. I realized that I’m making him feel trapped in this relationship and that’s the last thing I want to do. So I sent him this a couple of hours ago : I realized that I haven’t been being myself at all and I’m sorry for that. I’m forcing you and I don’t want to do that to you. I realized that you were pulling away and I kept trying to push you back in. I’ve always told you that I love you and even if we are not together I want you to be happy. I’ve been thinking about this all night and the dream I had really opened my eyes.i Really do love you and as much as this hurts i never wanted you to feel like you are trapped in a relationship. If you really need a break and need time I’m willing to give you that. I just wish it didn’t have to result to a break because only god knows how much I’ll miss you ‍♀️ but if it’s what you really want than I understand. I am patiently waiting on a response. I honestly just want to know, if I really give him the time will he come back or have I completely blew it already ?
Two months ago I met a man. We were so attracted to each other that it all happened so fast, on the first date. He warned me that he didn’t want a relationship… I did my best to listen to his feelings, show understanding and get some intimacy and we eventually got close and started meeting every week. I was sleeping over at his house, we were having good time, having sex, doing normal things like cooking and spending the whole weekend together. I knew he had a very problematic past – a father who never married his mother or took any responsibility, a brother from another mother who caused him problems, personal problems with drugs in the past and two broken relationships with 1) bulimic anorexic girl and 2) a girl who cheated on him 10 months ago. I was so good to listen, give him the peace he needed and be very patient with him.
The ones who are close to us can easily stab us in the back. Her friends or ex friends were not in her position. I would advise you to open your mind and let the “friends” exit out. A relationship does not include more then 2 people. You mentioned she did not clear it out with her friends. We don’t often see the need to make the close individuals understand as we perceive that they must already be seeing our point of view. Small situations can easily be turned into gigantic ones.
In short, when you see that your crush or boyfriend is pulling away, you pull away too. Do not contact him. Concentrate on your own growth, reflect on what you’ve learned from the dynamics of the relationship and move forward with your personal goals. Be clear about your expectations and your needs. If they aren’t met, then move on and see if he’ll ever come around… Because if he doesn’t, I am sure someone else will!
See the world from your partner’s eyes. Too often, couples get caught up in their own emotions and neglect to see why their partner is upset. This is the easiest way to drag arguments out for days and days, but it can be easily remedied. Pause for a moment and think about why your partner is upset. What sorts of mistakes have you made that might bother them?[5]

Once you've faced your fear of being partnerless, then, and only then, can you know if you genuinely want your relationship back. "If you only miss your ex when you feel lonely, or when you compare your life to those of friends in relationships but not in moments when you feel happy and confident, it won't make for a very fulfilling relationship down the line," Dr. Bockarova says.
In the dating world, I often see that one of the most common reasons men pull away is that they find the woman to be challenging, and she gives in because she likes him. She starts settling and making excuses for his lazy or inappropriate behavior. There are many times I see a woman dating a man, and he shows all the signs that he is not ready for a relationship with his behavior and his words. Instead of pushing yourself towards him in the hopes of changing his mind, I believe the right thing to do in this situation is to dig deep into your feelings. If you can control your feelings by maintaining a friendship, then go for it. (And I’m not talking about being “friends with benefits.”)
Sometimes men pull away for the same reasons we do . Ex: they have a huge stress related pimple and because most men don't wear makeup, they can't hide it, and they are embarrassed. Just because men exhibit different behavior than we do ( all that "manly" conditioning) doesn't mean they are so different than we are. Let's stop talking about men and women like we are different species and we need to study each other. Neither men nor women have a collective mind. Let's just treat each other as individuals and take every case into account. I met the nicest, sweetest guy a year ago. Doesn't mean it's all been perfect, but he's an individual just like I am and this b.s. "guys do this" and "women do that" is just not helpful to anyone. I love my short, stocky, loudmouth best friend/ sometimes bf dearly. First, and foremost, hes my best friend, the best friend I have ever had, when he's not being a pain in the ass. But he's still my best friend, and I love him, I hope we will always be friends.
Plus, if you don’t lash out with anger or blame, he’ll see that you’re in control of your emotions and that you’re not living and dying with everything he does or doesn’t do – and that will make him want you even more. He’ll know that you’re someone who understands him and he won’t feel so trapped by his emotions while he’s around you. Having the freedom to be perfectly honest with someone is freeing, and almost addictive in a sense.
The reasons men pull away are VERY important to understand. Why? There are two general reasons, and one doesn’t include you. He is either pulling away for reasons that have nothing to do with you and the relationship is fine, or things have gone sour and he requires some space. For now, do not panic because any feelings of anxiety from you will make him pull away more regardless of his reason. Also remember, things could be perfectly fine right now. There is no need to rock the boat and tip things into bad territory.
Hi, so my friend of 6 years confessed he has a crush on me and likes me. We’ve had agreed on getting to know each other on a romantic level. The sexual attraction is really intense with us that we slept twice but ever since we’ve not talked much and now I feel distant from him. I’ve been wanting to talk to him but he only hangs out with me in groups and avoids being around me much. I haven’t told him yet that I like him too but I did mention that I’m pursuing him when we last slept.

The day we broke up, we went out fishing with two friends and it was really cool, and we went to see some of his friends play handball ( which is a very important part of his liife, but i have never played, so don’t really care, but I wanted to make the effort for him and to be with him). I was doing so good until he decided to go play ball with his friends during half time, leaving me alone on my chair, while I had come to be with him. There were two people I had talked to before close by ( which was his excuse to leave me) but they were talking the foreign language and imagine how hard it is to engage in the conversation when you don’t know what it,s about and you need to switch language… So i got mad at him and told him it wasn’t cool to leave me on my own.
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