You would be hard-pressed to find an epic love story that didn’t have a little bit of drama involved. The push and pull of Noah and Allie in The Notebook is one we know well. The intensity and love-hate relationship between Rhett and Scarlet in Gone With The Wind had us hooked.
We fantasized that our love stories would mirror these stories, but now, we’re finding that ‘complicated’ is really complicated. It can be disappointing, too, especially when you thought you were ready to know how to ask a guy if he likes you or what to say when a guy says he likes you.
Then, all of a sudden, a real conversation about exclusivity keeps being dodged and he feels distant. Was it something you said? Did he meet someone else? Relationships can be mentally and emotionally exhausting. If he is struggling to communicate his inner world with you, you’re left filling in the blanks with assumptions.
Reasons He Might Be Pulling Away
Don’t let your imagination run wild–here are a few common reasons why he may be pulling away, even if he genuinely likes you:
He’s Been Hurt Before
Did he recently get out of a relationship? Was he cheated on in the past? Chances are, he opened up to you about his dating history, so you may already have some context. It’s human nature to want to avoid pain. Whatever his past may be, even those moments when he is really happy can trigger his fear of abandonment or mistrust.
The two of you could be moving too fast, and that could be ringing alarm bells in his mind.
There’s Someone Else
If you haven’t had the conversation about exclusivity or he can’t seem to give you a definitive answer, there’s a good chance he’s still seeing other women. That doesn’t necessarily mean he’s going on first dates, but it’s not uncommon for single people to meet two people around the same time and hit it off with both of them.
He may genuinely like you while also enjoying his time with another woman. He may also still be trying to decide who is a better match and isn’t ready to commit to either of you until he does.
In this case, consider how you feel, what your timeline is, and what you want. Evaluate how much of your time you’re willing to commit to him until he makes up his mind—or decide if your needs align with what is happening.
He Doesn’t Feel Confident
Nobody wants to be rejected. He may think you’re his dream girl, but doubts he can really be your dream guy. You might be thinking, “Well, that’s weird–I tell him all the time how great he is and how much I like him!”
However, when someone doesn’t have confidence, it doesn’t matter what external validation they receive. If they aren’t believing it, it won’t mean anything.
The Common Denominator
In all of these scenarios, the direction of the relationship comes down to him. If you have communicated your intentions and needs and he is not responsive, it’s time to reevaluate. How much time are you willing to wait for him to decide if he’s certain or confident or healed? When you play the waiting game, you have to understand it’s a gamble–there’s no guarantee he will ever feel truly ready.
If he is willing to put in work, he needs to create a timeline with you. It isn’t fair for him to ask you to wait indefinitely when you may not even work out in the end. If he agrees to therapy, set a timeline for when you will check in and revisit your relationship status. If he needs more time to decide between you and someone else, determine how much time you want to give him.
Ultimately, my advice is to be with someone who is ecstatic about you. I know countless relationships in which the man was clear and consistent about his intentions from the get-go. You’ve done the work to know your worth and your desires–you deserve a partner who is equally excited about you as you are about them.
At the end of the day, it comes down to communication–it’s time to be direct and tell him that you’ve noticed he’s pushing you away. You’re not being accusatory; you want him to feel safe to open up.
That said, you also have needs, and in order to move forward, you need to work through his past pain. He may be open to counseling, or he may find that he’s not really ready for the next step.
Looking for tips on how to prepare to kiss a guy? I’ve got you covered–take a look at my latest article.