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I have a question, for men who tend to find times they back off from a wonderful relationship and also for women who have dated men who tend to pull away each time the relationship seems to get stronger.

I have been dating R now for a year this month. 99% of the time we do great, but I noticed when we seem to reach another point in our relationship where we are closer or where his feelings seem to just explode, all of a sudden he seems to take a few steps back, and I can just feel a distance in him.

So, my question is, As a man, have you done this? As a woman dating a man, how have you handled it?
Thanks for the help!





Last edited by Anna2000; 03/08/10 01:20 PM.
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I have never become "distant" in a relationship that was going well. The only times that I suppose I would have been perceived as being "distant" was when I needed to think, which usually meant that I had to figure out if whatever was bothering me was worth discussing (if it was small) or worth breaking up over (if it was big).

I guess what I'm saying is that there is usually a reason for a person being distant. As for how to handle it, for a thinker like me, the last thing I'd want to hear is "what's bothering you?" - I'd discuss it when I was ready. OTOH, if it becomes a habit, and is not addressed, that would be bad too.

So I suppose that if you have noticed it, it has gone on for a while, and it is bothering you, perhaps you can gently inquire as to whether something is bothering him?

AGG


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Originally Posted by Anna2000
I have a question, for men who tend to find times they back off from a wonderful relationship and also for women who have dated men who tend to pull away each time the relationship seems to get stronger.

I have been dating R now for a year this month. 99% of the time we do great, but I noticed when we seem to reach another point in our relationship where we are closer or where his feelings seem to just explode, all of a sudden he seems to take a few steps back, and I can just feel a distance in him.

So, my question is, As a man, have you done this? As a woman dating a man, how have you handled it?
Thanks for the help!
Several times during our relationship The Leopard reminded me that before we became "an item," I backed off our budding relationship. I still recall getting into her car after having a lunch date and, rather than her turning the key and starting the car, she just sat, looked at me, and asked me, "Where do you see this relationship going?"

I was nearly ten years older than her. She was an extremely attractive woman who had no lack of interested men chasing after her. I was not (and still do not consider myself) an attractive man; I'm educated, articulate, well-traveled and moderately cultured. But I did not then (and frequently after) believe that I "deserved" a woman such as her as a partner, companion and lover.

My response to her was that I would like to have a deeper relationship with her, but I told her the above. She simply replied that she too, would like a closer relationship.

As our relationship progressed and we got married, I found toward the end I was pulling back again. In retrospect, I think she was subconsciously pushing me away by manipulating our conversations, by being angry over my supposed ill treatment of her kids, and of course, by the gaslighting caused by her affair.

My pulling back was caused by a fear of engulfment. At least that's the best way I can put it. I felt afraid that I was losing myself at times, and would pull back to try to get some "breathing room." Was that healthy? I don't know. Given what has occurred to bring me to this site, I don't think so.

But that's just my experience. I got involved with a personality-disordered woman (a diagnosis that has been validated by a number of professionals) and engulfment is something they are very good at doing.

I will say that without her efforts to pull me back into the relationship, I don't know where we might have gone. That she engaged with me and kept me from shrinking away was both a good thing and a bad thing (again, given the circumstances). I don't know that I have advice to give you, but if you are comfortable in this relationship and want it to grow, I'd suggest you speak directly to him about what it is you want, what you're feeling, and ask him to work with you.

Do you have the Harley books? I'd say reading them together would be a good, non-threatening way of doing this...


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Thanks AGG and Fred,

I think over the year we have been dating, this is the 3rd time it's happened.

I am trying to be patient and and press, I think the opposite of Fred's woman by pulling him back in. I just give him some space. He hasn't asked for space but at the same time, he hasn't asked to see me as much either. It seems like it always happens when he starts feeling super close, telling me more than usual that I am the woman of his dreams, he wants to be with me forever, saying he loves me a lot, then he seems to just back off for a while.

I kind of look at it as; if he is having second thoughts, I for sure want to give him space because he needs to come to a conclusion and that is a conclusion I can not intervere with.

He's a wonderful man, and I am now sure that some day, if he feels the same, I want to be married to him. I know it may sound strange that I am not sure IF it's what he'll decide and while he has told me a few times he hopes to spend the rest of his life with me, I am comfortable with us taking this naturally and I still have plenty of time for him to come up with that he is 100% for sure as well. :-)

Thanks again all!


The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.
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Anna,

Yes, I've felt distant before. Typically, it's because there's something that I want to communicate to her that I find difficult to say, or if I'm not sure how I feel about something. Perhaps her behavior changed slightly in a way that made me feel uncomfortable. I can't figure out whether I'm being too sensitive, not a big deal, or something I need to say.

Also, the relationship may be at level I'm not comfortable with. I may have got caught up in the momment and acted in a way that may make her think I'm more sure about her then I really am. She might not even think that I was sending signals, but I'll backoff just to make sure.

That said, I wouldn't say that's what your BF is thinking/feeling. I would ask though, since you said that he grows distant right after a really close point in the relationship, do you think maybe your behavior changes in anyway? Just as an example, do you get more clingy after he tells you these things? Perhaps more distant yourself? Maybe you take him for granted a bit? I don't know, just wondering if there is is possiblity that it's less about his reaction to the intimacy then it is a reaction to your behavior. I could be way off.


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Men need their man cave time or a hobby.

Sometimes I just think it'd be better if it was just me and my bird. Other times I can't get along without her and she knows there's nowhere else for her to go.

If I go off and fly or shoot with my buddies for the day, I feel alot better.


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I withdraw when I feel that my Giver is not being reciprocated. If I feel that my giving is not mutual, my tendency is to withdraw/cut back until an olive branch is extended to me and then I put myself out there again.

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Have you read Christian Carter's books? They were very enlightening to me and helped me understand what was happening; however, it's way too extensive to attempt to relay here.


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DKD,

I have considered all the same things you have. I set him down and asked him last week and he said,

�A. The distance of our relationship (1 hour away) sometimes takes it toll.� Overall, I do most of the driving because of practicality; I have children who are older and he has younger that are in sports, but I know it wasn�t driving he was referring to, the distance is just hard on both of us at times, for obvious reasons.

He also said, �B. He injured his back and it is also taking it�s toll.�

For me, I think there is more to it than what he is willing to tell me, but if he�s not willing to tell me, then I believe I need to have patience and not press it.

It still leaves me guessing though. I hate being blind sided. It has occurred to me, like you, that perhaps he got caught up in the moment, and it�s a moment he�s not quite ready for or perhaps didn�t mean totally, and then like you, he back off.

As for clingy, I don�t think so, but did consider it.

As for distant, when he becomes distant, I tend to follow suit which is maybe good�maybe bad�

Taking him for granted�Also something Jungian pointed out�.I don�t think so, but it is something to explore. He really does put a lot in our relationship and treats me better than I ever thought possible, but then I reciprocate a whole lot too, and I try very hard to make up for what he has done and then also tell him how wonderful he is a man, as a boyfriend and as a father. There are some things I can�t do that he does, but I try to do other things for him that he likes.

Pariah, The �you and your bird thing� cracked me up! And yes, I remember many times my ex would go into a cave, work things out on his own, and then come out refreshed again. LOL!

KCStamper, No I haven�t read them, but I just read reviews and will pick up a book this weekend. Thanks for the recommendation!

You all had good points and thanks for all the help.

I was thinking too, maybe we are just at two different places in our lives, he has been divorced 3 years, me 8 years. Any of you divorced 5 and more years..knows what I mean..and 'nough said.

Small update...Last night we had a wonderful night together, but still....I felt a little bit of what seemed to be sadness or maybe it was guilt. I didn't ask though, I just want to give him time, and then in a couple of weeks, if I still feel this, I'll ask him again.

Last night I said, "R, let me massage you." This was during a massage he was giving me, he said, "No, this is your night and you deserve to be treated like a princess, and sometimes I don't do it,(with a pause) but you deserve it." Not sure I read it right, but I felt a sadness come over him. I said, "I believe we both deserve to treat each other wonderful, and you are amazing on how well you treat me." I then told him, "If it's my night, good, then I get to choose, and I am choosing to give you a massage." And he then let me.

A


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Anna,

It sounds to me like you are handling things pretty well. You're asking questions and being patient. I don't think it's a bad thing to be a little distant when you feel he is. You still need to maintain boundaries to protect yourself.

I think it's ok the tell him when you feel a little sadness, but not to the point where he feels guilty, like he's suppossed to do something about it. You're just looking for the truth.

I will say that it sounds like this distance (physical and otherwise) is something you'll need to tackle before a marriage. Perhpas that's on his mind. Have you all talked about anyone moving?


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DKD,

I am now wondering if I missed the whole reason why he seemed to be a little distant. I gained about 10 pounds this winter, not a lot for some people but considering that I am short, it's very noticeable. Plus, I didn't exercise as much either, and so I was starting to really get out of shape, and the weight never distributes properly when you don't exercise. So, now that summer is coming, I started working out at the gym again, plus eating healthier and it's paying off already. I noticed he seems excited by the changes. He is more attracted to fit women and maybe he had mixed emotions on whether he should talk to me about it or leave it alone. So, if that was the reason for the difference I was feeling in our relationship, I can understand it, as I remember being there with mixed emotions with someone else years ago; wondering if I was being selfish, if I would hurt his feelings if I talked to him about it, if I was being shallow for wanting that person to be fit again, if the weight gain would stop or would there be more, etc. etc.

We haven't had much of a chance to have alone time for the last several days because he has his kids for spring break, so until next week, I don't expect a whole lot of sharing intimate feelings for a couple of weeks.

On moving closer to each other. We have talked about both of us moving in a little closer to each other. He said he was very willing to sell his house and move in closer to me, but I have insisted for now that he doesn't move because I just think it's important to be as close to your kids as possible. He lives within walking distance of his kids and it is so easy for them to see their dad. I have one in college and one on the way to college next year, so it just makes more sense for me to move.

If I move, I give up the home and neighborhood I love and will either have an incredible commute to my work or have to give up the job I love to find one closer. After a lot of soul searching, I am willing to sell my home or perhaps rent it out, as for the job, I would be willing to commute every day than give that up.

Thanks again for all the help!

A


Last edited by Anna2000; 03/16/10 08:15 AM.

The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.
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The secret to happiness is wanting what you already have. ~anonymous
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I think the change in your physical appearance could very well be the issue. Perhaps it sounds odd, but a guy can take how a women keeps up with her looks as a reflection on what she thinks of him, as well as how attracted he is to her. From my personal experience, I ask the question on whether she's just going to let her self go once she's 'got me'. And if so, what other things I like about her are going to go away.

Actually, I bet that doesnt' seem that odd at all. I would guess women would have a similar reaction?


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Anna,
I think you are wise to give him the space he needs to figure things out for himself. Sometimes it's not that a person has second thoughts or that anything's wrong, but perhaps getting closer to you reaches a place within himself that is uncomfortable and takes some getting used to (for him). Sometimes pushing for answers can actually drive a person away, whereas respecting them and their ability to figure things out as an adult person of their own is validating and thus more comfortable.
I, too, have been through this, and by taking pressure off of the relationship and giving us the space we need has actually solidified it.


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This sounds like my fiancee. Except that we are engaged and that is when she started being distant.

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Yep, that's when it started with us too.


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I'm not giving space is really the complete answer. I think you still need to be radically honest, and you need to maintain your boudaries. You don't want your potential future spouse to think that they can just go distant whenever they want and you'll always be there. You don't want to start resenting them for it.

So if it bother's you, tell him. Tell him that at times like this when you go distant, it makes me concerned about our future. I don't like this and I fear that you'll have periods of distance in the future too, possible for longer periods of time. I'm concerned that maybe I can't trust you as much as I thought I could. I understand that you need your space to figure things out, but I hope that when you do, you'll tell me what's going on. I need some reassurance.

Perhaps that's putting pressure, but honestly, if that's what's happening in your heart, I'd want to know about it sooner rather then later, the same as you want to know what's going on with him.


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DKD, Thanks so much, you have been so awesome with your advice. I have been busy at the gym, etc. and haven't had much time to respond. The distance went away but I am still planning to address it. I think the more a person spends with another, the more that person will trust enough to say what is on their mind. If it was the weight, I could see how that would be very hard to address with anyone you loved. But I do plan to ask him if that bothered him, and then also explain to him that through my entire life, while I may get complacent every now and then, and especially in winter months, fitness is important to me and it doesn't take me long to get back on the horse and try again. However, as we all know, some day something may happen where i can't work out, and you know that doesn't concern me, because I know he'd still love and support if that was the case, as would I support him.

Erwin, I read your post when you first posted and I have been meaning to respond but so swamped I haven't had time. I will try to give it a go tonight! I hope things are better!

Kayc, great advice! I do think giving space is important and like DKD said though, making sure the other person knows, once your feelings is sorted out, then we need to talk. My ex never gave me anytime to sort out my feelings, if I needed time to think about why I was mad, hurt, etc., he would demand an answer immediately. I think seeing his reactions made me more aware that patience is very important in a relationship.


The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.
~~Socrates

The secret to happiness is wanting what you already have. ~anonymous
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I like what DKD has to say along with many others who posted about this. If you go after this issue with him gently it could draw out whats bothering him. Pestering him about it with no patience will probabely shut him down. It will take a balance that only you can judge but it is an important issue that will need to be addressed at some point..

You asked us if we ever withdrew from relationships and what we thought well here is my two examples.

When I was 17 my girlfriend of two years wanted to get married. Her opinion was I "worried to much" and my issues about having a good enough job or carreer when we had to provide for ourselves would take care of themselves. I made the agreement with her that we could get married but it was undestood that we wait till we got out of the service and had good jobs and saved money before we had kids. She ignored my request and stopped taking the pill right before we got married. My instints were right about what would happen if I was forced into an "all work and no play" type of life and she became dis-illusioned about being married and eventually had an affair... blah blah she was young. We eventually divorced after 5 years.


After I recovered to some extent from that I was set up to go to colledge. I was 26 and felt very strongly that I should get financially stable before I attempted to have a seriuos long-time relationship. I wanted to give any woman in my life everything, like diamonds,a big wedding, and I also knew that time would be the one thing I did not have if I was working small time jobs to make ends meet. An education was also high on my list of what I needed to do to feel responsible and whole. I met my second wife around this time. We both had weak boundaries and slept together as we tried to seek in each other the thing we thought would make us whole. She became pregnant and was found to have cervical cancer and so the bond of human decency and compassion for each other and the unborn child pulled us together. Way to fast and before we worked out our own very personal issues and baggage we brought in with us. No regrets only because it doesn't do any good. I didn't get to colledge and her baggage of alcohol and inner emotional problems caused thier share of problems even though we managed to keep it real enough to raise our children well. I worked to much and never had the time I wanted to have with her when all the problems would have been in the past. There were great things I shared with her but it could have been better.

In both cases I felt a need to pull back from the relationship but was convinced I would lose someone if I didn't move forward and pursue what they deemed nesesaery to stay together at that time.
I guess now what would I balk at in a relationship? Probably the same things as before. The thing I know now is that its not fair for either party to with-hold the fears that they have from each other. Its important that everything be out in the open before they commit because there will be more challanges to face in the future.

When your BF is ready to discuss what is bothering him will be the right time. You should encourage him because we sometimes want to go into the "mancave" and bury it only to find it still lives inside us. It may be just something that you both have to take special care to evaluate and address out front as a real fear that deserves respect. As opposed to a reaction from past experiences that he still carries around.

When it comes to relationships I have allways liked this saying about how women are able to know intrinsically what needs to be done to move forward..

"If it was up to Men to have children there would never be any born" Us men should not ignore the intuition of women as well the protective nature of men should not be ignored by women.

I am sure that he will come around to what his prob is eventually


I hope that all this makes some sense because I feel like I went on to much...(agin)



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Me former BS
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Teilhard de Chardin..We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience. ...Sounds about right to me.

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