Why do men suddenly pull away when things seemed to be going so well? Growing up, I was conditioned to court a woman as a demonstration of my worth in hopes that she’d like me. Well, this overly romantic behavior often bit me in the butt because I was trying to impress someone I really didn’t even know or like yet. Isn’t that always the case? A man initially comes on strong because we are meant to be the hunters.

So here’s what often happened: If I wasn’t feeling “love” for this person after a while, I would pull away or disappear (usually getting labeled an asshole or player) only to repeat the cycle over again. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt like the bad guy and that something was wrong with me just because I had doubts about a relationship.

As I peeled the layers of why this kept happening, I had an epiphany. I was seeking outside validation from another to substantiate my self worth.

Of course, I refused to believe it when I heard it from my friends, but it was true. For years I followed this co-dependent pattern of chasing love over & over again believing that’s how we achieve happiness.

Does any of this sound familiar? Have you ever met a man like this? Even dated or fell in love with him?

The Universe has a magical way of pulling your “stuff” out into the light for closer examination. Not too long ago I met someone who I didn’t have to chase and she seemed to like me just for me… how cool is that? Someone who liked me and I was terrified. Hearing her praise me and like me forced me to face something I didn’t know about myself… I’m lacking in self love.

Here’s the thing, I treated her with kindness, care, integrity and for the most part was a total gentleman. None of the so called game playing many men do, just an honest demonstration of getting to know someone. However, each kindness & compliment from her was like a dagger because (and I can’t believe I’m going to say this) I felt my self worth was almost non-existent and I had to face how little I liked myself at times.

The hard part was that two people were involved. And while I did the right thing by sharing my feelings with as much transparency as I’m capable of, there is still an unwritten expectation that a man needs to be the leader of the relationship. Because I didn’t have a clear roadmap of where I was supposed to go, it scared me and had me very conflicted.

Inner work is messy and painful at times.  I’m facing some deep shadow stuff and it feels very uncomfortable. By the way, this had nothing to do if I wanted to stay or wanted to go, she’s a fantastic person. This is merely a reflection of the stories that cause our fears to rear its ugly head.

Many people have a deficiency when it comes to self worth and often our deepest wound is our “not good enough” story. You might be wondering why I share this with you… I do so because I believe most dating coaches don’t talk about the inner conflict men experience and it’s easier to suggest dumping a broken man rather than having compassion for his experience.

I firmly believe that it is only in romantic relationships that we can face or confront some of these deep wounds surrounding love & commitment. Men need to feel safe with a woman before they can open up about feelings of inadequacy and share what’s on their heart in a completely authentic way. One of the most important ways that you can help him to feel safe with you is by completely accepting him, warts and all. And the flip side holds true as well…you must love and accept yourself and have appropriate boundaries in place. If he sees that you’re emotionally stable, he’ll feel more comfortable and safe with you.

Inner conflicts are a big reason that cause men to pull away and once you understand how to make him feel safe and accepted, he’ll want to draw closer to you.


If you’ve found yourself in this situation a few times and want to learn more, you’ll love my audio program Why Men Pull Away. You’ll learn how to know a flight risk when you meet him and the secrets to getting him to want to stay close.

We’d love to see you at our Facebook community for ongoing support and conversation!


About the Author:

Dating is a challenge for everyone. Regardless of age or circumstance, we all struggle to find our perfect match. As someone who has graduated with honors from life’s virtual University of Dating, Jonathon Aslay assists women in finding that seemingly elusive man with whom they can have both compatibility and passion.


  1. Kit April 16, 2016 at 6:58 am - Reply

    Thank you for this post. I am dating a man who has actually opened up and shared very similar feelings about his love and commitment issues. He has asked me to be patient with him as he works out his stuff and gets to a better place with himself and that he is almost there. He has been very clear that he cares for me deeply and knows that we would have an amazing relationship with each other but scared he will screw it up if he doesn’t get himself figured out first. He says he has a “block keeping me from fully opening up to love”. There are times I want to stop talking to him or “move on” because I should be spending my time with someone who already has self love and is emotionally available to have a commitment when the right person comes along. The problem is I have fallen in love with him, shadows and all. I struggle with my desire to have a commitment with him and also being patient and understanding while he goes through this ‘transformation’. I continue to date other men but no one else so far have I developed this kind of deep connection and bond that I have with him. How do you know the difference between “he’s just not into you” and “he’s just learning to love himself, give him some time and space”? Do I continue dating him and hold space or do I break off all contact with him and let him figure out his self love on his own?

  2. Sharon April 20, 2016 at 12:59 pm - Reply

    I have a similar issue with this male friend of mine. I am not in love with him but he was most comfortable with me, he opened up a lot of his inner demons to me. Here’s the problem, in the course of being kind and compassion to him, he fell in love deeply with me. Unfortunately, I can’t honor his love since I am already married. I just want to see him success in everything he does and hopefully, one day he will know my intention or gets my intention. Right now, it has been 1 month since he last confessed his feelings to me and receiving the unrequited responses from me has been very devastating to his emotional being. I felt so guilty but I know what I want in my life and him is not my plan. He wants us to stay as friends and yet he distances himself from me. I am now seeing him struggling with his old demons once again and I can’t help him as he refused to let me in but yet whenever he sees me in person, he tends to gravitate towards me. I really am confused. I want to stay as friend but looks like he isn’t sure what he wants although we have talked about this many times over.

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