Four signs that he is pulling away

Everything was moving along nicely until it wasn't. Suddenly, at least it seemed to be sudden--you felt a chill in the air. Comfort and complacency were replaced by tension and strained silence, and old feelings of insecurity began to rise within you. You asked yourself if it could be you, him, or the relationship. How do you know?

It happens all the time. Two people are moving forward towards greater commitment, and then the momentum slows or stops. There are a host of possible reasons for this change--but the first step is identifying what is happening, not why.

The following are 4 telling signs that his feelings towards you are cooling.

* Changes in frequency and form of communication

You used to text and email throughout your days, fitting in a quick call during a break and updating each other on your schedule and how your day was going. There were always sweet personal comments, sexy innuendo, and a clear plan about when you would get together. Suddenly, your texts and emails go unanswered all day. You may get a quick, cursory message once or twice, explaining that he is swamped with work and doesn't know when he will be able to call or schedule time to get together. You don't know what is behind it, but you know he is different.

* The frequency, length and quality of time he spends with you

He finally finds the time to get together, but plans are sketchy. You meet up at a bar, your place or his and share a drink and/or sexual intimacy. He tells you he can't stay over and needs to call it a night early because he is swamped with work and has a lot on his mind. Wow, what happened to all those long hours the two of you used to spend out doing things together, at home over dinner and a movie or spending lazy weekends with coffee and the paper?

* Changes in his eye contact, tone of voice, gestures and show of affection

He used to be so affectionate--holding your hand, putting his arm around you and staring into your eyes as he shared feelings and talked of future plans that included you. His voice had an unmistakable quality of tenderness, and there was a warm and fuzzy air circulating around the two of you. Now his eyes look away when he speaks to you, his speech is monotone or curt, his head is often turned so he is looking down or past you, and/or he rarely attempts any physical contact, except during sex. What happened?

* Changes in your interpersonal dynamics with his friends/family/co-workers

His friends became your friends, your interactions with his co-workers were candid and warm, and his family treated you as one of the tribe. Now, there is an awkwardness you can't put your finger on. His friends don't text or email as much, invites to happy hours and other impromptu gatherings seem to be drying up, and you haven't talked to or been invited to the home of a family member in what seems like ages. Was it something you said?

The most important thing to keep in mind as you look for these classic signs is that most likely it's not about something you said or did. If it were, you would have gotten that feedback fairly quickly and directly. Instead, it's about something not working or missing in the relationship. Perhaps as commitment loomed, he decided upon more careful evaluation that he is just not that into you. Maybe it felt right for a time, but now he feels he was attracted to you for the wrong reasons or because he thought you were someone you are not. There are so many possibilities and these are only a few of them.

Once you have correctly identified the problem as his pulling away from you, you can begin to devise an approach to address the issue directly with him. Describe the behavioral changes you are seeing in him and ask him for direct and honest feedback to your concerns. If he continues to say everything is "fine" but his behavior says differently--it's a good bet his feelings have cooled and he is uncomfortable discussing the specifics with you. You can't force an open and candid discussion on him; you can only ask that he help you understand. The, the rest will be up to him.

Want to read other articles on this subject?

"How's your BS radar?"
List of more "Nonverbal Communication" articles

"Am I reading the signals wrong?"


Toni Coleman, LCSW
Phone: 703-847-1768


Copyright 2008 Antoinette Coleman. All rights reserved.

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