As an older man, I’m not sure if I can explain what’s happening and how relationships have changed over the past 40 years or so. Young men, like my son and his friends, view relationships differently from their fathers and are in the process of changing the relationship landscape forever. In my day, marriage was assumed and divorce was rare. Today, divorce is assumed, along with alimony and marriage, is to be avoided at all costs. Your boyfriends might not be pulling away from you as much as they are pulling away from a society that views them as disposable… Read more »

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.
Español: recuperar a tu ex novio, Português: Reconquistar o seu Ex Namorado, Français: récupérer son ex petit‐ami, Italiano: Riconquistare un Ex, Deutsch: Den Exfreund zurückbekommen, Русский: вернуть бывшего парня, 中文: 让你的前男友回来, Bahasa Indonesia: Mendapatkan Kembali Mantan Pacar Anda, Nederlands: Je ex vriendje weer terugkrijgen, العربية: استعادة حبيبك السابق, हिन्दी: अपने एक्स बॉयफ़्रेंड को वापस पाएँ, ไทย: กลับไปคืนดีกับแฟนหนุ่มคนเก่าของคุณ, Tiếng Việt: Khiến bạn trai cũ quay lại với bạn, 한국어: 헤어진 남자친구, 다시 잡는 법, 日本語: 元彼氏を取り戻す
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.
Guys are going to naturally cycle between wanting intimacy and wanting independence. Trying to guess the reason is impossible – some guys want space to reflect on the relationship, some more insecure guys may even want space because their friends make fun of them for being “too whipped”, some guys want space because they need time alone to clear their heads and gain clarity in life. Maybe hes struggling with a personal issue, or with his work. The reason could be anything for a multitude of different reasons.
You should investigate whether he is not being loving or interested, or if he’s just not doing that in the way that you expect or are used to. You may have unspoken expectations or fantasies of what a relationship should look like, and your projections are getting in the way of appreciating the good relationship you actually have. It sounds like you might have different love languages as well, where you need a lot of verbal affirmation and maybe that’s not his strong suit. That is something you can discuss with him and ask for more of. You can tell him what’s working for you and what’s not, or that you’re unsure whether he’s into you romantically despite all the evidence, and try to hear and understand where he is coming from.
Big or small, you have a few options. You could try and sort this out on your own (you’ve probably already tried that); do nothing and see if it somehow gets better (probably not), or you could take the plunge and go see a professional – a couple therapist (a decidedly better if somewhat scary idea). The therapist has a leg up over the other options in a few ways. One is perspective – she is looking at your relationship from the outside, rather than in the emotionally stuck middle that you are undoubtedly in. Not only does this make it easier for her to be a voice of reason and reality, but she can also see the greater gestalt that, up close, you cannot. But the other big advantage is that she probably thinks about relationship problems and solutions a bit differently than you might. 
To improve your self-esteem, concentrate on your strengths in all areas: emotional, social, talents and skills, appearance, and any others that are important to you. For example, you might have natural empathy, the ability to make people feel understood, a talent for baking, and gorgeous hair. Focusing on the positive and ignoring the negative can help you to feel adequate and valuable as an individual, especially when you connect the best parts of yourself to helping others.[9] If you feel useless, make yourself useful! Take your natural empathy and talent for baking and bake some fresh cookies for your elderly neighbors.
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.
Wow, the anger. No wonder you may be having relationship issues. It has nothing to do with lying or hiding true feelings. It’s about letting a guy have his space. If you come after me saying how horrible I am etc. etc. I will NEVER want to see you again. Nobody likes that kind of women, and no man wants to date his mother. Also pulling away is not “bad behavior.” Would you rather he spend time with you but verbally and physically abuse you? Bad behavior is if the guy is rude and abusive and mean, etc. Pulling away is a man’s way of saying “Look, I like you a lot, but I really need some time and space to sort things out.” If you can’t accept that not everything is rosy and happy all the time, and that if the man you “love” needs to pull away and you just bark and say “you’re behaving badly,” then you have no reason to be in a relationship.
It's best to admit your mistakes. You'll need to forgive yourself for your part in the breakup, then move forward to seek his forgiveness. If you lose your temper and say things you don't mean, pull yourself together as quickly possible and apologize sincerely. There is nothing weak or demeaning about apologizing. On the contrary, it shows strength and good character. But when you apologize, be sure you mean it. A disingenuous apology is worse than no apology.

I don’t know if someone could give me an advice, or maybe i’ll be criticized but i need to tell someone my storry. It’s a bit large so i apologize but it’s because of how complicated things are. Three years ago i started working as a girl of “company” ( i don’t really like the other words that describe this job). On my sixth month i met Him. At first he was just one of my best clients. But we got to talk a lot and start knowing each other, so we fell in love. He says he fell in… Read more »


I met a guy whilst travelling in Australia, and we dated for four months and travelled together the whole time. He said he loved me many times, that I made him feel things he never felt before and couldn’t stand the thought of me being with anyone else. Things felt so perfect. He made me feel like he wanted me so much. We are both from the same area in the UK and planned to carry things on when getting home. The last time I saw him at the airport, he told me he loved me and would be waiting for me when I got home in 2 weeks. However, as soon as he arrived home, he told me he changed his mind and didn’t want to commit to a relationship because of work and because his life is too busy. In the same phone call he also told me that he didn’t want me to get with anyone else. I love him so much, I started no contact as soon as he broke up with me and we haven’t spoken since (its been 10 days). I accepted his decision and told him that I couldn’t be friends right now as it was too hurtful, and that he had no right to expect me to wait around and not get with anyone else. He got very angry at this and called me bitter and childish. I don’t understand how his feelings changed so quickly. We still stayed friends on social media. I upload photos of me having a great time with friends, never post anything negative (although deep down i’m really suffering). I’m focusing on me, have taken up a new hobby and started hitting the gym more often. I just love him and miss him so much, every morning I hope today is the day he will message to say he made a mistake and wants me back. Is there any chance he will come back soon? or eventually? I don’t know what to do to make this happen. Any advice would be great.
Texting your ex does pose a risk. The risk being that he rejects you or just doesn’t answer. You should always be prepared for that possibility and just be OK with it. If you won’t be able to handle things not turning out the way you want, then you aren’t ready to get back together with your ex in the first place and need to spend more time on your own working through things.
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.
My bf of five months is going thru a divorce. He broke up with me saying he could fall in love with me so easily but can't let himself and needs time to heal from his marriage. It is an increasingly messy divorce. He messaged the next day saying he has set up counselling and will sort everything out and then again to say he loved every minute with me and is sorry he's not himself right now. I told him to take the time he needs to heal and have been responding to his texts but am finding this all very had and confusing....
Similar situation, Charlotte. I’ve been going through some rough anxiety and depression and have been moody a lot and he decided it is not right for him. We had planned a life together. We were so sure we were meant for each other. I am trying so hard to get back to myself with a change of medication. It’s difficult because we do work together. I’m devastated and lost.

Forgive me for not agreeing. Men need to learn how to communicate out of bed as they do in bed if they want a great woman by their side. Otherwise they should get a dog who also can’t communicate and forgives you even if you kick him every time you see him. Accepting less than you deserve so you can understand him better will ultimately push you to leave. Better to call him out and ask for the courtesy of acknowledging your needs too and understand your feelings are important too. When does his considerations stop being about him and turn toward you?

Here’s my problem, I was begging, pleading, and trying to look pity for my ex-girlfriend just to make her stay. We had sex then goodbye. Then i saw your videos about No Contact Rules. Following your advice about no contact rules was hard as hell. My target is FULL 30 DAYS no contact but in my two weeks of battle. Suddenly she texted me, i try to ignore her, then she call me using other number so we talked since its likely rude to ignore her at all. She told me she wasn’t happy in her new bf. She felt sorry for me. She’s asking me if there was any chance to rebuild our relationship?Is she still welcome to my life? I told her i am awesome now, i currently dating to someone else the she get madly jealous. She doesn’t want me to date others.She really want to see me but ill be the one who refuse to see her. I told her i will only see you when you come back to me. She wanted me to stick around but u said to your videos not to get in friendzone.
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.
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.
In this type of situation usually, the man will go back to the wife especially if there are kids involved because it is easier financially. As you know these relationships are not healthy and you do not deserve to be the other woman. You have more to offer than just being that. Even though he showered you with love and affection that is not enough. I believe what you should do moving forward is take a break and focus on you and see if he makes a move to file for divorce and be with you. Please feel free to reach out to me for a private session if you would like some guidance. I am here for you! :)
im doing the same thing you’ll do now your not alone i know it hurts but that what u should do, let him lose you and thinks hes a failure dont allow him to think he can play with your feelings, your not his toy if he cant decide what he wants then leave him to grom up and make decisions in life, hes immature and you did the right thing your so smart of going no contact and standing on what you want bravo, now do not let him take advantage and decide what he wants do what you want, you want him as a bf he didnt respect that he wants friends you dont so bye to him and lifes always comes around believe me one day he’ll come begging to have you back.
I think you’re focusing WAY too much on him and what he’s feeling. You’re focusing on the fear you have of losing him rather than focusing on your happiness. You have to ask yourself how you feel about yourself in this relationship as is. Do you feel your confidence, or do you feel insecure? No man is worth being with if you feel insecure. And if you do feel it, you have to change your dynamic and approach so you can get that confidence back. A man LOVES a confident woman, and you’ll feel better about yourself being confident, anyway. The way to get confident and attract him or any other man to you is by focusing on YOURSELF. You need to make sure you’re happy on your own before you can be happy with a man. This doesn’t mean you need to be single to get happy—just have a fulfilling life for yourself outside of a man. Don’t let him be the ONLY valuable thing or person you have in your life. You need to be excited about more in your day than your bf. You have to have other things going for you that make you happy. Once you can sustain happiness without the need of a man, you’ll have your confidence and this will be attractive to other men (and possibly your ex). The key is to not lose the focus on YOU even when you do get into a relationship or the relationship deepens. NEVER lose sight of your happiness. You need to continue having a fulfilling life outside of HIM. Once you start losing that grasp on yourself and get more caught up within the relationship, you’ll start to depend on him for your happiness—and he’ll withdraw again. Even if he withdrew for other reasons, chasing after him as if you can’t live without him will only push him away further. If he is a good man who is emotionally available and TRULY wants you, I promise he will come back. You don’t chase him, you don’t contact him. Let him contact you. Give him the chance to miss you. This can take anywhere from a couple weeks to a year or more. It’s however long it takes him to miss you, IF he truly wants you (took my guy 8 months). In the meantime, you don’t wait on him. You focus on yourself and getting your happiness and confidence. Fill your life with people and hobbies you love. Try new things you haven’t tried before. Change jobs if the one you have makes you miserable. Do what you need to do to give yourself a fulfilling life. Make sure you have your days full of plans so you don’t give yourself the chance to sit and mope about your breakup. That’s not going to help you. You need to show yourself how great life can be, even if he’s not in it. If he never reaches out, then he doesn’t truly want you—and why would you want someone who doesn’t want you as much as you want them? Don’t wait around for him. Focus on you. He will come back if he truly wants you, and you have to continue to focus on yourself even if he does. If he doesn’t come back, you’re going to be fine because you’re nurturing your happiness and confidence. PLEASE don’t lose sight of yourself, ever. It’s your golden ticket to happiness and to a great man who will love and respect you.
Hey! As per anyone who reads this probably, I’m going through a breakup but I still don’t think it should’ve happened. It has happened before, and its due to stress. I want to implement the no talking rule but, alas, he has some of my stuff, and that stuff i need back (my brand new sweater! And actual money! Like a decent amount of it too). Now, Usually I’d just wait until he messages me but this time hes leaving for residency (in school) in less a week *(but will still be around because his school is less then an hour away from our houses). What do I do? Do i implement the no talking rule or should I get my shit back first??
Take time out – stop talking before you start to yell when you’re having a row and you’re becoming over-emotional with frustration, anger, hurt or sadness. You’ll only be digging yourself a bigger hole, having to not only deal with whatever you were arguing about but also with the fall-out of being in a very emotional state. For more information on this, read my article: When couples argue constantly.
So it is not wrong for you to have the ‘problem’ of a man pulling away, even if you’re in a committed relationship. This is because men and women have different motivations, different perceptions of the world, and they value different things. This doesn’t mean that our values and wants cannot mesh together and create beauty in the world – they certainly can. But not without also having clashes along the way, which are 100% normal in man/woman relationships.
I maintained my cool during this time, we text a bit and even had a bit of a flirt but I did text a few times with suggestions to meet up that got ignored. I finally decided i would just ask whether he was still interested but in a very casual way, but got my point across, he apologised saying he’d been manic at work and that his mum wasn’t too well, but that wasn’t an excuse for not being in touch and asked me how i was, what id been up to etc. I replied with a lighthearted message saying i understood. A week then passed and nothing, so i sent another one, a bit more pressing and saying if he was ‘still being useless then fine, but can he meet me for a drink this week’ if not the i guess it’s best to leave things, but either way let me know’ He didn’t read this message for a number of days, then by the 4th day i got angry and sent a message saying ‘ or you could completely ignore me’ he then messaged me back saying he was sorry and being useless wasn’t his intention and that he was working way the previous week and would have struggled to meet me for a drink and that he said ‘sorry to have messed me around’ and hoped my broken foot was better. I replied back with a very lighthearted message also apologising for my behavouir and ended it with some fun chit chat, didnt ask any questions and didn’t suggest meeting up.
Guys are going to naturally cycle between wanting intimacy and wanting independence. Trying to guess the reason is impossible – some guys want space to reflect on the relationship, some more insecure guys may even want space because their friends make fun of them for being “too whipped”, some guys want space because they need time alone to clear their heads and gain clarity in life. Maybe hes struggling with a personal issue, or with his work. The reason could be anything for a multitude of different reasons.
We as women want to take a man’s resources – time, attention, money, commitment. That naturally requires that he trust us in order to give those precious resources. Do you understand that, as a woman, it feels very intuitive to you to want to take time, resources, love, affection and attention from a man – but that it also feels intuitive to a man to feel that these very things that you want, is a huge, huge job for him?
Relax and just enjoy the time you do have together. Don't obsessed about this. If he doesn't seem to want to spend time with you, find something else do that you like to do. Make plans with yourself and stick to them. Don't chase any man except the ice cream man. He might be going through some things he's not ready to share. Or, he might just be stringing you along. You don't know. But, there's no reason to worry about anything unless you know there's something to worry about. There are plenty of things you could be doing to make yourself happy and keep busy (in a good, happy, productive way) even if you are dead ass broke. Keep yourself entertained. If nothing else, if this guy isn't ready to be a grown up yet, if you are doing something you love, you will meet other people that have the same interests that you do. You might not meet prince charming, but you will meet some good friends that have the same interests that you do. And remember: you don't have to be soulmates with someone to go see a movie or have coffee. I'm about a hair away from aetheist, and I have friends all across the board. You don't have to have everything in common with a person to be friends, or be friendly or just hang out. Wish you the best of luck with your dude and everything else. Big hugs.
You see, even though the prospect of grieving is overwhelming, your body is smart. It’s not here to let you fall into the depths of hell forever. It will help you balance out the pain with pleasure if you let it, if you grieve naturally. Remember, there is a lot to grieve in this life – even if you and I would prefer to conserve energy by blocking out the grieving process for seemingly ‘not grieve worthy’ stuff, like a man pulling away.
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.
Hi Lauren, i had recently bought the book men are from mars and women are from Venus, it has brought me to try and discover more wonderful information on your page. My boyfriend of three years had recently just left me about a month an a half ago, we had just moved in together and were only living at our apartment for 2 months before he decided to lay the break up on me. He says he needs to find himself and his happiness, this term is still so confusing for me when things for the past three years were going so well. and just 2 weeks before he broke up with me he had talked about marrying me wanting to spend the rest of his life with me. as soon as he left the apartment and packed his things he doesn't want to see me or doesn't really talk to me and whenever we do talk it always ends up in the both of breaking down crying because its so sad. he has told me that he still loves me deeply and cares about me but doesn't want to be in a relationship right now. I have no idea really what to take from all this, i know that i may have smothered him to much in the relationship but at the time i did not know what i had been doing i do know that i some how contributed to this traumatic event. but he is making it seem like its totally over and he is just cutting things cold turkey. i never seen this break up coming and he said to me that it just happened and he didn't even realize he was going to do it. after three years of being together hes acting as if he doesn't even know me. i just need some advice of insight on what might be happening to him or me right now for this to take place? ...

I really love your blogs, they make a lot of sense, and I need your help with something. I’m 39 years old and I’m engaged to a woman I adore. Here’s my problem, she nags me all the time. I want to be there for her but it feels like she’s always demanding so much time and energy. I know you’re supposed to “compromise” in a relationship but it seems like I’m making all the sacrifices and I’m starting to feel like this relations...
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.
Hello, it’s the best article I have ever read. I have just ended up the relationship with my boyfriend and the article gives me some insights indeed. But I was wondering if I could get personal advice? May I share my whole story and may I possibly get the most effective and suitable advice for my problems? I would be pleased if you reply me. I will be looking forward to….
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.
Behavior is the key to creating change because, unlike emotions and often even thoughts, behavior is the one aspect of ourselves that we can truly control. Action gets you out of the emotional mud and is an excellent antidote to depression and feeling trapped. So give your partner a hug five times a day whether you feel like it or not and see if it doesn’t change the emotional climate in the house.
Once you’ve recovered a bit and are able to regain somewhat of a positive attitude, it’s time to think of how you can go the extra mile and consequently, how to act more efficiently. All the while, remember to keep some distance to not be overbearing to your ex. Especially within a few days of the breakup, you shouldn’t try to make any plans to get together with your ex or even have a long conversation with him or her.
I remember when my husband and I moved in together, after about a month he pulled away for a bit. He wasn’t really rude about it but i think he just needed some space. I think he was just getting tired of me, like it was romance overload. I ended up burying myself in my own hobbies for a while and I think he ultimately appreciated me for giving him space. I think it’s hard in the moment but if the girl enjoys some time to pursue her own interests for a bit and waits for the man to resume… Read more »
Hi Lauren, I've been wrestling with this with family and friends and thought maybe someone else online could help.Here's my situation. I have known my fiance for over a year, we met online and have visited each other many times. I've flown over to ireland three to four times for weeks at a time and she had visited the US for six weeks to try it out in february and for the fiance visa for six weeks in July-Sept. We would talk everyday for four to five hours a night while we were apart. She is very close to her family and loves her country. She believes Ireland is the best thing since refried beans. My plan was for her to Move to the US and we could live there while she could visit ireland for two to three months every year with the future kids for summer and christmas and then we'd move to ireland for good when I retired since I'm the bread winner and my specified job is in america (I'm a petroleum Engineer). However she back peddled and said she doesn't think what we had is strong enough to leave her family. So she came up with a five year plan. When she moved to the US for five years then we have to move back to ireland and find work there. I really loved her to i agreed to the promise. Well while she was over in the US for the fiance visa she started getting really homesick. A week or so before the wedding she said she realized why she had doubts about the marriage and that was that she loved me but wasn't "in love with me" and that I should treat her more like a lover instead of a friend. But to not worry about it and we can work on it. The next night she popped the question. "If i wanted to go back to ireland in a year will you go with me?" I said no. "what about after five years to raise our kids?" I sighed and just said no. She called off the wedding and cried alot. I should have said something other than no. Like, yes that's our plan. Or we'll do what's best for our fam...
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