Many of you have probably been in a relationship with a man who started out doing all kinds of things to surprise you—things like coming up with overly dramatic date ideas or going out of his way to do something thoughtful and nice—but then, suddenly, he stopped. So what happened?
When a relationship starts to get more comfortable, more predictable, and has more routines in it, the kind of intense passion that a man felt when things were just getting started can naturally fizzle out a little bit. But what most people don’t realize is that what fizzles out isn’t just about the physical part of the relationship; it has to do with something I call emotional attraction.
Emotional attraction is how a man falls in love. It’s the thing that gets a man to open up, to share his feelings and connect with you on a deeper level than he usually allows. It’s what connects him to you and bonds him to you for the long-term.
So when a man says that he doesn’t feel in love with you anymore, what he’s really saying is something more like, “I used to feel both physical and emotional attraction with you. But the way our relationship has been, I’m not feeling much if any of that emotional attraction now. And because of that, what I feel in my heart and my head tells me that something is off in our relationship, and I don’t know what to do about it.”
What to Do When You Feel Him Checking Out
When a man doesn’t know what to do about how he feels, he usually craves some space for himself. And if he needs space he will get his space, either by physically spending more time away from you, or by being present with you but not fully emotionally available, meaning he’ll seem more closed off. When that happens, ask yourself these questions:
1. Am I revolving my life around him? (Do you make him the center of your world, re-arranging plans with other people to accommodate him?)
2. Am I making him responsible for my happiness? (Do your feelings fluctuate depending on what he does or says?)
3. Do I depend on him to ease all my feelings? (Do you expect him to listen and relate to you the way you do your girlfriends?)
4. Do I expect him to handle all our plans? (And then do you become disappointed if he doesn’t?)
5. Do I respect his need for individual time and privacy? (Or do you demand that he share everything with you?)
If you started to feel a sense of dread as you went through these questions, then you may be coming off as clingy or needy without realizing it. Answering yes to these questions means that you’ve been inadvertently putting pressure on your man.
How to Get Him to Check Back In
When a man asks for space or begins to distance himself from you, it’s tempting to try to resist it and grab onto him tighter. Don’t do it. That only backfires. (After all, people naturally tend to want to back away from things that are running straight towards them.) If he feels like you’re trying to force him to get closer he’ll want out of it. Instead, you want to create that emotional attraction between the two of you again. Here’s how.
1. Allow him the space he needs and take some space for yourself.
That means you take all that energy and attention you’ve been putting into holding the relationship together and instead redirect it towards your own life: your friends, your hobbies, whatever makes you happy. When you do this, something magical happens.
First, you feel empowered over the situation so that your emotions don’t overtake you. Second, men often move past their own doubts and fears when given space to do so.
2. Create a foundation of positive experiences with him.
Before forcing a conversation about why you feel like he’s slipping away or isn’t as present, try putting some more excitement back into the relationship by creating fun experiences for the two of you. Think about the way men bond with other men—it’s through activity, not through conversation. Likewise, a man wants to LIVE his relationship with you—he doesn’t want to dissect and analyze it the way you do with your girlfriends. So, keep the focus on having fun together.
If things are stalling in your relationship with a man but you used to feel very connected to him, this could actually be a good sign. That’s because you already have all the ingredients you need to relight the fire of the relationship. If he was physically and emotionally attracted to you before, you can inspire the same level of closeness again. All it takes is keeping the emotional attraction strong by giving him the space he needs and creating fresh opportunities to keep you both excited about your time together.