You know the instant he starts to push you away.

You can feel it.

He doesn’t look at you. His kisses are cold. He makes plans for himself without you.

That’s when the panic hits.

You’re losing him. You know it.

You’ve got to do something to save your love.

You’ve got to bring him back to you. You’ve got to show him everything he’s missing without you.

As you spring into action, dreaming up surprises for him, sending tantalizing texts, hiding every trace of desperation…

You never realize you’re actually pushing him away.

The Intimacy-Distance Dance

It would be wonderful if we could be close to the person we love all the time.

We’d never fight. We’d never feel distant.

We’d always feel close and connected.

But that’s not how intimacy works.

Intimacy is more like a dance.

Sometimes you’re wrapped up in each other’s arms. Sometimes you’re on the opposite side of the dance floor. You’re always in motion—together, apart, together, apart…

Yet when the person you love pulls away, it doesn’t feel like part of the dance.

It feels like he’s walking away.

It feels like he doesn’t love you anymore.

It feels like he doesn’t want to be with you.

And you can’t trust that the dance will spin him back to you.

You want to stop the dance, march over to where he’s standing, and pull his arms around you again.

But you can’t.

Because you don’t want to make him come back to you.

You want him to come back to you on his own, because he loves you and can’t live without you.

Why He Pushes You Away

Men have different needs for space in their relationship.

Some men need a lot of distance before they’re ready to feel close to you again.

Other men just need a short break before they’re ready to reconnect.

Not all men know how to ask for the space they need in a healthy way.

Perhaps, in the past, when they tried to get some space, their previous partner attacked them for being cold and unfeeling.

So they don’t know what to do when they feel that need for space bubbling up.

They just know that they need a break from intimacy, and they worry that their partner will react negatively if they ask for it.

So they end up taking that space in an unhealthy way… without first communicating with you about it in a loving way.

They close down emotionally. They act rudely. They push their partner away, in the hope that she won’t want as much closeness for a few days or weeks.

What You Can Do

It’s really hard being with someone who closes down on you out of nowhere.

It’s even harder when he pushes you away rather than asking for space like an adult.

It’s much easier to be in a relationship with a partner who has similar intimacy needs to you.

Find someone who likes to be close just about as often as you like to be close.

Still, regardless of who you choose, you will have to deal with times where he wants space and you want to be close.

What you should do in these situations is this:

  1. Honor his need for space.
  2. Honor your need for emotional connection.

What that means is this…

When he pulls away or pushes you away, give him what he wants. Give him that space. Understand that it’s all part of the dance.

When he can’t or won’t connect with you emotionally, don’t ignore your need for connection. Go out and connect with the other people you love. Spend time with your girlfriends. Call your family. Don’t stay home alone with your thoughts.

You have a legitimate need to feel close to those you love. But sometimes the people you want most won’t be available. That’s why you need an emotional support network. You need a range of people you can rely on for different needs.

You need people to have fun with.

People to have deep conversations with.

People who knew you way back when.

Those people will remind you you’re worthy.

They’ll remind you that you’re great company and fun to be with.

That’s a message you need when your guy is acting distant.

Ultimately, my biggest wish for you would be to find a partner who can express his need for space in a healthy way.

He’d never be gone for too long. He’d never make you feel unwanted.

And it would be easy for you to let him go, knowing that he’ll always return, trusting in the dance to spin him back to you.

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