Why Do Guys Come On Strong Then Pull Away?

When Alyssa came into my office, she wasn’t the same woman I’d seen the week before.

Her blond hair was limp and unwashed. She wasn’t wearing makeup. Her shoulders were slumped.

“So, how’d your date go last week?” I asked. I knew she’d been looking forward to it.

“It went great,” she said defeatedly. “Like, really great.”

With a great sigh, she met my gaze. “Tell me the truth, James. Is there something wrong with me?”


“Because nothing ever works out for me. This is the first guy I’ve liked in a really, really long time… And two days after the most romantic date ever, he breaks it off. Cleary I ruined it, but I don’t how.”

It is incredibly confusing when a man pulls out all the stops to woo you…

Only to yank the emergency brake at the very moment you feel yourself falling for him.

Why do men do this?

Why does a man say everything you’ve always longed to hear…

Only to backtrack all of a sudden and claim he’s “not sure”?

Is it you? Did you do something to put him off?

It might be.

But there’s another explanation that’s more likely.

To understand why men come on strong and then pull away, you need to understand something about the “script” men are given in relationships… and how it’s different to yours.

Different Relationship Templates

How did you learn about relationships?

The first way we learn about relationships is from observation.

As kids, we notice how the couples around us behave. We watch movies. We read books and listen to songs.

We pick up the unspoken messages that describe the ideal love affair.

Those movies and books have a different message for boys than they do for girls.

(These different messages explain why guys feel like they have to make grand romantic gestures, even if they’re not in love.)

The traditional message for girls is that they should be sweet and feminine and kind and need a hero to protect them.

The traditional message for boys is that they should be strong and brave and fight through obstacles to save the day and protect the weak.

So it’s no wonder that boys grow up thinking that their role is to impress a girl through heroic acts.

A Man’s Relationship Script

Boys grow up with a very clear view of their role in the romantic script.

Their job is to “win” the girl by being:

  1. Strong and powerful.
  2. A provider and protector.
  3. Creative and confident enough to make grand romantic gestures.

Notice what’s not there?

Nothing about how to understand their feelings and distinguish between love and lust.

Nothing about how to let down their guard and express vulnerability.

Nothing about how to know whether a relationship is right.

The stories that boys consume are silent on the topic of how a boy is supposed to feel inside.

If a girl is attractive and a catch, he is supposed to want her. He is supposed to prove his worth to her through heroic acts and grand romantic gestures.

But what if he likes her but isn’t sure if he loves her?

What if he doesn’t even know how love feels?

Act First, Feel Later

As these boys grow into young men, they learn to play out the romantic script by winning girls over.

They work out. They learn to be charming. They make romantic gestures.

They find that being strong, confident, and romantic gets them girlfriends.

But having a girlfriend is one thing. Loving a woman is quite another.

And these guys are often not quite sure how love is supposed to feel.

No one has ever sat them down and talked about what it’s like to love a woman for a lifetime, or how that’s different from just liking a woman or wanting to sleep with her.

This is an important point for women to understand.

With men, it’s not always the case that they develop feelings for you and then act in ways that express those feelings.

Quite often, men act the way they think they’re supposed to act with a woman. They want to impress her, even if they don’t have feelings for her.

So the man who romances you and says all the right things may have fallen in love with you from the moment he saw you…

Or he may be doing what he’s found works well with women.

Men want to be romantic heroes. Unfortunately, their image of a romantic hero is fuzzy on the feelings part.

If you want to know if a man is falling for you, don’t be fooled by the size of his romantic gestures. Instead, pay attention to his everyday behavior.

A man who sees a future with you won’t mind sharing the boring and mundane side of life with you—the parts you’d never see in a movie because it would put the viewers to sleep.

Real love is no Disney movie, but it lasts a lot longer than two hours. 😉

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