There is nothing more frustrating to the single woman than the moment she suspects the man she has tagges as "Mr. Possible Long-term Relationship" begins to show signs of pulling away. Before we launch into signs he actually is "pulling away" (There are signs you want to recognize), it's critical to understand that, in truth, women may often only imagine the vanishing act is about to ensue - when, in fact, it's merely fear from past relationships that ended abruptly sparking your vidid imagination.
That said, if the man you're dating has been consistently (over a four to eight week period, for example) behaving as if he's interested in getting to know you better and the relationship is progressing, it could be a sign that it's YOU who is interpreting a variety of harmless behaviors as signs he's ready to bolt.
Why does this happen?
Often, the woman who says she's "ready to be in a relationship" begins to imagine "Pull Away Syndrome" (PAS) simply because she's truly terrified to begin to trust and become intimate (emotional as well as physically). And she may sabotage the process by leaking her fears. Here are two excellent examples of how this fear may surface:
1. If he doesn't text as much as usual and then delivers a message that says "busy at work" but doesn't end the text with a flirtatious emoticon, it DOES NOT mean he doesn't want to see you or is experiencing PAS (especially if he says he'll call you later - and he does - or asks if you would prefer to see him Friday or Sunday).
2. If he asks you on Wednesday if you're free Friday or Sunday and doesn't offer the Saturday night option this time, it also doesn't mean he's a candidate suffering from PAS.
Related: 5 Signs You're NOT Ready for Dating
So then, what are the signs he's beginning to lose interest in the relationship? And, how can you know if he's losing interest in you or is simply not up to the responsibility required to be someone's main man?
Top 3 Signs Your Guy IS Pulling Away
1. You date once a week for a week or two, then perhaps twice a week, and then have that ONE amazing, "knock 'em dead" date that simply blows you away. Then he begins to disappear. He doesn't call for three or four days and then, perhaps, sends merely a text telling you he is "crazy busy." It's often the "knock 'em dead" date that causes a man to evaluate whether or not he's up to pursuing the feelings he experienced between both of you on that particular date. He might think it was REALLY good, that you are AWESOME, and that you have it together. And then he may begin to wonder if he's really ready to be the man YOU deserve. If not, he will, in fact, begin to pull away. The man who's emotionally mature will ultimately have the conversation with you, while the less mature man could simply fade away slowly. Either way, it's important to know that if he isn't ready for what you want, there is nothing you could do (or should try to do) to "change" him.
Related: Guys' Top 5 (BS) Breakup Excuses
2. He stops mentioning plans of the future or becomes vague about his immediate future plans (weekend, next month or next summer). When your guy used to talk about meeting his sister, or mentioning the fact that he would love to show you wine country one day, and he also becomes increasingly vague in regards to "future talk," he may be unsure whether or not you are well-matched - or, as discussed above, whether he is ready for a long-term relationship.
3. He severely slows down his communication with you over a long period of time (e.g, over a one-to-two week period) and makes excuses, even when you refrain from verbalizing your concern or send "miss you" texts, etc. Note that this is only pertinent if he has been consistently communicating with you daily and you then find that communication comes close to a grinding halt.
If he is not able to "man up" and discuss his fears regarding his relationship-readiness or politely and empathetically have the "we are not a match" conversation, it can then be time for you to get clarity. By engaging in a non-threatening conversation with him, you will be free from worry, endless wondering and catastraphizing, as well as the pain of self-doubt. The conversation can go something like this:
"Hey, Ted. I have really, really enjoyed getting to know you the past few weeks. It's been a blast. There is something, though, that I want to tell you because I respect you and feel like you should know exactly what's up with me. [Pause] I am at a place in my life where I know that I'm looking for a relationship, and so I'm wondering if there's a way we could have a conversation in which we're really honest with each other about how this relationship is evolving, knowing that we could very well be in totally different places. And that's okay for both of us longterm."
PAUSE. Stop talking. Let Ted talk and see what comes up for him. You have given him room to be honest without being chastised. While you may be prepared to hear "the worst" based on his recent behavior, know ultimately that if Ted is not looking for longterm love, it's best he move on so that you can make room for Mr. Amazing.
Mr. Amazing is looking for you if you're willing to be found. Therefore, you could be best served by making sure YOU are available!
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