It's a story as old as time...
You meet someone, you get along, you go on a couple dates, you hook up, things are fun and carefree… all signs point to this being a relationship with potential.
But then you enter month two and suddenly that person becomes more distant, they’re no longer the first to reach out and they’re tough to get ahold of. Slowly but surely it’s obvious their interest has dissolved.
It's just an observation but I've found men do this more than women.
They're not "ghosting" but they're slowly and intentionally allowing the relationship to fizzle out. Why do men do this? Let's get the easy options out of the way...
- He's not healed. Yes this is real real. He tried but just isn't over his ex, etc.
- He not ready for commitment. He lacks maturity. He still has that bit of ego always prodding him to want more and better.
- He enjoys the chase and nothing more. Unfortunately this is common.
- He found someone else. Not much you can do about that.
- His intuition told him to lose interest. Now THIS is the one I want to dive into.
I've noticed a difference between how men and women view relationships - specifically early stage relationships and how intuition dictates interest.
A man tends to enjoy a relationship in the moment. He can be 100% committed and intentional but what he enjoys is the here and now of a relationship. He enjoys that there is no timeline or pressure.
I’ve found that while women obviously also enjoy a relationship without pressure, there is an additional element that is important to them - reassurance for the future.
Reassurance = an agenda that looks to progress the relationship forward in a clear way.
As much as a guy can genuinely be ready and is dating with intention, the idea of an agenda can lead to him losing interest. When a guy is pressured out of the moment and into a reality where he needs to make progression clear... that is when he faces a crossroads.
It’s a crossroads where the fun, present 'no pressure' nature of the relationship is forced to progress and THAT is where a man starts to lose interest - because his intuition makes him question if he’s actually ready.
When that happens... a lot of men err on the side of caution. When they sense an imbalance in expectations, men have an inclination to retreat.
Of course I don't think think this is the right response from anyone... but in the instance where a man loses interest, I've found this observation to be relevant.
So where does this observation leave us?
We need to recognize that there’s always going to be some kind of imbalance in the early stages of a relationship. That imbalance in expectations or differences in attachment styles does not mean anyone is right or anyone is wrong.
Attachment styles... I'm sure you've heard this term.
It's how we relate to others. Maybe you've heard the terms secure, anxious, avoidant-fearful and avoidant-dismissive?
A LOT of studies have been done on attachment styles, men vs. women, etc.
SHOCKER: men tend to be more avoidant and less anxious than women and as a result... rather than dealing with the anxieties that come up men tend to retreat.
Men are often unaware of this and why their intuition encourages hesitation. They are unaware of their own attachment styles and also unaware of their partner’s. THAT is what causes men to retreat unnecessarily.
I don't think there's a huge fundamental difference between men and women but I do think men tend to be unaware of how attachment styles affect relationships and THAT lack of awareness causes them to take a step back.
Men tend to see initial imbalance (e.g. is he's being pushed to DTR sooner than he wanted) as a sign that they should retreat. But imbalance in the early stages of a relationship doesn’t mean there's anything wrong with the relationship. Not at all.
- It’s not a red flag that he’s just in the moment. It doesn't mean he’s not genuinely excited about the future.
- It’s not a red flag that she wants reassurance. It doesn’t make her needy or overeager.
Both are right. Both simply see and exist within a relationship from different perspectives.
You can’t force someone to just exist in the present and not think about the future. And you can’t force someone to provide reassurance for the future.
If someone loses interest in you and they retreat because of their lack of self awareness... let them.
You deserve someone who is in touch with their "why" and who doesn't back down when challenged or made uncomfortable.
The reality of life is that in the same way you can’t force someone to see what you bring to the table… you also can’t force them to be self aware of why they’re doing what they’re doing.
You can’t change someone and you can’t force self awareness on them.
Take that compassion you have for yourself and the self awareness you've developed (that they clearly haven't) and celebrate it.
It’s a gift to know who you are, what you need AND to know that if someone doesn’t respond to it in the way you want… you should continue looking because I guarantee there is someone out there who wouldn’t retreat and who would celebrate it alongside you.