3 Easy Ways to Respond when He Comes Back After Pulling Away (2024)

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1Why do guys pull away?

2What to Do When He Comes Back

3Giving Him Another Chance

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Co-authored byJessica George, MA, CHtand Nihal Shetty

Last Updated: May 3, 2024Fact Checked

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When a guy you liked ends up distancing himself from you, you might end up feeling hurt, frustrated, and sad. But it can be even more confusing if he comes back, seemingly interested in you again. You’re probably wondering “What does he want with me?” We’ve got you covered with this guide on how to respond when he comes back after pulling away.

Section 1 of 3:

Why do guys pull away?

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  1. 1

    He doesn’t know what he wants. Indecision is a big problem for guys that just haven’t matured enough yet. This can be a tough situation—studies have shown that when you don’t know how much someone is into you, you tend to dwell on them, and find yourself even more attracted to them than you would be otherwise.[1]

    • Some guys take advantage of people’s natural attraction to indecisiveness. If he’s pulling away on purpose to try and get you to fall for him, he’s playing games with you. You deserve someone who treats you with more respect than that.
  2. 2

    He needs space temporarily. Whether it’s work or family commitments, many people can’t juggle a relationship with their other responsibilities. If that’s the case, he could still be interested in you, but is just someone who deals with stress best by himself. Withdrawing from others is a common reaction to stress, so try not to take his decision to pull away as a judgment on you.[2]

    • You don’t want to be kept waiting forever, so try to move on if he hasn’t reached out in a couple of weeks. If he comes back later, once his other responsibilities have settled down, you can then decide if you want to take him back.
    • Reader Poll: We asked 993 wikiHow readers, and 50% of them agreed that the best way to reconnect with a guy who has pulled away is to give him space and wait for him to reach out. [Take Poll]


  3. 3

    He met someone else. It’s pretty common to date multiple people at once before making a commitment to be exclusive with one person.[3] He might have gotten caught up with someone else before realizing that that relationship wasn’t a good fit.

    • If he did meet someone else, try not to take it personally. Dating is about meeting new people and seeing where it leads—give him the same freedom in the early stages of dating that you deserve yourself.
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Section 2 of 3:

What to Do When He Comes Back

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  1. 1

    Ask him why he pulled away. You deserve to have your emotions respected, and therefore you deserve an explanation for why he pulled away. This can give you a better understanding of his motivations for coming back—whether he really wants something with you, he’s just feeling lonely, or he still doesn’t know what he wants. Try asking him something in a casual, non-judgmental tone, like:[4]

    • “I haven’t heard from you in a while. What’s been going on?”
    • “I feel like we fell out of touch. Any reason you’re reaching out now?”
  2. 2

    Take some time to check in with yourself. It’s okay to not respond immediately after he reaches out—if he’s really interested, he’ll understand and be there when you’re ready. It’s better not to give him the impression that you’ve been waiting around for him. Instead, take some time to practice self-care so that you can approach the relationship in the healthiest frame of mind possible.[5]

    • Self-care looks like a lot of different things to different people. Make sure you’re staying active, sleeping and eating well, and taking time to do things for yourself.
    • You might also want to try meditation or mindfulness exercises, which can strengthen your emotional self-regulation.
  3. 3

    Think about your relationship rationally. Studies have shown that decisions we make with our heads, not our hearts, tend to produce better results for us in the long term. Take your time to think about whether you want to give this guy another chance. Talk to a friend you trust—sometimes it helps to get an outside opinion that’s not clouded by our own emotions.[6]

    • Try writing down your feelings about this guy—what kind of relationship would you want with him, and does it seem possible? What compatibility and incompatibilities do you have?
  4. 4

    Let him know if you’re not interested. If you end up feeling like this relationship isn’t one you want to pursue, that’s okay—he might’ve missed the boat. Send him a brief and kind message saying that you’re not interested in taking things further, such as:[7]

    • “It’s good to hear from you. I’m seeing other people now, but wish you the best. Take care of yourself.”
    • “Thanks for reaching out. I enjoyed talking to you before, but since I hadn’t heard from you in a while, I’ve actually moved on. Hope you’re doing well.”
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Section 3 of 3:

Giving Him Another Chance

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  1. 1

    Be sympathetic. If he got caught up in other responsibilities, he might be feeling guilty for reaching out to you. Letting him know that you understand his reasons for pulling away can make him feel more comfortable about reconnecting to you. Empathize with his struggles, but also be brief and to the point—you don’t have to dismiss your own feelings of hurt. Say something like:[8]

    • “I totally get it—life happens. I’m glad that we’re back in touch.”
    • “Hope things have settled down for you. I’m really happy that we’re talking again—it had been great getting to know you.”
  2. 2

    Give him some boundaries and stick to them. Make sure you don’t fall into a cycle of him pulling away then coming back whenever it’s convenient. Let him know that you’re giving him one more chance to have a relationship with you, and if he can’t commit to it, you’re going to move on. Tell him something like:[9]

    • “I’m really happy that we reconnected, but I have to be honest—I don’t really want to waste time. If you get distant again, I’m going to move on.”
    • “I like you a lot, and I want to give you another chance. I don’t really like having my feelings played with though, so if our communication breaks down again, I think it would be best for both of us if we move on.”
  3. 3

    Try not to hold it over his head. Once you give him another chance, forgive him for pulling away before. You can’t build a relationship on resentment, so be mature and avoid mentioning your earlier problems with the relationship. It can be hard to forgive someone completely after feeling like your emotions were played with, but if you try your best, you could end up with a wonderful relationship.[10]

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      1. https://www.psychologicalscience.org/news/releases/he-loves-me-he-loves-me-not-women-are-more-attracted-to-men-whose-feelings-are-unclear.html
      2. https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/is_stress_making_you_withdraw_from_people
      3. https://au.reachout.com/articles/dating-more-than-one-person-at-a-time
      4. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/relationships-and-communication
      5. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/meet-catch-and-keep/202109/7-reasons-exes-get-back-together
      6. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201510/should-you-follow-your-heart-or-your-head
      7. https://www.joinonelove.org/learn/how-to-tell-someone-youre-not-looking-for-a-relationship/
      8. https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_to_avoid_the_empathy_trap
      9. https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/peaceful-parenting/202105/when-give-partner-second-chance

      More References (1)

      About This Article

      3 Easy Ways to Respond when He Comes Back After Pulling Away (23)

      Co-authored by:

      Jessica George, MA, CHt

      Certified Professional Master Life Coach

      This article was co-authored by Jessica George, MA, CHt and by wikiHow staff writer, Nihal Shetty. Jessica George is a Marriage and Family Therapist, Certified Professional Master Life Coach, and Co-Founder of Evolve Therapy Coaching based in Glendale, California. With more than 20 years of experience, she specializes in hybrid therapy and coaching services, couples counseling, and clinical hypnotherapy. Jessica holds a Bachelor’s degree from The University of California, Santa Barbara and an MA in Counseling Psychology and Talk Therapy from Ryokan College. Jessica is trained in the Imago technique and the Gottman method for couples therapy. She also earned a Professional Life-Coach Certification from The Fowler Academy and an Infinite Possibilities Relationship Certification. She is a member of the International Board of Coaches and Practitioners (IBCP). This article has been viewed 103,223 times.

      19 votes - 87%

      Co-authors: 4

      Updated: May 3, 2024


      Categories: Managing Conflict and Difficult Interactions

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