Did His Rubber Band Break?

John Gray

Hi John-

My boyfriend and I have been together for 4 years and things have been good. In August, he proposed to me. We were engaged for 3 months, when he suddenly decided to call it off. I thought things were going great and now the only thing he says to me is, "I don’t know what I want right now, but I know I don't want this."

I don't understand how you can propose to someone and then just end it. I feel lost and so defeated. We haven't talked in a month and we don't see each other. I've started reading your book, Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus. I'm only on chapter 6, but I feel like his rubber band pulled so broke.

Thank you,


Hi Elizabeth,

Thank you for reaching out. For those that haven't read Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus yet, one of the most powerful concepts in that book is men are like rubber bands. A man tends to get very close to a woman until, at a certain point, he pulls away. This pulling away is like a rubber band. Once he pulls away to the length of his rubber band, he'll spring back.

This is all based on a hormonal rhythm. When a man is feeling confident and knows what he wants, his testosterone builds up. The same thing happens when he begins chasing you, wanting you and dating you. As he grows more confident with you, his testosterone increases.

As he grows closer to you, another hormone gets produced called oxytocin. Oxytocin is the bonding hormone. Think of that 30 seconds after an orgasm when he is closest to you.

Unfortunately oxytocin naturally lowers testosterone. This drop in testosterone can cause a man to lose confidence, doubt everything in his life and say things like "I don't know what I want right now, but I don't want this."

So half of the natural rhythm in a relationship is a man acting like a rubber band. He will get close and then he'll start to pull away until he feels good about himself and then he will get close again. If he pulls away and she pursues him, then he never gets the space he needs to miss her. After pulling away for some time, a man will often begin to miss her and desire her again.

In healthy relationships, men do not pull away out of anger or frustration about their relationship. If your partner is pulling away out of anger, or is simply avoiding you, there is likely something else going on. Also, rubber banding does not happen when a couple is newly in a relationship. This cycle evolves over time. If he is pulling away early on in the relationship, there are probably other issues affecting his interest that may or may not be related to you.

Unfortunately, this cycle can be quite upsetting to a woman. She wonders, "Is it me? Did I do something wrong? Does he still love me?" These painful thoughts often cause women to chase their partner with demands for an explanation. "Why haven't you called me?" or "What's wrong?"

When a woman reacts to the rubber band by chasing, it can cause a man to pull away even more -- perhaps stretching until the rubber band breaks. He may feel pressured because his partner doesn't trust him, or he may even feel that he is incapable of making her happy.

At other times, women convince themselves that it is "wrong" to contact their partner, that they must refrain from even talking -- and that whoever talks first loses. Of course, while they are determined not to fold, they are also waiting by the phone, checking their voice mail, checking their e-mail, or checking that lump in bed lying beside them for signs of life.

In your situation, I think his fears of intimacy caused him to leave for so long. This may be more than the rubber band theory. I'm not 100% convinced you had a good relationship. Both of you could be right for each other. But if you want to get him back, look at things from his perspective. What ways did you unknowingly turn him off? As you read Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, take notes.

Then write him a letter or an email. Don't call him or try to approach him in person at first. He won't have time to think and he won't give you the answers you are searching for. Tell him you still love him and you want to understand what happened in your relationship. If you wanted to be with me again and I was not with someone else, I am ready to renew this relationship. You are the greatest guy I have ever met.

If we aren't going to pursue a future together, I don't want to hold this against you or have you hold this against me. I want you to be happy in your life and I know you want me to be happy in my life. I made a list of the mistakes I thought I made in our relationship and I want your help so I won't make them again. Would you look them over for me and give me feedback? That would really help me understand myself and move on so I can find love, hopefully with you if you were open to that. I love you so much... And that's it. Give him some time to reply and see if he will get together to talk about the last 4 years and any ways you may have crowded him or been too needy.

I really think what happened is he tried so hard to please you in the beginning that he began to get nervous (cold feet) about being able to please you forever. It could have been a subtle thing that you didn't even knowingly do, like he skipped a night out with the guys because he felt guilty about leaving you alone.

If you find yourself in this situation, here are a few things to remember:

1. This cycle is a normal pattern for men -- he is not playing with you. Every woman knows how wonderful it is to see your sweetie after some time apart. His heart feels that for you whenever he pulls away and it's a positive experience. Let him go... and trust that he will come back.

2. While he's regaining his sense of self, maybe this would be a good time for you to regain yours as well. Instead of waiting and worrying, why not visit with some girlfriends? Catch up on your reading. Garden. Meditate. Get a pedicure. Enjoy your life.

3. You are allowed to make contact, but try to speak his language when you do. One idea is to ask him for information. You can ask him something like, "Remember that movie you were telling me about? What was the name of that again? I was thinking of renting it." Appeal to his sense of being the expert by asking for his help or advice.

Watch my video to the end to learn how to learn the #1 way women sabotage their relationship when a man pulls away.

I hope this helps.

Grow in love-

John Gray

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  • Drashti Shah
     6/6/2016 3:22:44 AM
    I am going through long distance relationship problem and need your help. Im really depressed

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