Why men run from intimacy and commitment

Lauren Gray

Dear Lauren,
I’ve known a close guy friend for over 20 years. We’ve been dating for three months. Things have been wonderful. He pursues me and I pace things. He called, emailed, or texted me daily just to keep in touch. Two weeks ago he told me he loved me and that he has cared for me for years.  
And then six days ago he disappeared!

All communication stopped. I’m trying hard not to take this personally. How can I tell him that I need him to communicate to me when he feels the need to pull away? We are not exclusive but that doesn’t make this okay. Disappearing acts, at least in my opinion, aren’t acceptable behavior.

Hi Sharon, 

Wow! That’s so romantic that you two came together after knowing each other for 20 years. Friendship is an amazing foundation for a relationship. Which must make it all the more confusing when he suddenly pulled an “I love you” hit and run!

Is He Innocent or Guilty?

Six days without him must feel like an eternity, especially after you shared such an intimate moment.

People don’t understand that brand new intimacy doesn’t make you feel more secure, it actually makes you feel less secure…for both of you!

You’re wondering:

·      “Does he really mean it?”
·      “Am I even worthy of love?”
·      “What does this mean for the relationship?”
·      “Can I trust him enough to love him back?”

Your insecurity and second-guessing make time warp: every day you don’t hear from him feels like forever.

This is because you need reassurance right now. You just took a big step in the relationship and you need to be reassured that this is real before you can indulge in your happiness and connect with your loving feelings.

You’re not getting the feedback you need and it’s stressing you out.

Just know that your guy also has his own doubts and insecurities to deal with. When men are under stress, though, time warps in a different way. It’s easy for a guy to play “outta sight, outta mind” and 6 days can feel like 1 to him. He may not even be aware that he’s leaving you hanging! He may be entirely innocent in the matter.

Click here to learn more about The Time-Warp and how it affects your relationship at any stage.

Disappearing Acts (knowledge is power)

I understand that “disappearing acts” are frustrating for you. Often times we get frustrated with our partners simply because we don’t understand WHY they do WHAT they do.

This makes it easy to take his/her actions personally.

When we stumble around in the dark, we naturally fear the unknown and assume the worst:

·      “When he said he loved me, he didn’t really mean it.”
·      “He’s changed his mind.”
·      “I’m not worthy of love.”

This is a nasty road to go down. So let me hand you a flashlight. (you’re welcome :-) Once you see and understand what you’re dealing with, you can create the space in your heart to accept WHAT he does and WHY he does it.

There are two reasons he made you the victim of an “I love you” hit and run…so keep reading!

1. Be Careful What You Wish For (you might just get it!)

I know it seems like it took FOREVER for him to express his true feelings for you, but to him it feels like he suddenly moved too fast!

He revealed more of himself than he’s comfortable with, got scared and backed off.

It took a lot of courage to be vulnerable and tell you he wants more from this relationship than just friends-with-benefits and an occasion night out.

In case you didn’t know, in those three magic words he asked you for a greater commitment. He stepped up to a greater commitment. Now he’s worried that he might not be capable of being the man he’s stepping up to be in your life.

It doesn’t mean he’s NOT capable, it means that he’s afraid to fail. He doesn’t want to let you down.

2. The “I love you” Hormones and How They Influence Men and Women Differently

Oxytocin is the “bonding” hormone. When a person says, “I love you” for the first few times it’s a huge bonding moment and the body experiences a rush of oxytocin.

A woman feels this rush and her body says, “This feels really good. I want more.”

A man can feel this same rush and have his body send the message, “Quick! Retreat!”

This may sound callous but let me explain. In the presence of so much oxytocin, a man’s testosterone levels drop. Men need healthy levels of testosterone in order to feel happy and relaxed. When oxytocin rises and testosterone falls beneath a certain critical level, a man feels the need to pull away to recharge his healthy testosterone levels. Pulling away and "disappearing" into his cave help him achieve this.

Click here to learn more about how your different hormones can cause un-needed stress in multiple areas of your relationship. 

Women can’t intuitively relate to this need to pull away because in our bodies, oxytocin makes us feel comfortable, relaxed and happy. In the face of intimacy, we tend to desire even more intimacy. 

Most men don’t have an intricate understanding of what certain hormones do to them. So when he suddenly feels the irrational need to pull away and “retreat!” he doesn’t know how to explain it to you. Cue his oh-so-charming "radio silence." How can he explain to you what he can't even explain to himself? 

When he comes crawling back…

When he comes back around, which he will once his tank is full, let him know how happy he makes you.

This will boost his confidence and support him in making an even greater commitment to you. (Click here to avoid the 3 most common mistakes women make when trying to get a guy to commit.)

Ask yourself what you want out of this new relationship and start articulating it. The three magic words are out of the hat. Things will change. Just let him know that it doesn’t have to be fast or drastic.

Slow and steady wins the race!

With love,

Now I want to hear from you!

Do you feel more secure or less secure in the face of a new level of intimacy or commitment? Leave a comment below.

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P.S. If you're looking for support, clarity and the next step for YOUR relationship, hit me up HERE.



read more blog posts from Lauren Gray
  • Michmx
     3/11/2015 10:52:34 AM
    Hello Lauren. This article is exceptionally helpful. Thank you. I am in a very unusual situation - at least - I haven't seen anyone else post anything similar to this. I have been in a very intensely emotional long distance relationship for a little over 4 months. We have grown exceptionally close, share, laugh, experience. He has told me numerous times that he has never experienced anything like this and that I know him more than anyone ever has. I would say the same about him. He tells me he sleep better after we have talked as he is not a good sleeper, says that I am soothing for him and he feels more relaxed and happy than he ever has. He is preparing to go to overseas this weekend for 4 weeks for a yearly vacation that he takes with his friends. He was nervous to tell me about it and when he did - I was very happy for him. I told him I thought it would be a great time for him to get away, relax, enjoy his friends and do what it is that he does there. And I truly mean it. We talked through communication with each other as he stated he didn't know how he was going to go without talking to me, I reassured him that all would be well. 2 nights ago when we were speaking as usual, when we went to say goodnight he said "I love you" and completely froze - it was so unexpected that I froze as well. I could hear him shaking in his breathing, I asked him if he was alright and he didn't say anything - I said his name - he replied and said he was ok and that he doesn't use those words, promised himself he would never say those words that they mean so much and he just doesn't use them. He said he has just had so much pain that he just doesn't use those words. I assured him everything was ok - told him that my soul loves his soul and that everything would be alright. He then just kept saying he needed to go, had to think about this and pray about it. I asked him to please not shut me out, he said he was not running and I just tried to
  • Below average emotional iq
     10/15/2014 12:40:18 AM
    Thanks Lauren for these precious advice.. I had almost the same story We have known eachother as friends for 12 years.. He pursued me and on our date he told me that he had been trying to pursue me for three years and that I was too busy to notice him.. He told all his friends about me as well as his mother He was very happy.. He said he wanted to take further steps and I said this is too early just to assure him that I am not rushing him. But his actions are much slower than his words.. He told all his friends that he wants to marry me while He easily postpones a date between us.. He does it last minute The thing that makes me very angry bit I never show it. One day I got him a gift.. He posted a photo for this gift on facebook and wrote that he got this gift from the girl whom he wishes to spend his life with.. He added " this is the one" 3 days after this post I suggested to meet him before my work.. This was the first time for me to ask him out.. We agreed to meet .. Next day I texted him to confirm.. He didn't answer me and until now ( it is a week now) i know nothing about him and he is active on facebook.. I decided to unfriend him from my facebook and I did.. After watching your video and reading your blog I feel I did something wrong.. But still I don't appreciate not coming to a date and not even apologizing for not coming. What do u think? ...
  • Guest_C0C46512-6
     9/12/2014 5:14:29 AM
    So...I've been dating a guy for about 4 months and we have a great time together and gotten close (longer story), starting talking about planning the holidays and he invited himself to meet me on a business trip 2 months away. We haven't talked about "being exclusive" and I noticed he's still on (where we met), but we spent two days a week together, including Sat nights and seemed to act like "a couple" to me. Turns out that didn't fit his defn. I have had concerns about certain things, but thought I'd just let them evolve, unless there was a moment to chat about it. About 10 days ago, he wrote me an email that he doesn't have time for a relationship. I was insulted and annoyed at his mixed messages, especially since he's still on and because he emailed it instead of calling me to discuss it either by phone or in person. I took a few days to respond, we had an email volley and I did get a male perspective on my reply before I sent it. He also "liked" my photo on (I went back on). I want a relationship and made that clear. Your advice seems to reflect a "let it be" style that I appreciate. How do you be "light" when you want more reliability, connection and communication? He's gone silent now, which I presume is ending it. Should I write him? Call him? Would he reach out again if he misses me? Or, just let it go?...
  • katl
     9/9/2014 9:34:56 AM
    Hi Lauren, My guy is dealing with super stressful situation right now. He is also one of those very emotionally reticent personalities. I'm not sure if its because he is afraid to expose that part of himself or he just doesn't feel the need but its a part of his personality I've come to grips with. It isn't that he doesn't it is just not overt and rarely direct. He's told me that he is madly in love with me before but mostly it is in the little things he says that I understand he cares. I digress, just a little personality background I suppose. The point is prior to this situation (having nothing to do with me btw) he was always calling/texting and in contact. Now he disappears for a day, sometimes two at a time and if I initiate contact, his responses make it obvious that he isn't looking for a prolonged conversation so I let him be. Then in a day or two he will come back as if he hasn't been away and maybe through in an extra little unusual verbiage or something, like changing his standard good night endearment to something a little more obviously romantic or such. I'm concerned....
  • Harmony Seeker
     8/12/2014 11:13:25 AM
    Hello Lauren. I am very very afraid that my guy has run off and won't ever come back. We talked none stop for 1.5 weeks. During that time, he expressed to me that he has never felt so appreciated and has never met a girl like me before that has inspired him and made him be a better person before in his life. He told me that he has never fell for someone as fast as he fell for me. He told me that he wanted to call me his gf and maybe one day, more than just his gf. He told me that when the time is right, he would want to meet my parents and him introduce me to his. That he wanted to show me off and hoped that I would show him off as well. Then out of the blue, the day before we were supposed to meet up for the first time, he told me that he didn't just want to jump into dating, that he wants to take things slower and see if we could be friends first. He reassured me that he still likes me but just didn't want to rush into anything. I told him that I agreed with him and then asked if it was something I did to have him walk out of my life. He said no, he just needed some time because he didn't want to rush into anything. (He has been hurt in the past from his ex gf). I am just very concerned because he told me that he wanted to be friends and see where it goes from there first, but I haven't talked to him in almost 2 months now. I honestly have not liked someone as much as him. He is willing to go at my pace and he doesn't want me to do anything I am uncomfortable with. He understand that it's hard for me to let people in because I have been hurt. I just don't fully understand why he all of a sudden disappeared... and for so long... Is he in his cave or is he no longer interested? If he is in his cave, will he ever come out?...
  • jrs237
     7/2/2014 9:37:14 AM
    Hi Lauren, I've been freaking out the past two weeks and was really hoping you could give me some advice! I've been seeing the same guy for the past 4 months. Things were going pretty well. 3 weeks ago when we went on a date I asked him "do you want a relationship later on, or do you like things how they are right now?" and he replied with "I mean.. Yeah I do, but the distance makes it hard" (he lives 40 mins away). I told him how I am switching colleges in Decemeber and he said "are you positive?" and i said yes. The last day we actually talked was Father's Day. It was the most we had talked in a long time. I was excited because it seemed like our relationship was progressing. I texted him 2 days later saying hi and he didnt reply. I texted him again last week saying hi and he didnt reply again. This past sunday, I texted him I texted him "hey I havent heard from you i awhile, and was wondering whats' going on" Still no reply. Yesterday I texted his best friend's girlfriend, who happens to be his roommate. She told me that in highschool (which would be 3 years ago for him), that he dated a girl for a year and was head over heels for her and hasn't ever really felt the same about any girl since (They dated in 2010-2011). He then dated her friend for a couple months who ended up cheating on him because she said he didn't make her happy anymore. Later he ended up dating his friend but about 5 or so months ago they got in a fight because she didn't treat him right and haven't talked since... His roommate told me maybe he just didn't want a relationship, but she agreed it didn't make sense why he'd tell me he did. She also told me he isn't seeing anyone else. I don't really know what happened. I'm the first girl he's dated that hasn't tried to hurt him in anyway. It seemed like our relationship was progressing and then he just disapeared...
  • shucks
     7/1/2014 8:11:09 PM
    Lauren - I have been dating a man for one year - he pursued me, and we have taken our time in getting closer and closer. - he usually is a very,very open communicator, so I felt safe with him.we began to look at a house we liked together and he said we should be talking about marriage. A few days later he started arguments about money , and how he couldn't trust me... Then he disappeared, joined up on internet dating within a few days - and when I called him about that he declared we were over! No chance for us to work out the money thing-and any other issues that were popping up. He said we would continue to talk, but that was three weeks ago and there has been no contact. I am not going to pursue him as he might just bite my head off again - if I pursue him he will feel pressured ... I figure it best if he calm down, miss me, and look at the story he built to blame me and hopefully want to talk about it. It was all so perfect before this happened. But - then there is also the distinct chance that he will never come back. I am crushed and tortured. Any thoughts on this ? ...
  • Kate2014
     6/15/2014 6:08:47 PM
    Thank you sooooo much for the education on oxytocin and testosterone in males and females. It is starting to make much more sense to me how men and women relate. Now I don't have to take things so personally if the guy I am dating pulls away for a bit. I think you rock!
  • Lauren Gray
     6/2/2014 12:29:13 PM
    I'm so glad Hoda! Thank you so much for your comment. I really believe that understanding can help us all feel more confident in our relationships. :-)
  • Lauren Gray
     6/2/2014 12:28:01 PM
    Hi Hmmm. Yes it can happen in the beginning depending on how much intimacy is going on. I hear you when you say it's a challenge and it's on my list to create something more in depth on this subject. Thanks for your comment! :-)
  • hoda attiah
     4/13/2014 11:55:10 AM
    hi Lauren your words really helped because I always felt insecure when my Ex was in the cave I didn't know about hormones & differences between us
  • hmmm
     4/3/2014 2:29:43 AM
    Dear Lauren: I have a brief question on this rubber band theory. How soon into the relationship this need to pull away is manifested? Can it occur in a new relationship when things are just starting to get serious? Let's say about a month into the relationship? In my personal life, and those of my girlfriends, it is often difficult to tell in a new relationship if a man is withdrawing to come back or is simply disinterested and is doing the vanishing trick. Thank you so much for your help with this. ...
  • Lauren Gray
     3/7/2014 1:19:49 PM
    Tricia924, he could definitely be needing some alone time. When men are stressed they go to their cave. If he is under stress now, you can assume that's what he needs. If you'd like to keep up a connection you can send him texts updating him on your day without any questions or expectations for him to respond. And another way you can make yourself more approachable for him is to not give him unsolicited advice or "suggestions." I know you were just trying to help and show him your love but this implies that you don't think he's capable of solving things on his own. When he's not in his cave, he's going to want to spend time with people who show him support in the way HE feels it which is through trust. Check out this blog, I think you'll find it really helpful:
  • Lauren Gray
     3/7/2014 1:14:30 PM
    Kayla, I don't know. I'd have to know more about what happened. If you'd like to get one-on-one support from me and dive deeper into your story, you can learn about how to work with me here: Look forward to working together if it speaks to you. :-)
  • tricia924
     2/27/2014 8:06:11 PM
    M boyfriend and I have been together for 1 1/2 years. Like the story above, my boyfriend and I have been getting along so well and were getting closer until 2 weeks ago. He has a job where this is the busy season and he is extremely stressed and tired. We were n the phone discussing some things that were going on with his employees and I was trying to help him by giving him suggestions. He stopped and said, "Never mind. I am going to make some calls." I asked if he was mad and he said no and we hung up. I didn't hear from him for 2 days which happened to be Valentine's Day. I sent him a text saying "Happy Valentine's Day" and he replied with "U 2." There has been no communication since. I know he is tired and that he cannot be that mad at me to not talk anymore, but I don't know what to think. I do remember that during the busy season last year he would constantly cancel getting together because he said he needed time alone. I am hoping that this is all it is this time. What do you think? ...
  • Kayla
     2/19/2014 10:00:25 PM
    Hi Lauren. I would greatly appreciate your advice here. I was recently left in the dark by my bf. We met as friends on a language exchange website. We immediately "clicked" and he wanted an exclusive relationship with me. After six months of daily texts and phone calls, I made the effort to travel and meet him. We spent a romantic week together. Before I left he told me not to be sad, because this was the beginning of our life together. He told me how attached he was to me and that now it would be his turn to travel and see me. For the next month, we continued to talk and text. During the holidays, I sent him a gift, but he never sent me anything, even though he said he would. A few days before NYear, he texted me that he fell on the ice, hurt his back, would need therapy, and would be better soon. That was the last time I've ever heard from him, 6 weeks ago, yet I see he's active on social media sites. Should I give up on him just yet? ~Heartbroken and Confused...

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