How to Make Peace with Cave Time in 3 Steps

advice: relationship john gray

As a woman, learning how to make peace with Cave Time is one of the most important things you can do to set yourself up for long-term happiness in your relationship.

But, it’s not always easy. When men pull away, it can leave you feeling confused, frustrated, and hurt.

Even if you know that he needs space sometimes, you still need attention, connection, and time. So what can you do to get all your needs met?

In this post, you’ll learn what it really means when men pull away and how to ease any feelings of hurt and resentment so you can come back together in intimacy and joy ASAP.


Hi John,

What do you do when the cycle of my husband needing more space and me being more hurt keeps repeating itself? 

This is an SOS for my relationship because I can't keep catching so much anger from him and feeling abandoned. 

And he can't deal with the resentment that builds up in me. 

– Maggie


Make Peace with Cave Time Step 1:
Take Back Control of Your Experience


So many people make the mistake of falling into the illusion that when you feel hurt, it's somebody else's fault.

But when you find yourself feeling hurt or resentful, it’s important to identify it as a problem in your relationship that you're responsible for.

This may sound a bit harsh but the reality of it is quite empowering and liberating!

Whenever we feel resentment, it’s like saying: “I can't love you.” Which isn’t the other person’s problem; it’s yours. And if you can see it as your problem to solve, then there's definitely something you can do to change it!

So when your partner needs Cave Time and pulls away to get the space he needs, it’s then on you to decide how you choose to react to that.

You can’t be dependent on someone else changing (which is often the most frustrating), but you can take back control and take positive steps to create a more loving experience.

So let’s talk about that.


Make Peace with Cave Time Step 2:
Understand Why He Needs His Cave Time


I know it's hard to change the cycle of hurt and resentment and make peace with Cave Time.

When you're connected to your partner, you feel so loved and reassured. And then when you're disconnected, you can feel abandoned. Like he doesn't love you, like you're alone.

But when you really understand how men and women are different, you recognize that men just have a greater need to feel space.

Most men need to pull away after they've been really close.

It's not about you. It's about his need.

This is an extreme metaphor, but just imagine that your husband is in a wheelchair and you say “Honey, you should walk. You should walk. If you love me, you will walk.”

Now, your husband is not really in a wheelchair. He's just a man. But men have different needs. So when you are expecting more connection than he can deliver, you're essentially trying to change him.

You're resisting who he is rather than learning to love him as he is.

So the first step if you want to make peace with Cave Time is simply understanding men.


Otherwise, you’ll always feel like... 

  • “Oh, he loves me,” on one day, and then…
  • “He doesn't love me” on another day.


And that back and forth is enough to make anyone feel terrible!

But the truth is, when he's in his Cave and pulls away, it's not that he doesn't love you. He loves you very much. He's simply disconnected from his emotional feelings at that time. And this is biological.

By understanding this, you can hold the awareness in your heart that he loves you...every day.

Let me explain the biology because it really does help...

After a stressful day, a man's testosterone has gone down.

Men need 10 times more testosterone than women to feel calm, capable, confident, and romantic.

But when he connects with you, his estrogen levels will go up, which lowers his testosterone even more. So, on a biological level, he needs to have distance, disconnection, and detachment, in order to rebuild his masculine hormones.

And then he will want to connect with you in a passionate, loving, and romantic way, but...


Your Reaction Can Send Him Back to the Cave


Here’s the problem: if he comes out of his Cave and you're upset with him, that's now a problem that he has to solve. His testosterone will go down. Every time you resent a man, criticize him, or complain about him, he feels “I'm not successful.

Success and detachment are what build men's testosterone. So if he comes out of the Cave a failure in your eyes, then he will go right back into the cave.

When you make peace with Cave Time, there’s a good chance he won’t need as much Cave Time.

He is actually spending more time in the Cave because of your resentment.

Meanwhile, your resentment is partly caused by taking his need for detachment personally, as though he doesn’t love you. But he does love you.

And, in fact, that's only one of the reasons you feel resentful.

So that’s level one, but there’s another level here as well.



Make Peace with Cave Time Step 3:
Create Your Own Happiness Without Him


At this point, you may realize that your resentment is your problem to solve.

You can’t change your partner but you can take new positive steps to grow in love.

So the next question becomes: How can you do things that make you happy so you’re not depending on him to feel good and loved?

Because you can’t make peace with Cave Time if you’re feeling depleted or not-so-peaceful in other areas of your life.

You see, if you're depending on him for your happiness and then he goes into his Cave, you're immediately going to feel like: “Why isn’t he giving me what I need? Look at all the things I do for him.”

But if you’re feeling that way, there’s a good chance that your cup of love just isn’t full enough in general. Which has you depending on him too much, and can make the disconnection a very hard adjustment.

So yes, to make peace with Cave Time and let go of the resentment, first, recognize that it's yours to change.

Secondly, understand that his need for Cave Time is just what he needs — both for himself and to be the best possible partner to you.

And finally, create a life that doesn't depend on him for happiness. This way, you have a source of happiness and fulfillment when he's not available to you. Then, when he pulls away, you won’t feel like “Well, what do I do to be happy?”

Often, you may find yourself wanting to do more things for him in those moments, hoping that he won’t pull away but that will only increase your resentment.

So what can you do to increase your happiness without depending on him?


How to Boost Your Feel-Good Hormones to Come Back Together in Love


You want to take the time to engage in fulfilling relationships and activities, like:

  • Friendships that support you
  • Work you enjoy
  • Nurturing activities that make you feel good


When you make peace with Cave Time and recognize what makes you happy, it’s much easier to allow your husband’s job to be making you happier.

Then, when he's not available, you still have all these other things that make you happy.

In my book, Beyond Mars and Venus, I talk about a variety of things that can help you feel happy.

Now what's interesting, most people talk about happiness as an attitude, and that's true. 

But biologically, you also have to deal with your body to feel happy

As a woman, you have to have estrogen levels that are 10 times higher than a man in order to feel calm, joyful, loved, and fulfilled.


And estrogen is produced through:

  • Relationships where you have love and nurturing
  • Types of activities where you feel happy doing those things


So the key here is to put more of your energy into doing the things that: 

  • You love to do,
  • You get to do, and
  • You enjoy doing.


Those are the key factors of increasing estrogen in your body and therefore increasing positive feelings. That way, you're not so dependent on him.

Because when your estrogen goes down, your heart closes and you feel resentment.

So if you find time to create the kinds of relationships that open your heart and give you happiness, you will start to grow in love again.

It's all about taking responsibility to open your heart and not always depend on him to do it. Then you'll see, he will be like a bee attracted to a beautiful flower.

He will want to come to you and be more interested in you. But he will still need to take his time to pull away. And then... he will come back again. Because he loves you. Even when he detaches to visit his cave.


Grow in love,


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