Why Men Pull Away and What To Do About it- Dr. Duana C. Welch - How To Win a Man's Heart

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Why Men Pull Away and What To Do About it- Dr. Duana C. Welch

Interview Summary

Below is the summary of the interview with Dr. Duana Welch on why men pull away and how to cope with this problem.

Attachment Styles

The primary reason men pull away is due to their attachment style. An attachment style is how you connect with someone else, for both men and women:

You first gain an attachment style as a baby, with your parents. Odds are that you have that same attachment style once you reach adulthood and it affects your current and future relationships.

The attachment styles are:

Secure: Those who are comfortable getting close to others, and are comfortable with depending on men or having men depend on them. They don’t worry about being abandoned or someone getting too close to them.

Anxious: Those who find that others are reluctant to get as close to them as they would like. They worry their partner won’t stay or don’t really love them. They want to merge completely with another person, and this desire often scares others away.

Avoidant: Those who are uncomfortable getting close to others, despite wanting to connect emotionally with them. They find it difficult to trust or depend on others completely, and worry they will be hurt if they allow themselves to become too close to others.

They can also be comfortable without getting close to others. They find it important to be independent, not reliant on others or having others reliant on them.

Science shows that women are usually either Secure or Anxious, and 2/3 of people in general are Secure. Secure styles are good at keeping problems from escalating, and decent at solving relationship problems.

Those with a Secure style may avoid dating Avoidant style, but they can last in a relationship better than an Anxious style because they are secure enough in themselves.

There are more women who are Anxious than there are men, and they can see someone pulling away when they aren’t. It’s not helped that most women in this style have a habit of dating men who are an Avoidant, who ‘reel you in and let you dangle’.

Those in this sort of relationships are rarely happy, and it’s best to simply end the relationship or be ready for years of pain.

There are more Avoidant men on the market than any other style because Secure styles tend to find partners rather quickly, while Avoidant tend to end up on the market again and again and again.

Summarizing the science, it’s best to pursue someone with the same attachment style that you have and similar intimacy levels. One reason men pull away is you’re offering more intimacy than they are willing to give, so they will continuously pull away. However, this is on an individual basis.

Evolution Psychology

Another reason men pull away is based on Male Inherited Mating Psychology (Evolution Psychology). The mating psychology is unconscious, guiding men towards what they like in order to continue the species. It influences their behavior in accordance to that instinct, no matter their behavior or personalities.

Men seek Fertility. They can send their genetics out until old age, but they need women to do so. That’s why men value youth and beauty, everything they see as beautiful is a sign that they are capable of mating successfully.

Men also seek and Fidelity. From a genetic standpoint, men have evolved a number of measures to avoid genetic death, most of which boil down to hate. They tell if you’re faithful by how hard you are to get. If a woman is easy to get with and sleeps around, men don’t see her as a viable mate.

Women are gambling whenever they enter into a relationship on how it will come out, and base it on past behavior. Men, on a non-conscious level, judge whether or not you’ll put their genetic future at stake.

Women who are high-status can afford to be harder to get, making them seem both fertile and faithful. This plays into why men who pull away aren’t as invested in woman who pursue them. He’s trying to get a high-status, fertile woman, and thus is the pursuer, who finds it a turn-off to be pursued.

Being Hard to Get

Even though people say you can make someone fall in love with you, it is a lie. You cannot make anyone fall in love with you completely.

Rather, you can create a tipping point by being hard to get:

1. Being hard to get doesn’t mean being bitchy. It means not being as open and sexually available as he wants towards the beginning of the relationship. It doesn’t mean being cold, mean-spirited, and making cutting remarks.

2. Don’t initiate the calls and text messages. Respond, but sometimes delay the response.

3. Don’t be as available as he wants, but when you are be warm, friendly, engaging, and excited for him.

4. Get off the phone before he’s ready, leave the date before he wants you to, don’t be the girl who’s extending the date—he’s the one who needs to be extending the contact, not you.

5. Sexually, hold off until quite a bit after he wants it. Men have both a short and long term mating program running in tandem. If you give it up too soon, they may move you from ‘Ms. Right’ to ‘Ms. Right Now’, which is something you don’t want.

6. Stop pursuing him and create a tipping point by being harder to get. That way he will tip into the relationship more. If he leaves because you weren’t as sexually available as he liked, then he wasn’t going to commit to you anyway.

7. Follow his cues at your own pace, but don’t lead. Continue dating other people and make sure he knows about it, until he requests that you be exclusive. If he thinks it’s too much work and leaves, then he wasn’t going to commit anyway.

8. Not all men will pursue you, regardless of your feelings towards them. In these cases, chasing them won’t make that better. It makes it worse.

9. Do not have sex with a man until you are exclusive and he has shown he loves you in both words and actions. These can be things like bringing gifts and meeting family without needing prompting.


To wrap up, if you have an Anxious attachment style, don’t continue a relationship with an Avoidant style. You’ll be much happier with a Secure attachment style man. On the other hand, if you started chasing him and he started running, then stop chasing and start pulling back.

If you’re exclusive, then say you’re taking a step back and seeing other men. It doesn’t work out if they were planning to leave you anyway, but it works if they do and will quickly commit.

About Dr. Duana C Welch

Duana C. Welch

Duana C. Welch, Ph.D. is the relationship advice columnist known for applying social science research to reader questions about a variety of romantic-relationship issues.  Her blog, “LoveScience: Research-based relationship advice for everyone” is a best-seller in the relationship and behavioral science categories at Amazon.com, and is also available free at www.LoveScienceMedia.com.

Duana launched LoveScience in 2009.  She’s also a regular contributor at Psychology Today and eHarmony, where she muses about relationship science.  Duana’s book, Love Factually: 10 Proven Steps from I Wish to I Do, released in January, 2015; it is the first science-based book to take readers from before they meet until they commit to The One.  You can also learn more about Dr. Duana and her book at www.lovefactually.co.