Why Is He Distant All Of A Sudden? (17 Reasons Why)

Last updated on June 10, 2022 by April Maccario

Not so long ago, your relationship was going as smooth as a jolly ride on a free road, no bumps, no traffic, just the two of you on what felt like the ride of your life. These days though, you can’t quite put your head around it, but it’s like your boyfriend has an alter ego; he’s there sometimes, but he doesn’t want to talk.

He’s grown cold towards you, and you can’t for the life of you figure out what’s got him that way. Conflicts didn't take this long to resolve, yet you can’t pinpoint one thing that’s making him constantly ask for space. He was always within reach even when you guys weren’t physically together, so why is he acting distant all of a sudden?

You see, many of us have been there, and while the reasons aren’t always the same for every guy, sometimes they overlap. Here are the most common reasons why guys act distant when they like you, and some ways you can deal with such situations.

17 Reasons For The Sudden Distance

1. He is cheating

He is cheating

A lot of people who have ever had a distant boyfriend have had their suspicions about his fidelity. An idea which isn’t unfounded considering emotional distance is usually a harbinger of infidelity in a relationship, according to Emily Blatchford. The article also explained that this tell-tale sign isn’t limited to dating. An Australian study shows that about 70% of married couples cheat or get cheated on.

At this rate, it feels like it is only a matter of time before it manifests on its own, and nothing sets the alarm off quicker than when your man starts acting distant. Like someone once said, it is hard to share the love equally between two people, as the passion grows on the other side, it decreases on yours.

2. He is afraid of commitment

Now that we got the elephant out of the way, if you’re convinced the reason your boyfriend is distant isn’t because of another woman, then he might be afraid of commitment. Some people want to love and be loved, they just don’t want to be tied down. 

For so many reasons, most of which aren’t always clear, many men see commitment to one person as their will being taken away. They may feel like you’re way ahead of them when it comes making more permanent decisions in the relationship and may want to pause time a bit just to slow things down.

Since no one can really pause time, the only alternative is to waste it; and he may be doing that by giving you space and acting distant. Some men feel they are losing time, especially when they are young and haven’t ‘enjoyed’ bachelorhood long enough. 

Other non-committals are like that because of a deep-rooted fear of abandonment. Whether your boyfriend belongs to the latter or former category, until he works through his issues, you’ll always feel like he’s pulling away.

3. You are doing too much

Sometimes, it doesn’t take a fear of commitment to get freaked out in a relationship, especially a new one. Being paid attention and feeling loved by your partner is great until it becomes so much it starts to feel choking. It’s the common case of ‘boyfriend acting distant but says he loves me,’ what isn’t he saying?

Well, he might be holding back because he doesn’t want to complain, after all, there is no easy way to ask someone to love you less without coming off as an ass. So, ask yourself, have you been giving so much that it feels like you’re single handedly pushing the relationship

If the answer is yes, he might have become that way all of a sudden because he feels inadequate to reciprocate the love. He wants to make sure he can spend time with others, live life and just breathe, without having to face you and say you’re almost taking over his life.

4. You are not doing enough

On the contrary, your man might be acting distant because he feels you’re not pushing enough of your own weight to create a balance in your relationship. He may feel like you don’t need him enough or aren’t that into him because you’re not the type to express feelings. 

He may be creating the void to make sure you pick up the slack; initiating intimacy, buying gifts or any of the other things people in his position do. If this is the case, it’s time to figure out the imbalance and try to contribute more or less, as required. In the end, real balance is a myth, but you are obligated to at least try.

5. He is in love with someone else

Another reason your man would act distant is being in love with another woman. He might not be having a full-blown affair with her yet, but his mind is consumed just the same. As a matter of fact, some people consider emotional infidelity a breach of trust even more than sleeping with someone else.

As it is with an affair, the new person often gets most of his time while you, in this case, the not-so-new lover, gets less. In some cases, the subject of his affection might not even be someone he met after you, it may be an ex, a childhood crush, or someone else that has been out of his life for a while.

Seeing or hearing about that person may be the sole reason you are suddenly no longer his priority.

6. He is stressed about something

He is stressed about something

Sometimes, your boyfriend acting distant isn’t about you at all, we women like to talk to those closest to us when something is bothering us, but not most men. The stereotypical definition of masculinity hasn’t helped improve the status quo either. Traditionally, the ‘ideal man’ is one who handles his business without letting any weakness show.

A man who keeps his emotions under wraps is seen as one who has more control over his life. He’ll make sure he doesn’t mention a thing about what’s bothering him, even though it’s eating him up. If he isn’t ordinarily big on sharing, any issue he considers a big deal will make him retreat.

7. He is being pressured

Speaking of stress, operating under pressure is no fun for anyone, a sudden change in your partner’s behavior is something you’ll definitely notice, even if he doesn’t because he is too focused on the cause. Let's say the issue is financial, the pressure to provide can be crushing, even with no one breathing down your neck.

At this time, if you ask him, he may pull an “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” statement. It might be coming from friends who seem to be doing better, or family who expect one thing or the other from him. It might also be something at work or personal stuff. 

The point is, pressure makes people anxious, and all of a sudden they feel they have to use all their time to fix things before the relationship can get back to normal.

8. He is sick

Abrupt withdrawal can signify so many worrisome things regarding where you stand with your partner. So much that the anxiety it brings makes you overlook the possibility of something being seriously wrong with him. Depression, for instance, doesn’t respect macho or effeminate men. Apart from being withdrawn, have you noticed other signs in your man that may be symptoms of an illness?

If he has just got big news about his health, chances are he is not in the right mental space to deal with it or bring you in on it yet. So, if you suspect this might be the reason, you need to be tender in your approach, so you don’t add to his compounding list of worries. 

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9. He doesn’t feel emotionally safe with you

Despite the stereotype, some men like to share, there are guys who feel comfortable being vulnerable with a specific person, usually their partner. However, this doesn’t just happen overnight, as you know, it is kind of a big deal for most of them, so they have to feel secure to an extent to take the leap.

If you are the type who over criticizes your partner or comes off to him as judgmental, good intentions notwithstanding, he will most likely never be completely open with you. Once he feels the need to compartmentalize, secrets can’t be completely avoided between you. 

10. The spark is gone

Having something you’re used to taking away out of the blue leaves a void that sometimes never gets filled. The loss one feels from that kind of incident stays with you. However, the honeymoon stage of a relationship phasing out doesn’t quite happen this way, it dissipates gradually until you are no longer ‘high on love’.

Nevertheless, if you aren’t paying close attention, the gradual phase might not occur to you until it is over, making it seem sudden when the veil clears. When the initial spark of the relationship is gone, it no longer feels as exciting to spend all your time together and talk every minute of the day, this might come across like he’s acting detached.

11. He is swamped at work

Have you considered the fact that your boyfriend is probably really busy? Sometimes, things are exactly the way they seem, even though we like to overthink. Depending on the nature of his job, his work schedule might be fluid. So, the fact that he can afford to go days without doing serious work doesn’t mean he will always be able to.

Some people get so consumed by a challenge that they dedicate all their time to figuring it out, even if it means other aspects of their life has to suffer for it. He might have taken on extra responsibilities you don’t know about yet. On a logical level, being busier than usual can make someone seem withdrawn.

12. He wants out of the relationship

He wants out of the relationship

There are some situations that no amount of pacifying can fix, when the mind is made up, it is over. Perhaps your instinct was right the whole time; he is distant because he is done with you. When a guy wants to break up, he might begin to pull away and hopefully emancipate your connection.

Courtesy demands that you at least, tell someone you are seeing that you are no longer interested. However, the need to be good makes it harder to just blurt it out, especially if you’ve done nothing wrong. Therefore, acting distant might be the only way he knows how to protect your feelings (or his) against the breakup.

13. He just needs space

No matter how great something is, if the option to take a step back isn’t available, it can soon become suffocating. You two might be perfect together as a couple, so much that your name can’t be mentioned in a sentence without his following. You do virtually everything together, there is no “I” in your relationship vocabulary, just “we”.

These are all good stuff for long-term investment but it can get overwhelming sometimes. Your man may be acting out from nowhere because he is unable to recall who he is outside of the relationship. He may fear that he’s lost his own identity and would be stranded should you decide to end things. Thankfully, in this case, he only needs some space to find himself again.

14. He isn’t sure of what he wants

Have you ever found yourself in an accidental relationship? You didn’t plan to get serious with someone, one thing just led to another, and you found yourself going along with it. This is the juncture where you are supposed to find a nice way to tell the person you didn’t plan for this, and that you should probably stop. 

It’s the right thing to do, but it doesn’t always come naturally, instead of coming out straight, some people prefer to beat around the bush until their inadvertent partner gets the message. Your partner may not be sure of what he wants from you at this point, and figuring it out may make him act frigid.

15. Your pace is too fast for him

Being on the same page should not be underestimated in any relationship. Without it, you hear things like “you are going too fast for me,” or you’re not moving fast enough. He may feel like things are going okay while you get the sense he’s acting aloof. You may be the type to go as quickly as you feel while he prefers to take things slow

Without the proper conversation, a relationship milestone might become a trigger that sets him off, even without a preexisting fear of commitment. We are all shaped by different experiences. So, while ‘I love you’ may not be a big deal to you because you basically said that to all your exes on the first day, it might be the reason he’s maintaining his distance from you.

16. He is just not great at relationships

People with preexisting issues like fear of commitment or abandonment make it easy to pinpoint the problem, others whose problems aren’t as apparent, less so. While some can keep a romantic connection irrespective of experience, some people are just meant to be single.

This isn’t even about cheating or stepping out on your partner in other ways, it has more to do with the person’s disposition to the relationship itself. Beyond the thrill of getting their dream girl, some guys know nothing about maintaining the emotional bond and just expect it to feed itself. 

If you are with such a person, feeling like he’s acting distant basically comes with the package.

17. He is in the closet

Despite the world getting to a more tolerant place as a whole, a lot of people are still being forced to deny who they are, a closeted gay guy might succumb to peer pressure and ask you to be his girlfriend, or do it just to ward off suspicions of his sexuality. He might be the sweetest person you know, someone who wouldn’t hurt you intentionally

He understands you, you guys connect – if not all the way, unfortunately, he can’t ever be all that you want him to be for the simple fact he is not attracted to you. This is an unfair position for both parties, but as long as you remain together, there will always be some sort of distance between you.


What does it mean when a guy suddenly becomes distant?

When a guy abruptly starts to distance himself, it’s because his attention is being pulled away by something other than you. This might be physical or psychological, and it may or may not have anything to do with you. It could also mean the relationship is no longer as important to him as it used to be.

What to do when he becomes distant?

Let him know you are there for him in case he’s going through something he is yet to share with you, then give him some space. This way, you keep the channel open if he ever needs to talk, and if he doesn’t, he gets the chance to work it out on his own.

Why do guys become distant after intimacy?

There is no single reason why guys withdraw after intimacy, for some, it is merely because they've quenched their thirst and they feel no need to stick around. Others might if they don’t feel the quality of intimacy is worth sticking around for, then there are those who withdraw to avoid emotional attachment

How do you know that your man is cheating?

Emotional distance is one of the clearest indications that your man is cheating on you. He is too busy trying to establish a connection with his new flame to pay you enough attention, and when he does, it doesn’t quite feel right. However, according to experts, the signs are a lot more than one.

How make him chase?

Men love an independent woman, show a guy you don’t need him, and he will go to the ends of the earth to get you. They find the chase thrilling as long as you remain a mystery, so the key to keeping him coming is to never reveal too much at a time.

Final Thoughts

Your partner is the only person who knows for sure why he’s acting the way he is, short of asking him, I can only speculate. Nevertheless, I hope this list helps put things in perspective, and that they work out eventually. Don’t just read, please leave a comment and share the post as well.

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April Maccario
I'm a huge nerd when it comes to understanding how relationships between men and women work, and what drives a certain behavior. I spend much of my time getting into the nitty-gritty and try to share my findings on this site with the hope of making life a little easier for women that are struggling in their relationships or love life.

One comment on “Why Is He Distant All Of A Sudden? (17 Reasons Why)”

  1. This is a long story! I met an amazing guy a couple months ago online. We hit it off so well I was comfortable enough to meet up with him just 2 days later. I have 2 children and have been in some bad relationships and this alone was uncharacteristic of me but also a testament to how well we hit it off talking non stop 2 days and nights straight. Anyway 2 weeks things were amazing. We talked about anything and everything we could. Emotionally we connected right away. Our time physically together was also just as comfortable. We could easily sit in silence or talk and I even decided to be intimate with him after we discussed that as well. He is only the 4th man I have made this decision in my life. Anyway everything was amazing. Crazy enough he asked me to be his girlfriend and I agreed. 2 weeks into our relationship Some things happened at his job and he decided to quit. He talked to me all about it before during and after. Then 2 days later he messaged in the morning as usual but when I replied he didn’t answer. It was late that night he apologized telling me his head was somewhere else. He had just found out that his high school girlfriend (his first love)who he also reconnected with 8 years ago son was probably his! Unfortunately this 7 year old is also dying from leukemia. He knew about the boy and his illness ect as she had been in contact with him from time to time but he says he always thought it was for emotional support and he never realized it could be for anything else. She refused to directly tell him he was rhe father, only made hints and told him they need to speak in person. He was super distraught! He told me he was embarrassed to be telling me this and so sorry ect ect. He said he hadn’t told anyone else but felt he could trust me especially with things between us already like they were. This was the change of everything with our brand new relationship.
    I didn’t hear from him the next day. The following day he text me he was so sorry his mind was distracted, he couldn’t think of anything else besides this news of the boy who she was implying was his son but refused to be upfront in telling him. He said he couldn’t even focus on getting another job which he knew was an urgent issue. He is an electrical
    Engineer making over 6 figures before he quit. He kept saying “I am so sorry princess”. I tried to be as supportive as possible as this guy seems to be a very emotional and passionate man and I knew this devastating situation may just emotionally break him. He has 3 other children and they are his everything! Anyway on Father’s day morning he left the kids here and went out of state to see this other boy. He was gone a week. Our conversation was minimal right before he left and I told him I wouldn’t bother him while he was there but I am here if he needed anything. I had even volunteered to go there with him. (He in conversation previously before all this expressed he didn’t want to be alone when stressed or upset) after a week I text him to check in and he told me he just got back and was home. He made small talk which we had never had before. Then an hour later said he really wanted to see me but that so many things in his life changed and he didn’t know what was happening from one day to the next. I didn’t reply because I didn’t know what to say and he didn’t say anything else. The next morning (Monday) I text him good morning. He replied it’s not a good morning for him and that again he was sorry. I replied I’m sorry. 5 minutes later he says “I’m so sorry princess. You don’t deserve a person like me.” I said no no what do you mean? I said he was a piece of sh**. Of course I was alarmed and couldn’t imagine what was going on but he refused my call or my going to see him and said he needed to be alone right now and would let me know when he is ready. I replied I understand. About 6 hrs later I get a text “I want you here with me” he had been drinking. He was home and I went there to see him. We went out to eat. He told me about the trip to see the boy. He said his ex basically was playing games with him. She never confirmed that the boy was actually his and when he asked she said oh you don’t really care about him or about me blah blah. He was there for a week and went to the hospital 2 times a day he said. The boy is on isolation because of no immune system and he is very sick with pneumonia as well so he couldn’t even go in the room. His ex was also staying in isolation with the boy so my insecurities about him possibly cheating with her didn’t have any merit. Anyway he told me he blocked all communication with her and I was shocked. He said he would figure out on his own if the boy was his or not. Anyway while together he was still emotionally present with me. Talking about future things like the cruise we were planning for his birthday next month and he wants me to move in with him at the end of this year once my lease is up. He said he wanted to disappear with me somewhere and I am the only one he feels he can trust. We went to his house and spent more hours together until I left because I had to work early the next morning. He definitely wasn’t himself very quiet and sad seeming but still smiling with me ect. That next day ,Tuesday, I didn’t hear anything so I reached out because he had a job interview and I knew he might be feeling lousy hung over although he was not slobbering drunk when I saw him. He replied quickly saying he had been to his daughters therapist meeting and now he was looking for a therapist for himself! That was the last I heard from him. I text again that day, once the next morning to encourage him before another interview he was very excited about and then Thursday I called because he had never read my messages. It rang a while went to voicemail so I text I was worried about him not responding and was he ok. Still now almost 3 weeks later no reply and he had not read my messages! First I am worried about him! Second I am concerned about him ghosting me which is something he said he would never do, would never hurt me blah blah. I know this situation is weird because he is dealing with major life stuff that doesn’t include me but I wish it did. He asked me when I last saw him “are you sure you want to be part of this mess?” I told him yes I did, He said it isn’t fair to me but I told him to me he is worth it and I ment it. I just want to be there for him but he isn’t letting me. I know he is probably feeling a whole rainbow of emotions including shock grief and anger ect so I am trying to just give him time but I am so scared he doesn’t want the relationship with me anymore and just gave up without telling me!

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