You think it’s going so well—
Until he pulls back.
He stops calling. He doesn’t reply to your texts. You have no idea where his attention has gone.
If you’re lucky, he shows up one day, acting as if nothing happened. When questioned, he just shrugs. “I’ve been busy.”
So busy he couldn’t call you?
So busy he couldn’t answer your texts?
Of course he must be lying.
Maybe there’s someone else. Maybe he’s having doubts.
Whatever it is, you won’t rest until you get to the bottom of it.
And that’s the beginning of the end. He feels like you don’t trust him, or accuses you of suffocating him, while all you want is a guy who keeps in touch and lets you know what’s going on. That’s reasonable, isn’t it?
There are a lot of reasons this dynamic can occur, but one of the most interesting comes from attachment theory.
Understand it, and you’ll see why a man’s distance may just be due to his attachment style.
Attachment theory proposes that each of us has 1 of 3 major attachment styles.
- Securely attached
- Insecurely attached: Avoidant
- Insecurely attached: Anxious
The second attachment style, avoidant, is the one you need to know about, because it can cause a man to act distant even when he genuinely wants to be with you.
But first, what are attachment styles?
They’re strategies we use to get our needs met. They’re developed back in early childhood, in response to both our own genetic temperament, and how we experienced the bond with our primary caregiver.
If your parents were smothering or controlling, you probably pulled back. You wanted their love, but you needed more control over when and how closeness occurred. As a result, you developed an avoidant attachment style.
If your parents were inconsistent—emotionally volatile, or not always there—you may have looked for ways to keep them close to you. You were always afraid of losing their love or attention. As a result, you developed an anxious attachment style.
If your parents were consistently loving, able to bond with you emotionally without overwhelming you, then you had it made. You could confidently go out into the world, knowing help was available if you stumbled. You developed a secure attachment style.
Although there are formal tests to determine your attachment style, you can take a reasonably good guess which style describes you best by answering this question: