When faced with difficult times, more often than not, guys resort to shutting down.

So when your stressed man withdraws with no explanation, don’t take it personally.

If you sense that he needs space (even though you’re in a long-term relationship and you want to talk things through), give it to him.

Here’s the deal with men in stressful situations: Instead of coping, men pull away due to their fight or flight response.

When they’re under a lot of stress, they suppress their emotions, which manifests as them being distant toward their loved ones.

But all great relationships go through their ups and downs and dealing with stressful situations is just part of the deal!

Don’t worry if he runs away to his man cave every now and again. It’s his way of dealing.

And as someone who’s had her fair share of aloof and distant men, here’s something to help you handle this challenging period.

See also: A Dysfunctional Relationship: What It Is And How To Recognize The Signs

What Are The Most Common Reasons Why Men Pull Away?

His stress levels are extremely heightened

bearded man with bonnet staring outside the circled windows

We can all agree that stress is one of the biggest factors in how we handle everyday situations, and the world right now is all kinds of messed up, so a man withdrawing is truly not that surprising.

Have you stopped to think that maybe he’s been going through a lot at work?

Are there other aspects of his life that bring him anxiety or demand a great deal of effort?

I’m sure that, just like you, he also has a lot on his plate, and sometimes it’s hard for him to process his emotions.

Give him the benefit of the doubt. Don’t automatically assume that it’s you and give him space. Right now, that’s probably all he craves.

He’s feeling a little suffocated in your relationship

sad guy crying in the dark covering his face with his hands

You see, when two people are in a happy, healthy relationship, their bodies release the oxytocin hormone.

With females, this hormone is known to decrease stress, but in men it actually decreases their testosterone level, and this actually induces stress for them.

So when you see your man withdrawing, it is his way of regaining his testosterone levels!

No matter how happy your love relationship is, he’s going to withdraw until he starts feeling like a man again.

It might seem silly, but it’s how men’s brains operate.

And while there’s not much you can do about it, it’s reassuring to know it’s not (necessarily) you.

He’s emotionally immature

thinking young man placing his fist on his chin

Let’s hope this isn’t the case. Basically, when men are in love, they respond in one of two ways.

Either, they are mature enough to embrace the love and simply let go, or they withdraw.

So when your stressed man withdraws, know that it might not be stress after all.

It may well be his emotional immaturity preventing him from loving you the way you deserve.

Dealing with all-encompassing love makes him want to retreat to his man cave and take a few steps back.

And unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do. He just needs to put on his big boy pants and start acting his age.

He fears that he’s starting to lose his freedom

sad man in a bonnet beard in a focused side view photography

Freedom is something men consider priceless.

And I haven’t met a man on this earth who didn’t fear commitment precisely due to the false idea of losing their freedom.

If you merely mention marriage to a man, you’ll see him clam up. It’s like a death certificate.

Thank God for the small number of guys who are actually cool about this.

But if your man has fallen for you and things are heating up, know that he may be worried about losing any freedom he’s had thus far.

And when a man pulls away, it’s usually just as things are getting serious.

Again, this is all on him. His love for you needs to override his immature fears. It might only take him a short while, so bear with him.

See also: Enmeshed Relationship: Definition, Signs, And Tips To Overcome It

How Can YOU Help The Situation?

Don’t interrogate him, let him come to you

dramatic tattooed male sitting at piano

There are few things men hate more than the question ”What’s wrong?” If he wanted to tell you what was wrong, he would have.

People can’t be forced into having certain conversations unless they’re ready.

You can’t expect your man to open up when you feel like it. It doesn’t work that way. Sense the vibe of the situation and respect it.

His stress hormones could be going berserk right now and it’s crazy to expect him to open up just like that.

If he’s going through something, you need to let him come to you of his own volition.

Anything other than that will be forced and won’t help matters at all.

You want him to feel safe, comfortable, and relaxed, right? Then playing detective won’t help you.

Let him go through his thing, respect his space, and don’t crowd him.

When he’s ready to talk, he’ll give you a hint. But when a stressed man withdraws, the last thing you should do is resort to ‘attack mode’.

Patience is your best friend here. Stress management ain’t easy, so let him take control of his emotions before diving deep into this.

Create a comfort zone where he’ll be likely to respond to your subtle attempts

man and woman dining with drinks on the table in low angle while talking seriously

It’s all about feeling safe and not like you’re being attacked. He needs to know that you’re not interested in starting a fight.

You are merely trying to help him find a way out of his hole.

Take him out to lunch to his favorite restaurant or go for a picnic. Create a comfortable environment where he’ll be more likely to open up.

Here’s how I do it. If I suspect a certain issue, I’ll just downright say ”I have a feeling things aren’t going so well with your new boss” and he’ll take the bait.

He’ll open up because I made it easier on him by openly broaching the subject.

If you have any suspicions as to what has made your stressed man withdraw, don’t be shy to say it.

Combine that with a soothing, relaxing atmosphere, your warm tone, and he’ll immediately feel relieved to tell you all about it.

Just don’t rush it. Observe the signs he’s giving out. If you sense that he’s still hesitant to discuss it, leave it be.

Now he knows that you’re there, and he’ll talk when his stress levels decrease.

Offer him a conversational inroad, and he’ll reveal his inner issues sooner rather than later. It’s all about knowing your audience.

See also: Identify, Handle, And Survive A Narcissistic Mother-In-Law

Know that it most probably isn’t you

sad woman staring outside of the window from a tall building

The worst thing you can do is assume that it has something to do with you and make him feel even more uneasy.

Don’t start panicking until you have solid proof that his behavior stems from something you did or said.

If you do, you’re only going to worsen things for him and give him yet another cause for concern.

I had a friend whose boyfriend went through a complex phase.

He withdrew, stopped texting her the way he normally did, and acted aloof. She was beside herself thinking it was her.

And do you know what she did? Instead of having a mature conversation, she attacked him (verbally), pointed fingers, and made it all about her.

Even though she’s a friend of mine, I was disgusted by her actions. Why?

Because people have every right to go through tough times without having to justify their sudden aloofness.

aloof man sitting in the hallway of an industrial building alone

We cannot make people feel even worse than they already do because we cannot handle them acting a certain way.

And as for my friend’s situation, it turned out her man was dealing with the death of a friend.

They were extremely close all through college but recently they fell out. And before they had a chance to work it out, he passed.

So it goes without saying that he needed time, space, and patience to deal with his own emotions before being ready to discuss it.

Thank God they broke up because the way she made him feel while he was grieving was just horrible.

Let your man breathe for a second. You cannot imagine what he’s going through, so you should never assume that it’s you.

There are other people in his life you know.

Find someone else to confide in until he’s mentally ready again

older woman embracing a younger woman in pain sitting inside home

You have to be mindful of his current emotional state. I’m guessing he’s not in the mood for talking and sharing right now, and that’s okay.

People need time and we need to respect that.

Talk to your loved ones about any issues that are bothering you, and let them help you until your man is doing better.

The last thing you want to do is put more of a burden on his shoulders.

This is a time to turn to your nearest and dearest while giving him time to deal with his difficulties.

Relationships are a safe haven from everything going on around you, but sometimes we need to read between the lines and know when to take a step back.

Sometimes – it means a literal step back. Give him space, both emotionally and physically, let him know that you’re here for him and go spend time with your friends.

It’ll be a perfect escape for both of you. He’ll have some peace of mind and you’ll be in a well-known, safe environment where you’re free to share your concerns.

Know your partner well enough to let him be alone when he needs it, but still remain fully supportive and at his service.

See also: No Contact Rule: The Power Of Silence After A Break-Up

Don’t share his problems with anyone

woman with a pet bottle in hand sitting in the stairs of an athletic hall

Let’s put it this way.

If he’s not willing to share his problems with you, his long-term partner, he most definitely doesn’t want them to be known to anyone else.

You must respect his privacy and not be tempted to tell anyone anything – even your best friend.

His issues shouldn’t become public knowledge, especially since you don’t even know the extent of them.

How would it make you feel if your man decided to tell his buddies all about your most private problems?

You’d probably feel exposed, vulnerable, and like your privacy had been breached.

That’s exactly how it would feel for him too. So yeah, it’s understandable that you need someone to talk to about this, but you can’t.

Until your man opens up, tells you what’s on his mind, and gives you permission to speak about it, your lips must remain sealed.

If you keep quiet, he’ll know that his secrets are safe with you (if he didn’t already know it).

He’ll know that he made the right choice when he committed to you.

And in his eyes, you’ll be the best girlfriend ever. It’s important that we’re able to contain ourselves when we feel like we can’t.

If you don’t, it doesn’t really breed confidence and it will be a bad sign for your relationship.

Keep your issues private, and your relationship will thrive for it.

Don’t be foolish and think that this issue can be resolved in the bedroom

man thinking in bed with a woman sleeping at his back

It’s really foolish to think that men only want one thing. They are big fans of bedroom romps, sure, but it’s not a cure for his issues.

Don’t use your flirty methods as a means to cheer him up or make him forget about things.

It’s not going to work, because he’s issues are deeper than that.

Not to mention that his stress levels are likely to affect his performance negatively, and neither of you wants that.

And if he thinks that this is your way of being there for him, it’s going to be discouraging.

He needs you to be there emotionally, not physically. He needs space, understanding, and time to get his head in order.

A bedroom romp won’t achieve anything but make him feel less like a man and more likely to be negatively affected by this attempt.

So whatever you do, don’t use your seduction methods as a weapon. You know better than that.

He’s not a 15-year old boy. He’s a grown man, with actual needs that go beyond the physical.

He’ll be back to himself soon enough, and you’ll have your chance to be there in all the ways you want. But for now, respect his needs.

If it’s space and time, so be it.

Let him have it because the sooner he gets his head together, the sooner you’ll have your hunk of a man back in your arms.

If nothing seems to work, it’s time for a more serious approach

couple talking in a restaurant with the mans hand over the woman's both wearing coat

This might appear to be a severe issue given the time he needs to get over it…but not necessarily.

You see, when a stressed man withdraws, no matter what the issue is, he’s going to wallow in misery until you deliver a shock to his system.

Some guys just cannot process their emotions to save their lives.

So if nothing is working, he’s still distant, cold, perhaps even angry, it’s time for a more severe measure.

This obviously cannot go on forever, as you have needs too.

If he’s not changing his pattern of questionable behavior regardless of your understanding, he needs an ultimatum.

Normally, I do not condone ultimatums of any kind, but when the situation calls for it, you need to do what you need to do.

Face him with it head-on. Tell him that you’ve been patient, understanding, and have given him the space he needed.

And so far, things haven’t changed at all.

If he wants to keep you in his corner, then he needs to show a sign of good faith and take a step forward.

man and woman in white top trapping the woman with his arms against while wall

You cannot constantly be ignored and be okay with it.

There comes a time when we need to face our demons whether we like it or not. If we don’t, our loved ones will suffer for it.

So either you work this thing out, or you’re done.

No more tip-toeing around him, walking on eggshells and being on the back burner. Sometimes, this is the approach that men need.

Until you put him in this position and open his eyes, he won’t see how damaging his behavior is.

So fingers crossed that he comes to his senses, realizes how long this has gone on and that things need to change.

If he doesn’t, at least you’ll know you did your very best.

You cannot keep putting yourself second. Until he sees the gravity of his actions and does something about it, your job here is done.

While it’s admirable that you’re so determined to stick by his side through his passive-aggressiveness, it should never be at all costs.

See also: 30-Day Self-Love Challenge: Become The Best Version Of Yourself

What Should You Do When Your Stressed Man Withdraws?