Long distance relationship: push and pull

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Dear Guys,

Ok, So I met this guy who’s 31—I’m 35. We met out in San Francisco in early March 2011. I live in Atlanta. I met him through a friend and from the very moment we met he pursued me heavily. Even when I got back home from SF he was texting me wanting attention, answers, and basically asking me if he had a chance. I basically decided to go for it. We continued this affair through Skype (ALOT), hundreds of texts, pictures, phone calls, etc. for months. I planned a trip for him to see me in Atlanta for three days. The trip went well, but upon his return he slowly started getting cold feet, stating the reality was getting to him. Anyway, this is after 2 months.

We continued the relationship but he stated he wasn’t sure if he was ready, but was still open to the idea. I booked yet another trip to SF and flew out there 3 weeks later after his visit. This time it was for 5 days just with him. I will have to be honest, he’s very warm, sweet, and inexperienced in the relationship dept. He wanted to make me happy, impress me, take me out on trips, etc. There was a lot of sex. I mean a lot. But also with other activities included. It was wonderful, but I was a little out of my comfort zone and started noticing him freezing up the last day, not wanting to hold my hand and not really expressing himself.

On my plane ride back he basically told me he wasn’t feeling it. That day a lot of drinking was done and I was a little edgy. When I came back, I was angry and hurt. He was basically trying to cut ties with me. Through the next three weeks, we ended up speaking again and he basically said to me that he had deep insecurities, and that I could do so much better than him, and he was in a different place in his life. That he hasn’t achieved much and he had un-resolved anger. That he could see me getting hurt down the road. The letter was heartfelt and sincere and I can see he has some issues to work through. I continued to talk to him for 45 days and tried to get close!

But the entire time has been push and pull. Hot and cold. He said he has feelings for me and doesn’t know what it is when he’s around me, but something makes him feel wonderful, he misses me, wants to see me. Then the next day he pulls back but continues to text, call late night. I get angry and start getting hurt but ask him to come visit again. He says we shall see… Never does, and always has an excuse. He just basically seems confused and back and forth and conflicted, yet won’t let go. I have decided to fly back out to San Francisco to visit a friend and he TRULY wants to see me, saying it would be a “dream” to have me and see me. Yada, Yada, How wonderful. Yet, he’s said  four days prior he’s not ready.

Ok, I am not ready to give up on him. But what is he doing? How should I go about this? What is he trying to say? I am very independent, pretty female that took a risk on someone that doesn’t do as well financially, nor quite mature in some regards but he carries such a warm space in my heart. I need to know how to win him and to get him on the track of this long distance thing in hopes for us to be together and come home to one another eventually. It’s not easy, but so far we are going on five months. It will be six by my next visit.

THANK YOU FOR listening. I’m trying to stick to actualities and facts. I do have very strong feelings for him or I wouldn’t be writing all of this, right?


Dear Jennifer,

Thanks for your question. We got to it as quickly as we could. Sorry for the delay.

We think you really need to look at his actions, not his words Jennifer. What you’re describing is a common pattern among men when it comes to long distance relationships. We’re not saying all men are like this, but certainly enough to label it as a pattern.

Here’s how it goes:

Before the actual visit the guy is excited for you to come. He texts. He calls. He romances. He’s involved. He’s present. All of these actions and feelings are genuine, but often misplaced. We say misplaced, because the origins of some of these actions are sex based. Meaning, the anticipation of the upcoming sex is enough to fuel much of his pre-visit actions. Is it all about sex? Not necessarily, but it’s a big factor for guys.

Now the actual visit. It starts off great. Lots of fun. Lots of sex. He’s excited. All is well. But as the visit goes on, it becomes less about sex, and more about a relationship, and so reality hits for the guy, and that’s when he starts thinking with his actual head. And for many guys, the reality is very different than the fantasy, so he begins to question if he wants it or not.

By the time the visit comes to an end, the guy is distant and he’s already trying to figure out his exit plan. He starts blaming it on himself. Telling you there’s something wrong with him, most likely because he doesn’t want to hurt you, or he doesn’t want any drama. By the time you leave, he’s already got one foot out the door, and he’s managed to confuse you beyond belief. You say, “How can he want me so much, but then not want me?” Our answer: He can. Trust us.

So then you leave, and for the next few weeks, he remains distant, uncommunicative, uninterested. Then he starts thinking about sex again, maybe two or three weeks after you leave, and he starts associating you with all the fun he had, and all of a sudden he starts reconsidering his previous actions. The next thing you know he’s calling again, texting you, and missing you.

Then the cycle begins again.

This is exactly what you’re describing Jennifer. It’s possible he could come around, but we’re just saying: Tread carefully here because we’re concerned you’re going to get hurt repeatedly based on what you’re describing.

Good luck and take care,


ps. Leave us a follow up comment. And let your friends know about us. Thanks!


23 Comments on Long distance relationship: push and pull

  1. hey guys!

    first of all I apologize if my english isn’t that good- I am not a native speaker.

    I met a guy a few months ago- he is not only living in the uk while i am living in germany, he also has an exceptional job, which means he has to travel a lot because of his job. He came to visit me several times and the last time we even went on holiday together. I really had the feeling that there is sth between us and I kind of fell for him…the problem is, I feel like I was a bit stressful and unrelaxed during our short trip- that might be because my last relationship was a long term thing (7Y) and I simply wasn’t used to spend 24 Hours a day for 7 days with a guy. I feel like I didn’t act like me…and now he stopped texting me and is very quiet and short when I text him. First I thought ‘what the hell, just let it go’ but I’m not able to get him out of my mind…what do you think? Is it possible to get his attention back, obviously he lost interest…I know that this thing maybe has little future, but I just want to see him again and see what happens…:-(…all this sounds stupid to me too and I hope you’re not too anoyed with my question.

    Thanks for all and best wishes, Annette

  2. @Annette…We are not annoyed with your question. There are no silly questions when it comes to relationships. Obviously something changed for him. He could be reacting to your behavior, or he could have just changed his mind, or maybe he started thinking about the reality of an international long distance relationship and said to himself, “Forget it.” But we believe as you do, the risk is worth it. And if you want to see this man again why don’t you call him up on the phone—no texting—and tell him how you feel. Tell him the truth. We’re not saying that you should tell him you’re in love with him, but we’re saying, tell him about your past, and that you felt anxious and stressed during the visit because you were nervous, and it was new to you. See what he says. If he tells you he’s no longer interested, well, then at least you’ll know, and maybe he’ll offer an explanation. And who knows, maybe he’s just stressed, and wants to see you again. If so, then why don’t you make the effort and visit him? That would show him that you’re really trying. You know, maybe it won’t work out, but at least you’ll know you tried. There’s nothing worse than regret. Your thoughts? Keep us posted as to what you decide to do. And ask as many follow up questions as you’d like. ps. And we’d appreciate it greatly if you could spread the word about our site wherever….friends, Facebook, Twitter, PInterest, etc. Thanks!

  3. kristen // July 10, 2013 at 9:48 pm //

    I have a question..I am currently texting,talking to a guy I have known from my past. I was in eighth grade and he was a senior the first time we met. He called me and we just talked. Fast forward to my senior year in college..I moved back home and ended up working at the same place as him for the summer. Again he was always making advances, being flirtatious and the like. We went out often and hooked up a few times but of course no sex. I wouldn’t even let him past first base. Then he moved to another city but still wrote me letters and stayed in touch. I ended up
    moving to the same city but completely across town. I called him
    up to say hi and he was very excited. He drove 45 minutes to cone pick me up so we could hang out. I stayed with him twice but, again I didn’t have sex. He was always known as a player to a certain extent and I really wasn’t that into him. 15 years past and we reconnected on fb. We have been texting and talking for 7 months now..he says he loves me so much and is in love with me. He says if I only knew how much he loved me it would scare me and then saying I’m the girl he wants to marry and be in his life forever. I say I love him too but still not sure how much. I never just call him, always have him call me and usually never text first although I have lately a little more. I got scared a few weeks back and texted him and said I couldn’t do this and that he deserved better and I needed to stop talking to him..he said I put a dent in his heart but I was serious. We didn’t speak for a week when I got a text from saying I hope all is well. I said its good but I miss him. He said he missed me too. Then went on to say how I broke his heart, completely crushed him. After texting back and forth I decided I would give it another try. We are meeting up in a week in our hometown and I’m just curious if he really does love me or if its I factuation. Can a guy really love someone like he says he does. Or am I being played?

  4. @Kristen…..It’s way too soon to know. It’s true that his hormones are likely raging, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. You want your guy to be very attracted to you. It helps with everything. But love? That seems a bit strong. Our advice: See how this plays out and then go from there. See how you feel. But don’t jump into bed with him right away even though you know him. Try to get to know one another again. And keep letting him initiate most of the time. Good luck.

  5. Guys.. Can you please enlighten me.. So i’ve been seeing this guy for 3 months and everything is great. He said he has feelings for me yada yada but his contract in my country will be over in a month now. He pulled back once but on our holiday last week explains to me its coz hes leaving soon so hes pulling back. But during the holiday he’s normal again n even made a surprise bday party for me. All sweet and all out. Then came the last day of holiday to today he’s pulling back again. Is it really botherring a guy facing long distance?

  6. Oh and the detail of our relationship is that he admitted we are seeing each other, introduced me to all his friends, his friends said ‘finally meet you coz hes been talking so much about you’, me n his friends hang out a lot, we do sleepovers at his or mine, sex, he’s affectionate in public, saying all the right things, we were even still arranging one last vacay before he left the country but then now he’s pulling back. He did ask if its better to end it sooner but i said i still wanna do it till he left. He agreed. Then a month later, which is now, after an awesome holiday tpgether he’s pulling back again. In the holiday time he was still talking about getting jobs around my area. but still unsure about it. What is going on?

  7. @Cee……Sorry, but you’re just going to have to wait and see. Yes he’s pulling back. He’s not sure if he wants to do long-distance. He’s actually not sure how serious he is about you. Basically, he’s confused and trying to figure it out. Like you. So, it’s too early to know. IT sounds like there’s a lot of good things about your relationship. Focus on that and see what happens. One thought: If he does break up with you because he’s leaving, then the ball will be in his court. Don’t chase. He’s got to be the one to come to you and tell you he made a mistake. Good luck.

  8. Ok so i dont have to chase him now as well right? He’s being cold and distant for a week. Its now 2 days since i last heard from him. 2 days ago i was asking about if the sleepover still on and he said ‘im afraid i cant today, lets catch up another time. Have a great day!’ Wth. So i said ‘sure no problem’ and thats the last i hear from him. Bollocks. Haha.

  9. I have been with my boyfriend for six months.He is 32, British and I’m 29 from St Lucia and we met in the U.K. while I was pursuing and internship.Things were amazing for the 5 months and got serious fast.I met his parents after 3 and a half months of dating.They really liked me and that made my bf happy.He would constantly tell me I’m the only woman he ever considered marrying and having kids with.His actions always matched his words as he would always cook for me, take me out to his work events and introduce me to all his friends.He really was the perfect boyfriend.A month ago I moved back to St Lucia as my visa expired and we agreed to stay together.Things were great for the first 2 weeks.We would message each other everyday and video chat ovcasionally.Over the past 2 weeks things changed suddenly and he has become withdrawn and rarely messages me.I am always the one to reach out.I was very sad about this dramatic shift and yesterday I expressed this to him and told him that if he is no longer interested in the relationship he should say so.He texted back and said that it’s not that he’s lost interest at all but he misses me and being miles apart is hard.Communication is key in any relationship.If we rarely talk what’s the point.I love my bf deeply but right now it seems like he doesn’t want to be with me anymore.I am also confused by what caused the sudden shift on his behavior.Should I allow him to have his space or give him some sort of ultimatum?

  10. @Crystal…..Well, what you need to consider is what you really want. And then decide which course of action will more likely lead to that. We lean towards trusting him and giving him some space to sort himself out. (Based on your history together.) But, we also think you need to explain to him what you need from a relationship. Something like, “I love you very much and want us to work out, but I need to feel connected to you. I know the distance is hard, but that’s why our consistent communication is even more important now.” (Or something like that in your own words.) Then we’d give it a month or so and see how it plays out. And then at that time, you can revise your decision. Sound like a plan? Questions? Thoughts?

  11. Wow. I realize this is a post from 2011 but the EXACT SAME THING just happened to me (we just stopped talking) and this advice was spot on. It blows my mind how predictable this long distance pattern of behavior is although here I am thinking I just experienced something so unique. I have been poring over the internet trying to understand what he might be thinking. I came across reading about covert narcissists and them coming on too strongly (“lovebombing”) and then being hot/cold and basically discarding a person after use. This didn’t seem as harsh as someone with true NPD but he seemed to have narcissistic tendencies. Anyway thanks for the simple explanation which I guess you could call timeless since it’s been almost 10 years. I wonder what ended up happening with the original poster.

  12. @S Jay…..We’re sorry to hear about your experience, but thanks for sharing. Even though the post is eight years old, people still read it. Your words will be helpful. So what’s your plan moving forward?

  13. I’m really confused about my long distance relationship. I actually met my guy a week ago after 9 months of talking. He was really awkward in person. When I asked him about it, he said that he is socially awkward and has severe anxiety. He said I made him nervous. Well after that I noticed him trying to talk to me more. When he left, I asked him if he was still going to talk to me. He said of course and kissed me goodbye. I don’t know if I’m overthinking things now, but I’m so worried he doesn’t like me. There was a lot of build up especially sex wise. Maybe that’s why he’s not talking about it. Anyways I needed to get that out.

  14. @Alice……Tell us about your visit. What happened? How long was it? Anything happen beyond kissing? And did you like him? What did you like about him? Did his issues bother you at all or did they make him seem more real? We need a few more details.

  15. Thanks for responding! We met in a city we had never been before, and we both flew to it. He had to find childcare for his son and board his dog to be able to come meet me. We had sex immediately once we got to the hotel room. We went to eat, and came back where we had sex most of the night into the morning. We toured the city a little more, and we had more drinks. We came back to the hotel and passed out. During the night, I felt him cuddling me. We had sex that morning. Continued….

  16. We laid around the hotel that day just making small talk until we decided to tour again. We had more drinks, and that’s when I asked him if he was grossed out by me. I told him I felt he didn’t like me, etc. That’s when he told me about his anxiety. I did already know this and that he has bipolar disorder. It did make me feel better. We got up the next morning and went to the airport. I asked him if he still wanted all things he said before we met, and he said of course. He kissed me then left. We basically spent the weekend together. Continued…

  17. Since leaving, he has not been initiating conversation. I usually text him first, and he replies. However, something seems off. I really do like him, and I have cried because I feel he just wanted sex, and now that’s it. Then, I don’t know if it’s that or if he’s struggling with mental health. Months before meeting, he told me he loved me and that I have been the only girl he’s talked to in a year. That’s when we agreed to be committed to each other. He would tell me how beautiful I was when we would talk on the phone and Skype so I’m just confused now.

  18. @Alice….Thanks for filling us in. Sounds like you had a nice weekend. So why did you ask him if he was grossed out by you? We’re confused. If he wanted to have sex with you multiple times it seems unlikely he had an issue with you. Is this an issue you feel about yourself? Has this come up before? Now to respond to your question. You know, long distance relationships can be really tricky, especially when that’s all the relationship has every been. For example. If you had been together in the same city and then he moved and you continued to see each other long distance, that would be very different than meeting online and only communicating via text, Skype, etc. and then meeting up like you did. The point is, neither one of you could know exactly how you felt until you had face-to-face time together. So while you have grown closer to him, it’s hard to say exactly what’s going on with him except that something has changed. However, understand that he may not have known how things would go when he met up with you. We doubt this was some plan to just get you in bed. But it’s possible that now he’s not sure about what he wants. So what’s your plan at the moment?

  19. I do have self-esteem issues, and they become more prevalent when I’m nervous. I guess I was confused about why he wasn’t holding my hand or being affectionate in public. He did explain that he knew the first time we met was going to be awkward, and we both agreed we wanted to make things work when he left. We both have family in another state, and he did keep asking when I would be seeing them. Then he said he was thinking about coming to my state. I haven’t talked to him about how I’m feeling because I don’t know necessarily what to say or what to do.

  20. @Alice….how much communication have you had with him since he’s left? How does it compare to before you saw him? (Frequency. Who’s initiating. Etc.)

  21. @Alice….We forgot to mention……Have you read our book? It might be something you’d be interested in reading. It’s called “Inside your Guy’s Mind.” Certainly you might find it interesting, and we’ve been told it’s a fast read. No pressure, but we provided the link.

  22. Thank you! I’ll definitely check the book out. As far as frequency, things were normal the first couple of days of us parting ways. He let me know when he landed, and we continued the conversation as normal. It’s just been the last few days where I have been initiating the texts. Before, it was a mutual thing. We would talk on the phone on the nights he does not have his kid. We have not talked on the phone since us being back, and we have not even talked about the trip. I have not initiated a phone call either.

  23. @Alice…..We might give it another week and see what happens. He needs some time to sort out his head. When he’s ready we’re sure he’ll reach out to you. That said, it’s hard to predict what he’s actually going to say. Sorry we can’t be more definitive, but this is definitely a wait and see situation. Keep us posted.

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