Why women withdraw

Original post: August 1, 2008; update: January 30, 2010. Still holds true. 🙂

A while ago, Yeti posted a blog on “Why Men Withdraw.” Apparently, it’s one of the most-read entries on her site. Apparently, women would like to know why men withdraw or become distant or whatever. Well … I’m almost certain that it works the other way as well. Whether it’s because of the gradually-diminishing distance between perceived gender roles in Western society, or maybe just because we’re all human beings and we’re sometimes more similar than we think, women withdraw, too.

It’s a reality that can bemuse and bewilder, frustrate and foil. I know because I’ve spoken to friends who’ve had similar experiences to me: one moment, life couldn’t be more perfect and she couldn’t be more interested; the next moment (or the next week), you’re the last person in the world that she wants to see or hear or be around or know.

Maybe she has her own issues to work through. Maybe she likes you, but not quite that much (yet); (and maybe you need to give her time and space to work that out, or maybe you need to just give her time and space … for ever). Maybe she’s just coming out of a relationship and she’s not ready for another one. Maybe she just got really burned and is scared of getting hurt again. Maybe you’re not her type. Maybe she doesn’t know what her type is. Maybe she thinks she knows what her type is, and it isn’t you, but you think her type is really stupid. Maybe she’s just not that into you.

Or, on the flipside, maybe she has a history of doing this kind of thing and you need to steer clear of her. Maybe you’d be better off without someone who withdraws and doesn’t communicate why. Generally speaking, I’d agree that women are better communicators than men. But there are always exceptions. (I tend to meet all the exceptions. Which is awesome.)

In the end, my answer comes down to not knowing. It could be nothing. It could be something. It could be her. It could be you. It could be a disastrous development (and it often feels like it). It might be the best thing in the world to happen to you (even though it might take you the longest time to be able to understand that).

And then the question is “What do we do about it?” Or … “What can we do about it?” Again, I’m afraid I’m going to be as helpful as … well, something not very helpful. [On a side note, if you can come up with an analogy for something that’s helpful, maybe you’ll get a mention in my next blog. Yay.] It depends on the circumstance. It depends on you and where you’re at in life. It depends on her. It depends on how you interact with each other. And a hundred other things. I can’t give a blanket statement of advice; because with relationships, we’re dealing with people, and people are unpredictable.

So … sorry.


4 Responses

  1. brilliant.

  2. Actually men are better communicators than women because they are encouraged by society to talk more, whereas women are encouraged to keep quiet and not communicate their feelings when asked to.

  3. It is tough. I find my marriage ending after almost 10 years. I am the communicator(male) in this marriage. I am not a quitter and it has been tough over the last three years. We have three little ones all 8 and under. I am dealing with an ahole of a father-in-law as well. Communication has been tough especially when your wife files for divorce. What a strange situation living in the same household and acting like a couple of strangers or shall I state children. This may be the best thing that will happen to me. Unfortunately divorce takes too long though. So, men to me are much better at communication than women. Might not be the case outside of a marriage, but most definitely in a marriage.

  4. as a woman who withdraws, I know it is because I have repeatedly stated my wants and needs in a relationship and they have not been heard. there is nothing left to say.

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