#3: He’s Starting to Doubt That Things Can Work
Human beings, almost without exception, have a way of avoiding pain whenever possible. Laughter, therefore, becomes a valuable defense mechanism against uncertainty and pain. Confronting uncertainty and pain of situations such as why men pull away in relationships is one of the cornerstones of comedy.
Aristophanes, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Cervantes, Voltaire, Austen, Wilde, the Marx Brothers, Monty Python, Richard Pryor, Amy Schumer—that’s a GREAT start on a Who’s Who of Western Comedy, and they ALL capitalize on how mundane foibles can cause us to confront uncertainty and our own insecurities on a daily basis, and where that’s usually painful, a little laughter can break the tension and make us feel at ease once more, especially with difficult topics such.
However, while just about all of those writers and comedians poked fun at the fallibility of relationships, it’s not all that funny when you yourself are starting to have doubts, which brings us to another reason why men withdraw.
Numerous publications targeted at women tend to advocate openness, counseling, therapy, ‘talking it out’—in short, a more ‘open’ approach to relationship problems. By contrast, the prototypical Hemingway-esque, Uber-Masculine Male is taught to keep thoughts and feelings to themselves, that emotions are an enemy of true manhood.
This should tell us two things—first, that sexism hurts men and women alike, and secondly, that as a result, men are often tempted to keep quiet or further isolate themselves from partners when they begin to doubt that things can work.
So, how can you confront this issue without coming across as clingy which, as shown above, is almost certainly a death knell for a relationship? Humor. We’ve already said it’s a great defense mechanism, and it’s likewise a great way to break the ice.
Making light of the situation can put both him and yourself at ease, make you seem more caring and less clingy, and if he laughs and responds, you might be that much closer to finding out what the problem is.