It’s a subject which I have posted on before, yet it seems recently I am getting a lot of emails about what to do when your man retreats into his ‘cave’ without word of warning!
It’s not a nice feeling being left in limbo and it’s downright frustrating not knowing why he has done it and how long it will last, but his withdrawal doesn’t have to signify the end of your relationship or affect your sanity ( well to a point where you want to stalk him by every means possible).
Whilst it’s easy to get anxious, angry and even jump to conclusions (a famous female skill!) we have to sometimes try to stop, take a breather and put things into perspective. Here’s 4 quick rules to help us stop over analysing his every word, text, facial expression, tone and move:
1: Minimal contact
Ah yes this is the time where he’ll barely talk to you and communication in general will be as sparse as the hair on your grandfathers head. It’s not an easy thing to get use to, especially if it happens all of a sudden , but it is something we just have to learn to manage so that it doesn’t affect our daily happiness and self worth .
It’s amazing how the less a man writes the more we dissect from that one word; classic example like: “ ok” …So does that mean 1) OK I agree or 2) OK I don’t agree and never want to see you again because I have fallen in love with an air hostess from Sweden whom I dreamt about then bumped in to for coffee and now she is having my babies ?!
Hmm our lovely female minds can sometimes overreact and over think just a little bit, best to leave it as just a simple “OK” and think about something else. Don’t put all your energy, time and emotions into trying to solve this problem or make him come out of his dungeon, it’s normal and healthy for a man to want to have time and space .
2: Don’t chase or nag
Of course the natural reaction when someone retreats is to chase and find out why they have withdrawn and ask a million questions. It’s important to remember that someone else’s reaction to life or a situation does not reflect on who you are as a person or what you are capable of in a relationship.
As women we love to talk things through and get all those “feelings” and “emotions” out of our head, some pay psychologists to talk about such things whilst myself I go for the more budget option of having a coffee with friends to talk about it.
Men don’t work the same way , instead they usually end communication and just need time on their own to think about things and gather their thoughts, and their method is no less than ours , just different so don’t take it personally if he doesn’t want to talk about it. Remember the golden rules:
1) Men don’t respond to nagging, they respond to no contact , and 2) Men like to hunt/ chase ( preferably us and not sport or animals!)
3: Time and space in necessary
It’s just one of those facts of life; everyone needs some time and space to be by themselves. That’s why it’s so important to always be a whole person without your man; he should never complete you but rather only add to you.
During his cave time, focus on other things that make you happy, take up a new skill, keep busy and invest in the other relationships in your life. You can shorten the time that he is in their by not trying to force him to come out.
Let him do his thing, chat occasionally but keep it casual after all you know your worth and if he is going to play games or be selfish to an extreme then he can stay in his bloody cave because you are a girl who’s ready to climb mountains , with or without him #snap!
Understand that his alone time is normal and it doesn’t mean that you will end up alone. Whilst it can also be an indication of a few things or problems going on between you or him, it doesn’t have to signify the end of your relationship and sometimes it can actually be incredibly positive.
Time and space apart (even if it’s not wanted) can give you incredible clarity on someone or a something, so use the time wisely to benefit yourself as well.
4: When he comes out …
Eventually he will emerge (probably because he is hungry!) and will contact you. The important thing to remember is to not be sitting there waiting for his call, get out and get on with your life so that when he does come out you aren’t thrown into an emotional turmoil!
His every move shouldn’t dictate your life or emotions, so set yourself up from the beginning of his cave time by taking your focus off him and onto yourself. Of course it’s important to talk and re-establish what you have, just don’t feel you have to do it the first 5 mins via one really really long text!
He may still be a little distant, so take your time but be honest with yourself and him about how you are feeling, you don’t have to walk on eggshells for him.
If he continues to retreat or is uncommitted then something needs to change and it will probably be up to you to make that decision because relationships are a two way street that require consistent communication.