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10 Interesting Reasons Why Guys Disappear When They Like You

Head and shoulders photograph of Suzannah Weiss
A man standing in the middle of a long open road with his suitcase, facing snow-topped mountains far away.
Conventional wisdom leads us to assume a guy probably isn't interested in you if he backs off and disappears. But things aren't always that simple. Here are some reasons why guys disappear even though (or maybe even because) they actually like you.

You're dating someone, and you seem to be hitting it off... Suddenly, his communication becomes sparse. Or worse, he ghosts you. So many people are familiar with this experience. Why does this happen? Why do guys disappear when they like you?

1. They’re Not Ready for a Relationship

Ironically, men may run away from a relationship because they see it has serious potential, which may feel like something bigger than they can handle. Some men even have a pattern of dating people they don't see themselves ending up with or engaging only in casual relationships, so they don't have to face the possibility of something getting serious.

If it doesn't seem like someone is ready for a relationship, the best thing to do is to accept it and trust that they'll get back to you once they are ready.

2. They’re Afraid of Getting Hurt

Pretty much all of us are afraid of getting hurt by a romantic partner, and the stakes are much higher if it's someone you have strong feelings for. Someone with an avoidant attachment style, who has learned to cope with these fears by keeping others at a distance, may be especially likely to disappear as a defense mechanism.

3. They’re Afraid of Hurting You

Just as many men are afraid of getting hurt by their romantic partners, some are even more afraid that they'll be the ones to hurt their partners. This is especially common among people who grew up in households where there was lots of conflict between their parents. They may have learned to associate love with mistreatment.

If someone cares a lot about you, pulling back could be an attempt to protect you.

4. They Don’t Feel Like They Have Their Lives Together

Because of societal conditioning, many men feel like they need to be in a stable place with their careers and finances before they can be in a relationship. Feelings of failure may come up if they don't feel they can financially support a partner.

If someone's dealing with this issue, he may choose to focus on his career before things get serious with someone.

5. They're Playing a Game

Another unfortunate thing society teaches us is that we'll be more attractive to partners if we play "hard to get" in the early relationship stages. In particular, men may have been taught it's important for them to appear less interested than their partners so that they have the power in the relationship.

The best thing you can do in this situation is to refuse to play this game and make your interest known. Then, wait to see if he's able to drop his pretenses and show his interest too.

6. They’re Dealing With Demons

Sometimes, the experience of meeting someone we really like can bring us face-to-face with our biggest insecurities. We think of all the ways we could be an inadequate partner or all the ways they could reject us. If this is the case, it's usually helpful to give the person time to learn to trust you and express that you accept him for who he is.

7. They’re Not Sure What They Want

Some of us start dating without having a clear idea of what we want, such as whether we want a casual or serious relationship.

If someone dealing with this uncertainty meets someone he likes, he may put things on pause so that he doesn't lead them on, especially if he senses that they want a serious relationship. In this case, it helps to be clear about what you want and either reassure him that it's OK to keep things casual or step back and let him know he can reach out once he's ready for something serious.

8. They Think You Don’t Like Them

Sometimes, while you're worried that someone doesn't like you, they're worried about the exact same thing.

Without realizing it, we sometimes give the impression that we're not that into someone through our body language or something we say. Before assuming that someone doesn't like you, first make it clear that you like him and see how he responds.

9. They’re Recovering From Negative Relationship Experiences

If a guy has recently dealt with a breakup or an unhealthy relationship, he may be hesitant to jump into a new relationship, especially if you unknowingly say or do something to remind him of his ex.

It may just take time for him to become comfortable with you, or he may need reassurance that the same thing isn't going to happen again. In some cases, he might need therapy before being able to enter into a new relationship.

10. They Struggle With Vulnerability

If someone disappears after telling you that he likes or even loves you, he may feel overly exposed. Putting your feelings on the table can open up the possibility of someone else rejecting you or even ridiculing you, and that possibility may have scared him. He may come around, or you may want to find someone who's more comfortable being vulnerable.

It's Not You; It's Them

Whatever the reason, the important thing is for you not to take it personally if someone disappears on you. Usually, it's much more about someone else and whatever demons they're facing than it is about you.

Instead of sulking, do your best to get back on the field. Check out eharmony, OurTime, or LGBTQ+ dating sites to meet new people - depending on your preferences. The more you stay open to all the great, available people out there, the less likely you are to be at the mercy of someone who likes to pull disappearing acts.

Head and shoulders photograph of Suzannah Weiss
Suzannah Weiss is a feminist writer, certified sex educator, and Brown University graduate in Cognitive Neuroscience and Gender and Sexuality Studies. In addition to writing for Top10.com, Suzannah written for major publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, Glamour, and Cosmopolitan. Weiss' writing about feminist issues and sexuality has also been discussed on The Today Show, The View, and C-SPAN.