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A Man’s Needs Are Built Differently – Why Men Hold Back Their Love or Appear Silent

Man Holding Back Love Going Silent Back Turned

A man will hold back his love from you for many reasons and today you're going to learn what some of them are, how it's connected to having different "relationship" needs than yours, and why this passive aggressive stance appears silent and unresponsive to the love you want to give him.

He's Holding Back His Love Out Of Fear.

It's hard to imagine that a man might be less afraid of walking down a dark dangerous ally or putting his life on the line defending his country than showing his love to you but it's true.

A fear of rejection.

You can give and show him all the love you want BUT if he's not convinced that it's real his fear of being rejected AFTER he says it, is still there deep in his mind.

Nothing hurts a man more than your unrequited love and he'll opt for silence until it's proven to him in ways which go beyond the three words you can say to him, "I love you."

A fear of being or feeling incompetent.

You'll find a man will not only feel undeserving of your love but also incapable of giving back the same or more devotion to you that you are giving to him.

It's not an easy balance for a woman to achieve.

Give him too much love and he feels he can not compete with it or keep up with it making him feel incompetent.

Give him too little and he's more likely to go back to the last fear of being rejected.

A fear of losing his  freedom.

A man's connection to being free comes in many forms and it's difficult to understand them all and how they're directly related to you so I'll try to keep it simple for you and for me too.

Once a man devotes his love to you through words or actions (for real) he almost immediately feels pressured to live up to his formal declaration of it.

The pressure is felt like a direct loss of freedom as he now might feel trapped into playing out the role of someone who is in love.

A fear of not pleasing you sexually or intimately.

Casual sex is not "easy" so to speak BUT the ACT of sex is a lot easier to handle and deal with when a man is not in love with his partner.

Once you add love and devotion and his NEED to PLEASE you this fear becomes very real.

A man derives pleasure from pleasing the woman he loves the most. The more of it - the more the need to please because it's connected to his masculinity.

A fear of not being able or capable of handling and dealing with ALL you EMOTIONS.

Once the word LOVE is out there a man will feel responsible for your emotions.

Responsible for giving back the same or more than you give, responsible for being there for you in all the ups and downs you experience, responsible for smoothing things out when you're feeling ill or emotionally hurt, AND responsible for making any pain you feel... go away.

It's now amazingly clear how his fears are inseparable from his feelings of loving you.

Saying I LOVE YOU comes with a huge price for everyone but since we're only dealing with men today - you can see WHY he might hold back from acting like it or telling you he loves you UNTIL his fears are dealt with or feel manageable to him.

In my book on the silent man I emphasize one point over and over again because it's a big reason why men go silent or "hold back their love".

I suggest  you read the entire reasoning behind it in the book but I'll give it to you simply and let you work out the details:


AND when we have less fears we feel more SAFE and therefor will feel more safe to show our love.

The five fears men have which may cause their silence or hesitation in the area of loving you or saying were NOT created by me. A brilliant man by the name of Carlos Cavallo made them clear to me and in a letter he wrote.

Carlos helps you connect with a man in a way too help you erase his fears and you can read his video intro - The Connection Code - Some Women Are Like Cookies - Some Are Like Broccoli - Which One Are You? OR give him your email and he will let you watch the first chapter for free: Seven Fatal Connection Mistakes Women Make.

We've been affiliated friends for about a decade now prompting me to write a whole page dedicated to those five fears. The discussion is a little long and sometimes hard to follow but when you're ready to go that deep - give it a read:

Why Guys Have Every Reason To Be Afraid of Commitment? His Every Fear

Okay - sure... he "might" be holding back because he's afraid of getting hurt again. Lots of guys use that EXCUSE and they'll close themselves off to certain experiences doing or saying things which may leave them desperately open to rejection or non-physical harm.

Technically that falls under the fear of being rejected.

Notice how I emphasized the word EXCUSE. You'll find a guy will use what I call the "po po me" excuse to abstain from committing or telling you he loves you (sometimes too much) because he's afraid of getting hurt of feels unworthy of your love.

UPDATE: Just finished a huge write up on the POOR POOR ME excuse and you can read about it at my advice article repository site: "Meet & Attract Him – Communication Skills & Forming Easy Relationships"

Here's the link: What Was His Excuse For Not Committing To You? Are They Real or Lies?

Sometimes it's real. Sometimes he's full of it.

Mostly it means one of two things:

He isn't feeling it too much for you and is sort of "keeping you on the hook" until someone better comes along and is using you to keep some intimacy in his life.


You haven't connected with him in a way which can and will make him feel... yes, you might've guessed... SAFE.

You'll have to look back at your experience with men to determine which one it is. I'd say - if it's happening all too often, it might be the way in which you're connecting with men - otherwise it's ALL him.

Again - something you can learn all about for an amazing price in my book:

Why Men Go Silent, Ignore You, Refuse or Won’t Share Their Feelings

How his needs are built differently.

Rori Raye (her free newsletter sign up page) - is my "go to" woman when it comes to relationships, needs, feelings, emotions, and fears pointed out something to me one day that made me think about a man's NEEDS.

In the article below she talks about a woman having relationship problems because she's more concerned or troubled by the little things her partner is doing or not doing when she's getting so much from him.

She asks you to let go of the smaller things when you're already getting so many of the bigger things. Obviously if you're not getting those larger items then there is a real problem going on.

  • Affection.
  • Great sex.
  • Harmony.
  • Being able to negotiate.
  • Fun.
  • Peace.
  • Trust.
  • Emotional safety.

Stop Overfunctioning and Get The Love and Relationship You Do Deserve

Anyways - aside from all that I LOVE the list of NEEDS she wrote and how both men and women enjoy better more communicative (less silent) relationships when many of those needs are being met.

You'll quickly notice when a man's needs are not being met he may decide to become more or less passive aggressive.

Rather than start another fight, rather than message you back as quick as you message him, rather than reassure his love to you everyday - he'll withdraw himself.

Why he's doing it is clear.

He feels his BIGGER NEEDS are not being met and is choosing silence (safety) over the more dangerous route of speaking up up to including not saying he loves you or ACTING like it.

Okay that may not be so obvious to everyone but now you know it so it's all good.

The REAL confusing part comes with not UNDERSTANDING a man and what his actions mean and how they're directly related to his NEEDS.

When your needs are fully met you feel it. You just know it, right? You feel happy, content, more loving, more open, more supported, more CONNECTED to the person who is meeting them.

But what about his needs...

HOW do you know if they're being met when he's not being clear or vocal about it as in when a man is less likely to tell you?

Actually he IS letting you know through his ACTIONS. (Generally speaking of course because if he's not feeling something great for you then he's not going to act that way.)

In HIS mind it's very clear the point he's trying to get across AND because of the way men and women communicate differently to the world around them, the signals get crossed or all too easily misunderstood.

For example - from Rori's list above:

  • Affection.
  • Great sex.
  • Harmony.
  • Being able to negotiate.
  • Fun.
  • Peace.
  • Trust.
  • Emotional safety.

Your version or how you came to interpret when they're being met, what they mean to you, AND HOW you show them to another has developed over your life which I guarantee is different than his version.

He might be fully convinced he's being affectionate with a simple morning kiss but you believe it's not enough. Maybe you feel a long tight hug is more affectionate than a quick tenth of a second kiss.

To him - he feels his needs of great sex are being met when YOU get off and if that happens quickly - he's okay with it because then he will too. BUT you might be more convinced of your needs being met by having less sex but more longer "make love" sessions.

You might see harmony as having long discussions about your life and his life together and what it all means and how grateful you both feel about it BUT he might believe harmony is achieved when you don't have a fight for a couple of weeks. He feels more connected while without it - you feel less connected.

Comprises are big in relationships AND in dating too. Strange as it sounds you might be more forgiving of your first or second date with a man and the little things he does that you don't like, over the same stuff being done over a year or more of being in a committed relationship.

In other words you're comprising what you feel are less important traits of a guy or his smaller faults when he has so many other good qualities which you feel are more important to meeting your needs.

The being able to negotiate need is more fulfilled when your partner and you are willing to compromise on certain smaller things in the same way. Take away this "capability" of a couple and you'll soon find some major needs are far from being met and reached.

You'll find the items which men and will compromise over are very different AND are often not shared vocally because of a lack of effective communication and the difference in which men and women communicate differently.

The unfortunate outcome is often SILENCE on both ends or LOUDNESS unproductive actions.

A bigger problem occurs when a man feels like he's trying to meet your needs by doing lots of little things for YOU when many those items is him willing to compromise over.

These difference in NEEDS or the ability to share those needs positively and effectively creates an eventual breakdown of communication often leading to passive aggressive behavior and silence.

Again - it's not that the needs of a man and woman are different - it's the understanding of them, how they're shown or conveyed or communicated, how they're accepted or interpreted which tends to feel like one partner isn't being heard and/or one partner is opting for silence and the safety of their own thoughts.

In other words - they are BUILT differently than yours.

I'm not going any further on Rori's list.

You can sign up to her newsletter here or pick up her Have The Relationship You Want Ebook where she'll show you how to connect to man emotionally which will make meeting both your needs much easier and guaranteed to happen.

A man's silence from a NEEDS perspective in many circumstances - not all - just many - comes from the fact that yours and his needs may be met in different ways.

Whereas yours are not being met in the way you want he believes or thinks they are based on what he's doing to fulfill his needs along the way too.

I understand it's confusing.

It's not a simple math problem we're trying to solve here.

But let's see if I can connect all the dots for you and make some sense of it.

Back to the title...

A man will often hold back their love for you out of fear.

  • A fear of being rejected by you after the love is declared.
  • A fear of being incompetent or not being capable to live up to his declaration of love or to make you happy.
  • A fear of the lose of freedom he might feel after it's said or from the actions he's doing to prove his love to you.
  • A fear of being incapable of giving the intimacy he wants to give or feels you deserve AFTER it's said or done.
  • A fear of not being able to handle your emotions now that the love is out there and made clear.

Those five major fears were brought to my attention by Carlos Cavallo - producer of The Connection Code and fully explain why a man might hold back his love until the right woman helps him to alleviate or lessen his fears which is often done by how you communicate to him.

A man NEEDS which are similar to yours but are developed and shown differently can easily make it feel like he's going silent or doesn't love you but it's not always the case.

Often what you see as silence - because he's DOING more than he's SAYING is actually HIS way of trying to meet your needs while at the same time trying to get his needs met.

This confusion or difference in communication is likely the problem that must be addressed FIRST before both you and him will be satisfied in the relationship thus erasing the silence and opening more freer and honest lines of communication.

The CONNECTION between the two elements: FEARS AND NEEDS are not so easily seen or understood.

Imagine a man FEARS his NEEDS won't be met by you and are based on the five above.

Imagine a man needs his FEARS lessened or eliminated BEFORE he will believe or feel like HIS NEEDS are being met.

Imagine a man trying to meet YOUR NEEDS in the only way he knows how through his ACTIONS and not by his words alone.

Imagine a man trying to do all that and more and finds himself with a woman who doesn't know how to positively and effectively convey her needs therefore helpless to meet her needs thus enhancing one of his greatest fears.

Imagine a man trying to please a woman while at the same time doesn't understand how to convey positively and effectively his needs therefore once again, enhancing another one of his greatest fears.

Imagine a woman trying to please a man who doesn't know how to communicate what his real needs are to her in a way she can understand and fulfill.

I suppose you don't have to imagine any of that.

You can only step and wonder how two people EVER get together in the first place and achieve happiness as a couple.

It's easy but it's commonly called COMMUNICATION and if you follow the trend between the sexes you'll notice the pattern which leads to articles like this being written.

Men believing women talk too much without conveying or making him understand WHAT he needs to know AND...

Women believing men are not open enough making it difficult for them to trust his actions or intentions and making it clear enough so SHE understands what to do to erase his fears and meet his needs.

Thanks to everyone for stopping by and making it this far. This is actually the third or fourth and now fifth update of this post. I've added some new information and after a few of you complained it was hard to follow, gave it yet another update to make it as clear as possible.

The final update came after the release of my new book that I'm very excited to have you read.

I'll explain to you all about this "silence equals safety" to a man concept I brought up earlier in the post PLUS you'll learn everything there is about why a man might go silent and every reason why he suddenly stopped contacting you.

Check it out right here and you can be devouring everything you've ever wanted to know about the silent man in just a few minutes:

Why Men Go Silent, Ignore You, Refuse or Won’t Share Their Feelings


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About the author: Understanding men does not have to be complicated anymore and I can show yow how… There are only two types of guys and if you don’t know which one he is, you could misinterpret everything he says or does as it relates to you. Your new guy friend, Peter White – Understanding Men Made Simple.

LIKE or SHARE my Facebook fan page: Why Do Guys…? OR JOIN other women discuss guys – Why Do Guys Facebook Group. Find and follow me on Twitter – Peter White.

This article was posted in What Guys Want From Women – Their Likes & What They Look For In You

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12 comments… add one
  • Penny

    We are 10 months in and when he’s giving me the silent treatment, its because he’s upset about something and it doesn’t last long. He is a straight shooter, so he won’t respond and I know he’s upset. Its usually because of work situations, stress, or rarely myself. He’ll update me later, so I wait.
    He tells me why he didn’t respond or call and I let him be. I won’t call him and I let him cool off. He always comes back to me and there are no criticisms. Why criticize or argue? I know well ahead of time if I’m wrong and if its work related, well everyone needs time to cool off.
    I absolutely let him be the man, express himself in his manly ways (with respect towards me) and I’m the oh so charming woman that doesn’t challenge him. You see ladies, you can be ahead of the game all the time. Our femininity can rule the rooster and you can set the bar from the get go.
    As for the previous comments on Mr. Successful, he can be successful on his own and by himself. He doesn’t qualify for your company because of that prolonged silent treatment. He’s got you on a string and he pulls it and you come along. tsk tsk…You need to set that standard of respect (if you in fact want respect)and boundaries of how you will be treated. Believe me, it took me a lot of weeding to find my guy. He’s absolutely the dominant man, but I am a dominant woman in my “round about” ways. I love his manliness and he treats me like a (well respected) woman. I rejected so many and I continue to uphold my reasonable standards. Its not that hard, find one that qualifies on how he treats you and build a foundation from there.

    • Peter White

      Well put Penny, thanks for sharing,


    • Sam

      How much respect do you really have for him if you have to manipulate him do much?

  • Shasta

    OK, I have a question, I’ve run into this a number of times. One very recently so I’ll use him as my example. I met a great guy, we get along well, tons in common, conversation is amazing, we seem to think alike on a lot of things. He was inviting me to spend time with him…..we would listen to music or just talk, enjoying each other’s company. I had him over two weeks ago, same thing but add some snuggling and just a wonderful evening. No disagreements, no conflicting opinions on anything, very relaxed, everything was positive, relaxing, fun. And not a peep from him since. Nothing. If I didn’t know any better I’d say his phone vanished or he died. Why do men do this when, for all intents and purposes, everything is going well, you’re getting to know each other, and he is the one suggesting future dates and saying that he’s looking forward to next time soon? I know that only he can answer that but if anyone has any ideas or speculations on the matter, please enlighten me because I’m seriously stumped. I’ve had this happen in the past, and other friends have too. Meet a guy, they seem into you, the friendship really “clicks”, he’s expressing enthusiasm for future dates, you’re agreeing and equally as interested and then he’s gone. And I want to state that these men are single, I have no reason to believe they’re players or have other relationships they are currently involved in. My guess is emotional fear. Or maybe they are all getting hit by lightning or a speeding bus? **sigh**

    • Peter White

      Hello Shasta,

      Since lightning is very rare, I’d say it WAS the speeding bus theory OR since it’s now been proven that more people die from Selfie accidents than shark attacks, maybe he was taking a selfie for you and oops… the bus smacked him out cold and is in a coma. Sad story but maybe someday he’ll wake up and remember to let you in on his strange disappearance.

      Okay, seriously… I doubt it’s emotional fear because that usually comes later.

      Chances are a few things happened. He met someone else who does it more for him or, you said, “No disagreements, no conflicting opinions on anything, very relaxed, everything was positive, relaxing, fun.” Which seems great on the surface but with no tension or real challenge, some guys just lose interest or put their efforts into someone who makes them work harder for all that stuff.

      It’s been made clear to me that having tons in common, even great conversations and thinking alike are just not enough to engage a gut-level attraction. There needs to be friction. No necessarily bad friction, just something which changes the dynamics from friendship to romance and sexual chemistry.


      He probably found you were more of a friend than a sexual partner. That’s my guess especially if it happens a lot.

      Another thing to note is “enthusiasm” is not enough. For a man to act he needs more than just telling you he’s excited. He needs a real reason to court, woo, or even chase you.

      Men often find themselves chasing their greatest challenge for many reasons and just connecting is normally not enough. Think alike is not enough either.

      Again, without a real challenge, a little friction or even a difference of opinion on certain things, some guy just don’t find the energy or need to chase.

      Don’t get me wrong. There ARE lots of guys who look for exactly what you’re describing and if you feel you’re doing enough, then keep going until you meet that type of guy. I doubt he will disappear but you might not be all that interested in him. Attraction is a very strange “game” sometimes. 🙂

      Thanks for writing. I enjoyed answering your question and I do hope I’ve cleared it up for you at least a little,


      p.s. Be wary of guys who take too many selfies. It’s a dangerous thing these days.

      • Shasta Michaels

        Yeah, I can see what you mean about the friction with some men, and I totally agree, some people just need that little bit of “drama” for lack of better term. But since he’s such a mellow peace lover and hates drama, I dunno. Nothing makes sense with this. The only thing I can figure out is that he started feeling emotions, got scared, and ran, I have had that happen in the past. Guess only he can really answer the reason for his silence, which either will happen or it won’t. All I know is that this has saddened me beyond words.

        And I do agree with the type who take too may selfies…..I steer clear of those guys.

        • Shasta Michaels

          Hi Again,
          I just wanted to leave a follow up comment on this question. I heard from Mr.Man after three weeks of silence. He’s the type to go off the radar if he has some overwhelming problems. He and I are totally cool, he’s into me. But since we aren’t in a relationship and this is all still kind of new, he just doesn’t want me (or anyone) to see him at a low point. He did this one other time very early on in the friendship and I have no reason to believe he’s lying. His face tells everything, he’s quite transparent that way, and it’s one of the things I love most about him. He’s an honest man. We talked quite a bit, he really opened up, and then spent some time together just watching really dumb stuff on YouTube and laughing until our sides hurt! Anyway, I understand how his head works a bit better and he said that next time he knows he’s going to shut down, he will communicate that to me so I won’t worry, he’s not used to having friends worry about him! So sometimes typical behaviors/reasons don’t apply. Anyway, thanks for the input on the question!

  • Deb

    Well here goes, short and tall of it .. I’m 49, boyfriend 47, I was upset with him and sent him several drunken text. Made a comment about our ‘love making’ ouch!!! Which I had actually told him whilst sober, about changing things up a bit. Anyhow, I apologized, more than once. Sent him a rose etc … we text, we call, a few words have been exchanged actually discussing what I text.

    Now he’s holding back on total affection … no kisses, no hand holding, no arm across the small of my back… you get it. NADA!! It’s been two weeks now and it feels as awkward as heck. We went from ‘I love you’ and complete full on affection to .. NADA!!!

    Part of me wishes he’d just end it … or I’m questioning if I should take the initiative to do that … I’ve NEVER dealt with this kind of situation before. HELP!!! 🙂

  • Britney

    My ex and I were getting along great. We were friends for about a month but spoke on the phone every day for that month from 3-6 hours at a time. We were separated by a few sates (about 4hours away) so we could not see each other often. He was also finishing his PhD and didn’t have a lot of time. But, he would call me a few times a week and tell me how he couldn’t stop thinking about me and how no other girl compared. He started talking about our future whether I would want to stay in the country (I am currently teaching abroad) or go home. 4 months in he calls me and says he is concerned that our relationship isn’t progressing as fast as he likes and that there is a girl where he is that is constantly pestering him and telling him the long distance relationship isn’t real and he should date her. I am hot headed in the situation and can’t really comprehend the rest, but he told me that he wanted to live with me. He also mentions that his parents want him to do a sort of arranged marriage meeting, but I don’t focus on that part. I just say we aren’t ready to live together, but I feel strongly about him too. The next month he is MIA because of his thesis and misses Christmas and my birthday. I understood he wasn’t handling the stress well and I start to feel like a burden and just leave him alone. Finally we speak in January and he asks about being friends and I said we could be civil, but I couldn’t be his friend because of the intensity of our relationship (I already loved him). Anyways, he didn’t want to be friends and it was some sort of test and he asks to see me in February. He puts in some more effort into contact and he visits me in February. Everything went well – he drops hints about babies and marriage, but I think he is joking. He makes plans to see me again. 1.5 weeks later I get a call where he tells me how serious his parents are about the arranged marriage meeting and they want him to marry a girl from his culture and that he thinks his parents can’t accept me because I am foreign and black. He tells me I can leave him and says it’s something that’s bothering him for a while (since November – 2 months after we started dating). I can’t answer and when he says he has dinner with a friend I just tell him to go – I’ve resolved to not push the issue and let him go. 15min later, he calls me back and tells me he wants me to wait until he can save money, so he can run away with me. I don’t know how to answer I told him I love him, but this is a huge blow to my pride – why doesn’t he first tell his parents about me and try it before trying to run. I say I will stick with him and see where it goes. The week after that, he is back to teasing me relentlessly and saying I am a stalker for wanting to move to the same town as him. This hurts me and I want to address it so I text him. He doesn’t respond for days and I say let’s just breakup and days later he finally responds and says “sorry for the late reply. let’s break up.” I ask why he was ignoring me and he says he was busy moving and stuff for his new job but 5days straight is too much. Now he won’t respond to any of my messages and has completely disappeared on me. I want closure and to be on good terms with him. It’s what I asked him for – I didn’t even beg for him back – but he doesn’t seem to be reading any of my texts. I am planning not to text him, but I really want that closure. What should I do?

    • Sam

      I’m going to be harsh for your own sake, but seriously you are acting desperate and need to move on. He isn’t going to go against his family and upbringing for someobe he’s barely even had a fling with. He’s been stringing you along for potential sex, as his dick is telling him to wait it out ‘as a back up’. But unless you are willing to be the secret, occasional mistress while he is married to someone else (not fun), then you need to drop it and focus your attention on someone who is available.

  • Antoinette

    I met my boyfriend on eharmony. We spoke over the phone for 4months everyday until we finally met each other. We both were instantly attracted to each other and have so much in common. He lives 2hours away and expressed that he is tired of driving long distances for girls… no problem, I don’t mind doing the driving since I feel he is the one. 4 months later and I’m still doing the driving, he never gives me gas money nor any kinds of gifts, nothing! He takes me out to eat and always pay for my food, but that’s it. He told me he loved me first and I thought it would get better, but he’s still the same. He told me when we first started talking that he was with a girl for 4yrs and he was engaged to her… housed her and her kids. let her be a house wife and gave her an allowance every week that she always blowed on her personal care. He even bought her a car that she ended up taking when she left him. AND she bought her a $7.5k engagement ring that he still has. But here I am, miss independent, no kids, a great paying job, no baggage, doing everything for HIM because I love him…. and I have to beg for a damn gift!!?? Help me! I’m going crazy. He claims he loves me and is over his ex (broken up for almost 3yrs)….. he’s not “lovey-dovey” with me at all, but I know he cares. He calls me everyday, I trust him, I know he won’t leave me. But I also know he’s holding back and I don’t know how to deal with this. I’m a mess and I don’t know what to do or say. He doesn’t do anything for me at all, just takes me to eat. Should I just be happy with the fact that he is honest and loyal…. o and btw, he makes twice what I make!! He’s in the 6 digits. Ugh!

  • raven

    Reply to Antoinette. He doesn’t really love you. You make it easy and inexpensive for him. You’re a habit that he doesn’t really have to work for. He doesn’t care enough (and who says he’s that loyal and honest…. ) Even if he is, you’re not satisfied for good reason, you have much to offer, he doesn’t really ‘see you’ emotionally and you really need to go through the pain of letting go of him, taking a step back and reestablishing your life. In other words, dump him. He’ll never make you feel special, respected or fulfilled. It’s just not there. Save your money, time and gas.

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