There’s a dating coach on TikTok that claims when a man first falls in love with you, his testosterone goes down, so he ghosts you for two weeks because he needs time to recharge, but after that, he’ll come back to commit to you thoroughly, and it’s proven by science. What do you think about this? Is this true?
I‘m familiar with the coach you’re referring to in your letter. She’s one of the many Tik Tok dating coaches that push the “women are too masculine these days” narrative. She cites John Gray’s Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus as her source for this theory. You can learn more about what Dr. Gray says on this matter here.
Keep in mind that Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus was first published in 1992. Gray’s theories have not changed in thirty years. He still speaks as though the brain is gendered and performs different tasks based on that gender. This is called Neurosexism. The belief the human brain is gendered was debunked years ago.
The gist of Dr. Gray’s Pull Away Phase is when men start dating a woman and feeling romantic and affectionate, their testosterone levels drop. Dr. Gray attributes men’s loving behavior to an increase in estrogen levels. According to Dr. Gray, men “pull away” to rebuild their testosterone and eliminate some pesky girly estrogen.
If you watch more interviews with Dr. Gray, it becomes clear he ascribes to masculine and feminine energy ideologies. In this video, Gray states that men produce more testosterone when solving a problem, and women have more estrogen when they need someone to help them.
As usual, dating advice from men to women almost exclusively benefits the man, not the woman. It’s even more disappointing when that sage wisdom comes from women.
Imagine if a woman dating coach told men they should accept that a woman might be particularly abusive and hurtful when experiencing PMS. It wouldn’t happen. Women have been forced to navigate our hormone levels’ ups and downs to avoid inconvenience. You don’t see us retreating to our Lady Lounge so that we may tend to our surging and dipping hormones. We’re expected to deal with it. And we do. How come when a man’s bad behavior is driven by his hormones, it’s waved away as “boys will be boys,” but women are crazy bitches? That’s a rhetorical question. The answer is misogyny.
Men’s testosterone fluctuates all the time. Stress, diet, anti-depressants, and alcohol can all affect a man’s testosterone. Yet — magically —when that happens, men can perform all kinds of tasks. You don’t see them taking two weeks off work. They don’t “pull away” from their boss or friends. Why is the Pull Away Phase only discussed in conjunction with men’s romantic relationships with women?
It’s almost as if society conditions men to disregard women’s feelings and not see them as people.
In a blossoming relationship, men pull away for a few reasons. None of them have to do with their testosterone. Most have to do with his underlying toxicity or disinterest.
1. He’s exploring his options — Dating multiple people before committing to one person is perfectly acceptable. Going radio silent or stringing someone along while doing so isn’t.
2. He knows the relationship doesn’t have a future — Rather than tell you he’s decided there’s no long-term compatibility, he falls off the face of the earth, hoping you’ll get the hint.
In both cases, he says nothing because he doesn’t want to shut the door entirely, just in case. That way, he can swing back around when his options are low, or it’s Hallmark Christmas Movie season, and he has The Sads and doesn’t want to be alone. The woman becomes his Break In Case of Emergency Girlfriend.
There’s one other reason, and it’s the foundation of the Pull Away Phase.
1. He’s going through some form of emotional tumult and needs space — Everybody deals with stress differently. Some need to process it on their own without outside assistance. An emotionally mature person communicates where they are in their head so as not to confuse or hurt people who show concern. Expecting their partner to read their mind and stay at a distance is insensitive and self-absorbed.
Human behavior is not driven solely by biology. Environmental and Psychological factors contribute to our decision-making process. To say a man is a slave to his hormones is reductive.
Yes, ladies. By all means. Busy yourself so that you won’t even notice when your man completely drops off the face of the earth for two weeks. If you’re distracted, you’ll be too busy to want a face-to-face explanation for his insensitive behavior. When he comes back, act as if nothing happened! You wouldn’t want to become one of those nagging girlfriends or wives who wants an accountable partner who considers her feelings. That’s crazy talk!
The Pull Away Phase is based on pseudoscience. It’s not real. It’s manufactured by men to justify their inability to communicate their feelings.
Christan Marashio is an internationally recognized trauma-informed certified coach. In addition to her certification, she has a Communications degree from Emerson College and 15 years of experience advising singles across the globe. She applies her trauma training to dating because dating these days is legitimately traumatic. Her insights have been featured in Glamor, Men’s Health, Today.com, and other media outlets. Feel free to submit your question; she’ll answer it here, on Tik Tok, or her podcast. She’ll answer it here, on Tik Tok, or her podcast. Her insights have been featured in Glamor, Men’s Health, Today.com, and other media outlets.
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