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Thread: Men Retreating Into their Caves

  1. #1
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    Men Retreating Into their Caves

    So if you haven't read John Gray's "Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus" he describes men as going in and out of intimacy phases. For awhile he will be very loving and emotionally close to his SO, and then he retreats and "goes into his cave" for hours, days, weeks where he may seem distant and not as into you, only to eventually come back out of his cave and love you unconditionally again. It is said that women should NOT interrupt their cave time or try to coax them out of it. Women, do you experience this with your man? How do you deal with it? Men, do you realize when you need "cave time" or is it something that instinctively happens? What do you feel towards your SO when it happens?

    Personally, I went away with some old college friends for one of our friend's birthdays in the big city she lives in now. Everything was fine, my boyfriend (of 9 months) and I spoke on the phone once each day and texted throughout the weekend. We told each other we missed and loved each other, etc... Then on my six hour drive home yesterday I was supposed to call him, I texted him saying since he was with his friends I wouldn't want to bother him. I got a loving response 3 hours later. I was kind of upset that despite me trying to be understanding, he didn't want to call me at all on my ride home. So I texted him nicely saying I was a little disappointed that he didn't want to hear from me at all. He quickly responded that he loved me but his phone was about to die but he was at his friend's house and he'd call me asap. 3 hours later (1 am)...I'm finally home and he texts me asking "if it was ok that he call me tomorrow, that he loves me and it's not me but he's feeling out of it and a little off today". I was understanding and told him I hoped he was ok and that I loved him, but I ended up being really worried and waking up several times in the night. Nothing yet today :/ I'm usually very laid back, but for some reason I'm upset about this and worried. He's starting work training later today for the week. Is this him retreating into his cave? When he gets distant, it's usually for a few days and I always let him be, but I really felt the need to hear his voice on the ride home yesterday. I cried for a little bit on the ride for no reason bc I felt second this his friends.

    Retreating in the Caves...always a touchy/difficult situation to gauge

  2. #2
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    I think you are totally overreacting! My God, he didn't respond immediately-one time-and you got upset??? It sounds like this guy has been consistent and loving, don't push him away with your insecurities.

    By the way, I believe this theory applies to the early stages-three-month mark-of a relationship.

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    Yes, sometimes my ex would do this and it would piss me off. I would miss him, I would get angry, but I never let it show. Some days he would just go HOURS without texting me, calling me, or seeing me but he would usually be with his friends in band practice. He was always sure of letting me know what he was doing, which I thought was cute. Some days I would retreat to just balance it out, and he would be understanding. I seemed understanding too but I guess there's no way to know we both truly felt.

    I don't think I ever told him I missed him when he retreated though, and yet he did. He would text me after it was hours of not hearing from me but boy, had that been me, I would been a threat to his "cave time".

    Whatever, some men are weird.

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    Platinum Member NowandZen's Avatar
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    Yeah, sounds like early relationship insecurity to me. Insecurity, BTW, is NOT sexy.
    When someone judges you, it says more about them than it does about you.
    Don't believe everything you think.
    The way of El Andy is the way of peace. And of creature comforts.

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    I appreciate all of your responses. I don't really consider 9 months with 1 year of knowing each other prior to that an early relationship. And as far as insecurity, I'm not an insecure person in this respect, I'm always understanding. This is one of the few times where I had a weird gut feeling. If you read my first post on here, it was about adjusting to post grad life with your SO. We've almost broken up once bc of how much he internalizes problems. Men going into their caves all of a sudden without warning can really affect the woman they are with when things seem to be going just fine. I'm just worried bc I care about him. Feel free to share your cave stories.

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    Agreed - this sounds like nothing but pure neediness and insecurity.

    I can't say I've really noticed my partner retreating into a cave. Sometimes he'll have a lot on his mind and he'll be distracted, but I do that too.

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    Platinum Member NowandZen's Avatar
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    What I hear you saying is that your issue with him internalizing MAY make you blow things out of proportion. As for my cave stories, honestly, I tend to not be forthcoming and retreat in one of two situations:

    1) I am dealing with something that makes me look less put together (like I'm whining or don't know the answer, etc)

    2) YOU (the female half I mean) are the issue and I don't want to get into it. Particularly if it's something I have addressed before and gotten a less than optimal response. In other words, I feel you are likely to take it the wrong way, or become defensive, or otherwise make my life miserable.

    My experience is that women ALWAYS have the relationship radar on, looking for any signs of trouble. Men tend to need much more direct evidence before deciding there is a problem.
    When someone judges you, it says more about them than it does about you.
    Don't believe everything you think.
    The way of El Andy is the way of peace. And of creature comforts.

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    Platinum Member FathomFear's Avatar
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    Let me get this straight. You go on a rendezvous with some friends and remain in constant contact with your boyfriend. Then, during the six hour ride home yesterday you only get one text message from him and have thus concluded that this is due to some sort of "man cave" phenomenon you heard about in one of those trashy books glorified by Cosmo? Unless you're 12 or 13 you should be at the point in your life where you can be independent and not reliant on constant reinforcement that those around you care about you. If I were him I would see this behavior as a serious red flag, as it just screams insecurity and gives the warning that you're going to be very, very high maintenance.

    Many things can happen in the period of a day. I've sometimes received text messages, intended on responding right away, then become caught up in a series of events which resulted in me not responding in well over 24 hours. Life always has the potential to drag you away--and sometimes you can just forget innocently. It's really not something to worry about unless it becomes a trend.
    Last edited by FathomFear; 08-15-2011 at 01:45 PM.

  10. #9
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    Nothing to do with gender or caves. Everyone needs space sometimes and your bf didn't need space until he felt you were being clingy- and a natural reaction to clinginess is to ask for space which he did, nicely. I think it's as simple as that - trying to psychoanalyze it as a man retreating into his cave is counterproductive because it's your behavior that is more important to look at here.

    My husband and I need space sometimes but rarely does it involve a discussion or hurt feelings - I know what helps me get space (working out/exercise/a good shower/reading a good book) and I try to take that space when it doesn't affect him much if at all. There are times he is more loving/attentive than other times. Isn't that called "being human?"

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    The reason for me posting about this is because this is a reoccurring theme. He has gone into his cave before for days at a time and a few times I've been correct in worrying about it. As a usually laid back woman, I rarely get this gut feeling and that is why I was expressing my side of things. I'm not a perfect human being by any means and I don't claim to be, but claiming women are always trying to find problems seems a little skewed. There is much more to my relationship than this 6 hour snip-it. Personally, I've been screwed over in the past and the selfish part of me is scared of being vulnerable and it's taken me months to even let myself get to this stage. I wasn't upset because he didn't respond by a certain hour, it's his word "I'm feeling off" that really got me thinking. If it were him and I had told him I would call him asap and didn't, he would not be happy with me. My most recent post was about him being mad because I wasn't at his house exactly 30 min after I said I would. I love him but I think both parties have some insecurities and all human beings have a right to be insecure about a few things. I find it hard to believe that someone could literally have 110% self-esteem all the time without ever having experienced a low here and there.

    What I find frustrating is men pulling away temporarily into their caves when they get emotionally close, then women get the blame for being "crazy" bc all of a sudden his actions have changed and they react to that. Some women do have "crazy" sides to them, but men also have comparable negative aspects of their gender.

    BTW, turns out he was concerned. Apparently he wasn't 100% comfortable about me and my friends going out all weekend in the city, but he didn't want to tell me and make me feel bad about going for her birthday and he wanted to keep his insecurities to himself bc he thought it was a little childish.
    Last edited by puppylove89; 08-15-2011 at 01:51 PM.

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