Maybe you're feeling a little unappreciated. Perhaps you're stuck in a relationship rut. You might even be feeling like the happy relationship you envisioned is slowly turning into a mentally draining ‘situationship.’
You've heard the saying "cut him off, he will miss you," but does it work?
If we're being honest, do you really want it to work? There's something sketchy about a man who has to lose you first to even consider treating you right.
But, let's face it, we're all a little guilty of taking the people we care about for granted from time to time. Sometimes all we need is a nudge in the right direction to start showing them the love and appreciation they deserve. He might just need a wake-up call, too.
Things to know
- Cutting a man off means to separate him from things he normally has access to, it is a last resort tactic usually used to let go and move on from a toxic interaction.
- Cutting him off should not be used as a manipulation tactic, withholding sex or affection, or stonewalling, these actions can cause serious damage to a relationship and the other person's mental health.
- Before cutting him off, it's important to explore other options such as having a serious conversation, consulting a relationship coach or mental health professional, and to be sure it's the right decision for the right reasons.
As you might imagine, the polls are pretty divided on this one. When is cutting him off recommended? Does it work? When is something less extreme (like a grown-up conversation) probably the best option?
Well, we'll be unpacking these questions and more. Here's exactly what we'll be going through:
- What Does Cutting A Man Off Mean?
- What Cutting Him Off Isn't
- How Do You Cut A Man Off?
- When Should You Cut A Man Off?
- Will A Guy Miss You If You Cut Him Off?
- How Long Does It Take For A Guy To Realize He Misses You?
- What Do Guys Do When They Miss You?
- Should You Cut Him Off?
What Does Cutting A Man Off Mean?
To cut a man off means to separate him from things that he normally has access to. Cutting him off is a "last resort" tactic that is usually used to let go and move on from the toxicity of interacting with him.
While it might be tempting to cut him off to get him to "miss you" and realize just how much he was taking you for granted, such behavior borders on manipulative and toxic.
If you aren't serious about walking away, cutting him off might not be the right decision; explore other avenues first. Try having a serious discussion first to see if you can work through your issues.
If that doesn’t get you anywhere, consult a relationship coach or mental health professional. In many cases, working with someone who has experience and an objective perspective can help you resolve your problems.
What Cutting Him Off Isn't
If you're in a committed relationship or dating, cutting him off can be loosely interpreted as breaking up with him.
It’s important to make sure you’re cutting him off the right way and for the right reasons. You want to be sure you aren't making a huge mistake or causing long-term damage to a salvageable relationship. With this in mind, here's what cutting him off isn't:
It's not stonewalling
Stonewalling or silent treatment is the act of shutting a romantic partner out and refusing to engage with them. While stonewalling is strongly linked to conflict-avoidance and hiding one's true feelings, it is also used to punish or exert control.
The uncertainty caused by stonewalling results in intense psychological distress and emotional pain. Like all passive-aggressive behaviors, stonewalling affects the quality of a relationship and can ultimately destroy it.
It's not a manipulation tactic
Constantly cutting him off because you enjoy having him chase you is toxic. Similarly, threatening to cut him off just to coerce him into doing or saying what you want is extremely manipulative.
Reflect on why you feel the need to treat him this way. Identify any issues that may be causing you to engage in such unhealthy behaviors and seek help from a professional.
It's not withholding sex or affection
Withholding sex to get him to do what you want or to 'punish' him for his actions is a form of psychological abuse.
Being subjected to this kind of treatment can cause serious damage to his self-esteem and mental health. It also erodes your connection and creates the perfect conditions for a toxic relationship.
How Do You Cut A Man Off?
To cut a man off, you've got to commit to walking away physically, mentally, and emotionally. If you have reservations about how he'll react, but you simply don't want to ghost him, send him a text message, or break the news to him in a public place.
After cutting him off, no contact, radio silence, or setting effective boundaries can help you move on. Let's take a look at why these methods are so effective:
Radio silence is a great way to avoid a toxic ex and speed up the healing process. The radio silence technique can also be used to cut him off if you fear he will react with anger or try to manipulate you. Doing things this way requires you to vanish and go to extremes to avoid your ex and any mutual friends.
While it may seem cruel, it won’t be possible to have a reasonable or civil conversation with him if he’s a toxic person. He might insult, humiliate or try to gaslight you out of walking away. He might even resort to aggression and violence.
Keep in mind that even after you've cut him off, he might try to harass you. So, make sure he can’t get a hold of you at all. Block him, change your contact details, and consider staying with a friend or family member for a couple of days.
With the no contact rule, you resolve not to communicate with him after the breakup. This allows you to process your emotions and reflect. Plus, not texting, calling, or seeing him for a couple of weeks is a great way to detox and reset.
Moving on is easier when you don't have constant reminders of him, so staying off your social media accounts is usually part of the deal, too.
No contact is less extreme than radio silence. In fact, it’s not uncommon for people to consider reconciliation after a period of no contact.
If you can't avoid him because of shared responsibilities or because you have to work together, setting firm boundaries may be the only way to protect your mental health and move on.
Healthy boundaries are meant to protect you and help you feel safe. You shouldn’t have to justify them. And remember, for boundaries to be effective, you’ve got to be prepared to follow through with the consequences.
Whenever possible, limit your interactions to texts and keep your interactions short. Insist on meeting him in public places and make it clear that personal issues are off-limits. Excuse yourself and refuse to engage if he tries to bring up personal matters.
Focus on other things
After you've decided to cut him off, focusing on other things is a great way to stop yourself from ruminating or reaching out to him.
Letting go of a toxic relationship is a difficult process that can leave you feeling lost and confused. Use the time to rediscover who you are and reconnect with what truly matters to you.
Resist the urge to isolate yourself; you’ll only slow down your recovery. Try to lean on your loved ones for emotional support instead. If you're having a hard time coping, consider joining a support group or speaking to a mental health professional.
When Should You Cut A Man Off?
Well, it's probably best to cut him off and move on if:
He has a girlfriend
If he has a girlfriend, cut him off. She's not 'neglecting him' or 'abusing him'; she certainly isn't keeping him chained to her. Despite what he claims, he's playing you.
If things were really that bad, he'd have ended things ages ago. He wouldn't be splitting his time between you and enjoying the perks of having two women in his life.
Has he promised to leave his wife? Are they separated but living together? It's not uncommon for married men to lie or make false promises to keep you from leaving them.
Sadly, if he can, he'll string you along and waste months (possibly years) of your life. You're better off cutting him off and finding someone you can build a lasting relationship with.
He's a player
If he's a player whose favorite pastime is picking up as many 'lady friends' as he can, cut him off. Unless he’s ready to get help and face his issues head-on, there's nothing you can do to change him. Trying to do so is futile and simply not worth the heartache.
You feel emotionally drained
Relationships can be hard work. However, the hard work tends to pay off. When you share a healthy and meaningful emotional attraction with someone, you get to experience deep fulfillment and an increased sense of well-being.
Being around someone you share a healthy bond with makes you feel safe, valued, and energized. Spending time with a toxic person has the opposite effect.
Unhealthy attachments can leave you feeling mentally and emotionally drained. They can also cause chronic stress, making you more susceptible to illness. If the relationship is wearing you out emotionally, it's time to let him go.
You feel manipulated
All relationships have their fair share of bumpy patches. But, if he can't take responsibility for his actions and blames every little problem on you, that's a major red flag.
In addition to playing the blame game, does he use guilt or anger to get his way? If he uses underhanded tactics to manipulate you, your relationship is toxic, and you need to cut him off.
You should feel safe, not stifled in a relationship. You should also be able to spend time with your loved ones and do the things you love. What you eat or wear should be entirely up to you.
If he demands that you run every little decision by him or that you check in with him several times a day, you've got a controlling man on your hands. For your own safety and well-being, it might be best to cut him off.
You're being devalued
Harsh criticism, belittling, name-calling, and insults are major red flags. If his preferred communication style involves a combination of some or all of these destructive behaviors, he needs professional help.
Agreeing to get help is usually a great sign that he values your relationship. If you've given him plenty of time to change and he still refuses to do anything about it, you may need to cut him off.
You suspect he's a narcissist
If he subjects you to periods of intense praise and affection only to start devaluing you, he might be a narcissist. His end game is to crush your self-esteem, wear you down, and control you.
Look out for other warning signs like callousness, an over-inflated sense of importance, and a constant need for admiration.
Narcissists don't take criticism or reasonable concerns well. They tend to spin things and make themselves out to be victims. Trying to reason with a narcissist is futile; even trying to break up with one can be a painful and drawn-out experience.
This is why relationship experts recommend ceasing all communication with them and setting healthy boundaries. If you suspect that he's a narcissist, cut him off and seek professional help.
He makes you feel like you're hard to love or respect
We form romantic relationships because we yearn to be loved and respected. In a healthy relationship, love and respect form the foundation for a lasting bond.
It isn't unrealistic to expect your partner to love you and show you affection. You also aren't asking for too much by wanting to be respected.
If he makes you feel like expecting the bare minimum is unrealistic, or if he accuses you of being too demanding, he may be using a tactic known as gaslighting to manipulate you.
Gaslighting is when someone attempts to make you question reality or your personal judgment. If you allow this to continue, you may start to believe his lies, and your self-esteem and mental health will eventually take a hit.
You're constantly neglecting your needs to keep him happy
Relationships are all about reciprocation. When you can meet each other's needs and be there for each other, you experience deep relationship satisfaction.
If you are constantly neglecting your needs to keep him happy, that usually spells trouble for your relationship. Resentment and frustration can set in due to lower relationship satisfaction. As the neglect continues, you’re bound to experience emotional burnout.
If you're giving and he's just taking without any regard for your needs or your well-being, it's time to cut him off.
You feel like you need to lower your standards to be with him
He insists that he's not ready to commit, but he doesn't want to let you go. He wants to enjoy all the perks of being with you without giving you the security of commitment.
This is a toxic and unbalanced situation in which your needs are clearly being overlooked. It might be best to cut him off and find someone who wants the same things out of a relationship as you do.
He cheated on you
Cheating shows a major disregard for the relationship and your feelings. It also destroys the trust foundation of a relationship and makes re-establishing intimacy difficult.
It’s wise to reflect on whether getting back together would be a good idea. There’s always a possibility that he could cheat on you again. If this is the second time he's cheated on you, it might be best to cut him off.
If he's abusive, cutting him off may be the only way to guarantee your safety and help you move on. It's not uncommon for abusive partners to resort to love bombing and pleading when faced with the prospect of a relationship ending. Abusive partners are also very good at using tactics like gaslighting, so it's best to cut off all communication.
If he has toxic personality traits, it might be best to cut him off. Toxic relationships can keep you trapped in a cycle of making and breaking up. If you've been down this road before and he's promised to change only to get back to his old ways, this may be the only way to break the hold he has on you.
Will A Guy Miss You If You Cut Him Off?
So, will a guy miss you if you cut him off? The short answer is yes. However, the intensity of his feelings and his responses depends on these factors:
If he genuinely cares about you
Sometimes men aren't great at expressing their feelings and emotions. In fact, they're known to withdraw when things start to get serious. While this tends to be temporary, this kind of response can harm a relationship.
If this is the case and he genuinely cares about you, cutting him off will prompt him to confront his feelings. Not having access to you and being faced with the prospect of losing you for good is likely to cause him a great deal of pain.
He'll probably want to straighten things out with you as soon as possible. Remember that it's completely up to you when (and if) you decide to engage him.
If he was using you
If he was exploiting you, suddenly not having access to you might make him angry, especially if he's toxic or narcissistic. Not being able to use you anymore might cause him to harass or threaten you.
If he never appreciated you in the first place
If he wasn't invested in the first place or if he was simply using you for entertainment, cutting him off probably won't affect him. He’ll feel your absence and may even miss having access to you. However, it won’t come from a place of genuine care and appreciation.
If you were starting to place reasonable demands on him, cutting him off might actually make him feel relieved. If this is the case, you certainly won’t be hearing from him.
How Long Does It Take For A Guy To Realize He Misses You?
Unlike women, guys tend to distract themselves instead of facing their feelings head-on. This is why it might take anywhere between a few days or weeks for him to realize he misses you. It may also depend on factors like:
How long you were together
If you were together for a few years, the strong emotional attachment you shared might make him miss you sooner. If you were together for a few weeks or months, he might not even miss you at all.
How he feels about you
If he really loves you, it may take a few days for him to realize that he misses you. He may not be thinking clearly, and you might not be either, so it’s wise to wait a few more days after cutting him off to have a serious discussion.
Waiting months to reach out suggests that he might be bored, lonely, or simply trying his luck.
The nature of your relationship
If he depended on you financially, emotionally, or in any other way, not having access to you might cause him discomfort from the moment you leave. However, this will be from a place of dependence as opposed to genuine concern.
What Do Guys Do When They Miss You?
Following a breakup, the initial shock might cause a guy to behave in unexpected ways. He might refuse to accept the truth and insist on carrying on like everything is still the same.
He might distract himself with partying, flings, and substance abuse. Another common knee-jerk reaction is finding a new girl to distract him. Men are more likely to turn to a rebound relationship to help them cope with a breakup.
When he understands the severity of the situation and doesn't want to lose you, he might try to do a bit of damage control. This is when you can expect gifts, tons of text messages, and incessant phone calls. A man in this position will say and do anything to get a second chance.
The problem is that such efforts are typically ignored because they occur too soon after you've cut him off. When the dust finally settles and some of the negative energy has dissipated, here’s what he’ll do if he genuinely misses you:
He'll reach out
If he reaches out after a few weeks, there's a pretty good chance he misses you. But how do you tell whether he's being genuine or trying to manipulate you?
Well, the recency of your breakup matters. If he's making promises as early as the next day, he might still be in shock. If it's only been a few days, he might be experiencing love withdrawal.
In a week or two, he'll have had more time to process everything and reflect. If he still wants to have a serious discussion with you, then be on the lookout for green flags like remorse, improved communication skills, and a willingness to learn from his mistakes.
He'll take responsibility
When a guy truly misses you, he'll want to take responsibility for his actions and make amends. He'll make an effort to improve himself and work on the issues that led to your breakup.
The bottom line is that a man who values you and sees you as his lover and best friend will want to show you that he can do better.
Should You Cut Him Off?
Cut him off, and there’s a pretty good chance he’ll miss you. However, reflecting on why you want him to miss you is more important.
Are you hoping he'll finally start treating you better after he's had a taste of your absence? Unfortunately, this is the exception rather than the norm.
Does the prospect of being the ‘one that got away’ fill you with satisfaction? Sorry to tell you, but that high is only temporary. Eventually, you'll need to process your feelings in a healthy way and move on.