The Pursuer-Distancer Dynamic
One thing that all of us desire the most in our lives is a loving, caring, and supportive partner. But, couples in relationships always find themselves wondering whether love is enough.
Is your love for your partner enough to make your relationship survive?
Maintaining a relationship is always a two-way process. It has to be mutual. Both the partners must have mutual feelings for each other and should make equal efforts to make it work.
Here, intimacy plays a crucial role in bringing two people close. Both the partners should be equally attracted to each other.
What is the pursuer-distancer dynamic?
Instead of building the relationship together as a team, most couples get stuck in the pursuer-distancer dynamic. It works like a see-saw.
When one partner goes up, the other goes down. They can hardly find a balance.
In simple words, when women start longing more for their partner, they become the pursuers in the relationship. Men, on the other hand, become the distancer.
They start distancing themselves from their partners and the relationship. In such cases, couples are never able to find a middle ground.
The pursuer craves reassurance, a strong connection, wants physical proximity, and the distancer desires his own space.
Are Men Distancers?
Research shows that in a pursuer-distancer dynamic, men are mostly the distancers. They tend to drift apart in the marriage, whereas women pursue them.
In an intimate relationship, men become cold and distant while women chase them. Doctors say that the existing gender norms in society are a major guiding factor in the pursuer-distancer dynamic.
How does it destroy your relationship?
Human connections are fragile. You have to deal with them with the utmost care. Let us understand it this way. What happens with plants?
You have to look after them, water them daily. You leave them alone for a few days, it dries. If you add more water to the plant, it still dies.
The same happens with relationships. You get distant from your partner and your relationship withers away. If you do not give space to your partner, the relationship will never grow.
If this pattern continues over time, it eventually affects the relationship, especially your sexual intimacy.
The relationship is clouded by the partners’ aggression, ego, misunderstanding, frustration, loss of self-respect, anger, complexities, incompatibility, and sometimes even infidelity. It gradually leads to the end, usually on bad terms.
Even if you stay together, you will always be hanging on a weak thread or walking on eggshells. Your bond will not be the same as it used to be.
You will not be able to connect with your partner, neither emotionally nor physically. Partners are unable to communicate their needs with each other, and this happens in the bedroom too. The sexual relationship becomes mechanical due to a lack of emotional connection.
Over time, the couple starts playing the blame game. When this becomes worse, couples start looking for support outside the marriage.
How to get rid of the pursuer-distancer dynamic in your relationship?
The pursuer-distancer dynamic destroys the relationship. Partners lose trust and faith in each other. However, it’s up to you and your partner to save your bond.
Both of you will have to make efforts. Here is how you can get rid of the pursuer-distancer dynamic in your relationship.
1. Are you the pursuer or the distancer? The first step towards any solution is to figure out the problem. You should figure out if you are a pursuer or a distancer.
Do you need constant attention from your partner or desire closeness, want to do activities together? You are the pursuer in a relationship craves for your partner.
If you want some space or privacy from your partner or feel that she is clingy, you might be the distancer.
2. Understand your partner’s language- If you are stuck in a pursuer-distancer dynamic, the chances are that there is a lack of communication between you and your partner.
At times your partner might not be very open about how they feel. They might be aggressively pursuing you or would maintain her distance without wanting to confront you.
Therefore, it becomes crucial to understand your partner’s language, not just through words but their gestures, mood swings, and actions.
Observe and analyse how your partner reacts. If you are the pursuer, they will make an excuse to stay out of the house, would want to spend less time together, and get irritated frequently.
If you are the distancer, your partner might start longing for you more than often. They would want to hang out with you 24/7.
Accordingly, see what your partner needs or is comfortable with and what makes them behave distantly.
3. The Art of Communication- Communication is the foundation of any relationship. Majority problems occur due to a communication gap or miscommunication. At times, we overreact or misunderstand our partner.
Rather than listening to our partner, we tend to jump to conclusions instead. Therefore, along with understanding your partner’s language, it’s also necessary that you communicate your thoughts and make them understand.
The pursuer-distancer behaviour may occur due to insecurities, past experiences or childhood trauma. If you are the distancer, you should assure your partner. Communicate to her that you need some space.
If you are the pursuer, you should communicate your feeling or thoughts to your partner and make them realise why you are longing or craving for them.
4. Don’t let the spark fade away- Another reason why pursuer-distancer dynamic becomes a part of relationships is that the spark fades away after a few years.
Partners grow weary of each other. One starts demanding space while the other one aggressively starts pursuing.
Therefore, you should keep on surprising your partner, making plans, going on adventures so that you never get bored with each other.
That said, the pursuer-distancer dynamic is a continuous pattern. It is hence imperative for partners to realise the needs and desires of each other and to know what triggers your partner.
Follow the steps mentioned above to maintain a healthy connection with your better half.