Are you always running to your partner for help?
Are you constantly texting, and messaging even if they are at work?
Are you needing affection and attention from your partner?
If a text or call doesn’t come in, you worry and think something is wrong.
If you answered yes to some of these, you could perhaps be the pursuer.
The pursuer will frequently seek togetherness, quality time, attention, and affection from their partner. However, the distancer responds to this by withdrawing and seeking space which leaves the pursuer in an anxious, sometimes desperate, state.
A problem occurs only when a pattern of pursuing and distancing becomes fixed. When this happens, the behaviour of each partner provokes and maintains the behaviour of the other.”
Many of you have been in this cycle at one point in a relationship.
Maybe your partner has suddenly started doing their own thing lately: participating in hobbies, going out with friends, devoting more time to work, or just being emotionally distant. This can bring out the pursuer behaviour in you and turn you into a desperate, clingy, nagging person that you don’t even recognize.
Whether or not you are a pursuer or distancer in a relationship has a lot to do with the attachment style that we develop as children.
If you grew up with a parent who wasn’t always there and was inconsistent in their attention and love, you may develop an anxious attachment style.
However, if you grew up with a parent who was emotionally unavailable and very distant, you may develop an avoidant attachment style.
How to unhook the Pursuer and Distancer dance in Marriage
- The pursuer needs to call off the dance/chase.
This means you need to stop the constant calls and texts.
As hard as it may be, you need to back off and give your partner space, both physically and emotionally.
- Distancers can make an effort to initiate affection and sex more often, as well as make time for their partner.
A pursuer tends to have a great deal of anxiety about the relationship and the more their partner distances themselves, the more insecure the pursuer feels.
- The pursuer should focus on meeting their needs rather than looking to their partner to meet these needs.
As the pursuer, if you are feeling yourself becoming needy ask yourself what you need to feel better. More nurturing and self-care is needed.
- The distancer needs to start sharing their thoughts and feelings.
If you’re a distancer, then you are most likely holding back many of your emotions, something a pursuer will immediately pick up on and feel insecure about.
- Pursuers need to give distancers emotional space because they open up most freely when they aren’t being pushed.
As the pursuer, you need to emotionally back off before the distance in your relationship will feel safe coming closer to you.
The more questions you ask, the more you criticize and complain, and the more you push your partner to talk about their feelings, the quicker they will shut down. Give your partner a safe space to open up to you.
- Distancers can schedule quality time: If the pursuer can look forward to this it.
A pursuer can feel a great deal of anxiety about the fact that their partner is not spending enough time with them, nor are they making the effort to.
A pursuer places a great deal of importance on quality time, and as a distancer you can make your partner feel safe and secure in the relationship simply by making a plan to do something with them in the future.
We all bring our own pasts, emotions, attachment styles, anxieties, and insecurities to a relationship. However, if we can make the effort with ourselves and understand our partner and their differences, we can develop happier and more loving relationships.
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