“You should never have to look for evidence that someone loves you. True love is crystal clear.”
~ Mandy Hale
When you sense your romantic partner is pulling away from the relationship, there are several tips to help you navigate this relationship.
First acknowledge what you can and can’t control.
You can control how you respond, react in the partnership. You can’t control the other person’s thoughts, emotions and level of commitment.
Acceptance is a key phrase that we all need to provide ourselves.
- Acceptance that they might not feel the same way, and may never provide us what we need and want.
- Acceptance that if they choose to walk away you couldn’t have controlled that inevitable break up.
- Acceptance that your worth shouldn’t be compromised to force the other partner to turn towards you.
- Acceptance that some relationships work and some don’t.
The second step is utilizing healthy clear communication with your partner about the current situation.
First acknowledge what your needs and wants are with this person and in this relationship.
Consider your thoughts and emotions associated with your desire to get more serious and them withdrawing.
- The more we can evaluate and be honest with ourselves first the better equipped we can be in our communication with others.
- The more we understand ourselves and our worth the more we can develop healthy communication to advocate for ourselves.
Assertive communication is when you are able to clearly articulate what you are feeling and needing from the other partner.
The more you are able to utilize assertive communication the better the partner can understand you more clearly.
Assumptions, judgements and mind reading are eliminated when you proactively take responsibility for your messages to the others.
A key tip when utilizing assertive communication is focusing on “I” statements for how you are feeling.
This focus on “I” statements can prevent us from blaming or judging the other person with “You” statements, which can then put them in a defensive state.
An example of assertive communication can look like this.
“I love being with you and enjoy our time together and I really want us to be exclusive. However, I am feeling worried about our relationship. I sense distance from you lately and I would like to understand where you are with your feelings for me. “
Timing of important conversations is also helpful.
If you sense you are at a heightened intensity above a 7 on a scale of 1-10, and your partner is the same way then you should wait until you both can be at a normal, calm state to be able to communicate and actively listen to the other partner.
It takes courage to be honest in your communication with the acceptance that honesty might bring resolution if the other partner wants the same or different things out of the relationship.
It can be so hard to invest in someone in hopes you want to take the relationship to the next level to find them pulling away.
However, if you are truthful with what you want and need and can articulate your expectations for the relationship you have a better shot of understanding where the other partner stands earlier than later.
It’s like pulling off a bandaid, it might hurt either way, but it is unnecessary to drag out the hurt and pain to protect the inevitable.
Either they will feel the same way as you or they won’t, and you can’t control it. All you can control is how you respond and react and advocate for yourself moving forward.
Candice Michael, LMFTA – www.lotuscounselinggroup.com
So, you’ve been dating someone and things have gone well, and you’re finally feeling like you could have a future partnership with this person. And then he pulls away. This can be surprising, upsetting, and can disrupt your emotional equilibrium.
Understand that there are often cycles in relationships and that It is not uncommon for men to pull away after getting close.
Men will often pull back after intensified intimacy, then regroup, restore their sense of autonomy, and then return. Just because he has pulled away, there is no need to panic.
Give him space, remain open and loving, and let things take their natural course.
The last thing you want to do is to create unnecessary drama. Let him do what he needs to do; if you are meant to be together, he will come back. Remember that men are wired to pursue.
Sometimes, you will find that cycles of intimacy are followed by conflict.
There is a deepening of intimacy every time you work through a conflict together and get to the other side.
Conflict is not necessarily a bad thing in a relationship if it is used constructively to get to know and understand one another at a deeper level, and to increase the capacity for love and commitment.
Couples with high conflict have high passion, and couples who never have conflict often have low passion.
There are however, some guys who do not want to commit, although they might act like they do for a while.
If you are with a “player”, he will go through the motions for a while, and then get bored and move on to someone else.
This can be very painful and upsetting, but it is better that he moves on than spending a lifetime with someone who does not truly want a real relationship with you .
Malignant narcissists are notorious for sucking you in and then getting bored quickly and moving on.
But they will never let you go, because they always want to have a harem of women in reserve. If you ever get involved with a narcissist, beware! The pain rarely ends, and it is very difficult to have a healthy relationship. Move on as quickly as you can and find someone who is healthy and available.
Another possibility in this situation is that you yourself might be unable or unconsciously afraid to commit and could be pushing him away without realizing it.
Try to do your own inventory and examine your own behavior.
Do you have a fear of intimacy and a tendency to change once you get close to someone?
We all need to work on our own issues and learn to practice the art of learning to love more and more as a relationship deepens and grows.
So if you got close and he pulled away, do some self examination as well as examining the other person.
If you are meant to be together with someone, there will be no way to stop it from working out. If you are not meant to be with someone, there will be no way to make it work.
Learn what you are supposed to learn from each person in your life, take the teaching, and continue to move forward. You will find what is meant for you. Take a deep breath and trust.
Anita Gadhia-Smith, PsyD, LCSW-C, LICSW – www.drgadhiasmith.com
When your partner pulls away from a serious relationship, you may feel frustrated and disheartened.
After all, it takes significant time, energy, and emotional investment to reach this level of commitment.
The stereotype of the “commitment phobic” man in pop culture is all too common, and many women can just as easily fit into this category. But where does this idea come from?
One explanation derives from Attachment Theory: you develop your blueprint for relationships from the kind of relationship you had with your parents, or your “attachment” figures.
The way your primary caregiver responded, or didn’t respond, to you in your early years determines whether you believe your needs will be met in relationships. These core beliefs shape how you interact with others and the types of relationships you choose.
More specifically, we are drawn to romantic relationships that mimic the dynamic we had with our attachment figures.
For instance, if your mother was emotionally unavailable, you may choose a partner who cannot meet your needs.
If your father redirects conversations towards himself, you may choose a partner who has narcissistic tendencies.
We seek out what feels familiar to us because we grew up believing it was not only normal, but also that it was love.
In their book Attachments, Dr. Tim Clinton and Dr. Gary Sibcy explain the 4 different attachment styles, with Secure Attachment being the healthy ideal:
- Anxious Attachment: I do not believe I am loveable or am capable of getting love without being angry and clingy, so I should either be that way or leave. Others are capable of meeting my needs but might not do so because of my flaws. Others are trustworthy and reliable but might abandon me because of my worthlessness.
- Avoidant Attachment: I do not believe I am loveable or am capable of getting love and support. Others are either unwilling or incapable of loving me. Others are not trustworthy; they are unreliable when it comes to meeting my needs.
- Disorganized Attachment: I do not believe I am loveable or am capable of getting love without being angry and clingy, so I should either be that way or leave. Others are not trustworthy or reliable, and they are unable to meet my needs. Others are abusive and I deserve it.
- Secure Attachment: I believe I am loveable and am capable of getting love and support. Others are willing and able to love me.
If your partner is having trouble committing to you, it probably has to do with his attachment style.
You can also explore your own attachment style and how that may have contributed to you being drawn to someone who rejects intimacy.
The good news is that healing is possible!
You have the opportunity to gain greater awareness and heal from attachment wounds, so that you will no longer be attracted to men who cannot commit to you.
Through counseling and processing your own pain, you can learn how to choose and sustain healthy, thriving relationships.
Katie Anderson, MA, LCMHCA – www.kandersoncounseling.com
Women and men engage each other in a courtship dance.
Traditionally women dangle sex in exchange for love while men dangle the promise of love to get sex.
During the Covid-19 Pandemic single people may feel profoundly untouched, un-hugged, un-kissed and certainly un-f*cked.
When cafés are shuttered and restaurants only do take-out, the seduction dance can suddenly truncate to men blatantly admitting their horniness and begging for sex.
So, how might a woman seeking a connection of substance navigate Covid-19 dating?
Being that mask-free home visits with an absolute stranger can quickly import infection if not death, what’s a relationship-seeking adult woman to do?
Take your time disclosing. Engage in a grand verbal dance. Play with each other via Zoom or Skype or FaceTime. Offer a psychological strip-tease. One piece at a time. Remember our biggest sex organ is between our ears! Keep up the mystery.
Commitment can engender boredom.
The same things for breakfast, the Standard Bento Box at the Japanese Bistro and the Chile Relleno/Chicken Enchilada Combo at the Mexican hole in the wall. All absolutely delicious, but we humans are novelty seekers! If at all possible generate a conversation that continually tantalizes!
Once you generate mutually delicious love-making, don’t stop there!
Introduce new levels of play! Standard toys, weird-ass toys, costumes, role-playing, role reversals and as much laughter as you both can handle. At the same time, work to make your connection full-bodied.
Enduring relationships triangulate.
Triangulation can generate projects, babies, pets, business, travel and deep co-creation. The more compelling you are to each other, the more neither of you would dream of pulling away.
Leanna Wolfe, PhD –wisewomansexandrelationshipconsulting.com
The first step is to understand our emotions – writing in a journal about them, talking with trusted friends or family members, or talking with a therapist (who know a LOT about and have studied emotions).
We are relational beings, and it’s anxiety provoking for most all of us to feel or see or notice our partner pulling away.
It can trigger a host of fears such as:
he doesn’t love me, meaning I am not lovable, he met someone else he loves more, he doesn’t care about me, etc..etc…etc..
It can be very scary to ASK about how he is feeling, which I call a check in.
It means you must be brave, willing to listen to his answer and trust that what he is feeling is important.
You might be surprised by his answer – he might be scared too! Or confused.
But you will not know until you ask, and remind yourself, no matter what he says – trust his honesty and honor that even if you don’t like what he is communicating.
If you support and validate him and share your feelings and fears in a loving, kind way, it can release a lot of anxiety.
It’s common for a lot of men to feel pressure or be overwhelmed when relationships start to get deeper or committed and knowing he has a partner to listen, support him and listen can be an amazing foundation to start on.
It’s better knowing if he is unsure and being able to share his fears in a safe, loving space, that you might be surprised that he might like to stick around. What a beautiful gift to give someone regardless of outcome.
If he isn’t sure about you, it’s time to keep yourself open to the next person who loves you fully.
You will never know unless you open up about it in an accepting, kind, loving way.
Jennifer Fisher, LCPC – www.jfisherwellness.com
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