The pursuer/distancer dynamic resembles the anxious and avoidant couple.
The pursuer, or the more anxiously attached Nervous type (AKA Nora or Nick), seeks closeness and validation. They might over-share, over-think, and want to connect quickly. Not only do they share about past hurts (see my last reel), they also ask lots of questions and like to be intimate in many forms. This pattern stems from early childhood experiences of not knowing if your parents will be there, so you want to ensure stability. Closeness is your love language.
The distancer, typically the avoidant, thinks, ‘Whoah, too much, I’m out of here.’ The independent type (AKA Isabelle or Ian) grew up in a household where they didn’t learn the value of sharing.
The distancer leaving activates the pursuer’s anxiety. OMG, you are abandoning me; please don’t leave. The avoidant might try to shame their partner, ‘why are you so needy?’ They feel like their partner is forcing intimacy. Its called the pursuer/distancer cycle or the abandonment/shame spiral.
Both partners feel some level of anxiety. The pursuer or feels abandonment anxiety. The distancer feels anxiety about engulfment. I will lose myself in this relationship.
Breaking the pursuer/distancer pattern requires each partner to give a little. The reality is that most of us need closeness AND autonomy.
Relationships require a give and take, especially under stress. When you understand what your partner is doing and seek to meet their needs. It takes a willingness to acknowledge the pattern, directly asking for what you need from your partner, and altering the automatic response when relationship anxiety takes over.
Give this post some ❤️ let me know if you can relate.