the pursuer-distancer dynamic

Some of these form a kind of habitual dance, with both members in the couple relationship ending up again and again in a familiar role.

Most couples (in fact most people!) have something of a pursuer/distancer relationship, in which whoever has more desire for emotional proximity or sexual intimacy pursues the other partner, who in turn moves away to create a more comfortable distance; this creates the so called “intimacy gap” which both suits the couple at this point, but also deep down frustrates them because in their hearts of hearts they want-and require-more closeness.

As the “dance” habituates it may turn into a critical pursuit and aggressive distancing process that creates a feeling of crisis in the couple relationship.

The pursuer needs to
• expand his or her social connections and
• develop other ways to meet the emotional needs that lead to pursuit.

The distancer needs to
• increase his or her tolerance for intimacy and
• spend more time with the partner.

The key to this is in being able to sooth yourself, nurture yourself and do the same for your partner, enabling a more intimate and enriching relationship

Couple counselling can help you explore the relationship dynamics that might be preventing you from having a more enriching relationship.