Imagine you meet someone who is highly appealing to you. They’re cute, they are funny, smart. They share similar interests with you, and you find they pique your interest. You ask to exchange numbers and there you go, you initiated a potential romance.
Now imagine that you’ve kept in touch daily for a couple of weeks. However, the one thing you have noticed by now is that if you don’t send that text or make that call, you don’t hear from them. You might receive one text in two weeks, but other than that you wonder where in the world they are. Did they disappear of the face of the earth? If this describes you then within the roles of pursuer and distancer, there’s a high chance you are in the role of the pursuer within the relationship. Your counterpart is popularly known as the distancer.
In the realm of pursuit and distance, we can compare the ground to a game of hide and seek or cat and mouse. Although, this unconscious activity may be surfacing from a deeper level but there also could be a conscious component to it. In relationships, it’s the man who was traditionally the pursuer but believe me this game is not gender specific.
Some distancers may need space but they may also have a difficult time verbalizing what they need, and there can be reasons for this. They might have experienced rejection at some point in life that has left its mark on a subconscious level and so in some way they are hiding from you, perhaps testing you to see if you will seek them out to continue the relationship or if you will tire of them quickly, and in some cases where a pursuer may feel that they are being avoided, a distancer may well be experiencing anxiety about the pursuer’s lateness or an absence of a regular communication. On the other hand, the distancer might have had a relationship where they felt smothered and that old ghost is surfacing to haunt them.
On the other hand, pursuit and distance is natural too. If no one makes that move, then how would we ever form relationships. Someone always makes the first move. The dynamic will be born from the personalities involved. Passion runs deeper than we give it credit for even at the beginning of a relationship. If the pursuer feels something has potential, add in attraction and a pursuer will seek what they are attracted to in the other person. The distancer can at this point feel flattered about the attention they are receiving and fall into synch with the pursuer reciprocating from their side that they share the same interest, that initially being the desire to be with each other born from attraction. Through time, and circumstances this dynamic can change.
We all do our best to be our true selves, but most of us are wounded from the past and if we haven’t healed those wounds, nor recognized them, we bury them and within a society where there is a structure of norms, it’s not only difficult but perhaps misguided to show our vulnerable sides to people that we don’t know so well, albeit those facets of ourselves are what make us who we are.
A pursuer wants to know they are loved as much as any distancer. To love and be loved in return. If the distancer keeps distancing three months into a relationship, the pursuing partner might begin to feel an energy shift. They might begin to feel the rejection that the distancer fears, or too much uncertainty. Maybe at first they took the role of pursuer but there had been hope that the relationship would even itself out and it would have reached some level of equality. but if that isn’t happening and the distancing partner continues to hide, frustrations can arise, and questioning begins.
Do they love me?
If stress arises, a partner on either side may begin to experience some type of fight or flight reaction. The person who is trying to keep the relationship alive might begin to want to talk about the way the distancer is behaving and in turn making them feel. Now at this point, there could be two ways forwards, dependent upon the receptivity of the person distancing.
1. The distancer is self-aware and has noticed themselves what they tend to do with regards to distancing and can try their best to make a conscious effort with regards to changing their behavior and patterns.
2. The distancer is avoidant and feels threatened by the mention of their own behavior. Maybe being recognized or being found out had never entered their mind before.
With the literature and talks that exist these days, people have far more access to self-help and self-improvement. What you want is a combination of self-awareness and a willingness to change based upon recognition of old patterns that have possibly sabotaged past relationships. There’s an idea that we are all waking up to the true nature of ourselves and if that is true then it’s time to be our true selves. We owe that both to ourselves and each other. Vulnerability need not be a weakness and authenticity can be magnetic.
If you recognized yourself or your significant other in this article remember; communication and openness are vital components in resolution.